Vile sycophancy goes both ways at VFR. There’s no way I can adequately express my admiration and gratitude for the quality of the comments in this discussion on the presidential election and other VFR discussions. Imagine if mainstream debate in this country were on half as high a level as this.
Some of the most respected and thoughtful VFR commenters have taken the pro-McCain side, and indeed, though in the minority in our poll, they have what seems like the most responsible and mature position, which is, very simply, that we cannot allow this leftist Obama to take over the national government. Even if Obama in alliance with the Democrats would only possibly cause grave harm, we cannot allow that possibility. Further, the very fact of America electing a leftist as president, even before he did anything, would damage and transform American identity in such a way that it could not be recovered.
On the other side, the anti-McCainites, while pointing out the good reasons not to vote for McCain, never quite grapple with the decisive issue: would Obama cause existential harm that McCain would not cause? That issue transcends the otherwise compelling concerns about the badness of McCain.
So looking at it from what seems like the responsible, mature, logical position, the pro-McCainites have the better argument. The obligation to avoid existential harm carries the debate.
But, looked at more deeply, it’s not that simple. There are deeper dynamics at work.
Contrary to what some seem to believe, the defeat of Obama would not deliver America from leftism, would not deliver it from strife and trouble. It would only launch the left—probably led by Obama himself—into an ongoing war against McCain, the man who loves to cooperate with liberals even more than Bush the back-rubber does—McCain, the man who, last evening, 36 hours before the presidential voting was to begin, bragged to a New Hampshire audience of having worked—twice—with Edward Kennedy in failed efforts to pass comprehensive immigration reform, and promised again to make it a top priority of his administration.
As Laura W. has pointed out, the leftist campaign is not going to end but will continue and increase in vociferousness and hatred right through a McCain presidency, and McCain will in many ways eagerly placate and facilitate it, as I and others have discussed many times. The country will thus move further to the left, but with a hamstrung, conflicted, depressed conservative opposition. The grave harm that a liberal Republican president does to conservatism—a theme I have harped on endlessly during the Bush years—will be greatly exacerbated under McCain. Everything that has been ruinous about the Bush regime would be worse with McCain.
Also, McCain is of course far more fanatical and committed to open borders than Obama, and continuing mass Third-World immigration represents the greatest threat of existential harm to the nation.
Apart from immigration, let’s say that Obama tried to do things that would bring existential harm in a way that McCain would not do. It remains the case that under McCain the dynamic will be moving in the same direction, the direction of national dissolution, but without effective conservative opposition.
At the same time, just as a McCain victory will produce an intense leftist reaction, an Obama/Democratic ascendancy will produce an intense conservative reaction. The right half of America is not going turn a blind eye to the leftist doings of Congress under an Obama presidency, as they did so much of the time under Bush and will do under McCain. There will be heightened awareness, knowledge, resistance. There will be will and energy in the face of a mortal threat.
If we don’t believe in the possibility of such resistance, then we really don’t believe in the possibility of America fighting to save itself, and therefore a vote for McCain simply becomes a vote to go over the cliff at 60 miles an hours instead of at 90. Give us a few more years, the McCainites seem, unintentionally, to be saying, let this cup pass from us, let the curtain fall later, not now.
But maybe there is no time, however strong our wish to put off the ruin. The crisis will come, the crisis is coming, the crisis is already upon us. In the case of Obama, the crisis will take the form of explicitly leftist and anti-American programs and policies. In the case of McCain, it will take the form of the fatal hollowing out of whatever remains of conservatism, softening us up even further for when a leftist Democrat is elected in four or eight years. So if there is to be a crisis, it seems to me that it would be better to let it come now, rather than later. If we fail, we fail. But if we fail, we would surely have failed anyway, and a McCain presidency would not have changed that, but would only make the ultimate failure more likely.
As I have said from the start, I say again now: a non-vote for McCain is a vote for life and hope. It is an expression of faith in America, in our ability to prevail. A vote for McCain means surrender to the feeling that we can’t fight, surrender to the belief that we’re helpless to oppose our adversaries.
In Rick Darby’s outstanding comment, under the heading “worst case for �€˜pro-Obama’ (i.e. worst case for a non-McCain vote), he writes:
.Worst case scenario: Obama’s pathological wizardry triumphs. He has his hands on too many levers of power, too much patronage, too many nominations for judicial and executive posts for any stirred-up rebellion to overcome. Conservatives give up, turn into apathetic, Britain-style grumblers.That last phrase says so much, gets it so right, both as a description of Britain and as a worst-case scenario for us. But to go with this argument, meaning, to vote for McCain on the basis that an Obama presidency will so triumph over and transform America that nothing will be left of conservatism but “apathetic, Britain-style grumblers,” is to go with an argument from weakness. It is to say that American conservatives are already in effect beaten. And if that’s true, then it’s over anyway, for conservatism and for any recognizable America. And we—those of us who are not beaten—ought to become aware of that fact now, and start looking for a destiny outside the structure of the historic United States of America.
