Monday, January 21, 2008


The Rise of the Pragmatists

Well, I've been dreading this for some time now - ever since it became obvious that Fred's campaign team wasn't up to snuff.

As we are on the verge of Fred either soldiering on to Super Tuesday (where he could pull a state or two from the ranks and hold out for a brokered convention, which, given a look on the map and depending greatly on the resolve of the particular candidates, is still a real possibility) or terminating his candidacy, the pragmatic conservatives are starting to spin this week's probable nominee as palatable to other conservatives. I'm not sure if they are trying to convince others, convince themselves, or toe the party line, but that's probably something that only each of them individually can answer.

Some people aren't so moving. Pete Fanning won't be backing one of the pseudoconservatives come election day in Wisconsin. (Hat tip: Volunteer Voters.) UCLA Law Professor Stephen Bainbridge plans to sit out the election if Fred isn't an option. Bob Krumm is still planning on voting for Fred on Super Tuesday - as am I.

I'm certainly not passing judgment here, folks. I want to be clear on that. These men and women have been my conservative friends for years, and what happens between now and November doesn't change that. You see, I realize the anguish that these pragmatic conservatives are facing. They are political animals, and they don't have a candidate in the field that even comes close to representing their values. But they want to be involved - which is natural. So do I. They want to experience the camaraderie of working for the cause. After all, isn't that what being a member of a "party" is all about?

I admit - it's about to get really lonely over here at VOLuntarilyConservative. I realize that. I suspect that the day is coming soon where the GOP declares me the enemy. I will continue to support conservatives - the vast majority of whom will be Republican - both here in Tennessee and beyond. I'm not sure how that support will be received, though.

One point - I ask for people not to put the cart before the horse here. Fred's numbers are - get this - up in Florida, where he is one-point behind Huckabee and just out of the margin of error to Rudy Giuliani, who has been a Florida resident over the past several months. The Maritime Sentry pens a lovely plea to Fred Thompson to stay in the race. I join in that plea, as does An Angeleno's View of the World. So does Erik at RedState. Word out of Florida is that Fred's operation is still up and running while he tends to his sick mother back here in Tennessee. My understanding is that Fred has the funds to take him through February 5th. Stay in a bit longer, Fred. You're making up ground, and American conservatives need you now more than ever.

MORE: Via e-mail, it has been put to me as to whether or not I would support a ticket that had a true conservative - let's say Fred - as the VP nominee. That's a tough theoretical question.

If it's Fred, I probably would (especially on a McCain ticket, because McCain's health ain't exactly peachy). I'm not saying that I would for certain without knowing all of the parameters (Who is the conservative in question? Who is the nominee? Who is the opposition? Who are the third-party and independent candidates?), but I suppose that having Fred somewhere on the ticket is a heck of a lot better than not at all.

Does that make me a pragmatist? I hope not, but I guess that's for the rest of you to decide.

EVEN MORE: Bill Quick has the idea (Hat tip: Instapundit):

“You fight an election with the politicians you have.”

No, you fight an election over the principles you hold. When you are reduced to fighting an election with whatever politicians come to hand, you are admitting you - and your party - no longer have principles, and that you are merely engaged in a squabble for power at any cost.

Read the whole thing, including the comments, which are outstanding.

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I have never considered you to be an unreasonable fringe rightest. What I am saying is that if a rational, mainstream conservative (what I thought was mainstream) and also a traditional party guy, is saying these things, then the party has a problem. Just curious though, if Thompson isn't a possibility and it is about the other four, could you stomach Romney to stop the other three?
Glen -

I just don't see Romney as a compromise position here. His record is junk - as are McCain's and Huckabee's, even if all 3 are running as conservatives. At least Giuliani is running as the liberal that he is (which is probably why Ron Paul is kicking his butt).

I like Mitt as a person, actually. He is very polite, strong, charismatic - all of the things that you want in a politician. It just comes down to his record, and his anti-gun, pro-choice, nanny-state approach to healthcare history makes me think that he would perform that way in the White House.

The Mormon issue doesn't fly with me. Mormons make wonderful neighbors, and I don't see how that would hurt the country to have one like Mitt as president. I just can't get past his record.


Rob - maybe you didn't understand my post. I'm still voting for Fred in the primary and I hope he stays through at least Super Tuesday.
Toni -

I stand corrected - and good for you!


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