For three and a half years, we conservatives have been longing for – reaching for – impatiently waiting for November 2, 2012. We do not like the Obamanation.
But in focusing so much on our displeasure with Barack, we have sacrificed substance. Conservatism has become – more than anything else – about simply defeating Barack Obama.
But that’s a negative definition: “Conservatism is NOT Obama.”
Few of us have bothered to ask, “Well, what IS conservatism, then?” (I asked it in a recent post.)
What do we want from the supposedly-conservative Republican party? I would contend that, because we don’t know the answer to that question, we have ended up with an empty suit at the head of the presidential nominee race – Mitt Romney. And in that way, Obama has defeated us already.
On Mitt. I’m tempted to say, “He seems like a nice guy, I just don’t think he’s a conservative.” But I’m tired of all the pretense. When I look at him, I see a man who is all politician – a man who, as evidenced in myriad video and audio clips, will say or do just about whatever he thinks will be politically expedient.
This is the man who passed the equivalent of Obamacare in his own state, but who criticizes Obamacare. This is the man who was pro-abortion before he was pro-life. This is the man who railed against Hilary Rosen for saying his wife had “never worked a day in her life,” but who also said that stay-at-home moms should “have the dignity of work” at an outside job.
At last weekend’s Missouri district conventions, it seemed apparent that Missouri Republicans are attempting to coalesce behind Mitt. Well, except Ron Paul people. We Ron Paul people worked hard to obtain delegates, but in the end, people just listen to FOX news more than they listen to the bells of liberty and the overtures of reason. After the convention, a Romney supporter who had observed our passion for liberty attempted to exhort Kate and me to “keep that spiritedness going” (or something like that). As though he thinks passion is transferable. As though he thinks that if I can be passionate for Ron Paul, I can be passionate for Mitt Romney.
I can not be passionate for Mitt Romney.
Well, first, this brings me back to my original point: the only reason to like Mitt Romney is because we’re told he can beat Obama. But beating Obama is not my goal! Oh, it’s a means, but it’s not the end. But for most Republicans, I fear it’s the end. We don’t care who gets elected…”anyone is better than Obama.” We heard that said over and over at the Republican primary debates, by pretty much every candidate.
Except Ron Paul. He didn’t say it, because he knows that not anyone is better than Obama. If we have another president who provokes worldwide warfare, who bails out big banks and corporations on the public’s dime, who continues to drown our country in budget deficits and public debt, and who expands the role of government further into the private lives of citizens through things like the Patriot Act and the Affordable Care Act…well…actually, now it sounds like Bush and Obama were about the same. So we want to elect another president just like the previous two? No thanks.
In an age of seemingly strong, divisive partisanship – at least as the media would have us believe – the reality is that Republicans and Democrats are nearly the same. All hunger for power and money, and we have given our politicians the authority to obtain them.
But why else can I not be enthusiastic about Mitt Romney?
Because he possesses nothing about which I can be enthusiastic. It is not Ron Paul’s good looks or articulate speech that excite me (he has none). It is not his track record of “getting things done in Congress” (he typically votes “No,” and always votes “No” on spending bills…always). It is not his “electability” or his “presidential” air. No, none of those things can compel me to vote for a man (or woman).
But when Ron Paul talks about liberty – about restoring to individuals the freedom to live their lives as they please, without excessive taxation, without inflationary government policies that steal money from their pockets, without onerous laws and regulations over their private lives, without the heavy hand of government groping their children at the airport and peering into their private data without judicial permission, without losing their neighbors and children on foreign soil fighting meaningless wars, and with the promise of reverence for all human life and financial responsibility from the halls of Congress – when he talks about liberty that way, who wouldn’t be compelled to jump to their feet and cheer? Then, when I see the man’s voting record after three decades in Congress – a record that never betrays his principles – I know “this is a man of integrity.” This is not a flip-flopper who says what is politically expedient. This is not a man who cozies up to corporations for mutual benefit at the expense of the people. This is an honest man, committed to liberty and justice for all. This is the only person I want for president.
So I will not aid our nation in trading one corrupt dictator for another.
“If you don’t vote for Romney, you’ve essentially voted for Obama,” a person might reply.
But I disagree. Romney has given the party no vision for conservatism. Romney has given no concessions to the Tea Party and to those who want drastic cuts in government. Romney is an empty suit. Romney is unelectable, because Romney is just un-. He’s not any thing, he’s just not Obama. Not even Sarah Palin has faith that he’s a conservative (this video, 9:00-10:00)!
And this sums up the whole problem I have been trying to articulate. When the Republican party focused solely on removing Obama, they lost themselves. Instead of being advocates for small government, the Constitution, and liberty, they just railed against Barack. They spent so much on demolition, they forgot to invest in reconstruction. And for that lack of positive, substantial vision, the Republican party is now vacuous, and seems bent on putting a vapid, vacuous man in the White House.
So I would contend that, if you voted for Romney in the primaries, you actually voted for Obama. Because if Romney is the nominee, Obama will be the president.