But I don’t think it’s over, for conservatism or America. The increasingly intense opposition to Obama by conservatives in recent weeks and months as they have come to understand the true extent of his leftism shows that if Obama is elected, the fight against him will continue.
So, coming from my reason, heart, and gut, I refuse to vote for McCain, and in refusing to vote for him I vote for life and a chance of life, rather than for what seems to me the certainty of slow, or even not-so-slow, death.
For whom then will I vote? While I was disappointed in his presidential candidacy last year, because it focused too much on illegal immigration and not on legal immigration and the culture issue as a whole, Tom Tancredo is still the U.S. politician who is most clearly a traditionalist, the one who understands that America and the West are concrete and transcendent entities, not abstract universalist ideas. Further, there is nothing wacky about him, he doesn’t take his dissent from neoconservatism so far as to oppose necessary measures for national defense such as the Patriot Act, or to suggest that the Bush administration was behind the 9/11 attack. He is a sound, rational, and moral man. I will cast a write-in vote for him.
James N. writes:
What would you do if, like me, you lived in New Hampshire, where the outcome hangs by a thread?LA replies:
I’ve said before that my vote is not dependent on whether I live in a solid blue-or-red state or in a battleground state.Mark A. writes:
Kudos to you. A vote for McCain is a surrender to apathy. It is a sign of weakness. One last cry for the nurse to bring more anesthesia before darkness descends. A John McCain victory would merely result in white America resting on its laurels for another four to eight years as the country slides further and further towards South American-style despotism and class division. I’ll take a wolf rather than wolf in sheep’s clothing. If Obama has hell in store for us, then let’s have it straight. The most powerful weapon that evil wields is that of deception. Eight years of a man like McCain that the Right believes is on their side will result in more existential damage to our cause than anything that Obama can throw our way.Bobby writes:
Thank you for your intelligent discussion of the election and your rational decision not to support McCain. It was a principled decision which reflected your character. However, I must ask, why not endorse Chuck Baldwin for President? He is a principled defender of our Constitution and is actually running for election to the presidency?LA replies:
I recognize the argument that a vote for Baldwin is meaningful in that all the Baldwin votes will be seen as a cohesive body of conservatives who refuse to vote for McCain, whereas a write-in vote like mine has zero impact and visibility.Stewart W. writes:
Thank you for the particularly outstanding discussion you’ve had on VFR over the last few days. If nothing else, it has allowed me to see that there are a few sane people left in the world, and to keep heart that your prediction is true and that we Men of the West may rally yet.Mark Jaws writes:
There is a world of difference between contemptuous vile sycophancy and the genuine admiration and affection your readers have for you.Mark P. writes:
Good article on how you are voting.Alex K. writes:
I must say I was greatly heartened to read that you plan to write in Tancredo. So did I. I thought about Baldwin, but I just felt that if you’re going to vote obscure, do it with your heart, and Tancredo expresses my position more than anyone else. Besides, I didn’t get a chance in the primaries.LA writes:
Right. If you’re going to vote obscure, vote your heart and beliefs. Otherwise what’s the point? To vote obscure for a person you have major problems with makes no sense.Terry Morris writes:
I wish I could join you in casting a write-in vote for Tancredo, but on the Oklahoma ballot this simply is not possible. I will, therefore, abstain in the presidential election.Taffy G. writes:
Our only hope may be Palin reining in McCain.LA replies:
Taffy appears to be convinced that McCain is about to win the election. There are various commentators and analysts who have made that point, and who have substantive arguments to back it up. But they are in a tiny minority, their predictions require that essentially ALL the polls are wildly far off, and so they are hard to credit. Are we in for a Dewey-Truman upset to the nth power? Ok, anything is possible. But I don’t think so.Robert B. writes:
Extremely well put, Lawrence.November 4
Ryder (see his essay on his he’s voting here) writes:
Compelling essay, and I certainly respect your refusal to vote for McCain. I consider your analysis to be spot on.Transatlantic Conservative writes:
“And we—those of us who are not beaten—ought to know that now, and start looking for a destiny outside the structure of the historic United States of America.”LA replies:
I don’t mean a physical emigration but more of a separation within, for example, the building of separate communities, or perhaps secession. The point is, at a certain point America may become so leftist politically or so alien culturally and morally that it ceases to represent us as our country. There are readers who are always urging a movement of secession of conservatives/whites, and I’ve always been against that or said that it’s too soon to think about that, it’s too soon to give up on the U.S. Here I’m acknowledging that that day may come sooner than I had previously allowed. I’m not saying that it has come or that it will come. I’m saying that it may come.November 4
Bravo! I am glad that you decided to stand firm. Remember the words of the Patriot, Thomas Paine, in The American Crisis 1: “Not a man lives on the continent but fully believes that a separation must some time or other finally take place, and a generous parent should have said, “If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace;” and this single reflection, well applied, is sufficient to awaken every man to duty.”Richard B. writes:
