Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Do you love your candidate?

Jim Geraghty has an interesting observation this morning, with, I think, some real validity.
I think one of the truly complicating factors for the Democrats is that their party is not just split, but that each half of the base has more or less fallen in love with its ideal candidate. They don't just think of their candidate as a good leader and potential good president, they see their preferred choice as a historical destiny, on course to radically improve America, opposed only by the shortsighted and the sinister....By comparison, on the Republican side... there are a lot of conservatives who are quite reluctantly supporting McCain....A party that nominates Bob Dole, George H.W. Bush, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon and Dwight Eisenhower does not always look for an inspiring ideal to quicken the pulse and put stars in voters' eyes.

...and the [Democratic] party's voters flirted with Dean, loved Bill Clinton (until recently), put their faith in a peanut farmer who pledged to never lie, contemplated , nominated McGovern. They want to be swept off their feet; they don't want a candidate they can merely respect.

And when one of their candidates falls short, about half the Democratic party will be be heartbroken.

He's exactly right (and I encourage you to read the whole piece).

And I think that you can even go further. This is, in many ways, emblematic of the varying approaches of the two parties to the entire idea of government, and the importance of the federal government in the lives of citizens.

Based on their platform positions, Democrats apparently believe that government can, and support programs intended to, create a utopia on earth. They envision a government that ensures that everyone is cared for, fed, clothed, housed and entertained, that problems of any kind resulting from human frailty are ameliorated or eliminated. If that is the goal, the leader has to be someone above mere human characteristics, and should be a beloved and honored figure.

Republicans, on the other hand, are far more skeptical (read "realistic") about the powers of government and the flaws of mankind, indeed, about the potential for an earthly utopia to be brought into being by any eartly means. They understand that government does some things better than others, that any candidate (other than Reagan ;-)) will only be another man serving in the office, and that they have certain issue positions that they want, or need, to see from that man.

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