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Conservatives are Self-destructing

I am not assigned to write about political topics. I really am unqualified to do so. But this is bugging me so badly that I am staying up just to get this off my chest. This is not a polished post, but more of a personal rant, which I rarely do. So take that into consideration as you read it.

Maybe I’ve got my head in the clouds, but I think conservatives (I hate labels, but this is what we’ve got right now) are self-destructing.

I have put off any final decision on whom I would vote for for a long time. I have never believed that there is a natural shoe-in for President. I have tried to weigh carefully my selection. Because I am by nature conservative, I have leaned toward those candidates with more conservative views.

To be more specific, I have vacillated between Ron Paul and Mitt Romney. I like some of both of their platforms. I can see why people would want to support Ron Paul. I like his willingness to buck the system and just try to do what he feels is right, according to the Constitution. People I respect are supporting him full force. I can respect that choice, but only to a point. I think we are very likely past that point.

I finally decided that I needed to back Mitt Romney. You see, all along, I have known in my gut that there is no way on earth Paul could win. I knew it was going to be a real challenge even for Mitt to have a chance. And all along, I have felt that my vote should consider not just my personal views or passions, but should consider how politics work, should consider the big picture. The big picture to me was wanting to get behind someone I knew had a chance, and not have my vote reduce that chance by watering down the potential for someone who at least has some connection with the things that matter most to me (more than those who would be front-runners). At some point, voting only on principle seems like it could be a waste of a vote, and could backfire in a bad way.

Mitt has (or had?) a chance. But conservative candidates and voters are still insisting on holding to that one chance in a million that they (or their candidates) will Win. Huckabee and Paul, in my opinion, don’t stand a chance at this point.

And what is happening in the meantime? Edwards and Giuliani have pulled out, and [edited for clarity] Guiliani has supported McCain. These men got smart and realized that they knew they were fighting a losing battle and would rather that they have some influence by backing out (and possibly backing someone else) than Win. So McCain — a not-conservative guy — has all the more backing now. But Huckabee and Paul keep on going, and their supporters keep on dreaming, and all the while, any hope for anything resembling a conservative platform coming through is quickly fading into the sunset.

At some point, doesn’t it just make sense for conservatives to come together to prevent the kind of situation we are headed toward — where people are thinking about not voting at all if we get to a McCain/Clinton showdown? At what point does voting just on principle become self-destructive? Aren’t there enough of us who have conservative values (in a general sense — I realize there will be differences) that our votes, unified, could make a difference here?

So people don’t want Mitt cuz he’s a Mormon or cuz he’s not _________ enough or doesn’t perfectly match certain principles or beliefs? At some point, shouldn’t the bigger picture, the reality of the situation, come into play? Which is worse – voting for Romney or having to choose between McCain and Clinton (or Obama)?

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe someone left in the race will be better to them than Mitt. ?? If so, who and WHY? (If someone out there is in this position and can explain, I would be genuinely interested.)

I’m not even a fan of two parties, or labels or agendas. I WISH we could buck the system and figure out something better. Again, I haven’t been sold on One Right Candidate during this campaign. But not-politically-savvy though I am, it seems to me that conservatives are at a critical juncture here. We have to work with what we have, and what we have is a situation that is worrying me big time. Mitt is the only person who stands a chance at representing a conservative agenda. I really, really don’t want to be faced with a McCain/Clinton situation, and I doubt there are many conservatives out there who do. So, what are we gonna do about that?

OK. End rambling rant. I’m now going to bed. ‘Nite.

{ 35 comments… add one }

  • facethemusic February 1, 2008, 6:11 am

    I totally agree Michelle. I’m not hard core for any of the candidates. I like what one says about one issue, what another says about a different issue,etc. There really isn’t “one” candidate that I feel is THE guy for the job. It makes me wish the Presidency of the United States ran like the Presidency of the Church. You take the economic genius of Romney, the Constitutional passion of Paul and the unwaivering moral stance of Huckabee and you’ve got one heck of a president.
    A combination of McCain’s military knowledge, Romney’s economics, and Thompson’s border enforcement would make another great president.
    I wish Thompson would have abandoned his Hollywood career longer ago and really dived into the political part of his life with more commitment. If he’d started earlier, he may have been a more viable candidate.
    Either way– I totally agree with you about the conflict facing conservatives. I too have heard conservatives say that they won’t back McCain if he ends up being the nominee.
    I wouldn’t vote for him in the Primaries, but I sure will come November if he’s the nominee.
    Do I agree with all his positions? Absolutely not. But by NOT voting for him, it will give Hillary or Obama the edge. THose who decide not to vote at all will just surrender us to the enemy.

