The Outstater: A Losing Columbia Club Matrix
DON’T BE SHOCKED or particulary dismayed that the GOP gubernatorial candidate appears to be trailing by double digits. Be reminded that Indiana Republican conventions rarely resemble Indiana Republicans — not everyday ones, anyway. Columbia Club apparatchiks are more like it.
Eric Holcomb, wish him the best, stands as the pluperfect example. Please know this does not reflect an opinion as to whether as governor he would be good or bad relative to what the Democrats plan to do to us. Never met him. Never heard of him before he was declared de facto head of the Party.
But as is the conceit of my profession, we categorize public figures by the issues they claim as their own. Are they sincerely pursuing a solution? Have they thought through it, the incentives, the disincentives? Or are they merely indulging in the sloth of bad or convenient judgment, issue after issue?
Holcomb may get the chance to prove he doesn’t belong in that last category. But for now you don’t have to be one of us Hayekian purist or anal-retentive constitutionalist to put him there. You only have to ask how he imagines his policies will get on down the road, what movie he saw where they worked out OK.
Here are three of his positions that portend a widening black hole for Indiana GOP energies:
- Syrian Guests — Why would a Republican gubernatorial candidate, however novice, step forward unprompted to say he will fight to the political death for the right of accidental emigrants, perhaps dangerously incorrigible, to settle among us as if they were an army of Rosa Parkses taking their rightful seats on the great American bus? We are dealing with an incurious mind who has attended one too many Columbia Club luncheons with Dan Coats.
- Regional Cities — Who thinks that wealth and jobs are created by air-dropping bundles of cash onto political coordinates fixed by crony capitalists? That is Mercantilism, and the last time it was a trusted economic guide William Shakespeare was writing sonnets. Previous administrations understood such programs to be merely press-release economics, a way of repackaging Washington cash transfers into campaign talking points. Holcomb seems to believe they actually work.
- Expanded Preschool — Corruption follows the inarguable good, and there is nothing more inarguable than helping four-year-olds get a start in life. Yet, research tells us that what makes a difference (now that we have abandoned the nuclear family) is a preschool program that begins the process of instilling the soft skills — those needed to play well with others, hold down a job, start a family, etc. Government, whose practitioners unerringly end up creating dependency, is ill suited to handle such an important task. Holcomb, drawing again on the shallow formulations of his luncheons, doesn’t appear to know that.
Adopting issues suspended in this matrix, those that replace what works with what sounds good, will by 2020 mean the end of the vaunted super majority, whatever the heck that was ever worth.
— Craig Ladwig