That Bus Everybody Talks About

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I like Jonah Goldberg a lot, and David Bahnsen here has done us a favor by pointing to this over there. Jonah argues his case well, and the best thing about it is that he really understands the problem a number of us have with Romney.

In addition, I know I live in Idaho, and I know that my refusal to cast a vote Romneyward will not affect Idaho’s behavior in the Electoral College. I also know that if I lived in Florida I would have to sit down and ponder a bit longer.

David was very kind in his introduction to his disagreement with me and, like him, I have no desire to get into a fracas with any of those who understand the problems with Romney but who will be supporting him anyway. In my mind, the principles are the thing we have to get straight, and the votes we cast are the tactics. This is not a conscience issue straight up — it is a matter of tactical choices informed by conscience.

In my mind, the best argument for supporting Romney is the SCOTUS appointments that will be coming up. That is not as clean as some might think, but it is a good argument. Roe v. Wade was upheld twenty-years after, and it was upheld by a court dominated by Republican appointees. But if Obamacare is struck down by the Supreme Court, as may well happen, that will be thanks to Republican appointments. So this is not a slam dunk argument, but it is a decent one. I have no problem with Christians in Florida thinking long and hard about it.

The strongest argument against Romney (again a tactical consideration) is that through our generations of mush and compromise we have successfully persuaded the country that we have “tried” things we haven’t tried at all. G.K. Chesterton once commented that Christianity had not been tried and found wanting, it had been found difficult and not tried. Something similar has happened in the political realm.

We think we “tried” capitalism. We think we “tried” conservatism. If Romney is elected, he will elected as someone who ran as a conservative. If the next wave of economic troubles hit us (think, Europe going down), and Romney then throws Paul Ryan under that bus that everybody keeps talking about, and proceeds to stink it up with TARPS Galore, then the electorate will have every reason to believe that we “tried” the market approach yet again and that it failed yet again. It will not be seen as the failure of Lightweight Liberalism over against Hard Left Liberalism, which would have been worse.

One of the reasons why Obama has been successful in ramming his socialism down our throats is because we previously acquiesced in allowing George W.’s economic approach to be described as “market conservatism.” And though it wasn’t, it is now.

In the meantime, let me do at least this much for David Bahnsen. We are going to be discussing this a lot between now and the election. If you live in a swing state, don’t just assume what you have to do. Don’t jump to conclusions. Think it through, pray it through, talk to your friends, and, of course, leave pithy comments here from time to time. Try to make them real stumpers.



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