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Why James Poulos Broke For Neither

A really thoughtful analysis by pomocon James Poulos, explaining why he couldn’t bring himself to endorse either candidate. Excerpts:

I can accept that Romney’s failure to run a campaign grounded in a basic integrity isn’t coming from a place of deep personal corruption. But I cannot excuse that failure — and even if I could (which, under present electoral circumstances, after a few drinks I really probably could), I cannot reward the Republican Party for putting itself in a situation where the only viable general election candidate it was able to field had to proceed from a position of a lack of integrity.

I had hoped right up through the debates that Mitt Romney would take his power as nominee and use it to immediately begin cleaning house — putting the GOP on notice that it, not he, was coreless, and that it, not he, needed to accommodate to win. I still believe Romney could do this — especially as president — but now I doubt gravely that he will. There is a profoundly irritating quality about Romney that he shares with the current president. Both men seem genuinely disinterested in leadership — particularly in the hard work of enrolling peers and superiors in a shared undertaking of their own design. Obama’s political acumen has always been located in the realm of imagination. Romney’s has always been located on paper, in a spreadsheet. Both of these are disillusioning and destructive abdications of the real-life ground of leadership. In the presidency, these kinds of shortcomings can be the difference between success and ruin.

I have had many conversations this election season with people who planned to vote for Romney about how horrible beyond all telling Barack Obama is. I haven’t had a single conversation with a Romney voter about how wonderful Romney is. More from Poulos:

Then why not Obama? The answers are plain. Everything frustrating and displeasing about Romney reappears elevated to its archetype in Obama. In Barack Obama we have a man with little patience or taste for true leadership, with a defining disproportion between his experience and his power, who is a bigger hypocrite than Romney and far more consequentially so.

Read the whole thing.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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