All of that agonizing and you’re back to square one. I think you did the right thing. If McCain wins, I’m sure I’ll be sorry I voted for him. Ergo, only an Obama victory can ease my conscience. Then again, if people can raise their voices loud enough, I think McCain will listen. I’m sure Obama will not listen, and will suppress dissent like never before. Whatever happens, we’re going to need your view from the right.Bob B. writes:
At the very last second, I voted for McCain. However when I read “My Vote,” “In My Heart, I knew you are right.” This is going to change America forever, and I fear the future! I believe when you said we need to “start looking for a destiny outside the structure of the historic United States of America.” You predict the fate of the nation’s future. This is hard for me to believe or take without anger and dread, but I know big unwanted “CHANGE” is on the way. I will end by saying, “GOD BLESS AMERICA” but I doubt we will be saying this very often soon, also.Mitch W. writes:
Given that you don’t vote for president, but rather for electors you vote won’t even be counted. Since Tancredo has no recognized electors, the Board of Elections simply throws your ballot in the trash. You may feel good, but you might as well vote for the Flying Spaghetti Monster.LA replies:
I cast a similar write-in vote (for Tancredo) in 2004, and I’ve made the point myself that such a write-in vote has no legal reality. But it does, as a publicly declared vote by me, have a political reality.James P. writes:
“the defeat of Obama would not deliver America from leftism, would not deliver it from strife and trouble. It would only launch the left—probably led by Obama himself—into an ongoing war against McCain,”Irwin Graulich writes:
I love Tom Tancredo as well. I agree that McCain is a disaster for conservatives and Republicans. However, President Obama will probably do irreparable damage to America. Also, Obama is very convincing and will make sure that many Americans believe that all the bad things which occur during the next four years are remnants of the Bush administration/Republicans, while anything good that happens, he will obviously take credit for, including the newly designed Apple computer. The herd of sheep in America will most likely believe him. That is the real danger.JAM writes:
Perfectly and completely done, Lawrence.RB writes:
As a “foot soldier” in the war against amnesty, I yield to no one in my distaste for McCain. However, he is an enemy that we know how to fight; we beat him once and we can do it again. We can count on the support of a number of blue dog Democrats against any McCain amnesty proposal; but will they dare oppose the Magic Negro on this? We also know that there are some limits beyond which McCain won’t go. With Obama there is no such assurance; he far exceeds the usual liberal that the Democrats have always foisted on us. His new plan for a civilian national security force is one example. For those old enough to remember Papa Doc, it is chillingly reminiscent of the “ton ton macoutes.” Might we also expect an attack on conservative Internet sites for promoting “hate speech” in addition to the return of the fairness doctrine?Spencer Warren writes:
I voted for McCain while looking only at Sarah’s name.LA replies:
LOL.Spencer Warren replies:
I have to say McC disgusts me more every day.Donna E. writes:
Thank you for this most insightful view of this never ending cycle of election season ‘08 for President.Terry Morris writes:
For the very first time since I’ve been voting I left a portion of my ballot blank, as did my wife, namely the presidential section. And to top it all off we took our eleven year old daughter with us who pointedly asked early this morning whether she might be allowed to go with us to learn more about the voting process in order to better prepare her for good citizenship once she comes of age. She and I read the ballot together, discussed the various candidates, reasoned through the state questions on the ballot and our decision for or against, etc. I let her “complete the line” (as is the method on Oklahoma ballots) for the candidate that we decided on in the individual races, as well as on the state questions. She filled out my entire ballot from start to finish. We rechecked the ballot once finished for any inadvertent mistakes. Once satisfied there were no mistakes, and that we were sure we wanted to leave the presidential section unmarked as originally intended, we fed the ballot through the machine for processing. Afterward we discussed voter fraud and how to prevent it, as well as the secret ballot.LA writes:
Richard B. wrote: “All of that agonizing and you’re back to square one.”Mack writes:
I applaud you on your choice in the presidential race—your choice to write in a man like Tancredo whom you believe holds to a set of ideals and values most closely aligned to your own is a noble choice. In fact, I was surprised—I had almost conceded to the idea that you might somehow have brought yourself to vote for McCain.Rocco DiPippo writes:
This is one of the most beautifully written, thoughtful pieces I’ve read in a long, long time.Vincent Chiarello, a former U.S. diplomat and activist with ANCIR (American Council for Immigration Reform), writes:
Caro Lorenzo,LA wrote to Rocco DiPippo:
Thank you very much, Rocco.Rocco DiPippo replies (November 4, 11:30 p.m.)
Larry, I just started my day (it’s 6:20AM here) by falling off the couch laughing my a** off after reading my comment on your site. Thanks a million, man—you have lifted my spirits on what now looks to be a dark day.November 5
Carl P. writes:
I always thought your analyses were thoughtful, but this time you thought yourself into a hole in which you have brought to power those who will deny you the ability to regain power. This is a transforming event, and you can’t just go back and undo it after some conservative time in the wilderness finding itself. Just like Chavez and Morales, the Left means to fundamentally alter this nation.LA replies:
You’re that sure that Obama has the intention and the ability to turn America into an unfree, European-type country, and that we can’t stop it?_____________
See VFR debate on the 2008 election, a eollection.