Why I will vote for Romney

Given my continuing criticisms of Romney, I want to re-iterate a point I recently made which readers may have missed. Notwithstanding the fact that Romney is a liberal and supports things that I totally oppose and will doubtless do things as president that I will totally oppose, I intend to vote for him. Why? Because he is the lesser of two evils, and the other evil is so much worse than Romney that the health of the country requires that he be defeated.

Second, Romney is not just the lesser of two evils, but has notable positive qualities. While he lacks consistent political principles, he is personally an upright and highly capable man, and will doubtless do some good things as president. Most importantly, there is a reasonable chance—not a certainty, but a reasonable chance—that he will repeal Obamacare, and that is reason enough to vote for him.

At the same time, my desire that Romney win the election does not mean that I feel obligated to silence my criticisms of him. This is not a campaign site. Nor is it a mainstream, Ann Coulter-type conservative site which sees all evil coming from Democrats and all goodness from Republicans. I will continue to call things as I see them. A further consideration is that if Romney is elected, we will need to have a realistically critical view of him in order to be prepared to oppose the bad things he will doubtless do as president. This is very different from the approach of your standard conservatives. Just as they did with George W. Bush, the conservatives will put all their energy into supporting Romney and defending him from liberal attacks, and as a result will be blind to his liberalism and thus lose the ability to oppose him when he needs to be opposed.

- end of initial entry -

Daniel S. writes:

Srdja Trifkovic has a great analysis of the Obama-Romney foreign policy non-debate.

I didn’t watch the entire debate, I cannot stand either man involved. But what portions I did see where Romney talked about foreign policy left me sick. This is clearly a man who has learned nothing from the foreign policy debacles of Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, and Libya. He went on pronouncing the stupid notion that the Muslim world just needs more democracy and American leadership to succeed. I keep hearing people talk about how presidential Romney appeared, but I cannot and will not take this man seriously. He is an empty suit. Like Obama, albeit at a slower speed, Romney is a man that will run America off the cliff and into oblivion.

LA replies:

Did you see my post Tuesday morning, “Romney on the Mideast” as well as my other recent posts showing Romney’s mindless adherence to conventional wisdom on Islam and the Mideast?

The fact is that any person who can be elected president at this time will be part of the ruling ideology that is running America off the cliff. However, the difference between how fast Obama will continue running America off the cliff and how fast Romney will continue running America off the cliff is not insignificant. I would not dismiss that difference, as you appear to be doing.

LA continues:

For example, I have called America a criminal country for what it did in Libya. Romney supported what we did in Libya. But the problem is that the entire U.S. political establishment including the Republican Party supported what we did in Libya, just as the entire U.S. establishment including the Republicans supported our criminal actions in Serbia in 1999. There is no possibility that someone who opposes America’s insane, criminal, and self-destructive foreign policy would be nominated by one of the major parties. But, again, there are differences. For example, Obama actively promotes the Muslim Brotherhood and our other enemies. Romney would probably not do that. With Obama we will have Obamacare. With Romney there is a reasonable chance Obamacare will be repealed.

LA continues:

At the same time, while I will vote for Romney, I cannot gainsay those conservatives who believe that the country is now so steeped in leftist evil, with both candidates supporting this leftist evil, that there is no point or justification in voting for Romney. For example, Romney said in 2011 that he accepts the homosexualization of the military and will not seek to reverse it. One obviously cannot support such a man. He is on the side of leftist evil. But one can vote for him, as the lesser of two evils, when the other evil is so much worse and will harm the country so much more.

And let us also remember that in going along with open homosexuality in the military, Romney by current standards is not being extremely liberal, since much of the self-described conservative movement has the same position.

October 24, 9:20 a.m.

Terry Morris writes:

When I was sixteen or seventeen, I was given the nickname “rip-cord” after some friends and I did a very stupid thing that almost cost me my life.

My father, who was always interested in flying, had, some months before, purchased a hang glider which he and I had flown on numerous occasions down the sides of small cliffs and pond dams, and short rolling hills, where we would rarely get above three to four feet in above-ground altitude, or “fly” more than thirty or forty feet in distance. With each flight we gained more confidence in our abilities (me in particular), and I was more or less fearless, otherwise known as stupid, at the time.

