Monday, June 30, 2008

what should conservatives do with McCain?

Some types of conservatives are quite happy with McCain.

For those who are not, now and until November will be dominated by roughing up Obama. (This will be a temptation, even for those who positively support McCain.)

Two thoughts for conservatives who are not enamored with McCain:

One should consider the potential/probable tensions between the short-run and the long-run, including the connection between having McCain and its impact on the Congress (ideologically and in terms of coattails/backlash). For example, a McCain victory means a much smaller probability that the GOP leadership will "get it" and move/go conservative. And ignoring that, a McCain victory means that the GOP would probably take control of Congress no earlier than 2014 (assuming a Dem in 2012). Likewise, a McCain victory makes a super-majority in the Senate far more likely in the next 2-4 years. And so on. One need only think back to the glories of 1994, under Bill Clinton, to see recent evidence of such (vital) sea changes. (How many GOP'ers told us that it would be the end of the world to have Clinton?)

The other question is the potential difference between Obama on paper and in practice. While Obama is quite liberal, this is being over-sold (as one would expect). Three things. First, many Democratic senators are quite liberal and Obama happened to edge them out (slightly) in one recent measure of such things. Second, a larger issue: the nature of the presidency is to moderate whatever tendencies one brings to the table. You are constrained by Congress, by reality, by things you thought you knew but didn't, etc. Third, as has been pointed out quiet a bit, Obama is much more of a talker than a man of action. In this light, I was/am far more scared of Clinton-- who is a true believer in all sorts of govt intervention. This means that Obama should be far less threatening when push comes to the inevitable shove.

Two other things:

More broadly, at what point do various types of conservatives so marginalize themselves by voting for the lesser of two evils? at what point is one too captive to a political party to reach their goals (e.g., as is often pointed out with African-Americans and the Dems)?

And a related observation: suburban voters are (or see themselves as) more sophisticated voters. They worry much more (and I would say, far too much) about their vote, strategizing pragmatically about things like "the lesser of two evils". While campaigning in smaller towns and more rural settings, I've been struck by how little there seems to be of this sort of thinking.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home