A reader declines to vote for Romney
(See also our previous pro-and-con discussion
on the election, “Why I will vote for Romney.”)
Joseph C. writes:
Like many readers I have been conflicted over whom to vote for in Tuesday’s presidential election. After careful introspection I have concluded I will vote for Virgil Goode of the Constitution Party. As I live in Florida, I understand that this takes support away from Mitt Romney in his effort to defeat Obama, given Florida’s status as a “swing state.” Still, no matter how much I try, I cannot bring myself to support Romney and—especially—the Republican Party.
- end of initial entry -
Putting aside the most basic reason for my decision, that Goode’s positions are closest to my own, I have several other reasons for not supporting Romney on Tuesday.
In 2008 I wrote you that John McCain was the perfect candidate for the GOP given what the party had become—a party for older white people that were disappointed at where the country was headed but too weak to do anything to reverse course. The Republicans of 2008 believed in America but were only willing to “espouse” and “live by” traditional values. They were not willing to stand for them, were less willing to fight for them, and certainly not willing to kill for them. Every advance by the left—no matter outrageous—was met by a sorrowful shake of the head and a determination “not to sink to their level.” McCain ran a campaign emblematic of the 2008 GOP—a campaign designed to lose gracefully.
The Tea Party movement woke up some members of the Republican Party and gave the party a boost. Finally, Americans had become outraged at the speed at which Obama and the Democrats were tearing us away from our foundation. Still, the GOP used the Tea Party people to win a majority, but only so the older, Establishment members could be leaders and feed at the trough.
In 2012, the Republican Party is comprised of people that are shocked at what is happening to their country but still too paralyzed to take a stand. For that reason, we get Mitt Romney as the nominee. I believe Romney is a decent man who loves America. He desperately wants to believe that most Americans respect traditional values and that the Democrats are well-meaning people who have tried and failed. But—like many Republicans—he detests the idea of fighting the Democrats, and believes it would be a great crime to limit American membership to those who will respect our traditional values.
All of this assumes, of course, that Romney even wants to win. If there is fraud on Tuesday, I have no doubt that Romney will act like Richard Nixon in 1960, allowing the election results to stand so the country can heal. I seriously doubt that a man who toured a burned-out city with his father in the wake of the 1968 riots has any stomach to fight hammer and tongs for a just result, if that will make the “natives” restless. (Say what you will about George W. Bush, but he at least fought Gore’s attempt to steal the election in 2000.)
I have no confidence that a President Romney would do anything to reverse course. Once he gets over the guilt at having beaten Obama, he will try to play nice with the Democrats, appoint moderates to key positions, and spend years currying favor with people who will never vote for him anyway. He will be another Bush the elder or Gerald Ford—at best.
While I feel only ambivalence toward Mitt Romney, I feel unbridled hatred toward the Republican leadership—McConnell, Cantor, Boehner, McCain, et al. Simply put, I think the party needs to suffer extreme electoral carnage before it turns around. And by turn around I mean the old bulls would have to retire and hand over the reins to the Tea Party lock, stock and barrel. You stated earlier this week that “America has two political parties: a party of leftist liars, criminals, and traitors, and a party of decent, nice businessman types who won’t expose or seriously oppose the other party, because that wouldn’t be nice.” I think the second crime is greater than the first.
Ever since the Tea Party arose, the message from the GOP Establishment has been simple: We will force nominees down your throat, and when they win the primary we expect you to “come together for the greater good of beating the Democrat (Obama, Reid, etc.) ” If your candidate wins, however, we will make sure to take our toys and go home to teach you a lesson.
Now that Romney was forced on the GOP—largely by stacking the deck and holding early primaries in states with open primaries—the base is supposed to suck it up and vote for Romney to beat Obama. But the Tea Party candidates who beat their darlings—i.e., Richard Mourdock, Todd Akin, Josh Mandel—get no such support from the party elders, to say nothing of the way they deserted Ken Buck, Sharron Angle, and Joe Miller. Count me out!
As for the consequences to America, I have little respect for my countrymen as well. A colleague asked me if I thought America deserved to have four more years of Obama. His argument was that I should vote for Romney because “any Republican is better than Obama.” I asked him why—if that was the case—the polls last winter did not show every other Republican in the primary field running the same against Obama as Romney was. He had no answer. I told him I did not think the people were experiencing nearly enough pain unless any Republican would have the same chance of beating Obama, and that the election was not worth winning if it could not be won without running from traditionalist principles. Or, to put it bluntly, I am not going to be a party to returning the Republican Establishment to leadership so they can go back to gutting what is left of America.
I understand that my vote will be consequential and could cost Romney the election. That is fine with me. I don’t have to compromise my values. I have no obligation to show any loyalty to a party or a country that has lost its fight and its will to live.
