Friday, June 24, 2011

Concerning Michelle Bachmann

I just came across a pretty good piece on her by Meghan Daum, which I think fits my impressions despite being written by someone with very different political views from mine. It is in large part about the difference between Bachmann and Palin. 

Daum's point, although she doesn't put it that way, is that Palin is a flake and Bachmann isn't. Bachmann's beliefs may be mistaken—obviously Daum thinks they are. But she really holds them, really lives up to them, really has put a lot of thought and effort into living the life she believes she ought to live. Which makes her a more formidable candidate,  a better qualified one, and, probably, a more interesting person. For details, see the piece.

I should probably add that inasmuch as I had a candidate, it was Mitch Daniels. I agree with Ron Paul and Gary Johnson more than with any other equally serious contender and even know both slightly, to the extent of having spoken at the same event with Johnson a while ago and having met Paul in libertarian circles in the past. But I find it hard to imagine either of them actually getting elected—which is, after all, the usual requirement for the job. I expect that Bachmann's views are similar to mine in some areas,  very different in others—and that the same will be true of any serious contenders for the Republican nomination.

I expect that in the next election, as in the last, I either won't vote at all or will vote for the LP candidate as a purely symbolic gesture, assuming that this time they decide to nominate a libertarian.


Anonymous said...

Hi David,

So when you do vote, why do you vote? Is it always symbolic or are there other reasons?


TJIC said...

> But she really holds them, really lives up to them, really has put a lot of thought and effort into living the life she believes she ought to live

I'm not going to defend Palin as an intellectual (although I will defend her as not nearly as slow as the Left likes to paint her).


I think that Palin is relatively immune to charges that she does not really hold her views, does not really live by them, etc.

dWj said...

I had started preparing a letter to Daniels urging him to run when he announced that he wouldn't; the letter said, "you won't win, but run anyway." I think Daniels could have moved the debate, making it more politically viable to do something serious on entitlements a few years down the road, in a way that I think Bob Kerrey in 1992 moved the health care debate even though he wasn't quite going to run.

David Friedman said...

In the context of a national election, I think I always vote for symbolic/expressive reasons--the chance of affecting the outcome is just too small. Obviously that isn't true on the scale of voting in, say, a faculty meeting.

Years ago, I got a flyer from the local Democratic candidate for congress listing all the horrible things her Republican opponent was in favor of. I think I was in favor of all of them, so felt an obligation to vote for him, although I knew nothing about him from his side.

I'm not sure, but looking backwards I suspect the candidate was Tom Campbell, who probably was closer to me in his views than the average Republican congressman at the time.

David Friedman said...

On Palin ...

I agree that her intellectual faults are exaggerated by the critics, sometimes to a level that looks to me like deliberate dishonesty, and I've commented on it at some length here in the past. But resigning as governor while apparently retaining ambitions in national politics does not strike me as evidence of a serious person. It isn't so much that I think she deliberately misrepresents her views as that I doubt she holds them very seriously or at much depth.

But I could, of course, be wrong.

Tim of Angle said...

One "L" in Michele.

Tim of Angle said...

Daum's argument seems to be that Palin is a mother with a secondary job as a politician, whereas Bachman is a politician with a secondary job as a mother. I can see why Daum, as a Voice of the Crust, would prefer the latter to the former; it fits the Crustian Narrative that Career is primary and parenthood merely a spare-time activity.

Having read through the Palin E-Mail Trove -- well, as much as I could stand -- I have no doubt that Palin could do as good a job as President as, say, Barack Obama, much less Jimmy Carter. So I don't see anything in Bachmann that gives her an obvious edge.

Anonymous said...

True Believers are dangerous. Not because of their beliefs, but because they are easily manipulated by the smarter people around them.

A President needs to have some Nixon in them (not too much - a dab will do).

Anonymous said...

David D. Friedman:

It pains me to hear that you vote in government elections, especially with you being my favorite economist and one of my favorite anarcho-capitalist thinkers.

My guess is you get enough joy out of voting that it makes the expected marginal utility of voting come out positive. Why do you enjoy voting in government elections?


Anonymous said...

... really has put a lot of thought and effort into living the life she believes she ought to live.

Maybe, but that car does not seem to move very fast:

Anonymous said...

By the by, in

THE FACTS: In personal financial disclosure reports required annually from members of Congress, Bachmann reported that she holds an interest in a family farm in Independence, Wis., with her share worth between $100,000 and $250,000.

The farm, which was owned by her father-in-law, produced income for Bachmann of at least $32,500 and as much as $105,000 from 2006 through 2009, according to the reports she filed for that period.

"Everything we do with those forms is in an abundance of caution," she said, insisting she and her husband receive no farm income despite the forms reporting it.

Isn't lying on a federal document a crime?