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August 07, 2007

Derbyshire: Let's Lose for Conservatism!

John Derbyshire - embrace defeatism!

In this post, he agrees with an email that says we're going to lose the election anyway, so we might as well nominate a True Conservative™.

"There have been at least two times in the history of our Republic when the losing candidate for president has had a greater effect on subsequent history of his party and country than the winner. Such was the case in 1928 when the Democratic party had the guts to nominate Al Smith; and again in 1964 when the Republican party nominated Barry Goldwater. Both changed the face of American politics for generations after.

"In regard to Ron Paul, I suggest that his candidacy, like the hopeless candidacies of Smith and Goldwater, would do more to focus the debate about the importance of our founding principles—about who we as a people are, and what our real interests are—than any other Republican or Democrat running.
Those "real interests" of Paul's have turned out to be mild Trooferism and $400 million in earmarks. Don't begrudge him the money, though. I'm sure earmarks are in the Constitution somewhere. Or maybe the Federalist papers, or the Magna Carta. Look, don't question Ron Paul, okay! Just because he talks about decreasing spending doesn't mean he actually has to do anything. After all, his very presence will cause people to change.
"If Ron Paul were president, congressmen and senators would be less worried about what special interest is going to fund their next campaign, than whether they appear to be bought and sold. We just might get some honest legislation for the good of the country. Billions of dollars that now flow into lobbies to influence government might begin flowing into the non-profit sector instead, where they can not only actually help people, but earn their donors some respect.
This isn't political support. This is hero worship. How, exactly, is Paul going to push our Congress toward "honest legislation?" No explanation needed, I guess. He just will, because he's Ron Paul and he can do no wrong. In fact, after he makes Congress agree with one another, he's going to make oil $.03 a barrel, put $100,000 in everyone's 401K and cure cancer.
"All of the current crop of power-seekers spurning the Ron Paul campaign in hopes of power, jobs, and largesse in a Giuliani, Romney, Clinton, or Obama administration, will have to start looking for honest work. Instead, we will get a new generation of idealists eager to start cleaning up the mess.
Forgive me if I'm not exactly comforted by the thought of a group of spam-happy, keyboard-pounding fanboys controlling the levers of government. Also, having volunteered for a campaign or two myself, I'm a bit irritated that this Paulbot automatically assumes anyone who is not working for The Only Man Who Can Save America™ is automatically a power-grubbing worm looking for a cushy government job.

This whole idea that we need to lose to keep our political purity intact is simply nonsense. Politics is pragmatic, not ideological. Ron Paul's supporters, in their quest for conservative purity, sound very much like voters motivated by near-religious fervor. Like far too many evangelical voters, these "True Conservatives" believe that if they have a list of ten demands, any candidate they nominate should agree with those ten and those ten alone. Any candidate who agrees with five or seven is unacceptable.

It’s a classic conflict between faith (given the support Paul receives, this word seems appropriate) - which is uncompromising, and politics, which is built on compromise. These "true conservative" voters see any attempt to compromise as a betrayal of core principles rather than a way to prevent legislation that is even more contrary to their values. In other words, yes...sometimes it is a choice between bad and worse. As the philosopher Jagger once said, you can't always get what you want.

Given Derbyshire's writings, I'm not surprised to see his recent crush on Paul take flower. What is surprising is that NRO keeps him around. Derbyshire's political philosophy is incoherent and contradictory because the man is, at heart, simply a contrarian. He's not a conservative, nor is he a libertarian. At heart, I think Derbyshire is just a guy who gets his kicks from saying unpopular or disagreeable things, then seeing the resulting anger or criticism as validation of his 'independence.'

Just like a certain presidential candidate...

(H/t: Hot Air)

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posted by Slublog at 09:22 AM

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