So one day I got the bright idea to purchase a length of rope (about 200 linear feet), with which my intention was to pull, with a vehicle, the glider and myself to a higher altitude and fly a greater distance. After a couple of successful trial runs in which my friends pulled me into a climb by hand (and feet), and by which method I could only get to around twenty feet above ground, we determined we were ready to “go for the gusto.”

But a combination of mistakes and unexpected wind conditions resulted in an almost instantaneous climb to above 100 feet, causing my friend holding the other end of the rope to panic and let go of it before I had time to adjust the elevation of the nose downward to establish level flight. This caused the craft to stall, which I over-corrected for, causing a severe secondary stall and finally resulting in an uncontrollable spiral to the ground. The only thing that saved me was my instinct (and it was pure instinct, because I had no idea what to do about a stall-induced spiral or, for that matter, that there was such a thing) to force the nose up as I was about to impact the ground.

And this is what replacing Obama with Romney will effectively achieve. It won’t prevent the crash from happening (because at this point who among us knows what to do to prevent a crash, or to recover from the spiral we’re in?), but it will slow it down and lessen the impact, saving us from almost certain catastrophic failure, and we’ll have the chance to walk away from it, when it comes, bloodied and bruised and scared out of our wits, but still alive, as I did in the instance related above.

There was a moment after impact, and I remember it very vividly to this day even though I was only semi-conscious when it occurred, when my mind wondered whether I was still physically alive. But that question was shortly answered as full consciousness was regained, the desperate cries from my friends were heard, and pain from my injuries began to set in.

The injuries? Fortunately nothing major. Just a fractured and bloodied nose, a fractured hand and couple of broken fingers, a badly scraped and bruised leg from mid thigh to mid calf (but no breaks there), a few other minor bruises and abrasions, and a badly damaged ego.

BLS writes:

I originally thought I was voting against President Obama, but I am now voting for Romney. It is difficult to pinpoint why I am voting for the man. He has been a very difficult candidate, basically because he tries to appeal to everyone. He is living in his father’s shadow and learning from his father’s political mistakes.

Here is a man who ran as a conservative in Massachusetts and won. He governed well. He had to be pragmatic and not ideological. I think that is the policy he will establish as president. He will work with the Congress, instead of picking fights. He’ll actually make sure a budget is passed. Fundamentally, he is not a politician. He is a businessman. In regards to the economy, I think he’ll be successful because perception is important to the markets and he will demand Congress follow Laffer Curve economic policy. In regards to social policy, I am worried he will be too pragmatic.

At the same time, he is a good man. His family and religion and personal generosity are apparently important values to him. That is a stark contrast to the current President. While Romney seems incoherent on social policy, his life and actions tell a different story. He is a moral and devoted man.

There may be two to three Supreme Court appointees in the next few years. This may be the most compelling reason to vote for Romney. The liberals never have a problem appointing liberal justices, but conservatives presidents have made horrible selections. Sure, we get Scalia, Thomas, and Alito. But, Souter was supposed to be one of them. So was O’Connor, Stevens, Kennedy, and Roberts. Conservatives should have had a lock on the Court. Instead, the SC is in limbo on every decision. Imagine the last forty years of SC decisions with a conservative court. We were promised a different world from what we have inherited. I have no idea who Romney will nominate, but I know they will, at the very least, be better than Sotomayor and Kagan.

I think a Romney presidency will require pressure from the conservative movement. He is a man who needs pressure to make a political decision. Because he is not a politician, he is a businessman trying to appease his customers. That’s fine. We need to make sure he knows we are the customers.

Daniel S. replies to LA:
I just cannot get on the Romney bandwagon, I guess I have become too cynical. I think the man will be a disaster in his own way. I am not convinced he’ll make a serious attempt to repeal Obamacare. Probably the only factor that might cause me to vote for him (and I haven’t decided if I will or not) is to send that smug anti-white, neo-Marxist Obama back to Chicago.

