Sunday, October 22, 2006

Decisions...decisions...

Like many conservatives these days, I'm disappointed. Topics like judicial nominees, pork, illegal immigration, government spending, taxes ... many of the issues which I, personally, think are key to core conservative principles seem to be less of a priority than they should be.

I've looked at the candidates and their positions and I find that I disagree with the stance that many have taken on the issues I think are most important. And I don't believe that I'm alone in this thinking, which leads to a dilemma...whom to vote for?

I know that it's not realistic to expect to agree with a candidate on everything - I don't even agree with my husband on everything - so I have to determine who I agree with the most. And that continues to be, for the most part, the Republicans who are on the ballot this year.

I think that a lot of people are going to make their ballot choices on the same basis. My father always told me never to vote for a person based solely upon their political party - but to know their positions, their votes and their stance on issues that were important to me.

So while many of the Republicans don't get a 100% score on my issues test, they get much better scores than their Democrat opponents. If I want my perspectives represented by elected officials, I'm better off voting for someone I agree with 75% of the time rather than someone I agree with only 15% of the time.

And because I don't think that I'm alone in this perspective, I don't believe what many are saying: that Republicans are going to 'sit out' this year's elections. I think most Republicans - and conservatives - realize that if they want their core philosophies reflected in government, their best hope is in the Republicans on the ballot - even if they are sometimes disappointed in certain votes those individuals make.

UPDATE: I wanted to add this quote from the Patriot Post:

“The people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave, and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities... If the next centennial does not find us a great nation... it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces.” —James A. Garfield

13 comments:

Kate said...

Thanks for this well thought out post. It accurately describes the position I am in as well. As a (someone recently said this to me, and I thought what a smart woman - that is right) social liberal with conservative positions on ethical and fiscal policies, I'm in a very tough position.

It is difficult, indeed, to decide WHO to vote for. None of the candidates (I thought I had found one but was disappointed) have much to say about their aspirations for the office they run for. None seem to possess the capacity to discuss any agenda, goals or hopes. None seem able to discuss anything other than their opponent. They make and pay for advertising that mentions them, not at all - excepting in the closing line.

Why would you vote for someone who has nothing they want to accomplish in office? And who do you vote for if they each have no desire to perform in office?

Hooda Thunkit said...

Maggie,
That’s exactly what I’m doing this year, and from now on, for that matter.

I’m trying as best as I can, to ignore the candidate’s party affiliation and look solely at his/her positions on the issues and how faithfully to his/her positions that his prior/her votes, if any, have reflected his or her previously stated positions.

With all of the mud/filth/dirt that has been thrown this year though, it is going to be particularly difficult to choose wisely.

Try as I might though, I see this year's election as a choosing of the lesser of the two weasels. . .

Rusty said...

For the first time in my life I am going to vote a straight party ticket - straight Democrat.

I will vote for Democrats I don't like and Democrats I don't know.

The GOP, my GOP, is a rotten mess at both the Ohio and national level. Rotten to the core.

Bush is a sock puppet for Cheney and Blackwell has gone to the looney fringe.

Ronald Reagan must be rolling over in his grave.

The only cure for the GOP is to lose and start over again. If we win by a hair Ken Melhman and Bob Bennett will declare a mandate. Good grief.

And Ms. Thurber, why did you not take the honorable course of action and resign? Why are you appealing a small penalty (compared to federal prison anyway)?

Kate said...

Well I guess that's what you get for asking the tough questions Maggie.

I'd like to thank you for putting yourself out for public discussion. If each of our politicians would do so - things would indeed run quite alot better.

As for me, after reading that Rusty is voting the straight Dem party ticket - it makes me feel more favorable to the Rep ticket.

I don't like people like that and don't want anything to do with a party that attracts 'em.

Maggie Thurber said...

Rusty, I understand people taking the same position you have.

