Gibson: Wait a minute! Are you out of your mind? You can’t pull agents off a priority surveillance to follow your wife! It’s gross misappropriation of Sector resources! It’s . . . it’s a breach of national security! You copy, Harry? This is too far. You’re losing it big-time. I have to stop you.
Tasker: What are you going to do? Tell?
Gibson: G*dd#mmit, Harry, this is both our butts. So your life is in the toilet. So your wife is banging a used car salesman. Sure, it’s humiliating. But take it like a man.
—Tom Arnold as Albert Gibson, and Arnold Schwarzenegger as Harry Tasker in True Lies
I’ve mentioned a couple of times my growing frustration with The Mike Church Show on Sirius/XM. King Dude used to be my preferred morning drive time programming. But as we got into this election cycle, he went off the cliff over Ron Paul. That was fine to a point.
But he won’t let it go.
Even this week, Church’s commentary has been inundated with Ron Paul this, and Rand Paul that. He moans on and on about Ron Paul not being on the list of GOP convention speakers (I note his son Rand is actually on the speaker list two days). And when he’s not pimping for Ron Paul, he’s endlessly trashing Mitt Romney for not being Ron Paul.
Mr. Church, does Ron Paul have photos of you hottubbing with Satan?
Look, I share your frustration with the Republican establishment. I understand that the GOP has been a large part of the expanding government problem. And I am sympathetic to much of the Libertarian message Paul espouses (although I won’t go with him on things like legalizing drugs or complete isolationism, and the whole Lew Rockwell connection and Paul’s affinity for bizarre conspiracy theories is a little creepy). But at some point all of you Paul disciples need to come to grips with the reality that Ron Paul is not going to be the Republican nominee for President. Nor is he ever going to win the Presidency. That’s not a comment on his substantive policies, it’s just a fact, every bit as much so as the sun will rise in the East.
I know you love him, but you need to get over it.
Mitt Romney is the Republican nominee for President; nothing will change that now. Is he the perfect candidate? No. He wasn’t my first (or second, or third) choice, either. But he’s what we have to work with, and he has one very, very important attribute you need to keep sight of:
Mitt Romney is not Barack Obama.
And this really is the point that scares me about all of the Paulian grousing. I’m hearing Paul supporters either so frustrated they say they’re going to sit the election out completely, or endlessly trashing Mitt Romney as being indistinguishable from Obama. While I am not here to shill for Romney or the GOP, let me just say that both positions are counter-productive, and fatally short-sighted.
First, not voting—or writing in Ron Paul, which is the same as not voting because he cannot win—is for all intents and purposes a vote for Barack Obama. Let me explain. The Presidency is not won by total popular vote (which is why national polls are meaningless), but by electoral votes, which are divided by state. Assume your state has 10 electoral votes, all 10 of which will go to the candidate who wins that state. If 47 people vote for Obama, 45 people vote for Romney, and the 8 people who love Ron Paul either don’t vote or write-in for Paul, Obama wins. That’s the same result as if those 8 people voted for Obama; the only thing that changes is his margin of victory is 55-45 instead of 47-45-8. Either way, Obama gets all 10 electoral votes. Your protest accomplishes nothing. The only action that would change the outcome is if at least 5 of the 8 Ron Paul folks actually vote for Romney (3 if we assume the other 5 don’t vote).
Flashback to 1992. Texas billionaire H. Ross Perot ran as an independent on a pseudo-Libertarian platform. While he did not carry a single electoral vote, he garnered some 18% of the popular vote. Whether that siphoned enough votes that would otherwise have been GOP to cost George H.W. Bush re-election is debatable, but it is certainly within the realm of mathematical possibility. The race this time around is infinitely closer than the ’92 Bush/Clinton contest, and the margin of victory either way is likely to be razor-thin. Ron Paul protest non-votes almost surely tip the scales to Obama.
Second—and the reason the first point is so critically important—Mitt Romney is in fact not Barack Obama, and blurring that distinction is dangerous almost beyond words. Look, I get it that the Massachusetts healthcare thing is a huge albatross, but at least it’s the sort of smaller-scale experiment for which the 10th Amendment was intended to make States the laboratories: Massachusetts is free to try universal government-provided health insurance, so long as it doesn’t inflict it on Texas. I get it that even with his adoption of the Ryan budget proposals you’re still talking about a HUGE central government, but at least he’s a step in the right direction. You can’t turn the aircraft carrier around unless you can stop it first.
More importantly, a President Romney won’t be fiating the Constitution out of existence. I’ve harped on this many times, but Professor Thomas Sowell did an excellent piece (h/t to my Dad for pointing this out to me at RealClearPolitics.com) highlighting the stakes in this election and the dangers of focusing on isolated issues at the expense of the bigger picture of the steady destruction of the Constitution under this incumbent President:
“If laws passed by the elected representatives of the people can simply be over-ruled unilaterally by whoever is in the White House, then we are no longer a free people, choosing what laws we want to live under.
When a President can ignore the plain language of duly passed laws, and substitute his own executive orders, then we no longer have ‘a government of laws, and not of men,’ but a President ruling by decree, like the dictator of a banana republic.
When we confine our debates to the merits or demerits of particular executive orders, we are tacitly accepting arbitrary rule.”
Candidate Obama agreed with this premise, opportunistically hammering then-President Bush over use of “signing papers” (caveats attached to his signature on bills, purporting to exempt him from enforcing certain parts, thus assuming for himself a line-item veto that doesn’t exist), and promised never to use such devices to get around the constitutional mandate that the President enforce the laws enacted by Congress. President Obama’s actions once in power, however, have been very different than his campaign rhetoric (see the DREAM Act, No Child Left Behind, the CLASS Act, waivers under Obamacare, Clinton’s welfare reform, the Defense of Marriage Act, the Voting Rights Act (as applied to The New Black Panther Party), etc.). Time and again Obama has ignored the constitutional limits of his office, and done, un-done, or re-done legislation to suit his fancy.
This is why this election is so critical, and why you Paul supporters can’t get so caught up in your Libertarian ideals that you lose sight of what’s happening. We’ve already seen the extent to which Obama is willing to discard the Constitution and take unilateral action he has no authority to take. How much worse is he going to be when he no longer has to face re-election, and he now knows (thank you, George W. Bush and Chief Justice Roberts) he may actually already have 5-4 support in the Supreme Court? How much worse still if he gets to appoint replacements for Justices Thomas or Scalia and boosts the Left majority to a theoretical 6-3 or 7-2?
You Paul supporters will have your time to fight the Libertarian fight another day, but only if we ensure that Obama does not get a second term. If you take your toys and go home now, if Obama wins re-election, tomorrow may never come for that liberty you claim you so cherish.