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Thursday, June 08, 2006

T-Ball game at the GOP, not baseball

--posted by Tony Garcia on 6/08/2006

I was reading a post over at Water Cooler Wisdom. Two things he mentions that warrant a response. First is the oft repeated comment that conservatives who are considering staying home in November 2006 are akin to "taking their ball home" to "teach a lesson" to the GOP.

Taking the ball home

I do not believe in voting AGAINST something. That is the summary of the GOP strategy. Yes, our candidate is not perfect but vote against the possibility of Dem Majority/Governor.

Just like I was saying with the Anyone-but-Bush people...you only know what you are against and have no idea what then you are for.

By "sucking it up" and voting for Pawlenty you are not voting for small government (as he has proven the past 2 years) but Democrat-lite aka smaller government than the Democrats. That is not a platform that conservatives should be supporting.

It is not "taking the ball and going home". It is expecting to find a baseball game and going home because all there is at the park is t-ball.

Vote for something. What are you voting for? Conservativism? Small government? Then Pawlenty may not be the best candidate...and you should consider that possibility through November instead of dismissing all other possibilities. Instead what you are finding is the GOP settling for a pro-growing-government GOP incumbent...and doing/saying anything to get him elected.

The other item is put in the form of a rhetorical question. (Rhetorical because I doubt anything that does not agree with WCW's 'support Pawlenty at all costs' will be given thoughtful consideration. Instead I bet it will all be dismissed with a closed mind similar to certain KvM co-authors.)
If anyone can explain how [teaching the GOP a lesson] makes one iota of sense, I'd like to hear it. I see it as a completely selfish exercise.
I find it interesting that YOUR ideology is not selfish but those the differ from yours is selfish. The same could be said of your advocating people vote for a candidate that has betrayed their principles of policy...that it is selfish of you that you are asking them to support YOUR ideology at the expense of your own.

Selfishness in advocation

Why neither is individually selfish or harmful takes deeper thinking. So those who are not ready...go away now. The real deal is we all have our own ideologies. Some people believe that their party is the most important alter to bow at and have shown up in spades over the past several months attacking personally anyone who dissents from the crowned candidates of their respective parties.

Some people are single issue people. Narrow-minded I would say, but that is their perrogative. To some it is abortion (pro-abortion or anti-abortion). To some it is life (which would include death penalty, euthenasia, etc). To some it is taxes.

Others have a larger guiding principle. Small (not smaller-than) Government, Social Government, Federalism, Nationalism...you get the idea.

It is the responsibility of each person to seek the candidate(s) that best represent them with 2 guiding questions. 1) Which candidate best represents their principle more and 2) Is victory more important than supporting that principle or is that principle more important than victory? For partisans it is a very easy set of questions to answer. The person with the correct letter behind the name is all that matters.

In the macro sense I understand the need for a majority...and this means a larger tent. You need liberal Republicans in the cities, you need to keep the fiscal conservatives happy, etc, etc. I understand that the single most important vote a legislative body makes is the one for Majority Leader/Speaker. Everything else follows that. It does not mean whipping everyone into the same philosophy. We do not all have to be church-going, born again, life-at-conception, hate-Democrat-mongering, party-over-principle people to make a majority. (That by the way is the direction my former BPOU has been heading for a few years and I cannot be a part of that). You need many different types with differing philosophies...not many clones of each other. Or worse, what seems to be growing: some clones of each other and many gutless people who are afraid to stand up for their beliefs out of fear of being attacked.

But there is also an individual responsibility to each person. Yes, a conservative majority is important. But I cannot pull the lever for someone I believe to have less character than myself. I may not pull the lever for someone who is far from me on my important issues in action though close to my positions in words.

And we all have that responsibility. If it is selfishness for one then it is selfishness for all. I propose we meet halfway. The fiscal conservatives got behind the other candidate for November 2002...to satisfy YOUR side's selfishness. Now it is your turn to do the same. Get behind the other candidates to satisfy fiscal conservatives' selfishness for a change.


Blogger Brent Metzler said...

We do not all have to be church-going, born again, life-at-conception, hate-Democrat-mongering, party-over-principle people to make a majority. (That by the way is the direction my former BPOU has been heading for a few years and I cannot be a part of that).

