Friday, June 02, 2006

 

Protest Voting

In 1992 I voted for Bill Clinton. George H. W. Bush had thoroughly disgusted me with his go-along-to-get-along philosophy. George Mitchell as Democratic leader in the Senate had brilliantly manuevered Bush into supporting policies on the Democratic agenda. As hapless as Harry Reid is, Mitchell made Bush look just as bad, or worse, a witting accomplice in reversing the conservative gains of the Reagan years. I could not bring myself to support Bush for another four years and I reasoned that Clinton's faux third way would fall away early in his administration revealing a typical Democratic agenda. I was right.

Clinton did not disappoint me. Starting off with gays in the military and then tax increases and the attempted nationalization of medicine the nation got what I expected from Clinton. In 1994, we woke up and sent Clinton a message he would not forget. Unfortunately, Clinton was smart enough to heed that message and he positioned himself well against the inept Republicans.

So my protest vote, plus those Republicans who sat on their hands or voted for Ross Perot, did get me Bill Clinton for eight years but it also got me a Republican control of the House of Representatives. I believe that is a major reason why the deficit fell and the economy boomed. (Easy Al keeping the monetary spigots flowing didn't hurt.) Was it worth it? Who knows what a second Bush administration would have brought but I doubt there would have been a sweep of the House. I also think that 1992 helped reinvigorate conservatives.

Recently John O told me that he thought that my vote in '92 wasn't such a bad thing. That is huge. For years we argued whether the costs were worth the benefits. I must say that there were some big costs especially when it came to foreign policy. I don't know exactly why John had that change of heart, perhaps he was being magnanimous or maybe it has to do with the morality police wing of the GOP threatening his livelyhood. (You know your political world has been turned upside down when you are yelling, "You tell 'em Barney!!!") Whatever the reason it is true that the Republican party contains people with whom I have almost nothing in common nor have any desire to see control the levers of power. (Buchanan, cough.)

I really do believe that the majority of the members of House have a clue and really want to control immigration and spending. If I were living in his district I certainly wouldn't vote against Tom Tancredo but I no compunction about voting against Jerry Lewis, the minority maker, indeed, or this clown. So I am suggesting that conservatives who live in the districts of RINOs hold their noses and vote for the Democrat. If you can't bring yourself to do that, don't vote. At least it will keep you off the jury duty rolls. The RINOs or conservatives who have been in office so long that they forgot that the goal of serving is not to get a favorable write up in the NYT or invited to the right dinner party. We know that Washington tends to wear down conservatives. So it is not surprising that the lifers are the most willing to chuck their principles. Let them know you are paying attention.

What if this causes the GOP to lose the House? I believe that the shift in American politics towards a more conservative electorate is a tectonic shift that one election will not affect. If we get some conservative Democrats elected it will not damage the chances of getting our borders under control. We might get 2 years of impeachment hearings but wouldn't that be just what we need going into 2008? A good reminder why the Democrats cannot be trusted with power. Exactly the lesson America learned from '92-'94. It also might keep our gov't from outlawing John O's career.

More:

Allahpundit disagrees with me. He is working with the Clinton was a complete disaster mindset.

It won’t work, though. Partisan fear and loathing will kill it in its crib because even people like me who agree with her will vote strategically. When push comes to shove, Kos repulses me more than Bill Frist or Dennis Hastert does. So I won’t gamble on a Reform candidate, especially one who’s likely to draw votes from the GOP nominee, lest it tip the election to the nutroots. That happened once before, as I recall, and we ended up with a Clinton in office; conservatives won’t let history repeat itself.


And Peggy Noonan gives her thoughts on the giant liberal gravity well which is Washington, the chance for the libertarian Republicans and non-Kool-Aid drinking Democrats to find common ground on some issues. Like online poker.

Jim Geraghty wants to send the GOP leadership a strong message but thinks the protest voting is a bad idea.