I agree that a win by the GOP could make them think that they've got a mandate - but I don't think that every GOPer will win - especially on the national level. I think we'll lose seats and it will be a 'scare' if they hang on to a majority by a thin margin.

While some of the GOP candidates deserve to lose and the party needs to be sent a message about its failure to follow conservative principles, the American public does not, IMHO, deserve to be subjected to the socialistic policies many of the Democrat leaders are promoting.

I also think that the nation cannot risk having the Democrats in charge of directing our foreign policy. I'm not saying I agree with EVERY decision made so far, but they're much better decisions than the path the Democratic Party is promoting.

My questions to Rusty - and those like him - are: have you given up on conservative principles that you want the Democratic Party principles promoted instead - or are you just mad that the Republicans in office aren't acting like you think they should? If you're afraid of the Republicans thinking they have a mandate to continue, imagine the mandate the Dems will think THEY have if a bunch of Republicans vote for them instead.

Maggie Thurber said...

This is a link to a cartoon at BrainShavings (a State of Ohio Blogger) which illustrates the point...(not that I'm calling anyone a 'cut-and-run' conservative)

http://www.brainshavings.com/2006/
10/cutandrun_conservatives_illust.html

Do said...

Maggie - as usual, you have provided a thought provoking post.

While I am registered as a Democrat, that doesn't mean that I agree with every theory/value that they purport as a party. There are some Republican values that I can identify with, too. Largely I would like to think of myself as a 'independent' thinker.

When I choose candidates to support it's not based on their party. In fact, that's the LAST piece of the puzzle. It's not even about their ideas - mainly because those ideas are pretty 'vanilla' in general.

I like to hear what a person has to say, then I want to hear them come up with a real plan on how to ACHIEVE the goals. Anyone can have an idea, but many don't think it through to the point they have a plan for implementation.

There are good and bad on both sides of the fence. Just like in any other circumstance.

It is our responsibility to garner as much information as possible, sort out that information, and make a rational and INFORMED decision.

Lisa Renee said...

I think the problem lies when either party has a large majority and is in power for too long. Sometimes it's hard for me to hear candidates talk about how we need to end the years of the Republican rule when here locally we have had years of Democratic rule. It seems hypocritical to want to end one yet keep the other, but I guess that's just human nature.

If we placed more emphasis on individual characteristics of a candidate rather than the R or the D behind their name I think we'd be better off. If we made sure that we tried to obtain what our government was designed for which is a balance, we'd be better off. If compromise was more of an option rather than one party having a majority to be able to force thru what they want the minority be damned, we'd be better off.

Yet in the end it is said we get the government we deserve, which is true since it is our vote that allows these elected officials into office and frankly some of us don't take enough care or caution with that decision. I can no more vote for a person just because they are a Democrat than I could vote against someone just because they are a Republican or vice versa.

Until we demand quality candidates from the political parties or scrap them, most times we aren't even given the choice of who we want, backroom deals or power plays select the candidates not "we the people" especially in primary races where time after time candidates feel they should drop out or fall for the promises offered to them if they drop out.

In other words, until "we the people" take back some of the power we've allowed political parties to have and select who is the best candidate for that position rather than who is endorsed or who is which party, we are never going to see real progress. The Republicans didn't cause this mess alone, nor can merely replacing them with Democrats fix all of it either. It's going to take selecting candidates that are willing to work to do their best for "we the people" and not party first.

Personally a nice balance of Democrats and Republicans in office rather than all of one or the other would force them to work together. I think that would be true for not only the City, the County or the State but the Federal Government as well. I'd also wish for a few independents, greens and libertarians as well but then I'd really be in fantasy land.

:-)

Maggie Thurber said...

As usual, Lisa, your common sense shows - thank goodness!

I agree with you - I don't vote for (or against) a person because of their party affiliation.

Something a wise public servant told me once...If you, as an elected official, focus on the 'business' of government, your party affiliation won't matter. If you look at your position as a way to advance your politics, the public loses.

