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I’m trying to regain some focus here. There’s nothing quite like being out of commission for awhile to help one lose focus entirely. First there was a week of kidney stone issues. That was followed by yet another week of kidney stone issues, which itself was followed by an uncanny inability to keep any food down whatsoever. Having spent approximately two weeks residing in the parking lot behind a convenience store in Reed City, Michigan, it occurred to me that I may have met the minimum residency requirements to run for mayor of that stately and picturesque town. The staff at the local hospital was kind enough to fetch my prescriptions for me, and my nurse even returned me to my truck after I was discharged. The people were as friendly as any I’ve encountered north of the Mason Dixon and even more friendly than a few I’ve encountered south as well. But it’s probably all for the better that I didn’t run for office, thereby sparing such hospitable folk the tenacious juggernaut of a political organization I have yet to conceive or assemble.
In the meantime, I’ve returned to reasonably good health, and have wandered back onto the road and back onto Ricochet. I’ve missed talking with you! The topics and issues are numerous, as are a few observations I’d like to make. So with your indulgence, here are random thoughts, in random order:
Detroit: I spent a couple of days in the Detroit area, my first time back to the city in at least 2 years. The lack of heavy traffic was startling. Most major cities have major traffic. Driving through Detroit a few days ago was like driving through an average city on a Sunday morning when most people are either asleep or in church. I saw more shuttered businesses, abandoned shopping plazas, gutted buildings, overgrown and abandoned warehouses in that one city than I see in a normal week. Progressives and their union comrades, having had free rein in Detroit, must be very satisfied. The roads there are the worst in the country.
Long Drives: I completed my first hard day of driving since my little health episodes yesterday. I had forgotten what 600 miles in a truck will do to a body that isn’t used to it. At the end of the day, seated in the restaurant, I could still feel the vibrations of the road under my feet.
Food: Tropical fruit on a sick stomach is not a particularly bright idea. Better to have Claire hide it behind one of Dr. Berlinski’s doors with the old Skylark, and spend the rest of your life puzzling over it than to find it and eat it. Saltine crackers, on the other hand, are the food of the gods.
The Republican Field / Debates: Peter asked me to weigh in on this. I missed the last debate, and the one before that. However, having viewed some video clips, I offer a few cursory observations:
Mitt Romney: His vulnerability lies in his own positions that adopt the premises and axioms of the left. He gives the impression that his relationship with the Constitution is strictly platonic. How can he run against the Individual Mandate if he has already embraced it? How can he defend the ideas that are epitomized in the Ryan Plan, for example, if he’s already utilized the rhetoric of the left in assailing Rick Perry’s insistence that Social Security needs serious work? If he is the nominee, this election will be much more difficult than it needs to be.
Rick Perry: And I thought my pain meds zonked me out. He needs some truck stop coffee before these debates. He seems like the kid who gets up to give a book report without having read the book.
Newt Gingrich: Cogent, articulate, persuasive, and thinks deeply enough to challenge the planted axioms of the questions themselves. Too many of these moderators are approaching the Republican field from an almost zoological perspective, as if they were interviewing an alien species. Gingrich is the quickest, most devastating rhetorician in the race and would eviscerate Barack Obama from start to finish. I don’t know if his personal history is too much of an obstacle to overcome, but on policy issues and the ability to keep the left on defense, I’m giving him a hard second look.
Herman Cain: Powerful and compelling. He’s never held office before,…but surveying the wreckage that has been wrought by generations of seasoned career politicians, I’m re-evaluating that criteria. He is an accomplished executive, and a Constitutionalist, the latter category being especially important at this time in our history. The 9 9 9 plan is interesting, though I find it unsettling that he would institute a consumption tax before repealing the 16th Amendment. I’m giving him a hard second look as well.
Ron Paul: Hard nosed Constitutionalist who understands the connection between liberty and responsibility. Too bad his views on foreign policy and national defense are to the left of John Kerry.
Michelle Bachman: She absolutely nailed the answer on how the government greased the skids for the fall of housing market and our overall economic distress. Her’s was a reasoned and well thought out response, which stood in stark contrast to what seemed like desperate attacks on Rick Perry’s vaccine program. I disagreed on the program as well,..but she seemed so shrill at times (to me at least) as to call her general temperament into question.
Rick Santorum: Seems solid on the issues. Good conservative creds as far as I can tell, but there is something,… whiney there. Hard to put my finger on,…but I don’t see “Mr. President” when I watch him.
The Inevitability Issue: I will admit that this one gets my dander up. As I understand it, and admittedly I’ve been out of it for a couple of weeks, Romney can’t seem to get above the mid 20’s in the polls. That means that a decided majority of Republican voters are not supporting him, correct? If the field narrows, and voters whose support is spread across numerous candidates at present coalesce around one or two conservative candidates, I would think his inevitability would be called into question. At any rate, assuming that the voters get to decide this, I think it would be a wonderfully novel idea to let them do just that.
Barack Chavez: Congress, following the will of the people they represent, has chosen not to “pass this bill.” So, the President is ordering the enaction of his bill through the administrative state instead. The man is hostile to the Constitution he swore an oath to uphold and must be defeated at the polls.
Occupy Wall Street: How about occupying the business end of a shower spigot for awhile? How about getting off of other people’s property and discovering the wonders of indoor plumbing? Sniveling about the environment while everyone downwind of your fetid stench is gagging? Are you serious? Businesses are losing money hand over fist because their normal patrons can’t get through the smell and the barricades. The city is losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in police overtime alone as it babysits these parasites, and these people have the stupid audacity to protest the productive sector that provides them with their phones, computers, tents, and clothing while being taxed to oblivion to subsidize their unregenerate existence? After the words, “Yes we can,” please add “get a life.”
Iranian Assassination Plot: Would they have tried this if they thought a strong president resided at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?
Uganda: You’ve got to be kidding me. Another war? Seems to me that 100 troops are not a combat force, but rather a trip wire.
MSNBC: Ed Shultz sees the rise of Mr. Cain as proof of Republican racism. Well, at least one thing didn’t change while I was away.