Thoughts Before I Vote Today
So, today is the last day for early voting before the October 19 election here. Voters in my Congressional district have to choose our next Congressman. There is no incumbent; our sitting Congressman resigned to take a job in the governor’s cabinet, so the seat is open. Given the way our district is drawn, the top Republican vote-getter will almost certainly be our next Congressman.
Neil Riser is the top Republican in this race, and will make the runoff. (In Louisiana’s open primary system, the top two vote-getters in the primary vote advance to the runoff, even if they are of the same party.) See his ad above. It makes clear that his No. 1 priority is to defund Obamacare. If he were in Congress today, I have no doubt that he would be among the Tea Party crowd that was driving the GOP off the cliff. Our district, LA-5, is in the Top Ten poorest Congressional districts in the US. Yet the candidate’s top priority is defunding Obamacare. We are seeing right now where this kind of ideological thinking is taking the country, and the putatively conservative party. Here, from the candidate’s website, are his positions on the issues. The first paragraph gives you an idea of what’s to follow:
Our nation has come to a crossroads. Our fundamental American values
are being challenged by left-wing Washington politicians. The
decisions our leaders make over the next few years will chart the
course for future generations.
It goes on like this. There is not a single detail here, or a substantive position on anything. It’s emotivist pandering. It insults my intelligence. I’m not voting for this kind of thing. What about the two other Republicans who could make the runoff with Riser? Judging by his website, Clyde Holloway doesn’t even make a feint at taking positions on anything. Jay Morris? From his website:
Jay Morris is pro-life, pro-gun, and pro-traditional marriage! Jay Morris will lead the fight to build the wall along Mexico and protect our nation’s borders!
… The single most important action facing our Congress is to defund Obamacare. Action needs to be taken to improve our health care system, but Obamacare will dramatically raise insurance rates, destroy full time jobs, and put the federal government and the IRS between you and your doctor. It is time to defund Obamacare and start over on a free market basis.
More of the same. No, no, and no.
The Democrats don’t have a shot, and frankly, I have no idea what the leading Democrat, Monroe mayor Jamie Mayo, stands for. He has no meaningful web presence and I can’t find online any newspaper coverage of the issues. There are 14 candidates, including two libertarians, but like I said, this race is a GOP lock.
The next Congressman will take office without this conservative’s vote. I just cannot do it in good conscience, not after this current Washington debacle. As readers know, my conservatism is primarily social and cultural, and the GOP candidates are onside regarding the most important issues to social conservatives: abortion and traditional marriage.
Here’s why that means nothing to me in this race. None of these candidates say what they’re actually planning to do about abortion and traditional marriage. On the marriage issue, court rulings have dramatically changed the legal and political landscape, as I write about in the current TAC. The battle lines have moved to a fight over religious liberty, but I see no evidence that any of these Republicans have given it any thought. They’re going to sit there like lumps, holding the correct opinions while not doing anything effective about it. Saying they’re pro-life and anti-SSM strikes me as nothing more than laying down markers that signal to socially conservative voters — as are most Louisianians — that they think correct thoughts.
As a strong social and religious conservative, the GOP has always been able to count on my vote. Those days are gone, because they take us for granted. I won’t support a Republican who pursues unwise policies and destructive politics just because they raise the right flags on social issues. If they offered concrete plans to advance the pro-life, anti-SSM (which is to say, pro-religious liberty) cause, that might be different. I wish there were a plausible Democrat to vote for in this race. Let me be clear: I want to vote for a Republican! In any normal situation, my own politics would lead me to vote GOP, and almost always have. But this nonsense has to stop. A Millennial friend e-mailed the other day to say:
I’m so torn about the GOP. I hate, hate, hate its politics, but I still feel some kind of allegiance toward it just because Democrats are so far out of touch. And I genuinely believe their policies are destructive in wholly different ways than the GOP’s. My liberal friends and family members post stuff about the GOP all the time on social media feeds, and I have this compulsion to try and defend Republicans, because I think somebody has to make the conservative case to my liberal friends. But the GOP grows more asinine — and unconservative — by the day. I think a lot of folks in your generation are more willing to defend them just because, even though they don’t like them. You’re a bit of a rare breed, I think. My generation, however, would be more than happy to see the GOP as we know it gone for good.
This is interesting. My political consciousness was formed in the Reagan and Clinton years. I have a memory of a time when the Republican Party was the more sensible party, the party of reasonable reform, not the party of temper tantrums and ideological crusades that destroy things. Millennials only know the Bush Administration, and the Tea Party. The thing is, I’m someone who is open to the populism of the Tea Party, in the sense that I cheer on Sen. Rand Paul’s foreign policy views, and Rep. Justin Amash’s views on the national security state. But the Tea Party people are showing themselves to be far too ideological, which is to say, imprudent and temperamentally unconservative. I’m tired of these manufactured crises. They’ve pushed the government to the brink over Obamacare and the debt ceiling — and for what? They don’t know. They only know what they want, and they don’t care how they get it. They’re willing to cut down every law in England, so to speak, to get to the devil Obama.
In a few minutes, I’m going to walk over to the courthouse and vote either Democrat or Libertarian as a protest, which is to say, I’m throwing my vote away to object to the Tea Party. The current crisis in Washington is the last straw.