Vote Competence

2 November, 2008

One of my friends is a Republican. Dyed in the wool, lifelong Republican.  He also rationalizes to an unbelievable extent.  Why is he voting for McCain and Palin?  A couple of reasons.  Abortion (he seems to think that Republicans would actually shoot that cash cow).  Taxes (he seems to think that Obama will raise his taxes and McCain will cut them).  Competence (he seems to think that during the last seven years and nine months the nation has been run with competence).

Competence?  Competence?  I asked him to name one thing that the Bush administration has done right. 

He couldn’t.  Now, remember, he is a thoroughly brain washed theocratic Republican.  Yet, when asked flat out, even he could not name anything that the Bushites had done right.

Their record on taxes, the economy, the national debt, the prosecution of the Afghanistan war, support of the Constitution, the decision to invade Iraq, the Iraq occupation, energy policy, health care, improving the law enforcement response to terrorists, supporting and being supported by our allies, supporting veterans and appointing competent judges.  Every thing that this administration has tried to do has turned to shit.  As individuals and as a nation, we are immeasurable worse off than we were at this time eight years ago.  This administration has proven the bankruptcy of conservatism:  moral, ethical, financial, and political.

My friend argues that the reason Bush is a failure is he was not conservative enough.  McCain and Palin are true conservatives who can make America great.

Not conservative enough?  If modern conservatives agree on anything, it is that Saint Ronald is the be all and end all of modern conservatism.  Of course, he left office with a bigger government than he inherited.  He raised taxes.  He worked with the Democrats in congress.  He compromised.  He talked to our enemies.  By today’s modern standards, Reagan was a failure as a conservative. 

Bush, however, has tried to do all that Reagan said he would.  Of course, he also ended up with a bigger government and higher debt, but his deregulation mania, anti-environmentalism, tax cuts for the rich and abuse of the poor were exactly what Reagan promised.  He out-Reaganed Reagan.  And out failed him, too.

Bush approaches any question in the same way.  He does not wonder what will work.  Instead, he lets his conservative belief override competence and pragmatism.  He is the embodiment of conservatism.  To argue that he was not conservative enough is to argue that fish are not wet enough, a newborn is not young enough, Mick Jaggar is not weird enough.  Another true conservative could very well destroy America through ideological incompetence.

I argued with him, discussed this with him, too long.  He will still vote McCain.  My vote will, in the state of Pennsylvania, cancel his out.

I cannot tell him how to vote.  I cannot tell anyone how to vote.  I can cajole, argue, discuss, reason, but I cannot tell.  What I can do is tell people to vote.  (And if someone from California reads this, please vote no on Proposition Hate.)



  1. I vote on the Arts. Obama is perfect when it comes to that:


    Great blog, thanks.

  2. Fullbodytransplant: Thanks for stopping by. I tend to vote environment and education. But support for the arts (or as a subject for the arts) works, too.

  3. FBT – I read your post on Obama and the arts. As a former music educator, I like what Obama had to say. Thanks for highlighting it. I liked the art work in your post too. 🙂

    (((Billy))) – I know people who will vote Republican for at least two of the reasons your friend will: abortion and taxes. They’ll also vote Republican because they believe that the Republican party aligns more closely with their Christian values than the Democratic party does. Even worse, they listen to Sarah Palin’s press coverage and her words (while completely ignoring reports of her deeds) and think that she’s a True Christian whom they should support. (She may be a particular sort of Christian, but she’s not the sort of Christian I would emulate if I were inclined toward a life of faith.) In their view, an incompetent (they’d never use that term, of course) fundogelical Christian in the Oval Office is more desirable than a competent person whose Christian faith may be, in their view, doctrinally unsound, or, worse yet, a competent person who’s not a Christian at all. Unfortunately, as you seem to have discovered, there is no reasoning with such believers.

  4. On a positive note, I just talked to a young guy the other day who told me his super-Republican parents are voting for Obama because Palin is so obviously incompetent.

    On the other hand, there’s an interesting article here on conservatives and competence. Here’s a good point from it:

    “If government is necessary, bad government, at least for conservatives, is inevitable, and conservatives have been exceptionally good at showing just how bad it can be. Hence the truth revealed by the Bush years: Bad government–indeed, bloated, inefficient, corrupt, and unfair government–is the only kind of conservative government there is. Conservatives cannot govern well for the same reason that vegetarians cannot prepare a world-class boeuf bourguignon: If you believe that what you are called upon to do is wrong, you are not likely to do it very well.”

  5. I’ve seen your friend a few hundred times around here, heard that things and the gov’t “aren’t conservative enough”.

    Ever since Reagan I’ve had the feeling that it was all a very large number of my fellow “citizens” could do to keep leaping to their feet, right hand raised, yelling “Sieg, heil”.

    The election may be done tomorrow, but the installation of the new prez ain’t a done deal by a long shot.

  6. Some people need things to be true so badly they simply will themselves to believe they are. For instance, in my head, the Chiefs are 7-0. 😉

    So people believe McCain will lower their taxes, they’ll walk on fluffy clouds after they die, and that smoking won’t harm them for instance.

  7. Chappie: Be careful, you’re starting to sound like Ric. I agree, though, that for one issue (or two issue) voters, competence is not even a factor to be considered. Makes me wonder how they decide on a doctor.

    C.L. I hereby award you a “Gurney Halleck” for coming up with the perfect quote ex post facto.

    Sarge: The whole ‘not-conservative-enough’ syndrome reminds me of the way that, for instance, the Pol Pot regime began to destroy itself in its search for enemies — enemy became, you aren’t enthusiastic enough.

    Philly: Didn’t they beat your nemesis, Denver? They seem to be having a better year than usual — it’s November and the Chiefs have more than one win.

    The key, which many of you have mentioned, is the word belief — the ability to think something true despite either no evidence, or contrary evidence.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: