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Perry and Romney: Republican Presidential Candidate Inconsistency

–Richard E. Vatz

The was not much new to be gleaned regarding Republican presidential frontrunners Rick Perry and Mitt Romney in the recent Fox-Google Republican presidential debate in Orlando, Florida, but there was something that was reinforced: both candidates have serious incredulity-creating inconsistencies.

Pointing out opponents’ deviation from a rigid consistency is an old game within and without politics. One of my favorite expressions is Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”

No one is perfectly consistent. There are situational differences that may make a liberal support a more aggressive foreign policy or a conservative support more government intervention. No one can or should be ideologically pure, even though the prurient searching for political rivals’ inconsequential inconsistencies seems to obsess political aspirants.

As a conservative searching for a Howard Baker-type candidate for the Republicans in the 2012 presidential contest, I cannot get excited about the two major candidates, Perry and Romney.

Why?

Because they are dispositively inconsistent.

Would-be tough conservative Gov. Rick Perry is not unacceptably politically inconsistent because he governmentally mandated vaccinations with an executive order; he is unacceptably politically inconsistent because he not only supports subsidizing illegal immigrants’ education in Texas with taxpayer money but also chastises Gov. Romney for not wanting to educate them, since it’s not the illegals’ fault: “I don’t think you have a heart.”

Is this the “Wizard of Oz” Perry?

And when Gov. Romney says his healthcare plan reflects conservative values because he would not require it nationwide, he overlooks the incredible wasteful overspending in that plan, exemplified by the psychiatric coverage that is exemplary of liberals’ “therapeutic state.” Virtually every problem, conflict and unhappiness is covered without limit. Also put some effort in eliminating inappropriate medical procedures, including those dictated by defensive medicine, and add tort reform.

Lord, are there no reasonably consistent conservatives who have a chance to be elected president?

I’ll have to go to the polls and vote for one of these severely compromised Republican candidates.

Theirs are foolish inconsistencies.

Prof. Vatz teaches political persuasion at Towson University and is the author of The Only Authentic Book of Persuasion (Kendall Hunt, 2012)






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