Timothy A. writes:

I had been planning to vote for Virgil Goode, but the last debate tipped me over to Romney. In particular, Obama’s bald-faced lie on sequestration (“It will not happen”) and his sneering condescension on the Navy ship count issue (“”We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them”). My vote will be the one I calculate to do the most harm to Obama.

BD writes:

I agree completely with your analysis of why you are voting for Romney. It’s not just that he’s not Obama, I think he has many good qualities. He is a sincere family man, honest and hard-working, and he takes his religion seriously, unlike Obama. Romney is more honest than Obama, who comes across as dishonest and prevaricating, even sleazy.

Importantly, Romney will be pulled to the right by his base, and I hope he keeps faith with them. The last two Republican presidents, Bush I and II, famously sold out their base, with disastrous results for their party in the 1992, 2006 and 2008 elections. Romney will work to repeal Obamacare and will make good Supreme Court appointments. He will cut taxes and curb the explosive growth of government. The economy will improve under Romney.

Sadly, in foreign policy, there is little to choose between the two. U.S. foreign policy, such as it is, has been fairly seamless under Democratic and Republican administrations since the end of the Cold War. And it’s been a total failure. I’m sorry Romney isn’t better on this issue, but there it is.

David B. writes:

In Tennessee we can vote early and I have for Romney. Do you remember the anger the left displayed after the 2010 elections? That will be nothing to the reaction if Obama loses.

Rick Darby writes:

I will vote for Romney for basically the same reasons you discussed. He is far from my ideal of a politician or candidate, but in this imperfect world we never have that option. I agree with you that he seems a decent man, and that’s a start. We can’t know he will be another Jorge W. Bush: Bush was incapable of learning anything while he had his hand on the throttle, but it’s too soon to say the same of Romney. Romney’s ability to learn and change under the pressure of the big picture and events will be critically important, and he might rise to the occasion.

All sophisticated analysis to one side, a Romney victory will buy time for more profound shifts toward a genuine conservative revival.

Dan R. writes:

I got into a discussion about this two nights ago with a libertarian, who simply stated there’s no difference between the two. I replied that the difference is between a soft socialist and a hard socialist. The soft socialist is an advocate of the mixed economy, but at least has an appreciation for the capitalist side and has himself been a successful capitalist, albeit one operating within that very mixed economy of which I speak. The hard socialist has never proposed anything reflecting a belief that markets can function without heavy government involvement.

On the cultural and social side of the ledger, it’s plain to me that the same comparison applies. Romney is muddled on these matters, but Obama, other than for his age, could have been an SDS radical back in the ’60s, right along with Bill Ayers and Mike Klonsky, two former SDS leaders who are vocal supporters of him today. His hostility to “bourgeois society” is unremitting, very much in the manner of the same SDS, but necessarily diluted for public consumption. The “coat and tie radical,” as R. Emmett Tyrrell once coined the phenomenon. Or, if one wishes to go further back, think of Communist Party head Earl Browder, who in the 1930s proclaimed “Communism is 20th century Americanism,” and suddenly it clicks that the application of this statement is Obama’s political genius, if you can call it that.

Romney is everything you’ve said he is, but this election is mainly about one thing: buying time. The election of Obama promises to dig a very deep hole, of which it may be impossible to get out of. Romney offers grassroots conservatives the opportunity, if they can get their act together, to go on the offensive for a change. We’re near the end-game here, in our progression to European-style socialism, and this is one of the last chances we’re going to have.

Given who the opposition is, this will be one of the easiest votes I’ve ever cast.

Clark Coleman writes:

Voting for Romney is an absurdly easy decision for me. Whatever right-liberal positions he takes are not a matter of firm ideological commitment, unlike Jorge Bush’s commitment to illegal aliens from Mexico. With a Dubya, a Newt Gingrich, even a Rick Santorum, the specter is raised that some sentimental right-liberal/evangelical/Catholic belief about those wonderful immigrants could lead to the President fighting hard against his own Congressmen, even demonizing them over the issue. Romney is not a true believer in anything that is an existential threat to our civilization. He can be swayed to the right and (unfortunately) he can be swayed to the left, so we will need to do well in the congressional elections (particularly the Senate) and exert a lot of pressure on both branches of government, legislative and executive, via faxes, emails, etc. In the long run, we need to win some cultural battles within the political right in America in order to ensure that future Romneys get swayed more in the right direction on matters such as gays in the military.

