Foundational Choices? It's the Politics of Self-Indulgence

More

The supposedly foundational choices that the Republican party is pitching to voters are a fraud, I argue in a column for Bloomberg.

The contest for the Republican presidential nomination, which has the U.S. political class transfixed, is barely even pretending to be serious. In this election, the country has to make a "foundational" choice, says Rick Santorum. Does the U.S. want to follow the European welfare-state model, asks Mitt Romney, or stay true to its principles? Gosh, so much is at stake.

This bogus fundamentalism is an excuse to avoid discussing the real decisions that will have to be made. The economic plans of the main Republican rivals are entirely unserious -- too vague to appraise and impossible to implement if they meant what their proponents claim them to mean. Public borrowing is out of control, say the Republicans. Therefore, slash taxes, maintain middle-class entitlements and invest more in national security. You can call that a foundational fiscal choice or a self-indulgent fantasy. It comes to much the same thing.

I think Democrats are too keen on their own transformative/fundamentalist rhetoric--but at the moment, happily for them, the GOP has the floor.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Clive Crook is a senior editor of The Atlantic and a columnist for Bloomberg View. He was the Washington columnist for the Financial Times, and before that worked at The Economist for more than 20 years, including 11 years as deputy editor. Crook writes about the intersection of politics and economics. More

Crook writes about the intersection of politics and economics.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

The Time JFK Called the Air Force to Complain About a 'Silly Bastard'

51 years ago, President John F. Kennedy made a very angry phone call.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Politics

Just In