Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Philosophical Question

After explaining that Mitt Romney's promise to keep the federal budget at less than 20% of GDP is not possible, Paul Krugman goes on to ask:
But Romney is willing to pretend to be an ignorant extremist to have any chance of getting the Republican nomination. So this ends up being a character issue: do you want a man that cynical in the White House?

The Unbearable Cynicism of Being Mitt
The way I look at it, there are two possibilities here. Either Romney will keep this promise, even though it's crazy, or he won't. If it turned out to be the former, then I really don't think we're any worse off than we are right now. The Democrats are going to do something like this anyway. They talk like they won't, but as with the health care "reform" effort, they are doing something else behind the scenes. They will pass a Medicare cut, and almost certainly will either renege on the promise to raise the maximum income level for Medicaid coverage to 133%, or they'll figure out how to get more blood out of that turnip somehow. In short, in contrast to what Romney would do, they are telling us they want to do the smart thing, and are actually doing the stupid thing.

Or, the other possibility is that Romney has no intention of keeping his promise. In that case, I'm not bothered at all that he's lying to people who are so deliberately ignorant that they don't know how much their government is spending on what, and yet demand that it cut spending. People that stupid aren't ever going to believe the truth, because there will always be someone around who is dishonest enough to tell them what they want to hear. If he does that, and then breaks that promise, good for him.

In short, I don't have much of a problem with that idea. There are plenty of reasons I don't think Romney would make a good President, but this barely rises to the level of being an interesting philosophical question.

When it comes to character, if this is the worst Romney does, he's no worse than the current occupant of the White House.

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