The reason your BPOU and other BPOU's have been heading in that direction is because, to use an analogy of yours, people like you have been coming to the party, expecting a baseball game, seeing a t-ball game and going home. Does going home make the game any less a t-ball game a t-ball game, and anymore a baseball game? NO! The more the people wanting a baseball game instead of a t-ball game give up and go home, the more the game looks like a t-ball game and less like a baseball game. Of course, this makes the t-ball players very happy.

It is the same with the Republican Party. For many years the social conservatives have been getting involved in the party to make the party reflect their values. They were trying to make the party look more like a t-ball game. Now, how do the fiscal conservatives respond? Do they try harder to keep the party looking the way they want? No, they notice the game is starting to look more like a t-ball game instead of a baseball game, so they give up and go home. Does this make the game more or less like a baseball game? Less. The response that you have taken to not participate makes the game less like you want it to, not more.

Now, do social conservatives give up when the party starts looking more like baseball instead of t-ball? No, no, and no. That is the difference. They keep playing until whether it looks the they they want or not. They know that if they don't play, they don't have any say in how the game is played.

Fiscal conservatives haven't learned that yet. Your response to not be involved is not uncommon. But your response is not helping you unless all you want to do is bitch and moan about how the game doesn't look like how you'd play it anymore.

June 08, 2006  
Blogger R-Five said...

I'm with you, Tony. This is a very good post.

I also much prefer to vote for something. How can I do that with Pawlenty? If a Republican faithful tells me, "Pawlenty will do this or not do that on this issue" ask on what basis do you make that statement?

He has raised taxes and enlarged government. He has sucked up to Education Minnesota - Q-Comp is as insignificant as it is toothless. He has indulged in many liberal fantasies, like Canadian drug imports and ethanol mandates. He supports corporate welfare (Twins stadium).

What GOP principle remains that he has not seriously violated?

June 08, 2006  
Blogger Tony Garcia said...

That response is easily the best use of an example in a retort. Good job!! Usually people butcher the hell out of an analogy in their response.

Because of that, what you say makes incredible sense. And, you are right, the social conservatives (spearheaded by evangelicals and the "religious right") have changed the face of the party. Their approach is one way of doing it...change the game.

There are two approaches for those of us looking to play baseball. We can sit around and suck it up, support t-ball while we recruit people to change the game. OR, we can go find a baseball game. Sure there will be fewer people with us playing baseball...but there will also be fewer people playing t-ball. And while we accept the fact that our game will have fewer people initially the t-ball people are counting on a larger game. They will have a diminishing game and will have to change quickly to baseball in order to get us back on their field.

I think the problem is the same for Pawlenty with fiscal conservatives as it is with Bush and conservatives. They keep saying, "I am one of you, you'll just have to trust my actions."

But, Tim and George...the Trust Tree has no fruit left. The Trust Well has been tapped to often without replenishment.

June 09, 2006  
Blogger Marty said...

I always got weird looks when I showed up to play whiffle ball with shoulder pads and a football helmet.

I never seem to play any game "right" but I always leave a lot of injured people in my wake.

June 09, 2006  
Blogger Nordeaster said...

You are missing the point. It is not voting for one ideology or another that I state is selfish.

When you vote for a candidate that you know has no chance of winning (for example Ralph Nader, Pat Buchannan, etc.) that is selfish in the sense that you know it will have no impact on the election outcome or society at large.

You may hate this fact, but the reality is almost every race has only two candidates with a realistic chance to win.

By definition, you will agree with one candidate more than another.

Using fiscal conservativism as a measuring stick, Pawlenty is not fiscally conservative enough for my liking (heck, Goldwater wasn't fiscally conservative enough for my liking).

But I do know this. Pawlenty will be fiscally more conservative than Hatch, and that's enough for me.

June 13, 2006  
Blogger Nordeaster said...

I should add. I resent the party over principle argument. That doesn't hold in my case or in a lot people's case.

My principle is this. Regardless of party, one candidate will always be better for the state/country than the other even if just minutely.

I will always vote for that candidate which gives my state/country the best chance to succeed and prosper (which by my definition would almost always be the more fiscally conservative).

June 13, 2006  
Blogger Tony Garcia said...