I stick to my guns when it comes to turning out and voting this Election Day. (For starters, too many have bled and died to secure our right to vote to just throw that away. Even if you show up just to write in names, take the time and do your duty as a citizen. Don't forget your local races, where your vote can make a bigger impact.) I doubt the "lose in 2006, win in 2008" strategy that so many righty bloggers see as a certainty.

We are, and I am sure a lot of conservatives feel the same way, on the same page when it comes to what Republican governance has accomplished over the past dozen years. Needless to say we are looking forward to the next Republican administration. How can our "leadership" be so tone deaf?

John O responds
:

Bill, your logic of supporting Clinton for political affect has made more sense to me over time, though I still disagree with your vote. If you recall, I lodged a protest vote of my own in '92 -- I voted Libertarian. Protest votes should not be used to directly support the opposition. If a Republican wanted to cast a protest vote, it should have been for someone other than Clinton.

Perhaps if the Democratic candidate had been somebody other than Clinton, I might have long ago conceded that your decision was politically astute. But Clinton was every bit the disaster I foresaw. And conservatives may be better off today had a gifted politician like Clinton, in accordance with a complicit media, not been in a position to appear so successful and to stigmatize Congressional Republicans and much of the conservative agenda so effectively.

Another reason I've warmed a bit to your argument has been how bad, foreign policy wise, the Bush 41 presidency looks in retrospect. I wasn't happy about voting for him in '88; I did so despite greatly disliking him. I saw him as a snobby, elitist wimp. As you may recall I forswore supporting him again when it became obvious that was about to violate one of the basic precepts of warfare -- and common sense -- by letting Saddam retain power. A second Bush term may have been a outright disaster of its own, as his speech given at the '8th Annual Reunion of Our Victory in the Desert' perfectly illustrates:
"I don't believe in mission creep," he continued. "Had we gone into Baghdad -- we could have done it, you guys could have done it, you could have been there in 48 hours -- and then what?

"Which sergeant, which private, whose life would be at stake in perhaps a fruitless hunt in an urban guerilla war to find the most-secure dictator in the world?

"Whose life would be on my hands as the commander-in-chief because I, unilaterally, went beyond the international law, went beyond the stated mission, and said we're going to show our macho?" he asked. "We're going into Baghdad. We're going to be an occupying power -- America in an Arab land -- with no allies at our side. It would have been disastrous."

Bush said, "We don't gain the size of our victory by how many innocent kids running away -- even though they're bad guys -- that we can slaughter. ... We're American soldiers; we don't do business that way."

"Am I happy that S.O.B. is still there?" Bush asked, then answered, "No."

Bush said his memory of Vietnam influenced his thinking during the Gulf War. He recalled that politicians during the Vietnam War kept changing the conditions under which U.S. forces fought -- bombing halts and cease-fires.

He said his view was different, and it was a view that was backed up by the secretary of defense and military leaders.

"Let the politicians do their diplomacy -- and we worked hard to bring about a peaceful solution. We didn't want any man or woman put into harm's way," Bush said.

"We worked hard to form an international coalition," he explained, calling it historic in originality, diversity.
-------
Returning to the issue of Hussein's longevity, Bush jokingly called it "a sore spot with me" to be "out of work while Saddam Hussein still has a job. It's not fair," he asserted.

Still however, "he is no threat to invade another sovereign nation, and pillage its culture, and murder its citizens. He can brutalize his own people, and torment and torture them, but he can no longer pose a threat to his neighbors. And that's just one of the benefits" of Desert Storm.

"As a result of that historic victory, we also saw American credibility go up.
Yikes.

Regarding online poker, the morality police are only a part of the problem. The main threat comes from gaming interests and the states; neither group can stand the competition. I don't think it much matters which party controls Congress. If its outlawed, quite aside from the personal financial toll, I'll be outraged on both free market and libertarian grounds. (Too bad casinos will never permit internet usage at the new automated poker tables so that I'll retain the ability to quite literally make money at two different pursuits simultaneously.)

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