“Don’t blame me!” Bellowed one of my redneck relatives,”I voted for Ross Perot!” Did ya now? And that vote wasn’t a “screw you” vote, that felt inwardly satisfying while it also served Bill Clinton the presidency on a nice, silver platter (the one taking a prominent position on a shelf in his sprawling residence out on Long Island)? Oh no! It was a vote of conscience. It was a morally superior vote. Sniff.
Have conservatives, libertarians, and other factions on the Right learned nothing from history?
So now, people are coming out of the woodwork saying, “Don’t blame me! I voted for Bob Barr!” I ask you, Is that something to be proud of?
John McCain was a terrible candidate for a myriad of reasons I won’t list here. Rather than blogging anything negative, many times, I just held my tongue. (Other times, not so much.) Why? Do I and all conservatives who voted for John McCain lack a spine and principles? Some would say so. Did I hold my nose and vote for John McCain because I’m a conservative sellout?
I voted for John McCain for precisely the reasons we’re seeing right now. President Barack Obama is a statist. He’s a socialist. He wants to remake America into some liberal delusional utopian fantasy and he’s damn near succeeded at every single thing he’s wanted to do.
My brother was in Venezuela last week and talked to a local businessman who marveled of Chavez,”It’s amazing how much has changed in four years. How quickly it happened.” And it wasn’t good change. And he wasn’t hopeful. Do those who voted for Obama honestly think a slide of Venezuela-like proportions is impossible?
President Obama is a disaster for America and I hold those who voted for Bob Barr every bit as accountable as if the so-called principled person voted for Barack Obama himself. It was a vote that aided and abetted an enemy of freedom. How can a freedom-loving person be proud of this?
A couple of days ago, I explained in a phone conversation with a buddy that, if I’m going to get screwed over, I’d much rather be screwed over by my enemies than by my friends.
Well, we’re not being screwed, these days. We’re being freaking gang-raped. And while I knew that a John McCain vote meant some serious discomfort in the future, there is no way in hell he would have presided like Barack Obama. Fiscal policy alone would have been drastically different. Does anyone really believe that a John McCain presidency would have sold out the country to the Unions? Does anyone really believe we’d have to be beating back the biggest power grab by the federal government ever?
The “teach you a lesson” folks want Americans and most especially, Republicans, to learn that Obama’s statist ideas are huge failures. After all these huge policy disasters come to pass, go ahead and say “Nah, nah, ne-nah nah!” That’s some hollow victory. America will have gone down the shitter. Yay, you! You were dead right! But dead.
Still, that does not mean that I believe conservatives and libertarians need to bend over now. Hells bells. We have nothing left to lose. And this is where I believe Ace is wrong. Here’s what Ace says:
But I really hope we don’t lose sight of the fact that we’re in a bad position — worse than we anticipated, I think it’s fair to say — and that winning is indeed preferable to “losing with principle and ideological integrity.”
Oh yes, we’re in a bad position. But the time to take on the mantel of appeasement is not now. Now is the time to push back against our squishy, fuzzy-headed Republican overlords. They have the equation all backwards. And since every branch of the government is now in the hands of the Left, conservatives and libertarians can fight nearly without restraint and expect the corrupt, bloated, entitled, DC power brokers to get in line or lose.
We are six months in on a four year hell sentence folks. If the Republican leadership can’t get religion in these circumstances, they deserve to lose. Again and again and again.
Here are some things that need to change:
King making: Don’t tell me Mitt Romney will lead us out of this mess. Please. Democrats love him because they know he is eminently beatable (just like McCain). Republicans should stop handing down the Republican nomination to the next guy who has done his time. It’s stupid. It nets us terrible candidates. Also, the NRSC needs to stop endorsing ANYONE. Let the local Republicans decide and then the party can throw their weight behind the Republican candidate (no matter how left, right, middle) with abandon. Ace is right about this: we need people with “R’s” behind their names.
Sniping: Some Republicans seem not to notice who the real enemies are here. FOCUS PEOPLE. We are getting our asses handed to us and we are helping the other side by piling on. If the RNC makes a mistake, if Michael Steele misspeaks, etc., unless someone is doing something horribly destructive (hello ACU), SHUT UP. For every one stupid thing Republicans do or say, there are fifty seriously stupid, hugely detrimental things Democrats are doing. How long must we bleed before we stop cutting ourselves? Turn the weapons on the enemy and then fight like badgers behind closed doors. Maybe this year at CPAC we can have a padded room and just let Republicans have cage matches. Get out our aggression and then get our sad asses together so we can return to the problems at hand–you know, a decimated economy, smothering socialist policies and on and on.