I think that all the doubt expressed by readers about Romney’s intention to repeal Obamacare is far too cynical. Just this evening, I heard a radio news clip of the two candidates at campaign stops today, and Romney’s concluding punch line was along the lines of “Elect me to repeal Obamacare and…. [don’t remember; something about the economy].” This statement was met with tremendous applause. We need to remember what he has specifically promised: To grant waivers to any state that asks for one. Think about the poetic justice. The fascists (a more accurate term than socialists) in the Democratic Party gave the President the despotic authority to grant waivers so that labor unions, pals of Nancy Pelosi, etc., could exempt themselves from Obamacare while the rest of us suffered. Now, that open-ended waiver authority could be wielded by someone other than the Fascist-in-Chief. Within the first few months, all it would take would be 25-30 GOP state attorneys-general to request waivers, which they can do without state legislative approval in almost all states, and Obamacare would be finished. That means there is no “out” for Romney, no excuse that he promised to repeal Obamacare but those darn congressional Democrats would not go along with it.

Unfortunately, there are multiple existential threats to our existence as a civilization, and Romney will only address a few of them, such as Obamacare and our apparent intention to become another Greece in financial terms. But that is better than any president in my lifetime. Even Reagan only dealt with one existential threat (the Soviet Union). And many of the threats are cultural, not political in the first place.

October 26

Andrew B. writes (October 24):

As a principle, when Republicans are in power, the public discourse gets pushed along to the left much faster than with Democrats, because the de facto assumption among the base is that if President Republican is supporting it, it must be good. When a Democrat is in power, the Republicans are on alert and fight for every inch.

Note the difference between rections by Congress to similar policies from Johnson and Nixon (EPA, OSHA, Affirmative Action, legalized abortion expansion of welfare, wage and price controls, end of gold standard, opening to China, etc.) or between Cinton, Bush (prescription drug welfare, Iraq war, excuses for 9/11, No Child Left Behind, housing bubble, bank bailout, auto bailout) and Obama.

Conservatives get all excited that their guy can now apply the brakes as we careen headlong down hill when a Republican is in power, that they completely forget that we are rishing headlong downhill towards certain disaster and that no one is applying the breaks.

This is how, for example, Romney gets a total pass from conservatives on starting gay marriage in this country by his executive fiat, when he could have stood athwart history and said “not on my watch”.

LA replies:

I of course agree with you on general principles. That is why I have not voted for the Republican ticket for the last twenty years. But for reasons I have stated repeatedly, I think this year is different.

Consultus (here is his blog) writes:

I accept your reasoning about the choice between Obama and Romney. If I voted in a swing state, I would be eager to vote against Obama in the only effective way I could—by voting for Romney. However, I vote in Texas. There is little chance my vote will move Texas away from the Republican ticket. So, I have the luxury of voting my conscience. In this case, that means voting for a third party candidate who actually stands for the values I hold.

And, congratulations on an excellent site. You speak for me in many, many postings, especially those on women.

LA replies:

I also vote in a state, New York, in which my vote makes no difference to the electoral vote outcome. But my vote is extremely important to me as an expression of what I think should happen in the election. In the manner of the Kantian categorical imperative, I vote the way I think everyone should vote. I don’t use the fact that my state is in the bag for Obama to escape the responsibility of making that Kantian choice. Remember also that while the electoral vote determines the president, the popular vote is also important as an expression of what the country as a whole wants.

Dave T. writes:

I disagree with Andrew B. It’s been my experience that public discourse shifts further to the left regardless of which party is in power. To wit, I don’t remember conservatives reacting all that strongly to the recent repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in spite of the fact that it was passed by a Democratic House, Senate, and Presidency. Rather, it’s the media/academic/entertainment axis that continuously reshapes the public mind further to the left, and they are always “in power.”

Posted by Lawrence Auster at October 24, 2012 12:30 AM | Send

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