Jeff Jacoby hits it on the head, puts out its lights, and takes up the spade to dig it a hole:
RUNNING FOR president on a third-party ticket in 1968, George Wallace famously claimed that there wasn’t “a dime’s worth of difference” between the Republican and Democratic nominees. Would anyone tuning in this year’s crop of candidates say the same thing?
Consider some recent sound bites:
- “You said we would fight for every job! You said that we would fight to get healthcare for all Americans! You said we’d fight to secure our border! You said we’d fight for us to be able to get lower taxes for middle-income Americans!”
- “Guess what they’re doing in Washington: They’re worrying, because they realize, the lobbyists and the politicians realize, that America now understands that Washington is broken. And we’re going to do something about it.”
- “Washington told us that they’d get us better healthcare and better education – but they haven’t. Washington told us they’d get us a tax break for the middle-income Americans – but they haven’t.”
You don’t have to be a political junkie to recognize those as specimens of populist Democratic boilerplate, right? The only challenge is to match each quotation to the Democratic candidate who said it.
Except that no Democrat uttered those words. The three big-government platitudes above were taken from Republican Mitt Romney’s Michigan primary victory speech on Tuesday.
And then there’s this bit of condescending rationalization from the Anchoress:
If I am reading my mail right – and I believe I am – every candidate running for president on the GOP side is – gasp! – flawed in some way. This guy’s too religious, this guy’s a flip-flopper, this guy’s too John McCain, this guy is a tantalizing “almost perfect” flirt who doesn’t want to put out, this guy is too soft on illegals, this guy is too hard on assault rifles, this guy is great on security but he wears a dress!
Oh, boo-hoo, people. Get a grip. The truth is the GOP had produced several reasonable candidates for the presidential nomination. None are “perfect,” but neither are you. A vote for any of them will require from you an end to the thrust-lip tantrum. You’re going to have to wipe your little eyes, haul up your drawers and – egad – do what Reagan would have done; he would have looked for the candidate who he felt was – taken all-in-all – best for the whole nation, not just for some little one-issue subgroup; he would not simply vote for his comfort zone.
In unserious times, and vacations from history, it is possible to hold oneself aloof from a process and declare, “fiddle-dee-dee, I’ll think about voting next election!”
It cannot be said enough: we are in serious times. In this election you do not have the luxury of complacently waiting for the next bus because you don’t like any of these drivers.
Ah yes, that same old line, intended to frighten real conservatarians back into the GOP fold: this is quite possibly the most crucial election ever! We cannot afford to let the libs take the reigns in such perilous times!
They say it about every election, and in a real sense, it’s quite true. Indeed we can’t afford more advancement of the Left’s anti-Constitutional agenda. But that’s what we’re going to get, like it or not. And I have yet to see a persuasive case made that the way to stop statist depredations against Constitutional government is by electing “our” statists over “theirs.”
Sure, the current GOP candidates are in fact perfectly “reasonable” choices — for Democrats, mushy-middle Republicans, and other liberals. Conservatives, federalists, and libertarians, you’ll get nothing — and if folks who agree with the Anchoress have their way, you’ll damned well like it, too. Now get back in line and stop sniveling.
Look, contrary to the snide, insulting assertions of “childishness” and “petulance” from the anybody-GOP-will-do crowd, nobody is looking for “perfect,” and nobody expects it, either. What we are looking for is an actual conservative: someone to vote for instead of against. With teh Fred! hanging it up — and nobody ever said he was perfect, either, by the way; his since-recanted support for McCain-Feingold was troublesome, to say the least — the GOP simply does not have one on offer this year.
Since McCain is perfectly willing to countenance disregarding the First Amendment; Romney and Rudy are ditto on the Second; Hucklebee is a perfect storm of anti-Federalist self-contradiction; and all of them have been pro-illegal immigration and amnesty until required politically to do that most awkward of dances, the Politico Flop — I have to wonder: are there any bedrock conservative principles at all that you GOP-firsters aren’t willing to sell out on?
And here I had thought that abandoning all principle to grub for power for its own sake was a strictly Democrat trait. Silly me; I certainly stand corrected on that one.
And if every conservative principle is to be abandoned one by one because each and every election is just too critical to at last take a stand in support of them, would one of you more mature, moderate pragmatists let me know when you are finally ready to defend them? I’ll just be over here on the sidelines…waiting. And refusing to sell my vote for the big-government faux-conservative mess of pottage the GOP keeps trotting out year after year after year.
Unfortunately, Duh Peepul seem to have spoken, and more and more-intrusive government seems to be what they want. But just because the GOP offers up 12 percent less liberal excrement doesn’t mean it isn’t still a shit sandwich. And some of us dislike the taste enough to decline the damned thing when the GOP lifts the cover off the latest steaming pile on the same old tarnished, filthy platter.
Constitutional government in America is now officially on a starvation diet, and looking pretty damned gaunt for it, too. But big-government liberalism, wrapped in a GOP label and enabled by people for whom winning elective office is the only thing that matters, is more enfeebling than no nourishment at all.
No thanks, GOPers; I’ll be skipping this meal, and looking elsewhere for sustenance next go-round.