Some say the left should tout the merits of "government." That is a great idea, if the point is to advance the conservatives' agenda. It is astounding how happy liberals are to work for the right by implying that conservatives somehow just want to leave markets to themselves whereas the liberals want to bring in the pointy-headed bureaucrats to tell people what they should do. This view is, of course, nonsense. Pick an issue, any issue, and you will almost invariably find the right actively pushing for a big role for government. However, for conservatives the goal is not ensuring a decent standard of living for the bulk of the population. Rather the goal is ensuring that money is redistributed upward. And, of course, the conservatives are smart enough not to own up to their use of the government.
The president and Governor Romney gave dueling speeches in the swing state of Ohio yesterday, laying out broad economic themes, so it is incumbent on me to look under the hoods. It is, of course, impossible for politics to be anything but deeply political right now. By that cryptic statement, I mean that it's actually hard to listen to the core of what the presidential candidates are saying through anything like an objective lens. It's all positioning, framing yourself and your opponent, capitalizing on their gaffes while walking yours back, presenting plans but assiduously avoiding key details. And with the media, understandably, in full horse-race mode, an actual substantive analysis of the candidates' positions may be nigh impossible. But I'm going to try anyway.