Living just above the Great State of South Carolina, we are treated to the radio ads that have saturated their airwaves in the weeks leading up to tomorrow's primary. I understand it's a primary, a contest between Republicans, as as such they will necessarily criticize each other and each other's policies in their ads. I do wish, however, that Republicans would find a way to do so without resorting to lowest common denominator, populist stupidity. The attacks on Herman Cain's 9-9-9 tax plan were ridiculous. Cain remains the only contender for president with a real, honest plan to tackle the county's broken tax system. What did that get him? The other Republicans attacked the plan for being hard on the working class, unworkable and too complicated. Michelle Bachman went so far as to insinuate it was the work of Satan, which said a lot more about the woman's mental capacity than about the 9-9-9 Plan. That is exactly, with the possible exception of Bachman's nuttiness, what one would expect the Democrats and the press to say about Cain and his plan. With no serious proposals of their own, the other Republicans are basically saying the present system is better, that it isn't already everything they claimed 9-9-9 would be--complicated, unworkable and a drain on capital. With that attitude, we as Republicans deserve to lose.
Now the field has narrowed and, for the moment at least, Mitt Romney is seen as the one to beat. Are his primary opponents attacking him for not being conservative enough, for creating a state-run health care system, for being wishy-washy in his defense of his ideas? Well, to be honest, they are a bit, but the one ad that has been running over and over again attacks Romney for being a "vulture capitalist." Once again, Republicans have resorted to liberal arguments against a fellow conservative. The ad distorts and demagogues the role played in our free market economy by venture capital firms. It's playing on the woeful state of most Americans' economic literacy, and that is more than sad, it's a crime. This country will only survive if we as Republicans and conservatives and libertarians can educate the vast majority of Americans with an understanding of markets and private enterprise and the role of risk-taking and reward. It's going to be an uphill battle, and when the very people in the best position to push us forward are dragging us back, it scares the Hell out of me for the future.
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