  • Naismith February 1, 2008, 6:53 am

    “And what is happening in the meantime? Edwards and Giuliani have pulled out and supported McCain.”

    At first glance, it made this sound like Edwards is also supporting McCain. Last I heard, Edwards was uncommitted at this point in time.

  • spande2 February 1, 2008, 8:53 am

    Amen, mlinford! Conservatives are idealists and individualists to the point of self-destruction. You hit the nail on the head.

  • east-of-eden February 1, 2008, 9:11 am

    Well said, I think your pragmatic approach is one more people should take, because there is no perfect candidate. In the end, its’ going to be messy either way…God Help us, and I really mean that.

  • Alison Moore Smith February 1, 2008, 11:30 am

    Agreed, Michelle.

    The problem here is that Huckabee wants to be the spoiler. With Guiliani out, he has ALL the power to bargain for himself. He hates Romney and he hates Mormons. I’ll go into shock if he ever endorses Romney–even though most of his supporters would if not urged to do otherwise.

    My guess is that he will try to bargain for a VP spot with McCain. If he stays in, he divides Romney’s vote. If he drops out and supports McCain, many of his supporters will follow along.

    A vote for Huckabee is a vote for McCain.
    A vote for Paul is a vote for McCain.

    P.S. I won’t vote for McCain if he gets the nod.

  • davidson February 1, 2008, 11:30 am

    And if we really want God to help us, shouldn’t we vote for a candidate who is accustomed to seeking revelation in all aspects of his life, not just the political ones, and who has lived in such a manner as to render himself worthy to receive revelation? Regardless of party affiliation? Wouldn’t that be a crucial qualification, with the wind-blown status of our nation and world, if we want and expect positive change? Don’t we have an obligation, we who understand the need for God, to promote the greatest opportunity for His involvement in our political process? Theocracy is the ideal political situation. The next closest thing to having a King of Kings and Lord of Lords governing us in perfection is to have to have an intelligent, God-seeking, God-fearing mortal man at the helm of our nation. His worthiness to receive revelation, to me, is not one of the things that matters; it is the ONLY thing that matters, our very best hope. A man who has been a bishop and a stake president has learned the absolute necessity of leaning on the Lord to solve problems in the most effective way.

    If you want to skip this part, feel free. A wise man said, “The only thing anyone ever learns from history is that no one ever learns anything from history.” Our scriptures are history at its finest.
    Remember Elisha and the Syrian king? Story time.

    When the king of Syria warred against Israel, the Syrians camped in a secret place. The Lord told the Israelite prophet Elisha, through revelation, where the Syrian king and his armies were hiding.
    Elisha promptly told the king of Israel, so the Israelite armies had the heaven-helped advantage.
    The king of Syria learned of it, which made him angry. He searched carefully among his men, seeking to find the perpetrator of the betrayal. Finally a servant said, in essence, “None of our men betrayed us, O king. The Lord told the Israelite prophet Elisha where we were; that’s how they knew.”
    The angry king sent the Syrian armies and horses and chariots by night to surround the Israelites.
    When the servant of the prophet Elisha woke in the morning and saw the Syrian armies surrounding
    them, he was dismayed. The servant said in alarm, “Alas, my master, how shall we do?”

    This is one of my favorite scriptures of all time, found in 2 Kings 6:15-16: “And (Elisha) answered,
    “Fear not, FOR THEY THAT BE WITH US ARE MORE THAN THEY THAT BE WITH THEM.” And Elisha prayed and said, “Lord, I pray thee, open (my servant’s) eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and behold, the mountain was FULL of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.”

    The chariots of fire can come for us and our nation, if we invite them by choosing a leader who will seek and receive heavenly help. Our founding fathers certainly believed in it. Think of the
    prophet/kings and prophet/judges in the Book of Mormon who were successful because they sought, not the separation of church and state, but the total incorporation of them. They didn’t have politics in one pocket of their lives and religion in a separate pocket. Seeking the opportunity for inspiration can’t be something we talk about on Sunday and then forget about in the political arena.

