The US 2012 Election, or why did we stop reading Spy vs. Spy?
NYT opiner David Brooks has this analysis on a Paul Ryan political calculation he thinks will cost the GOP some credibility capital in the upcoming election. Included in the column in this quote:
"Ryan’s fantasy happens to be the No. 1 political fantasy in America today, which has inebriated both parties. It is the fantasy that the other party will not exist. It is the fantasy that you are about to win a 1932-style victory that will render your opponents powerless."
The idea isn't central to Brooks' point, but following it to its logical conclusion suggests an interesting take on the political rhetoric of each party. There is the alarmist Democrat view that the GOP has gone insane. If you take Brooks' observation in tow, it would seem the Dems frame the GOP's exile from mainstream political viability as something you could wish for and lament at the same time. It is a thoughtful fantasy, worthy of the man who inspired it. To see it come true, one merely has to negate with the immense and growing financial resources of the GOP's supporters.
Then there is the tooth-baring Republican view that Democrats should be destroyed, more or less, on principle, in the name of a vision most people could not, in their right minds, think is good for them. Rolling back reproductive rights on a population of women who are increasingly better educated and better wage earners? Gutting Medicare as more baby boomers will come to rely on it? It is a video game fantasy of making the world one invents a sole reality, one that has to get the population to embrace it as it pulls away.
In this article, I find Brooks is a bit too clever by half, asserting for Ryan a political miscalculation that, along with so many others like it on either side of the aisle, won't matter on election day. What will matter this time around to most people is what has mattered in most presidential elections I've observed: voting for the least unattractive choice, unless of course you're committed to the ticket your party puts in front of you.