The EFM Feature

Do we keep hearing that Republican voters are not happy with any of the current candidates?
I can think of two possible reasons, one of which makes sense–if only at first blush–and another which, to me at least, makes no sense at all.
The first reason: people are dissatisfied with the way Republicans have handled power in Washington. From spending to immigration to the management of the war to lobbying scandals to rendezvous with prostitutes and page boys, Republicans have done a great deal to deserve the wrath of their normally steadfast supporters. Some potential GOP voters expressed their displeasure during the ’06 elections by staying home–or in some cases supporting conservative Democrats in places like North Carolina. But in July 2007 one of the only ways a voter can voice displeasure is to tell a pollster that he’s not happy with any of the candidates–so it makes sense that we keep seeing these results in various polls. In the end, some of these folks may end up staying home in 2008, and while I don’t agree with that approach, there is much to be said for their principled approach to politics, one that doesn’t expect perfection but does expect–no, demands–a baseline adherence to the principles of conservatism.
The second reason: people allow the perfect to become the enemy of the good, even the very good, in their search for a “true conservative” candidate that exists only in their minds. So rather than leveraging political activism to gently rebuke or correct as I believe the disgruntled GOPers that I discuss above intend to do, they seek to destroy. And it’s not even creative destruction. Rather it’s a destruction that threatens the very existence of conservatism. David reminded us earlier this year that “one of our key tenets (virtually universally held amongst, ahem, “true” conservatives) [is] that the government can’t save us.” How true! So why, then, are so many conservatives searching for someone to save them? Could it be that they are only securing–in their minds–their status as intellectually and politically pure at the expense of the very causes they claim to care about? I think so.
My suggestion for those Republicans who keep checking “none of the above” is to look at each candidate with three questions in mind: 1. Will the candidate defend us against radical Islam? 2. Will the candidate advance a pro-growth agenda that empowers individuals by lowering taxes and easing government restrictions on the economy? 3. Will the candidate defend traditional moral values and confront the problems of our culture?
There’s one candidate who will do all of these things. And you know what? He’s not perfect. And he’s not Ronald Reagan. But Gov. Romney is pretty darn good, pretty darn conservative–and lest we forget, a whole lot better than the alternatives. Maybe the none-of-the-abovers ought to take another look.

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