  • mlinford February 1, 2008, 2:14 pm

    Naismith, thanks for the clarification. Rant mode makes me sloppy. :)

    Alison, that’s part of what bugs me about this. It feels that Huckabee doesn’t really care about the conservatives, he cares about undermining Romney at all costs and promoting himself. Ugh.

  • davidson February 1, 2008, 3:24 pm

    Quoting Tracy: “You take the economic genius of Romney, the Constitutional passion of Paul and the unwaivering moral stance of Huckabee and you’ve got one heck of a president. A combination of McCain’s military knowledge, Romney’s economics, and Thompson’s border enforcement would make another great president.”

    The economic genius of Romney, the Constitutional passion of Paul, the moral stance of Huckabee, McCain’s military knowledge, Romney’s economics, and Thompson’s border enforcement are not the traits of men, but the passions and gifts of God, manifest in men. Putting an inspired man in office would make all of those things available to us through revelation, if the inspired man sought it in appropriate ways.

  • davidson February 1, 2008, 3:25 pm

    And by the way, Michelle, your column was great. I should have said that first.

  • Ray February 1, 2008, 8:28 pm

    Nice, Michelle.

    Frankly, McCain/Hucakbee is my idea of the ticket from Hell – especially since I’m not convinced McCain is healthy enough to last four years (only a slight exaggeration), and the thought of “Pres. Huckabee” scares my to the depths of my soul. Unbridled bigotry is not my idea of a good quality for the White House.

  • Alison Moore Smith February 3, 2008, 6:31 pm

    Amen to that, Ray. Sincerely, a 72-year old beginnning his tenure as president?

  • Ray February 3, 2008, 6:37 pm

    with a history of health problems, no less.

  • Alison Moore Smith February 3, 2008, 6:39 pm

    Of course, his history of moral problems is of greater concern to me.

  • Ray February 3, 2008, 6:56 pm

    Nice. and the debate yesterday highlighted just how desperate he is. His “Rmoney supported troop withdrawal from Iraq” stance is so blatantly false that it is pathetic. When even a newspaper that endorsed you (The Washington Post) calls you a liar, it’s bad – and his justification in the debate was so hilarious that it almost made me feel sorry for him.

  • mlinford February 3, 2008, 10:51 pm

    Amen to that, Ray. Sincerely, a 72-year old beginnning his tenure as president?

    This sort of cracks me up as we are about to sustain an 80-year old president and just buried a 97-year-old one. Make no mistake, I don’t want McCain for a leader, but I think his age really doesn’t hold water as a reason he shouldn’t lead. :tongue::devil:

  • mlinford February 3, 2008, 10:52 pm

    hen even a newspaper that endorsed you (The Washington Post) calls you a liar, it’s bad

    frightening. yikes. aaaaaack!

  • spande2 February 3, 2008, 11:16 pm

    When a man’s health is being sustained through the will of God, because of that man’s righteousness, I think things are a whole lot different than they would be for a man who clearly isn’t interested in furthering God’s work or in having God’s help.

  • mlinford February 4, 2008, 1:19 am

    When a man’s health is being sustained through the will of God, because of that man’s righteousness, I think things are a whole lot different than they would be for a man who clearly isn’t interested in furthering God’s work or in having God’s help.

    I totally agree, but I still thought it was a funny comment at this particular time. Don’t take it too seriously, though, folks. :)

  • spande2 February 4, 2008, 8:05 am

    Don’t worry. I wasn’t offended, just making a distinction. :)

  • mollymormon February 5, 2008, 6:32 pm

    I agree with some things you are saying here.

    I believe that we should vote according to what the D&C says: 10 Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil.

    That’s not to say that if you vote for Romney, you’re not following this. But I get tired of being told that I have to vote for someone solely so someone else doesn’t win. When you say a vote for RP or MH is a vote for McCain, then the scenario where it looks like Hilary is going to win and you vote for someone other than McCain (including NO ONE), you’re voting for Hilary. In other words, you MUST vote for McCain so Hilary doesn’t win. I don’t like that logic, even if it might work that way. I still want to be able to vote my conscience, NOT the lesser of two evils.

