Monday, February 27, 2006

Washington Post: Running on Empty
This Washington Post profile of Sen. George Allen, acknowledged as a leading contender for the GOP nomination should he retain his seat this year, gives a fairly superficial view of the candidate. Like most other conservatives (like Allen I will make a shallow effort not to generalize) he takes for his model a deified Ronald Reagan and like the GOP hero, he has made his reputation on his ability to sell a bright smile as the substance of actual leadership.
In fact, Allen has a knack for partisan rhetoric and gamesmanship, but he is rarely -- if ever -- tagged with the reputation as a negative politician because of his down-home manner and generally sunny disposition.

It occurs to the Exile that this next few years will be more like one enormous and unending contest. It appears all to certain that the era of non-stop campaigning is her to stay, much to the detriment of our Republican system based on the premise that the government will take a break between elections to govern something.
But if the tragedy of never-ending campaigns is to be put into perspective, what this really means is that the marginal tabloid issues and increasingly empty rhetoric of campaigns will become the new basis for governing.

But of my favorite quotes attributed to the junior senator in this piece the
"the oft-repeated mantra:
"Second-guessing is not a strategy."

Allen echoes a critical defense of the current aministration - that a unchanging and flawed status quo is necessarily better than any alternatives simply because it is the pre-existing condition. According to this notion, amending the constitution would not have been a viable strategy for governing. But forgive the digression.

Governor Allen has simple ideas and is plain-spoken. His Jeffersonian vision for the country is likely as plain and simple, and would be as irrelevant in an Allen presidency, as his dysfunctional memory. Allen, who did achieve some progress during his years in Richmond, seems to forget the financial crisis Virginia faced following his administration. What is unbelievable, however, is how he has managed to connect in his mind the recent financial recovery to his economic policies from a decade prior. Virginians know which recent governor is in touch with reality and fiscal sanity.

If the Democrats have become the party without a voice, then the GOP has become the party without and brain. But there is no way to know how far Allen will go on his plain and simple empty-headed brand of political drivel.


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