Friday, December 16, 2011

KISS and the campaign

In the last couple of days National Review’s editors have come out with their endorsement of sorts, winnowing the acceptable candidates down to Romney, Huntsman, and Santorum which would seem to boil down to an endorsement of Romney.  Naturally this has engendered disagreement, not excluding major writers at NR, and also less naturally but just as predictably accusations of bad faith.  The most absurd of these statements coming from Brent Bozell who declared that Bill Buckley would be appalled by the editors’ stance.

There are multiple possibilities for different assessments of candidates but I think one of the more acute is to be found in the acronym keep it simple stupid.  In an essay on SALT Daniel Moynihan wrote:

Political ideas must be simple.  Which is not to say they must be facile.  To the contrary, the most profound propositions are often the simplest as well.  Whitehead’s rule to ‘seek simplicity and distrust it’ is appropriately cautionary, but he did first of all say: seek simplicity.”

I take the above as being correct but also pointing to a critical divide in assessments of candidates for what someone might take as being simple and true is for another simplistic.  And if you are looking to find the leader of the most important country in the free world simplistic is not good.  Ron Paul’s foreign policy views are consistent, they are to my mind incredibly and dangerously simplistic.  Governor Perry’s statement last night that congress should serve for 150 days every other year just like the state of Texas can be construed as a simple statement that we are over-governed or as a failure to understand the difference between governing Texas and governing the United States.

I readily admit that my tendency is to over think things, to respond that it isn’t that simple.  But we shouldn’t kid ourselves in thinking that the answers to our problems are simple or that in the event our destination is clear that the political route to it is “as the crow flies.”

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