It was declared inevitable a number of times prematurely, but it really does look inevitable now. Rick Santorum has bowed out, and Romney will clinch the Republican nomination some time in the near future.
This means, among other things, that I will not be voting the Republican ticket in the fall. But it also means that I need to explain why not, and the first outlines of that explanation are below.
Why would I not vote for Romney based on his VP pick, in a similar way that I voted for McCain based upon his? The reason is that while McCain was no conservative, his deviations from the norm were a function of a iracisble old man with opinions, in distinction from the weather vane from atop a Massachusetts barn.
When McCain picked Palin, a true-blue pro-lifer (and that is the issue for me), I was willing to bend on McCain. I am not a single-issue voter, but I do have a hierarchy of issues in my mind, and voting against those sorts of policies which caused Gomorrah to come to such a bad end are chief among them.
So what if Romney picks a pro-lifer? Why wouldn’t I do the same thing? Actually, I am sure he will pick a pro-lifer — he couldn’t afford to do otherwise. He is going to have to act very non-etch-a-sketchy well into the general election. It is a practical judgment I am making. I believe that Palin as VP would have made the life issue a front-and-center issue, and in very good ways. I believe that a Romney veep, however conservative, will be easily cordoned off behind velvet ropes
And this leads to the next issue. Political votes are cast on the basis of whether or not you believe candidates when they say something. Why do I believe that Ron Paul would do exactly what he says he will do? Why do I believe that Romney will now tack toward the center? The opinion you come to in these things is not something you can prove, like a theorem in geometry, but one does come to a particular opinion nonetheless. Romney avows that he is a conservative, and I don’t believe him. Paul says that he is a libertarian, and I do believe him, but I differ with his libertarianism at certain key places. Santorum claimed to be a social issues conservative, and I absolutely believed that. He also claimed to be a conservative in other senses that I didn’t accept.
But I want you to note this carefully. I believe that many true conservatives who detest Romney are the sort who detest Obama even more, and so they will now work for the election of Romney. I understand that, but I am not going to do it. Deal me out.
Before explaining why, let me note one peculiar phenomenon about this. The Republican establishment is now going to rally behind Romney, and tell all the rest of us that we have a duty to the country to fall in. If we do not, as I do not, then it is we who will be blamed. But wait a minute. You say that Obamacare is the defining issue of our generation. Check. And then you nominated the guy who signed and sealed the pilot project for Obamacare. Check. And you want to blame us for sitting this one out?
The one saving grace of having to deal with the Obama administration is that he can’t help but overreach. His love of soft totalitarianism is apparent to all who know how to read and think at the same time. But I would rather have that than have someone drifting in the same general direction in ways that will rarely if ever be guilty of overreach. If Marx and Lenin were candy apple red, then Obama is a dull brick color, and Romney is Alecia Beth Moore, better known as Pink.
At the same time, despite this, I do not place a great deal of faith in the ability of the American people to rise up as one in response to despotic overreach. After all, Obama socialized medicine in the United States, and the response of the loyal opposition was to nominate Romney. Oh, well. But I do think the odds are still better for a liberty revolt under the overreachers. Under Romney, say the odds would be 3 in a 100, while under Obama they will be 7 in a 100.
Note that my complaint about Romney is not that he has leftist convictions; my complaint is that he has no real convictions and is therefore susceptible to pressure. The pressure that will be applied will be applied by the kind of men who tend to live in the D.C. area, which is rarely a good thing. Winston Churchill once complained about a gentleman that he knew, comparing him to a seat cushion. He said that he always bore the imprint of the last person who had sat on him. It may well be that if Romney is elected, he will get enough conservative pressure to move him in a decent direction. That may well happen, which would mean that I would be wrong about all this. While hoping that might happen, I just don’t think it is worth betting on.
Last thing. What about Romney’s Mormonism? This will require further development, but I can answer it briefly here. I do have a religious objection to Romney, but it is to his commitment to generic religious Americanism, with its faulty views of separation of church and state. If we had a right relationship between church and state in our country, then I could not vote for Romney because of his Mormonism. But we don’t, and so my religious objection to him is that he is committed to our regnant civic religion, which is a different non-Trinitarian heresy.