Saturday, October 15, 2011

Finding the Least Objectionable Republican Shmo

Yeah, it's late, and it's long, and it's mostly about practical politics. Tomorrow—er, later this morning, I'll be down in Fort Worth as part of a Forty Days for Life group; perhaps I'll have a bloggable experience there. See you Monday.

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A friend of mine sent me an email today. Among other things, Steve said:

I agree with [James Carville] that [Jon] Huntsman and [Newt] Gingrich may be the most qualified, but neither stands a chance.  Shame, I kind of like Huntsman.  I would like to have an alternative to consider, and I know that Romney is really a moderate temporarily trying to pander to the right, but if any of the current crop of GOP contenders … gets the nomination, there will be no need for deliberation and I will vote again for Barry.

I find myself longing for the old days of machine politics, which — as corrupt as the system could be — deliberately produced candidates who could win, rather than finding them by guess and by gosh. My theory of politics is very Irish: you can’t get anything done if you can’t get your people into office; you can’t get your people into office unless you can get Joe Schmuckatelli down at the meat-packing plant into the polling place to vote for them.

People may sniff and gripe about the “astroturf” that bought Our Glorious Leader his waves of pre-election adulation. However, it was a direct throwback to the ward politics of the machine days, different only by the social media used to execute it. It should have been a lesson to the Republicans. But instead of actively co-opting the Tea Party – a real, honest-to-goodness grass roots movement – and learning from their playbook, they’re busy helping the Democrats marginalize them.

As much as I disliked the Dubya Administration for hijacking the war on terror and diverting it into that costly, destabilizing clusterflip in Iraq, I find I cannot in good conscience vote for another four years of King Barack. (I didn’t want four more years of Dubya, either, so make of that what you will.)

Many commentators have damned Obama as a radical Socialist for his bloated Band-Aid on the health-care system. However, he wasn’t enough of a Socialist to make systemic changes a condition of the corporate bailout program.

He’s tried to present himself as a foreign-policy conservative by continuing our presence in Afghanistan and chucking a few missiles at Libya. However, he wasn’t enough of a warhawk to do anything substantive towards protecting the Syriac Christians in northern Iraq.

Meanwhile King Barack and his Cabinet lackeys are doing everything in their power to disaffect and disenfranchise Christians, who despite losses of affiliation in recent years still remain the largest bloc of voters, despite his own occasional invocations of Christian faith. And above all, he and his CINO thugs Kathleen Sebelius and Nancy Pelosi have all but declared war on the pro-life movement, effectively putting us on a terrorist watch list and doing everything possible to coerce people against their consciences to enable both abortion and contraception.

In sum, a man who displayed such tactical brilliance in getting elected has done just about everything wrong once he was elected, even when his heart was in the right place. Okay, we’ve made history; not only have we proven we’ve gotten over our racial problems enough to elect a black man to the highest office in the land, we’ve proven that African-Americans will eventually desert a black politician who screws everything up.

But like most Republicans – I’m an independent who wishes there were a strong, viable Christian center party – there isn’t a candidate in the stable now that I’m sold on … not even Rick Santorum, despite his solid Catholic position on the non-negotiables. It’s not that I think he would make a bad President; I’m not convinced he could win the election even if he managed to pull an Obama and sweep the boards during the nomination process.

(But then, I thought McCain had it in the bag when Obama picked Biden as his running mate, so what do I know?)

So let’s pose a hypothetical question: Suppose the candidate is a “gypsy moth” like Romney (basically a Mormon Walter Mondale: as boring as watching fruit-fly porn) or soft on a couple of the non-negotiables like Rick Perry (a lot of sizzle but very little steak)?

Answer: Either one would be the lesser of two evils when compared with the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania.

The Blogger Who Must Not Be Named has stated his position quite frequently: you shouldn’t vote for either the Democrat or the Republican if there’s someone else you can vote for with a clean conscience, even if that person stands not a hope in Hades of winning. As much as I respect him (and I do), I don’t agree.

From where I stand, a vote thrown to the perfect candidate who has no hope of winning when a less-than-perfect candidate who can win is on the slate is a vote wasted on patting yourself on the back. Or to put it in his terms, I can vote for the Other Stupid Evil Party candidate against the incumbent from the First Stupid Evil Party precisely because the OSEP candidate is 30% less evil and can get stuff done in office. Only if there’s no qualitative difference – all evils being equal – or the 30% less evil candidate has not a snowball’s chance would I consider voting for the Perfect candidate from the Picayune Perfect Party.

Let me use a comparative situation, and I hope Yoda of Borg won’t take offense at it: Christopher Hitchens has frothed at the mouth not a few times over Bl. Teresa of Calcutta because she reportedly accepted money from the Duvaliers and Charles Keating. However, from her perspective, refusing the money would have done no one any good, as neither the Duvaliers nor Keating were likely to return the funds. The only thing she could have gotten was an ego boost: “Boy, aren’t I superior because I didn’t take morally tainted funds!”

I don’t accuse or imply that The Blogger holds such a grandiose image of himself as the Acme of Morality. Rather, it’s a matter of how differently we view the political process. To me, it’s the difference between shouting at the candidate over a crowd in the Oval Office and shouting in the desert. In the one situation, you have the hope that your voice will be heard to some degree through the babble; in the other, your voice is clear, distinct … and unheard by anyone else.

In a perfect world, we wouldn’t need a political system – people would not only know the right thing to do but would do it without compulsion, and there would be no wars for a standing army to fight. Since it’s not a perfect world, and won’t be a perfect world until Christ comes again, we make what improvements we can with what tools we have, hoping every day that a better tool will come along.

Yes, I called politicians “tools”. Insert joke and snicker here.

It would be nice if the leaders of the various factions who want Obama out of the White House would cobble together a description of the Ideal Republican Candidate, drafted the poor sucker who fit it best, then spent the rest of their campaign funds trying to whip up a voting frenzy, rather than force us to schlep through such a time- and money-wasting process just to whittle the candidates down to the Least Objectionable Republican Shmo. Especially if the shmo is packaging himself as Democrat Lite.

But unless we can pull together a viable third party around the Manhattan Declaration, the best we Christians can do is demand candidates from either or both parties who will represent us better, and then vote for them regardless of party. As long as we’re stuck with only two parties, we can at least make them less stupid and evil.