    I think that one BIG problem is that we can all see who everyone else is voting for. Not on an individual level, but across the nation. The states who have their primaries near the end are definitely swayed by how the earlier state votes went. Another problem, of course, is the biased media. I have heard so many people say that Ron Paul is a great candidate, but he’s not “electable” so they won’t vote for him. I’m not even saying you should vote for Ron Paul, I’m just also getting tired of people saying that.

    A vote for Ron Paul or Huckabee is not a vote for McCain, it’s a vote for the candidate that you’d like to see win. (And especially not true in the State of Utah.)

    I suspect huckabee is shooting to be able to pick up the VP spot to McCain. That’s probably why they made the back room deal with McCain’s people in West Virginia – to shut out Romney for the Huckabee win. And then Romney acted all put out and whiny about it. Shouldn’t he have guessed that might have happened? I’m not even sure that Romney *can* win because he doesn’t seem to play as dirty politics as the others. (Totally random political musing for you.)

    Personally, I don’t think that Mitt Romney is an economics genius, he’s a business genius. That’s not the same thing. Ron Paul is actually the one who understands economics. I am not against Romney, I just prefer Paul. I don’t agree with everything Ron Paul says, but I do agree with most of it.

    I didn’t even vote for Ron Paul today. Actually, I didn’t vote for anyone. I’ve been sick, got two sick kids and dh and babysitting-age kids all out of town. Ugh!

  • spande2 February 5, 2008, 7:41 pm

    Don’t worry about all of that, Molly. We’re going to vote for Hillary so that McCain doesn’t win. :)

  • spande2 February 5, 2008, 7:44 pm

    Sorry you didn’t get to vote. By the way, if Ron Paul hadn’t been in the race, Romney would probably have had 70 more votes the first round. I’m not sure how many he needed to win on the first round, but Paul may have cost Romney West Virginia by being there when he knew he wasn’t going to win. And, I doubt it will make you feel any better, but I wouldn’t vote for Paul because I don’t agree with him, not because he isn’t electable. Does that help? :)

  • Alison Moore Smith February 5, 2008, 8:14 pm

    Yea, just what I said up there:

    Washington Backroom Deal

    Where do I sign up to campaign for Obama?

  • mlinford February 5, 2008, 9:36 pm

    Molly,
    I agree with you. In the end, we do need to vote our conscience, and that includes that scripture (although I think it is awfully hard to cut to the core of who is really a good person in politics).

    I do think that our conscience can take us a variety of different directions, and my conscience wants conservatism to live. We need to seek for good people, but I also think there is that element of standing for truth and righteousness within platforms that comes into play (not just voting people-specific alone)– especially in a political system where it is next to impossible to find people who are actually trustworthy, through and through.

    I ended up voting for Mitt for all of these reasons. I don’t think he is perfect, but I think he is a good man who is not afraid to stand up for what he thinks is good (we saw this in MA with gay marriage, for example) and I don’t think any of the candidates will be better with helping the economy. I think he is savvy and smart and able. And I do think having a person of faith in the office is a huge plus.

    And I don’t want to see liberalism take over our country. So it all came into play for me.

  • spande2 February 5, 2008, 9:59 pm

    This is very interesting. mlinford (are you Michelle?), you said “we saw this in MA with gay marriage”. Would you elaborate a little? This is one of the things I’ve been trying to tell people in Utah since day 1–that Mitt is not responsible for gay marriage in MA, that he tried in the best way he knew how to stop it. Is that what you just said? Or do I misunderstand what you’re saying?

    On the back room deal in West Va.: It could very well be that it will cost Mitt the election. Until that moment Huckabee wasn’t in the race. He hardly registered in the polls and he wasn’t expected to make a showing. His “taking” WV changed the momentum completely. He went from there to take several states that Romney and McCain had either been expected to win or were running neck in neck in. Amazing what a couple of votes here and there can do.

  • Ray February 5, 2008, 9:59 pm

    Obama is being declared the winner in Utah. Way to go, everyone out there!

  • spande2 February 5, 2008, 10:05 pm

    Don’t thank me, Ray. I didn’t help with that.

