[T]he recent announcement by William F. Buckley Jr. that the president is no conservative [is] the conservatism equivalent of the pope calling Henry VIII no Catholic in that the edict is both authoritative and a statement of the obvious... [...] The fact is, a growing number of American voters are finding the president's menu to be distasteful. If the Democrats are the only group offering an alternative menu, which appeals more pleasantly to the appetites of the voters in November, then the electorate is going to change restaurants. It is well time, I believe, for a little rebellion in the kitchen; the Republican menu must change. Our problem, of course, is that the president does not want to change it, and none of the rest of us can decide among ourselves which items to place on our alternative.
Therefore, I suspect that when the voters are presented with the choice of a Republican poo sandwich with lettuce and mayo or a Democratic manure burger with cheese and ketchup, that the voters are more likely to pick the manure burger simply because they've eaten enough poo sandwiches to have lost their affection for the flavor.
It's been said that the best reason to vote Republican is the Democratic Party. Increasingly, though, the reverse is also true. One must remember that relatively few voters have actual political ideologies or major interests; most voters simply want a candidate with which they feel comfortable. Those undecideds — the approximately 1/3rd who might be swayed — may not like the Democratic alternative very much, but it's hard to see why they would find the status quo more appealing. As Jaded suggests, the taste of Republican domination is getting old.
If this anti-status quo zeitgeist is not immediately apparent to you, check the recent polling on the '06 elections. In a generic ballot, Democrats have an enormous—sometimes double-digit—lead. Actual ballots are not, of course, generic, as any GOP supporter worth his salt will quickly explain. But that may not mean quite as much this year, since polling indicates "numbers didn't change much [when specific names were plugged in] and the voters seemed pretty firm about their choices." A recent Gallup poll indicated "51% of registered voters plan to vote for the Democratic candidate in their district and 41% plan to vote for the Republican."
Polls shmolls. Opinion polls come to you, but you actually have to go to the polls on election day.
I have no idea who’s going to come out on top in November, but I’m willing to predict that whoever does comes out on top will do it j u s t b a r e l y. Again. Because when you have one party with high negatives and another party with nothing at all, that’s what you get: a wash.
It’s been said that the best reason to vote Republican is the Democratic Party. Increasingly, though, the reverse is also true.
I’m not sure what you mean by "increasingly," but the reverse is only true if your principal objection to the Republican Party is that it is too conservative. If you share William F. Buckley’s objection that it is not conservative enough, I can think of few dumber things to do than to vote for a party that is less conservative still. Whatever message disaffected conservatives may think they are sending that way, the only message they will send is that they prefer the policies of the Democratic Party to those of the Republican Party, and that in order to win their votes back in future elections, the Republican Party must move even further to the left than it already has.
Personally, I think taking an electoral dive is always a bad idea, but if we must go that route, let’s at least do it intelligently, and throw away our votes on a fringe party that is more conservative or libertarian than the G.O.P., not less. It will still leave the Dems in charge of the House for at least two years, which would be bad, or it could even give them the Senate, which would be worse (or, in the case of a Supreme Court nomination, catastrophic), but at least it will clearly tell the G.O.P. what kind of change we want, rather than merely stamping our collective feet and screaming incoherently, "we want change!"
Personally, I’m a new conservative (I guess that makes me a neocon, right?), and funny enough, I could care less for WFB. Maybe that makes me a RINO?
I’ll vote Republican, even if I have to hold my nose. I even agree with Friedman that a mixed Congress is best for liberty, but I believe my vote is important and will not give it to socialist. A bad Bush is much preferable to a great Kerry, if you know what I mean.
I know you, in particular, Jon, have made the argument that with the Republicans not living up to their stated ideals of smaller government, it may make sense to vote for Democrats instead. I’m sympathetic to your complaint, up to a point: I sure wish the Republicans would shrink government.
But taking by way of example McQ’s post a few below this one, on Hillary’s "Thou shalt" and "Thou must" and "Thou shalt pay for it fulsomely" list, the alternative of voting for the Dems does not strike me as an improvement.
And this ignores what to me is the more relvant point: the Democrats do not appear serious about the war, or competent to win it.