Saturday, October 28, 2006


What Lesson Will the Republicans Learn if they Lose?

There is a lot of talk on the internet and in the mainstream media (MSM) about conservatives sitting out this election to teach the Republicans a lesson about ignoring their core values of smaller government and/or insufficiently vigorous national security policies. The theory seems to be that this will “teach them a lesson” and lead to more conservative Republican behavior and more conservative Republican candidates in 2008. I think this analysis is incorrect.

It makes some sense that conservatives and libertarians would consider voting for a short term power loss if they thought it would lead to a long term improvement. Central to both political philosophies is the recognition that the “obvious” quick and easy action to solve a problem is not always the best, and that the long-term secondary effects of a political decision can be much larger than the short term direct effects. It is difficult to predict the long-term secondary effects of political actions (which is no doubt one reason that conservatives and libertarians are less eager to use the government to meddle with society) and I fear that people who think that sitting out the 2006 elections will teach the Republicans a lesson are only partly right. I think that Republican politicians will learn a lesson if they are defeated in this mid-term congressional election, but I also think it will not be the lesson that conservatives and libertarians would want them to learn.

I urge conservative and libertarian voters who are tempted to punish the Republicans for ignoring their concerns by not voting to think clearly about what the media and politicians will conclude from a Democratic political victory.

First of all, does anyone who has paid attention to the Left-wing bias of the mainstream media think that the “conventional wisdom” explanation of the Democrat victory will be that a lot of voters are unhappy with our national policies not being conservative enough? Of course the MSM will not report that. No matter how slim the Democrat victory it will be described by TV, newspaper, and most magazine reporters as a Liberal Mandate for the Democrats. Small government conservatives and libertarians might have given the election to the Democrats because of the Republicans increased spending and creation of new entitlement programs, but the MSM will tell everyone that the Democrats won because voters were angry over the Republican’s “tax cuts for the rich.” Jacksonians might have given the election to the Democrats because the Republican administration is being insufficiently vigorous in punishing our enemies and rewarding our friends, but the MSM will tell everyone that the Democrats won because voters prefer carefully worded multilateral diplomatic protests delivered at the UN to unilateral “cowboy” military actions taken against our enemies. They will report that voters are eager for us to leave the few allies who have stuck with us and people who believed our promises of liberty holding the bag while we abandon our hard-won forward bases in the Middle East war zone. There is no way that the mainstream media will describe a Democrat victory as anything but a victory for left-wing, socialist, internationalist, hopolophobic, multicultural policies and a Liberal Mandate to dismantle what few conservative and libertarian policies that the Republicans have actually supported.

Second of all, does anyone who has paid attention to Republican politicians believe that the party will ignore the constant “Liberal Mandate” drumbeat of the MSM and the “liberal shift” cocktail party conventional wisdom they will be bombarded with after the election and embrace more conservative and/or libertarian policies? The right-wing internet and talk-radio will certainly explain the importance of the Republican party returning to its small-government base and policies. If the Republican politicians made a habit of ignoring the MSM, the Washington press corps, and DC cocktail party talk in favor of right-wing thinkers then they would not be in such a poor electoral position right now. I do not think that will suddenly change on Nov. 8th. I fear that Republican politicians will generally believe the “Liberal Mandate” explanation that they will be bombarded with following a Democrat victory and that they will shift their positions even further to the left in an attempt to compensate for their perceived failure to be moderate enough.

I welcome anyone who is planning on sitting out this election to “teach” the Republicans that they should not take the conservatives and libertarian wing of the party for granted to explain to me how either:

1. The mainstream media will portray a Democrat victory as a sign that politicians should become more conservative if they want to win elections, or
2. Republican politicians will suddenly start ignoring the chorus of conventional wisdom handed to them by left-leaning journalists in favor of right-wing blogs and call-in shows.

I think that Republican politicians do need to be taught a lesson by small government conservatives, libertarians, and Jacksonians. I also think the time to do that is in the primaries. Not voting for the lesser of evils will hand a mid-term election victory to Democrats. That victory will be sold by the MSM as an example of the declining popularity of right-wing politics and politicians of both parties will follow along hook, line, and sinker.

Consider what Robert Heinlein wrote on the subject:

"If you are part of a society that votes, then do so. There may be no candidates and no measures you want to vote for ... but there are certain to be ones you want to vote against. By this rule you will rarely go wrong."

Then go out and vote against the Pinkos. Save your teachings for the next primaries when the right lessons will be learned.

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