March 4, 2008

The Myth of the Rational Candidate?

I have virtually no interest in politics.  No, thats not true . . . I have no faith in politics is probably more accurate and what interest I have is mostly generated by the trappings of the political process - call it anthropological interest.  This year is no different, with apologies to Mr. Obama, I am not hopeful and Tyler Cowen's statement that "its an election not a revolution" comes as close to summing up my own take on presidential elections (and politics in general) as anything else I've read this year (Bryan Caplan's Myth of the Rational Voter is another interesting read.)  So, all that to say that I really don't get very worked up about much that the candidates say as I really don't think it matters that much - which may sound like cynicism but I would argue that it is simply an honest recognition of how the rules of the game function, if you don't play by the rules you don't get elected and you can't fault candidates for playing by rules that we implicitly support and sanction.  However, Mr. McCain was in town yesterday and the local paper had this sound bite from his town hall meeting which caught my ear.

The fight against radical Islamic extremism was part of the “transcendent challenge of the 21st Century,” he said.

Does everyone believe this?  Is this true?  I must confess I heard it and I thought it was absurd.  Granted he said "part of" and not "THE" but "transcendent challenge of the 21st Century"?  Aren't there better candidates for that title?  Well, I'm glad you asked.  Yes.  Yes, there are.  And I'm going to make the case for some of them in the next few posts. 

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