Stop Talking About A Constitution Or Third Party: It’s crazy talk. Stupid, moronic, dull-witted, self-defeating crazy talk. It won’t happen. It’s not going to happen. Let’s clean up the Republican house and start at the bottom. Get involved. And stop the delusional fantasizing.
Embrace Partisanship: How can any Republican still be squishy these days? How can a Republican not see that their party didn’t lose because of being so conservative but by being so all over the road? When Susan Collins and Olympia Snow voted for the Stimulus, they enraged Republicans further. If you can vote for huge spending, how can you consider yourself a Republican? I’ll allow for the social issues. Most thinking people understand that a Texas Republican is a different animal than a New England Republican. But can’t we all agree that smaller government which means more individual freedom is quintessentially Republican? If you’re not that… why are you Republican? Go. Away. Like Arlen Specter. Really, you’re already a Democrat.
Message better: Can we agree that John McCain is woefully inadequate at communicating either Republican or conservative values? I don’t see many doing much better. And yo, Tea Party people: If there’s someone who communicates the small government values well Let Them Speak. If they are actually a Republican, fine. Newsflash, people: The problem is politicians and the solution will be politicians too. It’s not like they’re a pure breed in a pure business.
Anyway, I don’t see any honor in voting Bob Barr. I don’t see any honor in losing. And I don’t see what we have left to lose. Conservatives and libertarians should come out with teeth bared and put some bite behind the bark. If that means going hard after fat-n-happy-n-lazy incumbents, fine. If the old guys are forced to stand on their unprincipled records, and fall, fine. But more than that, the lazy, disorganized and dithering local and state Republican party folks need to snap to attention. If they don’t, buh bye. This is where the Tea Party can be extraordinarily effective. And from there the party will change. And hopefully, for the better.
In the meantime, it’s fun to be the out-of-power party. Republicans are so far out of power, they literally are helpless before the Democrats socialistic onslaught. But in this position there is opportunity. Pick battles. Offer better alternatives. Regroup. Clean house. Tighten the belt. Get back in shape. And never lose an opportunity to point out how pure, unfettered liberalism is a destructive force. Highlight all the failures. And there will be many.
Before this is all over, conservatives, libertarians and everyone else is going to be reminded of why a bad Republican is better than the best Democrat on his best day. And that’s why I voted for John McCain. Because I already knew this and needed no reminding.
Since we lost, it’s time to give up going with crappy candidates. It’s time to rebuild the team. We can start making bad Republicans better or boot them and find great Republicans and elect them. Here’s my gamble: the Democrats are going to screw things up so badly, nearly any Republican will look good in comparison. We need to make sure that a nice solid conservative-small-government type is the Republican.
P.S. The Republicans who vote for these big government policies will pay. The policies will fail and they’ll be hugely unpopular with voters. Voting with a popular President buys you good press and immediate gratification but it’s a long-term losing, unprincipled decision.
McQ opens a can of whup ass on me. He quite rightly notes that the Barr vote didn’t make a dent in Obama’s electoral superiority. A Barr vote did nothing except register discontent. What about the next election? You know, when there are more impure Republicans? Do the libertarians plan to vote for an independent or vote for a Democrat?
I’ll grant you, the choices have been grim. After this election, in a fit of pique I wrote that I was glad McCain lost. And McQ’s sentiment here rings true to me, too:
Barack Obama sits in the White House not because of Bob Barr or the libertarian vote. He sits there because the GOP has completely and totally failed to live up to its claimed philosophy and its word for decades. John McCain’s nomination told libertarians all they needed to know about the lack of seriousness within the GOP to remedy that situation.
If the GOP wants libertarian votes, then it had better mend its ways. We don’t do “tents” and we don’t do “plantations” and we don’t belong to the GOP. You want us, you’d better do what it takes to get us – and you’re not even close right now.
Fine. All I’m saying is that McCain WOULD be better than Obama and I don’t want to see the Right fracture into delusion that nets us socialists in charge. That is worse. Much worse. It is worse right now.
And who owes the GOP anything? The party owes the faithful an apology for treating the base with contempt. And it would help, like I said above, if the Republicans wouldn’t undercut their own position by being corrupt, arrogant, and big government, but not quite as big as Democrats, they would still have a party. Thus, my bringing up Snowe and Collins.
But the Libertarians don’t help anything by flopping around at the edges and indulging in third party fantasies. Libertarians needs to put their formidable energy into the Republican party at the bottom and take the party back to constitutional greatness.