There many good reasons to vote for a candidate. Is his or her supposed electability one of them? I do not think so. However, until I decided to support a Muslim candidate’s campaign for public office, I had not seriously considered the ethics of this question (see Electability Revisited). Effectively, the Muslim candidate’s opponents argued that because he was a Muslim he could not be elected. What they were doing, of course, was using the word “electability” to cover over their own bigotry.
Was I happy that my preferred candidate was a Muslim? No. I would have preferred a Christian, but the individual differences between us far outweigh the religious affiliation we are born with. What I cared most about was what I knew of the man’s character.
This year, with respect to the Republican presidential candidates, some have raised that ugly issue of electability. And who is our most electable candidate? To find out, I googled the numbers.
- mitt romney electable: About 3,930,000 results (0.16 seconds) — The top post in this search is from the Washington Post. It begins this way.
Calling a politician electable is like saying of a restaurant, “The ice water is excellent there.”It’s the faintest possible praise.
Electable. (continued here)
- rick santorum electable: About 2,490,000 results (0.29 seconds) — The top post in this search is from Salon.com. With their first words, they crystallized what they mean by electability.
Rick Santorum is our official anti-Romney candidate, and may well end up being the real-life front-runner for the Republican president nomination after tonight, which presents a bit of a problem for a lot of professional partisan Republican types: No one likes Mitt Romney at all, but Rick Santorum is horrifyingly unelectable. He is a religious fanatic who blames feminazis for telling women it’s “OK” to have jobs outside the home and he is sincerely dedicated to waging a political war not just on abortion but on birth control. These positions are… not terribly popular, except among the old angry white religious men who will definitely vote Republican no matter what for the rest of their government-subsidized lives. (continued here)
- newt gingrich electable: About 317,000 results (0.20 seconds) — Relatively speaking, Gingrich’s electability has not been much discussed — except when he won a certain primary race in South Carolina. Here the Huffington Post provides the top post.
They say Democrats fall in love and Republicans fall in line. Not in South Carolina, they didn’t.
Newt Gingrich insisted that his victory in the South Carolina primary was an act of defiance of the nation’s elites. In his victory speech, Gingrich called it a victory for those “who feel that the elites in Washington and New York have no understanding, no care, no concern, no reliability, and in fact do not represent them at all.”
Gingrich? An anti-establishment outsider? He’s the ultimate Washington insider — a career politician who rose to become Speaker of the House. Later, he grew rich on his Washington connections. (continued here)
- ron paul electable: About 589,000 results (0.22 seconds) — What tops the Google search for Ron Paul is oddly appropriate for a fringe candidate. It is fringe media, Right Wing News.
I’m famously not a fan of Mitt Romney and I’ve endorsed Newt Gingrich; so it’s fair to take what I have to say about Ron Paul with a grain of salt.
But, let’s set aside whether I’m a fan of Ron Paul or not (I’m not) and discuss how electable he may be. Over at Reason, Emily Elkins has written an article called Is Ron Paul Electable? Iowa Says He Might Be. Here’s the gist of it… (continued here)
As the Washington Post makes clear, calling a candidate electable is not a compliment. What is significant is calling a candidate unelectable. That is a slam.
Supposedly, Romney is a clean candidate with a resume that says all the right things. Unfortunately, what Romney’s record says is that he does not firmly stand on principle. With a little research, provided here in 2012 PRESIDENTIAL PROS AND CONS: GENERAL OBSERVATIONS ON MITT ROMNEY, we can see Romney has a long history of flip-flops. Apparently, Romney takes whatever position he thinks best suited to get him elected. Such a man may fit some people’s definition of “clean”, but that sort of “clean” describes a man who cannot be trusted to do the right thing.
Because of what his record says about him, Romney has not run on his record. He has run on the money he has used to fund a negative campaign (see here).
About a week before the Ohio primary, polls showed Rick Santorum with a lead of almost 10 percentage points over Mitt Romney. After the election, his campaign tried to spin it as a victory when Santorum lost by just 10,000 votes. In between, Romney, and his allied superPAC, had outspent the former Pennsylvania senator by a four-to-one margin. The torrent of negative ads the bulk of that money was used on was credited for Romney’s come-from-behind win. (continued here)
In the general election, when Romney is running against the Democratic Party’s establishment’s candidate, a candidate with the money to answer his ads, Romney’s negative campaign ads will not work. As a purely practical matter, that means he cannot simply purchase the White House. He must give people a reason to turn out to vote for him, and he is not doing that. He is just presenting himself as “electable”.
As much as possible, we need to elect someone who stands for the principles on which our nation was founded. But that is not what the establishment wants. What the establishment wants is to use our own government to separate us from our money. That is why they want a “safe” candidate, someone willing to continue the costly, unconstitutional programs that are bankrupting us. That is why — if we love our country — we must vote our conscience. We must vote for the man whose character we most respect.