Monday, January 9, 2012

Vote for Not-Him

Finally starting a new blog year, as usual mostly with carryover from last year. The Denver Broncos continued their unlikely run, while the Atlanta Falcons put on a performance that I'm sure had the owner telling himself to avoid rash decisions. The weather continues to be well above average, and even if it goes bad we've reached the point where it's easier to see the end of winter.

I've been trying to follow the election process but it has been more difficult than 2008, and I've been trying to decide why. (It's not just the silliness of Iowa, where dedicated citizens select delegates who will select delegates who will select delegates who will select delegates - none of them bound by selection results - who will vote for the Republican nominee.) I think it's because 2008 had real significance, with a woman and a black man poised to make history and an economy just starting to get hit hard.

Now we're still muddling through that economic shock and the contested presidential race is among variations on an upper-class white man, with the leading contender more like the President than he dares admit in terms of policy and even less mainstream in terms of religion.

What has struck me a bit is how the candidates have been defined in terms of someone else. The main theme so far has been which candidate is the current Not-Romney, while Romney seems to be running as Not-Obama. None of the Republicans seems able to command the stage on his own merit.

Whoever does get the nomination needs to provide some reason for people to believe he'll be an improvement. Otherwise it comes down to someone who has been doing the job - and can point to some successes - and someone who hasn't. The worst part is, it's just getting started.