Time to think locally?

There’s an idea that conservatives or liberals should, come election day, shut up and vote for the Republican or Democrat ‘their’ party nominates. That idea is good for politicians of both parties, and bad for everyone else. The only influence any voter has is his vote. If he makes a lot of noise and demands, but the pols know he will show up in November to hold his nose and vote, they’ll feed him lots of rhetoric and little else. I’m through voting for the lesser evil, unless maybe to divide the government – a government that’s paralyzed is better for the country than an all-Republican government, though recent experience shows either is better than putting the Democrats in charge of the federal budget.

Republicans in Congress, and the presidential candidates of course, speak compellingly about the budget and abortion; yet NPR is still funded, and what action there has been on reducing abortion has been by states, towns, and churches. Democrats are eloquent about bringing the soldiers home and soaking the rich, but the US military is engaged in four countries – Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Yemen – and the US Treasury hands out money and waivers like candy, if your business is big enough. We had historic elections in 2008 and 2010, yet somehow there were no historic changes in Washington, either way.

Well, the Democrats spent us into insolvency in the two years they controlled the Congress and the White House, but other than bankrupting the biggest economy in the world, no big changes. The Republicans never would have bankrupted the nation that quickly. Oh, and the Democrats gave us the TSA’s Scope-n-grope procedures. I guess that loss of civil rights is kind of historic. The Republicans would never have let the TSA do that; they’d have contracted it out to a private company.

This election cycle, conservatives might do better to focus on local and state races. It’s unfortunate when conservatives insist we vote Republican to get our guys in charge of the federal government. This scheme has two problems. First, the Republicans are not ‘our guys.’ They are their own guys. The Republican party exists to elect Republicans, not to advance conservatism, preserve the Republic, or support the Constitution. Second, using the power of the federal government to fix things is distinctly the big-government liberal-Democrat goal that we conservatives should frustrate. We can’t do that by replacing big-government Democrats with big-government Republicans. That only leads to, you know, big government.

Democrat or Republican, most politicians listen to the same amoral technocratic elitists who have driven our industry off-shore with leveraged buyouts and insane regulation. Big government will not ever shrink itself, no matter who we send to Washington. Putting the right people on the city council and in the state legislature, and watching those people closely, could make a bigger difference. Anyway, it might be worth a try.


2 Replies to “Time to think locally?”

  1. While I agree in principle. I think you still need to make wise decisions for voting at the federal level. I think it would have been great if 70 years ago Americans made a policy of electng 50% Republican and 50% Democrats, federal government wouldn’t have accomplished anything. I think that is pretty much optimal in most circumstances. Unfortunately at this point we actually need something done in order to fix what has been done.

    1. Yeah, to undo what’s been over-done, someone has to vote; NPR won’t de-fund itself after all. You’re right, but to get things (un)done we have to be willing to lose an election. There might be some short-term pain, but not as much as the pols claim. The Republican says “vote for me or the Democrats will cut and run in Afghanistan.” No they won’t. They’ll send more troops to Afghanistan, keep troops in Iraq forever, and bomb Libya to boot. The Democrat says “vote for me or the Republicans will de-fund NPR.” No they won’t. They’ll increase funding less than the Democrats want. They might de-fund the Nevada Cowboy Poetry Festival, but just so they can pay for their own competing earmark, probably in Branson.

      The Democrats do nothing for African-Americans, because 80% always vote Democrat. The candidate doesn’t need to do anything but damn racism and have a ‘D’ after his name. Republicans would love for conservatives to act the same way. They want fiscal conservatives to be content with slower national bankruptcy. They want social conservatives to shut up about abortion and gay marriage, and be content with a few not-insanely-liberal judges. The pols don’t hate Obamacare, they see it as something they can run against for the next 50 years. They’ll promise to repeal it, but that’s just rhetoric for the faithful. They won’t do anything more significant than force us to buy insurance from different corporations.

      Republicans have a big advantage competing for my vote – there are no pro-life Democrats at the national level. There are just Democrats like Bart Stupak who talk pro-life, but vote for abortion when it comes down to it. As a moral principle, I won’t vote for anyone who isn’t so opposed to abortion that people work against him for that reason. To that extent I’m a captive voter myself, and I still plan to vote in the federal election. But I may focus on the local and state races this cycle, and not worry about who goes to Washington, because it doesn’t seem to make much difference. But, the Republicans control the purse now; we’ll see what they do about the debt ceiling. It’s their last chance to act like statesmen.

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