Friday, June 29, 2012

The lesser of two evils

In his blog, a fellow lover of liberty, Jeremy Ashton, argued against voting for "the lesser of two evils" (eg Mitt Romney). I hear that a lot from libertarians.

It's all very nice to be pure in one's political principles. Indeed, I fight for the same principles as does the young and idealistic Ashton. I agree with him that Romney does not measure up in many ways. I doubt Romney even understands the Constitution with any meaningful depth, let alone endorse its underlying principles.

But, I refuse to allow myself to be deluded into believing that if I am politically pure in the polling booth, that somehow the desired outcome will come to pass.

That sort of delusional thinking gave us Bill Clinton -- twice (and anti-Constitution Supreme Court Justices Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg). Purists thought that somehow their candidate, Ross Perot, could win. (Not that Clinton was worse than George Bush #1 or Bob Dole -- I honestly never saw much difference other than in Bush's choice of cabinet nominees and his gift to the nation in the person of Clarence Thomas.) Think about what happened in those two elections: Perot took a few votes from Clinton, but lots of votes from Bush and Dole. Without Perot, we wouldn't be burdened with Breyer and Ginsburg.

Show me a presidential candidate who has a reasonable chance of beating Barrack Obamao and Romney and I will eagerly vote for that person. No, Dr. Ron Paul does not have even a remote chance. The "news" media has, and will, see to that -- and all reasonable people recognize that simple reality. (But, I will say one very significant thing that Dr. Paul accomplished during his 2012 run for the presidency: He taught the Constitution to the other Republican candidates -- including Romney -- and to those of us who tuned into the debates.)

Some Ron-Paul apologists say that if Obama stays in the White House, many on the right will remain energized to keep up the fight. But, the GOP is still likely to be festered with RINOs. Many in the GOP leadership clearly do not represent the GOP mainstream or grassroots; they are statists just like the Democrats. We even put RINOs in office right here in southwestern Utah while solid people on the Right don't always fare as well as they should. (Merely voting for Reagan does not make one a true Republican -- living the Constitution and the Party Platform does. I've always categorized Romney as a RINO at best.)

So, I think Paulbots counting on true Conservatives to "remain energized" to win future elections isn't enough. To win, the Right will also need every RINO plus a meaningful portion of those who voted for obama to realize they made a serious mistake and that free stuff and big government isn't nearly as important as liberty. Having a small, but desperately-needed group refuse to vote for the GOP nominee, such as Dr. Paul and his followers, makes it extremely difficult to steer the nation back toward what they themselves want most.

Ideally, the purpose of the primary election is to select the best possible candidate -- one who is a solid constitutionalist. Pragmatically, it's purpose is also to select the most electable candidate (Bob Dole?!?). This year, the GOP primaries showed that Dr. Paul was not electable. The person deemed most electable was Romney. Considering the alternative -- Obama, we all must be behind Romney, although having a small portion of people voting third-party-for-principle in safe states like Utah might be excused.

Principles are essential. Everyone should have them and prayerfully test them against God's truth. Here, Ron Paul and his followers shine. But sometimes, principles cannot be attained without a little pragmatism. Those who insist on a man who isn't heard for their spokesman (eg Ron Paul), will not be heard.

I agree with Ashton that the voting-for-the-lesser-of-two-evils "logic doesn't even make sense to me as I will not be casting my vote for Obama." But, unless a third-party candidate can pull enough votes away from both major-party candidates to win, Obama (the worst of two evils) will, indeed, win. Like Perot, the perfect candidate Ashton favors will take few votes from Obamao, but take a huge bite out of Romney's tally. (Thanks to Eric Holder, voter fraud will only add to Obamao's tally.)

The stakes are too high to base one's vote on idealism. There is a good possibility of the Republicans holding a majority in at the House. Assuming the Republicans live up to the Republican Party Platform and the Constitution, good things can happen. For example, a substantial portion of Republicans promise a repeal of ObamaCare. Romney has vowed to sign a repeal. What are the chances of Obamao signing such a bill or anything else that restores liberty?

It is very likely that four Supreme Court Justices will die or retire before the end of a second Obamao term. This nation is finished if Obamao gets to nominate their replacements. It will be beyond recovery -- no matter how pure Ashton's political wishes are in the polling booth. Romney may not be perfect, but he's the only person who has a shot of pushing Obamao out and giving the Republic a few more years of life. With Romney in the Whitehouse, we have more time to get Ashton's purist in office -- perhaps Romney's VP (if he measures up).

I'd truly like to see the Republican Party put up candidates who truly embody the Republican Party Platform and the Constitution. But, the world of politics is not as perfect as Ashton seems to wish it to be. We never get a perfect candidate or even one who comes close. So, if we can't have perfection, at least we need to be practical (Merriam-Webster: "Of or concerned with the actual doing or use of something. Likely to succeed or be effective in real circumstances; feasible.") about the election process. Nothing else works -- not even libertarian wishes.

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