Let us use this year's gubernatorial race as a hypothetical. The ballot in this example looks like this:
Pawlenty (R)
Hatch (DFL)
Jeffers (ind)

Now, once a candidate passes the test of character the next most important thing for my consideration is fiscal conservativism. Rank these three from most conservative fiscally to the least. Objectively I think most will agree the list will look like this:
1. Jeffers
2. Pawlenty
3. Hatch

Social issues I am probably more mixed with all three. Pro-life at point of viability...so none of the three are good for me. Gay-marriage issue is a state issue...none of the three see it that way. Gambling laws should be stricken from the books, as should the drug use laws, etc...Jeffers may be closer to my views but I do not know. You get the idea.

So, who should I vote for? Not Hatch, his platform is not fiscally conservative. Not Pawlenty, his performance is decreasingly fiscally conservative. That leaves Jeffers.

In your world you are saying if I vote for Jeffers I am being selfish. Why? It seems because I am not giving my vote to an "electable" person and thus depriving society of a true two-party vote result. In other words I would be skewing the measure of the true pulse of society because my vote was not for one of the two major parties.

However, the true pulse of society includes those who are unhappy with the field of candidates being provided by the 2 parties.

Now, why is a vote for anything other than Republican or Democrat selfish? Why should it be that a person is selfish for actually voting for the person the comes the closest to their own personal platform?

It seriously sounds like you are saying it is selfish for a person to vote for their principles instead of settling for either a Republican or Democrat.

And it is for that reason I continue using "Party over Principles". I use that because it accurately describes the mentality of "gotta vote for Pawlenty even though he has pissed on his fiscal base."

If you believed that Jeffers had a decent chance of winning would you then vote for her...falling in line with your definition of best candidate for the state being "almost always be the more fiscally conservative"?

My hunch is if the polls showed a neck-and-neck 3-way race there would be a conflict within you internally about it. Principles over Party would dictate in that instance that you vote for Jeffers.

Based on how wrong polling has been over the past several years one should not rely on the polls. I mean, would the polls have shown Kennedy to win only about 85% of the GOP delegates last week?

Which means that if your principle is best candidate in a mostly fiscal conservative lens then you should not be shutting down the idea of supporting Jeffers...in fact you should be supporting her.

Instead, you are pushing for Pawlenty...defending him tacitly. So much for the principle of fiscal conservative candidate. You have sacrificed that for, among other possibilities, electability and experience and being a part of a major party. Party over Principle and Careerist Politicians over Principle (which I think is even worse). Electability...one of the worst reason to support or not support someone in the general election. (Though a very valid consideration in a primary.)

I don't mean to offend you with the use of the phrase "Party over Principle", but I feel it is very accurate of the people who are saying, "well, he is better than Hatch so we need elect him...and the hell with any other candidate that MIGHT be better."

So, I don't mean to offend you personally but hope that the resentment you feel makes you take a deeper look at what factors you are putting over your own stated principles in order to justify supporting Pawlenty.

I'm hearing from more and more people who (a) are afraid to state publicly their resentment of the internal operations of the GOP and their choice of candidate, but (b) feel the "Party over Principle" phrase is exactly correct.

Thanks for you feedback, Nordeaster...hopefully our disagreements make our positions stronger. After all, we both want fiscal conservativism to rule the country.

June 13, 2006  
Blogger Nordeaster said...


I enjoy this debate. I think it is an important one with some very strong and valid feelings on either side. If you would like I would be happy to engage in the discussion on your show.

You are correct. If polling for Jeffers was close, then of course I would consider her. I'm not sure it's a given that she's a dyed-in-the-wool conservative, but assuming so, then yes she becomes valid candidate.

I would differ and argue that electability is extremely important. It doesn't matter one bit how conservative your candidate is if they don't hold office. No office, no conservativism. Period.

I guess that's the key to our differnce. I would take 30% or 50% of something rather than 80% or 100% of nothing. Others, like yourself may not be willing to make that compromise.

I would sum it up this way. I will always support the most conservative candidate that realistically could win. In a very red district, that means holding the line for a true privatize public schools, repeal the 16th type conservative. In San Francisco it may mean supporting a Feinstein if the alternative is a Pelosi or Boxer.

June 13, 2006  

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