  • Ray February 5, 2008, 10:19 pm

    The following article is the best, most concise explanation of why Mitt Romney will lose the nomination:

    National Review Online article

    Add the WV craziness, with McCain and Huckabee joining forces, and Romney is done.

  • spande2 February 5, 2008, 10:35 pm

    I’m not sure that the WV craziness isn’t to blame for the way the whole day went. And that is what decided how electoral votes will break down. Had Romney kept the momentum he went into the week with (and Huck kept his lack thereof), Romney would have done better in every state. WV started the ball rolling in the wrong direction. I doubt even McCain realized what he was starting. BUT it isn’t over yet!! Arizona isn’t at the final count yet, as far as I know and neither is California. And after today, there are still 900 electoral votes left–sooo, I won’t tear all my hair out yet.

  • agardner February 5, 2008, 10:51 pm

    CNN is predicting McCain in both Arizona and California. Since California is a porportional state, it will be interesting to see how many delegates he picks up there.

  • Ray February 6, 2008, 12:00 am

    FYI, Clinton is claiming a great victory, since they are saying Obama didn ?t do as well as her people thought he would. He won at least 13 states to her 8, including Missouri (where her camp had claimed victory earlier); they essentially split the delegates and the actual vote; Obama has a very good chance to take a decent lead after the contests over the next two months; etc.

    Great victory tonight, Hillary. At least, interesting spin.

    Also, the talking heads are questioning whether Romney will stay in the race or if he will bow out – leaving it a two man race. Romney won more states than Huckabee (even with the WV deal); he now has more delegates than Huckabee, and it’s not very close; he smashed Huckabee in the total actual vote today; etc.

    It is fascinating to see the bias of the coverage showing so clearly.

  • agardner February 6, 2008, 7:08 am

    I agree with you about the media coverage, Ray. I just want to scream at them!

    Huckabee was very lucky in the fact that last night was most of the south. I cannot see him winning any other states, including Louisiana which is where I live. In every other state that is left, Romney and McCain are likely to switch off in first and second position. Last night was a big victory for Huckabee, but it’s all he’s going to get, and for the most part it was states that he was expected to win. No huge shockers.

    I’m discouraged this morning, but I do hope that Romney will stay in and keep the dialogue open.

  • east-of-eden February 6, 2008, 7:50 am

    Now the talking heads are calling Huck a “regional candidate” which I agree with. People outside of the south don’t like what he’s peddling. I think he is manuvering himself to be the Mc-Vice President, which if McCain is smart he would do.

    Romney has said he will fight on to the convention, and there are still many states to vote in the next few weeks, although I don’t see anything being able to stop the McCain-mobile (sadness!). I am frustrated to see the Media’s bias against Romney and the school yard games that we’ve witnessed in the last few days from McCain and Huck.

    As for what happened in W-Va, Romney led on the first ballot in that state, but their rules dictate that the winner have a majority, so they had to vote again. This is when the collusion began…blech!

    Right now in New Mexico, only 117 votes seperate Hillary and Obama — which will mean weeks of re-counts, and no doubt some fraud which is one of our election time specialties here in the Land of Enchantment, I really hope Obama takes it here though. I would reall like to see someone other than Hillary take the cake.

    It was good however to watch the election go down here in our state. Even though it was only a Dem Caucus, over 156K people turned out to vote compared with 16K from 4 years ago. It left the NM Dem Party very underprepared (no ballots in some places, running out of ballots, need of more polling places, voting on scrap paper in some places, etc). As a Republican here, I know my vote will not matter in the General Election (as winner takes all in the electoral count), because no matter who is the Dem-Nom, the state will go that way, but I am excited to see the interest and turn out this cycle.

  • mlinford February 9, 2008, 12:20 am

    This is very interesting. mlinford (are you Michelle?), you said “we saw this in MA with gay marriage”. Would you elaborate a little? This is one of the things I’ve been trying to tell people in Utah since day 1–that Mitt is not responsible for gay marriage in MA, that he tried in the best way he knew how to stop it. Is that what you just said? Or do I misunderstand what you’re saying?

    Yes, I’m Michelle, and yes, you understood me correctly. Mitt made it clear when the judges made their decisions, that he didn’t want them to make those choices, but he couldn’t change what they did.

    Sorry it took so long to respond.

  • spande2 February 9, 2008, 10:24 am

    Thank you, Michelle!

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