Clinton: The Substance of Ideas

An interesting take on Clinton v. Romney as policy wonks from Ed Kilgore’s blog “Political Animal” at Washington Monthly, echoing a view from Daniel Larison at The American Conservative (don’t be put off by the name, it’s an interesting publication with thoughtful responses. Noah Millman writes for them, and he’s not an orthodox anything).

Larison’s analysis strengthens my growing belief that in choosing Ryan as a running-mate, Romney had zero intention of making a robust defense of the Ryan Budget or pursuing anything else the conservative movement was panting for him to say or do (other than the racially-tinged demagoguery about welfare). It was precisely the opposite: he figured he could shut up the noisy ideologues by offering them the symbolic prize of Ryan and then running his campaign in exactly the non-substantive way he always intended. This end-the-primaries strategy, as I’ve called it earlier, depended, of course, on swing-voter ignorance about Ryan and indeed the entire GOP agenda…

Clinton has sort of blown that all up.

An obvious point: Clinton isn’t a sitting president or a candidate; makes the task a little, um, easier. Still if this is an election about two truly different ideologies, as Michael Beschloss vapored on about on PBS’s coverage last night, then perhaps their proponents could express them, and their policy implications, a little more directly. Although that’s seldom been the way of things.

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