We need people in government who are more interested in governing than in politics. I just don't know if that's possible any more...

Wasn't it Ben Franklin who said we had a republic - if we could keep it?

-Sepp said...

Vote Libertarian! They're Republicans without the snobishness and Democrats without the socialism. A good mix of freedom AND responsibility.

I just sick of the self-rightous Republicans who preach one thing and do another and, the soviet democrats who think the only answer is to have the state control every aspect of our lives.
Both of those parties can take a flying ...leap as far as I'll ever be concerned again.

historymike said...

I could vote Republican if it were not for the dominance of the extreme social conservatives.

Far too much GOP energy is being spent appeasing the anti-gay and anti-abortion extremists.

Plus, the GOP cannot claim the mantle of fiscal conservatism any more, what with the record-setting deficits GWB has been accruing.

Stay out of my wallet, my bedroom, and my computer, and you have my vote.

Unfortunately, all we get from the Dems these days is: "Hey - at least we are not the Republicans."

I agree with Lisa that entrenched parties need to be regularly thrown out. A thorough housecleaning every 8 years or so keeps 'em honest, IMHO.

Brian said...

An interesting quote from President Garfield. The only conclusion one can draw from such a idea this year is that a vote for Republicans (at the federal and state level, this doesn't necessarily apply to the local level) is a vote for tolerance of "ignorance, recklessness, and corruption."

Our federal government has rarely, if ever, been so ignorant, reckless and corrupt in its policies and actions. That is a function of the Republican leadership and, sadly, the current state of the Republican Party. Although there are good Republican candidates, the systemic problems with the party weigh far heavier on our nation than any one candidate's integrity and principle.

Sadly, the only hope to right the ship is to vote Democrat. Even where the individual may not be the superior choice. Let's not forget that the rank-and-file Republicans in Congress have done little, if anything, to break us free of our leadership mess. Our only option is to teach them a lesson. All of them.

To anyone interested in how to change the Republican Party back into the Party for the people, I would highly recommend reading Andrew Sullivan's blog on Time's website.

Maggie Thurber said...

Good points, Brian. But I don't believe in throwing out the baby with the bathwater - which, if I understand correctly, is what you're advocating when you say that party problems outweigh the individual. I think we'd all be better off voting for the individual (rather than the party) in all cases.

I think I like today's column by Dennis Prager on Townhall.com. I don't agree with everything he says, but people who are conservative will find many logical points that are not related to emotion.

Are you happy with Republican spending? If not, do you really think spending will decrease if the Democrats are in control? It never has and there's no reason to expect anything different if they gain control this election season.

Are you happy with the lack of enforcement in our immigration laws? If not, do you think open borders and blanket amnesty, as promoted by the Democrat leadership will be better?

Are you happy with judicial appointments? Do you think Democrats will be more likely to confirm constitutionalist or activist judges?

Do you like the tax cuts? Do you think Democrats will make them permanent or repeal them?

Do you think there should be tort reform? Do you think the Democrats, who get more money from trial lawyers than Republicans, will do anything in this regard?

As Prager says to conservatives:

"Finally, please remember that it was disaffected Republicans who voted for Ross Perot who helped elect Bill Clinton president, and it was disaffected Democrats who voted for Ralph Nader who helped elect George W. Bush president. Unless you run yourself, dear annoyed Republican, you will never find an ideal candidate. Compared to you and your conservative principles, real-life Republicans are indeed a failure. But compared to real-life Democrats, they are almost giants.

Vote out of anger, and you'll either vote Democrat or stay home. Vote out of reason, and you'll vote Republican. Please choose reason. If you don't like the Republican candidate, the place to get rid of him is in the primary, not the general election. The general election is not between good Republicans and irresponsible Republicans; it's between Republicans and Democrats.


I think the last point is the most logical. Of course, you shouldn't vote just for party - you should vote for the individual who is the best qualified - regardless of what you think of the parties.

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