Politico says that "Nervous Mitt fans" are urging their candidate to "hit Newt harder." One of the strengths of the Gingrich campaign, though, has been its general refusal to hit fellow Republicans, but to concentrate fire on the Obama administration. The Romney campaign has likewise been wise in this regard, with the effect that whichever candidate wins, they will not have been damaged by a bruising primary.
Indeed, the many debates have allowed the candidates to sort according to something like merit. I'm not fond of any of the remaining options, to be sure; but the decisions people have made about the qualifications of the candidates are based on their capacity to answer questions, express their thoughts, and the positions these candidates have taken. It has been a fairly responsible, positive campaign.
That I am unhappy with the choices is reflective of the fact that no one who shares my views is involved with politics at the level that could sustain a Presidential run -- a sad but unsurprising fact, since in general our political system puts all its incentives toward the kind of cronyist, rent-seeking, power-abusing, lying, thieving behavior that indeed we do observe. It's not clear that someone who agrees with me could get elected to a high enough office to be taken seriously as a Presidential candidate; it's certainly true that they couldn't build the kind of support within the political system that would allow them to be elected President and govern successfully. Everything they stand for would be about undercutting the political powerbases of those whose support they would be seeking: of course they cannot win.
Our system will never produce a President I can wholly approve, then. I do hope that we may be able to pick off a few victories at the edges, here and there. When the crisis this mode of government produces finally arrives, we might then be able to use the leverage to sever the concentration of Federal power, and restore the Federalism and local independence that would allow for a more just system to exist.
Those objections aside, I am pleased by the relatively good behavior of our debaters. Perhaps it is inevitable that the primary will get rougher and more bruising as we come down to the part where people begin to vote. However, before we pull the pin on that grenade, I'd like to remind Team Mitt of just how bad things could get:
What say we just continue to be gentlemen about this, then?