Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Means And Ends

Rudy Giuliani has released a list of what he pretends to want to do as President. Naturally it is a massively ambitious Christmas list with no policy specifics whatsoever. (Update: Durf beat me to posting the list, so I'm snipping it. Read Rudy's lips here.)

James Joyner asks the obvious questions, and IOZ digs into the semantics, also coining the nickname "Benito" for the Mayor of 9/11 which I'm totally stealing.

The list is worth posting solely to be able to laugh at it in 2010, if not sooner. But it points out the absurdity of trying to make political judgments based on "The Ends" - that is, the motives behind policies - rather than the "Means" that they supposedly justify - that is, the actual policy in question.

We must remember Rule #1, and further remember that old quip about laws and sausages. The ends never justify the means, because the actual ends are re-election and campaign financing. When looking at the above list, the begged question for most of his "commitments" is "Exactly how will you do that, Rudy?" And the answer to that question is the same as the answer to this question: "How will further your re-election campaign by pretending to do that, Rudy?"

The reason I say "most", is that Commitment #2 is impossible, and #5 doesn't even pass the laugh test. Accountability for thee, not for me, is and ever shall be as necessary to politics as blocking and tackling are to football.

Sadly, the easiest and most often used technique for criticizing opponents of one's policy, is accusing them of a lack of desire to solve whatever problem one's policy purports to solve. Not only will Giuliani employ this technique, but it will be the centerpiece of his campaign. That is, if he ever gets around to proposing anything substantive.

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