An Effective President

Wednesday, August 29, 2007
In comments on the Waiting for Fred post, Chuck noted: "I like what Fred says, but I have my doubts that he would be an effective president."

Without knowing Chuck's definition of "effective", it's impossible to reply. My definition of "effective" is rather simple. Appoint strict constructionists to the bench and propose budgets that balance and represent no more than 18-20% of the GDP.

By my standard, President Bush has been fairly effective. The deficits incurred are owed to a one off event and are coming to an end. His court appointments have been as good as the pool of available candidates allows.

I realize that my definition of effective is simplistic and may suffer from the soft bigotry of low expectations but I don't see McCain and Giuliani making it over even the low hurdle. I find McCain's alliance with Feingold in the passage of an act designed to provide cover for his involvement in the Keating scandal, coupled with his love of the camera and enjoyment of his 'maverick' (should be 'loose cannon') status to be simply ludicrous. Giuliani's lack of adherence to the concepts embodied in the Bill of Rights combined with his new "growth" regarding his positions on a u-pickem list of issues make belief that his appointments to the bench would be (IMO) satisfactory, impossible.

That leaves Romney and Thompson, and of the two, Thompson is more apt to beat Miz Clinton than Romney. I realize that's not a ringing endorsement or a clarion call but as The Shadow of the Beast creeps accross the land I'm sure to do better.


chuck said...


I am concerned that Fred is having so much trouble getting organized, most candidates have a team of policy advisors and such. I suppose it would be nice to return to simpler times but I don't see how that could work. If nothing else, Fred will need folks to advise him on strict constructionist judges and prepare them for the congressional inquisition. If you think Bush has done OK in that regard - and it looks that way to me - thank Harriet Miers. So I would like to see a bit more than just Fred.

Rick Ballard said...


I certainly agree concerning the organizational side. I don't think it's an act. The red pickup that worked in Tennessee isn't scalable and the campaign doesn't appeared centered as yet.

As far as finding advisors should he win - the man has been around DC since the early '70's. He's not really an outsider at all. I'd like to know what his relationship with Cheney is like. I just can't see the Texas money flowing to Giuliani.

vnjagvet said...


Texas money is generally pragmatic and follows winners. I am not so sure that Rudy can't get a good bit of it if he continues aggressively strong on national defense (Iraq, ME, etc.) and does not go too far left in his rhetoric.

I think he can govern well. Students of politics don't call the NYC Mayor's job the nation's second most difficult for nothing and he did a good job with it.

Rick Ballard said...


I certainly hope it's pragmatic, I just haven't noticed a buy in as yet. Aside from my concern about the type of judges that Giuliani might appoint, there is the distinct possibility that there is more in his closet - or, perhaps an entire attic - which remains to be emptied. The divorces and adultery may wash out but shenanigans involving crooked deals are a bit more problematic.

Romney actually appears to be the 'cleanest' candidate but he's not connecting. At least he isn't so far.

I really hate the shortened primary season coupled with the absurdly early start.

loner said...
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loner said...
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loner said...

Might as well clean the previous up a little since the opportunity presents itself:

I really hate the shortened primary season coupled with the absurdly early start.

The primary system has been a joke since reform began after the fiasco in Chicago in 1968. This will hopefully bring about a collapse that will allow for some sort of reform that will allow primaries/caucuses in the first six months of the election year on specified dates to any and all states that opt to conduct them on that date, but I'm not counting on it. More likely, we'll know who the nominees will be by the end of the prior year before anyone is allowed to take charge.

The early start is going to remain an early start for candidates who think they benefit. McCain and Obama decided to start early. It was probably the right decision on the part of both though things haven't worked out as either would have liked.

Hillary will be the Democratic nominee barring the completely unexpected. I haven't a clue as to who the Republican nominee will be. I think it would be best long-term for the GOP if Giuliani were the nominee. Romney's problem is that he decided to get political in MA. He might overcome that if he tries a second time, but I find it hard to believe that he'll overcome it first time out. Does Fred have what it takes? No indication that he does thus far.

Nobody is, in reality, a strict constructionist. The intervening 220 years have taken care of that. I don't mind a neutral/passive Supreme Court in most respects, but I do object to one that defers to any other branch of government at any level on personal liberty questions.

I'd say that the current President has been about as effective as the times allow.