Vail Daily column: Looking for a candidate
Editor’s note: This is the first of two parts.
What’s love got to do with it?
Read on to find out. I’m a fiscally conservative voter struggling to find candidates fitting my definition of “conservatism.” Ironically, the best working definition probably was the platform of the old Southern “Blue Dog” Democrats. It was totally about fiscal conservatism of “pay-as-you-go” legislation. And absolutely no mention of the so-called social issues that have recently hijacked the historical meaning of conservatism in politics. The “social” topics — many with religious and ideological overtones — are important, but should not automatically be associated with fiscal conservatism and vice versa.
So which of the current social issues is the granddaddy of them all in terms of having little or no government level fiscal component? How about same-sex-marriage, best explained with a twist from Tina Turner’s “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” where “it” means government getting involved.
So what are the current non-social issues? Whatever they were until recently, it is now about terrorism abroad and at home — which absolutely have fiscal components.
So what questions do we ask about affordability and risk/reward aspects for military actions fighting terrorism in the Middle East? Three recent perspectives:
• USA took the lead with Desert Storm to clearing out Iraq’s army in Kuwait with troops and equipment, but most of the $70 billion cost paid by Gulf and Asian countries not involved militarily.
• Congress approving invading Iraq, with few questions about cost — the original estimate was about $150 billion with the final cost approaching $3 trillion, plus the price in killed and wounded.
• Some recent views by retired military estimate hundreds of thousands troops required to defeat ISIS — and how many would come from USA?
So what questions do we ask about risk/reward and democratic values for combating terrorism at home? Likely we will see a reversal of recent security cutbacks (e.g. PATRIOT Act) and generally more expenditures across the board by federal, state and local authorities. One suggestion to pay for this is to channel the savings from the across-the-board sequestration budget cuts to finance these new expenditures. This might pacify the “no new taxes under any circumstances” ideologues.
In summary, I’ll go back to the dilemma of finding strong fiscally conservative politicians that can apply their beliefs across the board. Hopefully, some current presidential candidates from either party will make this cut. But then they must get over the hurdle: “Do they look presidential?” with “I know it when I see it criteria.”
Paul Rondeau lives in Vail.
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