If Romney wins on Tuesday I will not be upset, but he will do it without my vote.
Doug H. writes:
I agree with Joseph C. Last week, I went to a dinner with Congressman Jeff Miller. It was hosted by a small group of people from the company I work for. It was a small gathering, so I got to talk with several people. It was exactly like Joseph says. They believe we can work with the Democrats. My company owner went so far as to say we must work together and find solutions. These people simply refuse to believe the Democrats today are much different than times past. Democrats’ idea of compromise if for us to do what they say. It is disheartening to hear them speak of compromise. The new Democrats see us as enemies and have said so. Didn’t the Republicans learn anything when they held the presidency and both houses yet they could not get a Supreme Court nominee through? The Republicans would not even fight from a position of power. I see them as cowards or worse. Either way, they are ineffective.
Dave T writes:
Earth to Joseph C.: It’s not the inept Republican leadership that’s “gutting what is left of America,” that’s what the Democratic Party is doing and then trying to replace it with their own inhuman, socialist alternative.
What conservatives like Joseph C. and Doug H. need to come to terms with is that the Republican Party will never be the solution they want it to be. The only use the Republican Party could ever reliably be to traditionalist conservatives is as a source of warm bodies that have the electoral potential to occupy seats of political power instead of Democrats. It’s that simple. Moreover, we need a critical mass of these non-Democratic warm bodies occupying various seats of political power, otherwise we will rapidly descend into a state of anarcho-tyranny that would make the Soviets proud. Hence, the reason why I will happily vote straight-ticket Republican every two years in spite of the fact that I have no illusions about their hopelessly inept, weak leadership.
Doug H. writes:
Here is a case in point for Joseph: Democrats—in this case black Democrats—getting away with a clear violation of the law. Do the Republicans do anything about it? No.
The NAACP is openly advocating for Obama at a polling station. They are also moving members from the line and bringing them to the front allowing them to break in line. There is no outrage from any Republicans over this.
Dave T. writes:
As an addendum to my last comment, if I felt like heavy Republican losses might help serve to transform the Republican Party into an effective agent for traditionalist conservative change that could beat back the left, then I would be all for sitting on my electoral hands until that transformation happened. However, I do not think that this a reasonable hope for conservatives to entertain at this point, if it ever was in the past.
Brian J. writes:
In response to Dave T:
I will always prefer an open, avowed enemy to a mealy-mouthed ally. The avowed enemy will stir up our people by his very existence while a mealy-mouthed ally will send the conservative movement to sleep. In many ways Barack Obama is one of the best things to happen to this country in decades. He clarifies things, he is an unambiguous enemy and I think a lot of white Americans get that in their guts.
I tend to use my father as my sounding board for these kinds of ideas. He’s in his seventies, grew up in Chicago in a union trade and considers himself a “conservative” (though what his conservatism consists of remains a mystery to me) He loathes Obama with a white-hot hate. No, he’s not willing to do anything about it, but he can’t stand Obama.
So to repeat, I hope against hope that Obama wins so that we may continue to move toward whatever resolution that we must move toward with the insane left in this country. I honestly believe that is the best possible outcome.
Beth M. writes:
Dave, I think that one of the things that concerns Joseph, although he doesn’t explicitly state it is that with the browning of America, the Republican party has to creep continually to the left in order to remain viable. The Republican Party of today is not the Republican Party of yesteryear, and Joseph feels no connection to the Republican Party as it is currently constituted.
I don’t think Goode is on the ballot in my state, otherwise I would vote for him as well.
Paul K. writes:
Joseph C. wrote: “Now that Romney was forced on the GOP—largely by stacking the deck and holding early primaries in states with open primaries … “
I don’t think this is fair. I do believe the 2008 primaries were stacked to give McCain the advantage, but in 2012 Romney earned his nomination, tepid as the enthusiasm for him may be. Mainly, I have to ask myself which of the candidates in the Republican primaries would be faring better against Obama than Romney? None, I believe. So to wish someone else was the nominee would be to accept defeat at the outset.
That said, I sympathize with Joseph C.’s sense of futility.
I agree with Paul K. It was clear during the that Romney, whatever his flaws and his liberalism, was the only plausible candidate for president. I missed Joseph’s point that that Romney won through unfair practices. He won because he received the most votes, and he received the most votes because none of the other candidates was a plausible nominee or a plausible president.
Aaron S. writes:
I get Joseph C.’s frustration. However, Dave T.’s point may also be correct, namely, that we cannot realistically hope that the GOP will be changed into a traditionalist party, either through victory or through miserable defeat. That being the case, I am wondering just how Joseph C. or others like him justify voting at all at this point.
To be more precise, let’s consider what Brian J. said:
I hope against hope that Obama wins so that we may continue to move toward whatever resolution that we must move toward with the insane left in this country.
My question is this: just what form would this “resolution” take? If it’s the case that the GOP will never change, then it seems to me we can justify voting for someone like Romney only as a stopgap measure only because (1) the existential threat of Obamacare and other usurpations of the past four years is so great, AND (2) there MAY still be some electoral space within which to work.
As I see things, this is why I can feel justified in throwing the “R” lever: I am not CERTAIN that we are as of yet irreversibly outnumbered. But if that turns out to be the case (or if one were relatively certain of it now), then how could a resolution come through presently constituted electoral means? I don’t see how; unless radical changes are made, we will continue to shrink as a proportion of the electorate (much to the glee of the leftists).
So my question to Joseph (and perhaps Brian, though his intentions are not clear) is this: if the GOP’s not being a traditionalist party is a reason to forego voting for it NOW, then isn’t participating in the elections at all just perpetuating something that would need to come down later? Remove the “maybe” here and what’s the point? Would a pure, reconstituted traditionalist GOP (or some other party, for that matter) fare better in four, eight, or twelve years’ time, when additional leftist administrations have reduced the white, family-centered component of the electorate to say, 55 percent?
I ask these questions not as an indictment; my calculations may be wrong. Perhaps there is no “maybe” left. I am just trying to figure out our options here.
Dale F. writes:
In 2008 I supported Romney, and my dislike of McCain was so great that I couldn’t bring myself to vote for the man when he became the nominee. McCain owes his career to family connections, and was promoted far beyond what he could have achieved on his own. He is of low morals, and despises conservatism. Why support him?
Romney on the other hand is of impeccable character. He devotes much time and money to charity, without seeking recognition. He has made not only himself but hundreds of thousands of people financially well off. He is highly intelligent, and has used his many talents to forge a career independent of his father’s, and vastly more successful (no slight intended to George Romney’s many accomplishments).
Yes, he’s a liberal on many issues, and I’m sure I’ll be opposing him on those issues. But he’s not an anti-American Manchurian Candidate.
Politics is a practical pursuit, and not as easy as it may appear. Romney is very good at it indeed. The primaries proved that. Early on I leaned towards Santorum (even though I disagreed with him on much of his foreign policy platform), but came to see that he would not make a good national candidate. Romney does.
Virgil Goode is a former Congressman, voted out of office in 2008. To my knowledge he has no significant executive experience. It’s fine for him to say he believes the right things about immigration, but if he were magically made President how would he accomplish them?
Voting, I believe, is serious business. Joseph C. seems to be advocating a “worse is better” approach to reforming the Republican Party, and as another reader pointed out that is not likely to succeed in the real world.
If people believe that a third party is their only alternative, they should be working to make that party viable first at the local and state level. Once they have built such a party from the ground up—a monumental task in itself—they will have far more influence on national policy than does a futile presidential candidate. And if one day they convince enough people to join them, then they can realistically think of fielding presidential candidates. We don’t need any more Ross Perots (electoral father of Bill Clinton) siphoning votes away from real candidates.
Joe R. writes:
To Joseph C.:
Good for you. You won’t have this quandary again if Obama wins, because after four more years of Eric Holder it will be impossible for any non-Democrat to win the White House.
After Obama stuffs the Supreme Court with more reliable leftist agitators, you can’t find a doctor because most have quit and the U.S. has been turned into Argentina, don’t worry. You can still feel good about yourself. You showed them!
And looking back, when your kids ask you what you did to oppose Obama when you finally had the chance, you can puff out your chest and say, “I voted for some yo-yo that no one’s ever heard of, because Mitt Romney was just not conservative enough for me. I stuck to my principles.” I’m sure they’ll thank you for that.
James P. writes:
On the radio this morning, a conservative caller said he hoped that Obama won. When the host asked him whether he really wanted four more years of Obama’s craziness, the caller responded, “it will be our job to stop him.” The host did not say, but should have said, that rather than spending four years trying to stop him, we should stop him once and for all tomorrow.
Joseph C. writes:
Regarding your characterization of my position as “Romney won through unfair practices”:
Posted by Lawrence Auster at November 04, 2012 01:15 PM | Send
I apologize if you misunderstood me, as I did not make this claim. I stated that the GOP stacked the deck for Romney by holding early primaries in states with open systems, where Democrats and Independents could vote, effectively choosing the nominee of a party to which they have no loyalty. I stand by this statement. It was not “unfair” and certainly not “illegal” but was definitely a calculated attempt to build momentum for a preferred candidate by allowing him to compete on more friendly terrain.
If Romney was clearly the best candidate then he would have been chosen if the primary electorate was limited to only party members (as should be the case for every party). Unfortunately, we will never know. And the GOP did not want to find out.