Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Republicans need to get over themselves

The Anchoress is fed up with Republicans whining about the quality of the candidates running for president. While I have done my share of criticizing the candidates, I totally agree with her that conservatives need to stop moaning that the candidates out there aren't perfect. She uses one of my favorite aphorisms, "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Exactly.

While I have plenty of gripes with the candidates running, some more than others. Once a nominee is chosen, I'll line up behind that candidate. Because any of the guys still in the race are better than Hillary Clinton. And while I don't dislike Barack Obama with the same intensity that I despise Hillary, I still think he would be a disaster for protecting this country while we're at war. And for all of those who will rush to tell me that George W. Bush has been a disaster in foreign policy, we'll just have to agree to disagree on that.

And even if we didn't have the terrorism threat and the chance that a President Obama withdrawing precipitously from Iraq would give encouragement to our foes that we were once again the "weak horse" as Osama called us, I would still be voting based on my concerns about judicial nominations. And while I don't think McCain would actually be nominating a judicial conservative as I would like to see, he would still make better nominations in my book than Clinton or Obama. And so, if McCain is the candidate, then he'll be my guy in November. None of this staying home in a snit for me. The Anchoress expresses it much better than I can.
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. In this election, you either get on board and take the damn uncomfortable, bumpy ride with the rest of us, or you marginalize yourself into irrelevancy on your little bench.
So, if you're a conservative, choose one of these guys running and support him. Perhaps it will just be the guy you dislike the least. That's usually where I end up. But don't make plans to sit out November just because the guy you liked didn't win the nomination or because you object to this or that element of the guy's background or positions. Remember that you don't get to vote for the perfect candidate, just the one running. And any of these guys is less bad than the Democrats. And sometimes "less bad" is the best we can hope for.