In contrasting candidates, in most elections, voters generally look at the candidates’ positions on individual issues and make judgments on each issue. They then tally their agreements and disagreements like one would tally a scorecard, and they vote accordingly. Of course, some people put more weight on some issues than on other issues. We are told by many pundits that the most important of all of these individual issues in this particular election is government spending. Because of the out of control spending of the current administration, and because all of this spending is weakening our country fiscally, Americans are rather outraged and are looking at the candidates in this election, apparently, based on two things.
(1) Will they roll back spending in an extreme fashion?
(2) Can they defeat Barack Obama?
This is why, I would argue, that Mitt Romney and Ron Paul are leading in the polls. It is believed that no one would cut spending like Ron Paul would, and so the fact that his extreme policies would result in an overwhelming demand from a shocked electorate for government assistance in the next election cycle is completely overlooked. Because of his name recognition and moderate positions, it is believed by many that no one but Romney could defeat Barack Obama. As it stands, we have only Romney and Paul on the ballot in Virginia (because they are the only two who can afford to be), and we see Romney and Paul leading in the polls in Iowa. With the least principled candidate (Romney) and the most extreme candidate (Paul) leading in the polls, America is headed down a very troubling path for 2012 that I, for one, want no part of.
If we look at these polls as if they are a reflection of what Republican voters will say about America on election day, and if we look at the policy positions of the various candidates in regard to the moral obligations of government, we hear that voters are saying that the overall philosophy of candidates does not count, and/or that America is no longer a moral enterprise. America, many believe, must become amoral in order to prevent immoral policy. We see this in their support for a candidate (Romney) whose record on moral and cultural issues is a long series of flip-flops indicating that he has no solid philosophy but is rather like an empty suit, and in their support for a candidate (Paul) who believes strongly that America should be completely amoral in official policy.
Paul believes, for example, that it is not okay for the government to “take money from people” to give a medal to Rosa Parks. At the same time, he is willing to take money from anti-Semites who love his policies on Israel. He believes that America is making a collective moral judgment for the American people in taking their money to give a medal to Rosa Parks (and he is right about that), but he does not apply this same logic to his taking money from anti-Semites. I would argue that it is a great thing for our country to use taxpayer dollars to give a medal to Rosa Parks because it reflects that our country is showing our appreciation for what she stands for. Ron Paul seems to view “America” itself as a “collective” and, as such, it is evil as a united country, because collectives are evil in and of themselves. It’s pretty clear to me that Ron Paul would reject the motto “United We Stand, Divided We Fall” and has adopted the mindset “Divided We Stand, United We Fall”…because the “United” States are an evil collective. Fortunately, I believe there are enough Americans left who still see that presidents are responsible for leading the country in one direction or another and that the direction of the anti-Semites is a bad direction. Having a choice between that direction and Obama’s direction in the general election would mean America has become a failed enterprise, in my view. Having “no direction” from the lack of leadership of a flip-flopping Romney would similarly indicate failure to me.
Rick Santorum, on the other hand, sees America as a “moral enterprise”.
Deacon Keith Fournier wrote at Catholic Online:
Senator Santorum was the last to speak to the convention before the straw poll was taken. He told those gathered, “We have people talking in our party that we need to go away from the moral issues. America, ladies and gentlemen, is a moral enterprise at its core.” He is absolutely correct. This insight is consistent with his detailed policy reflections which were set forth in a 2005 book he wrote entitled, It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good.
One of the Press reports on this important Straw Poll win – which surprised many political pundits - referred to the Senators comment on America as ”focusing more on philosophy than policy.” It is that kind of shallow review of the coming Presidential election campaign which motivates me all the more to closely and carefully cover this critical race. There is too much at stake.
I wholeheartedly concur. It is a travesty that voters are looking at two things and two things only: How much spending will be cut and can the candidate defeat Obama? If America is no longer a moral enterprise, it is game over for America.
There are a number of candidates in the Republican primary who I could cast a vote for in good conscience. Romney and Paul are the only two exceptions. If either of them are the nominee, I would most certainly write in a name for president just as I wrote in Trey Grayson’s name for U.S. Senate here in Kentucky’s Senate race, and the name I would write in for president would be “Rick Santorum“. Despite their flaws, Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Perry all see America as a moral enterprise on some level. Neither Romney nor Paul seem to see it that way. I can no more vote for America to be an amoral enterprise than I can vote for it to be an immoral one. Further, I can’t begin to express to you all how disappointed I am to see money buying Republican hearts and the Republican primary.
I hope and pray that voters will wake up in time to change this. I happen to believe that if they do not, America will no longer be a “shining city on a hill”. As a result of this, the whole world will enter a dark age from which there will be no return for a very very long time.
In God We Trust….or we will deserve as a nation the horrible results of the madness we embrace.