Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Lesser Of Two Evils Is Still Evil

Since announcing his second attempt at winning the GOP nomination, Mitt Romney's main argument has been that he is the only one who can beat Obama. He is the only one who can appeal to independent voters. To bolster their case, his supporters point to polls showing Romney close or ahead of Obama in key swing states. Nevertheless, Romney has not been able to move the needle and his support is stuck at 25% of the polls +- margin of error.

Theorizing about Romney's failure to get more traction has become a regular exercise for the talking class. Progressive and GOP establishment pundits blame the "extreme", "purity seeking" Republican base that doesn't appreciate Romney's intellect and business experience. Conservative pundits prefer to focus on Romney's failure to inspire trust among the base.

Perhaps GOP primary voters aren't swayed by the "polls argument" because they have learned that polls this is early in the process are completely meaningless. In 2008, Hillary Clinton used polls showing her beating John McCain to make the argument that she would be the stronger candidate. Democrat primary voters ignored the polls. Went with their heart. And Democrats did just fine with Barack Obama as their nominee.

Or perhaps voters have grown weary of holding their nose and want someone to vote for instead of just voting against. And let's face it, the argument that "anybody-would-be-better-than-what-we-currently-have-in-office" has turned out to be false. In 2008, whenever Obama's lack of experience was brought up his supporters just replied "he can't do worse than Bush". Three years later, record deficits and higher unemployment have shown that "yes, he can do worse than Bush".

Personally, I am heartened to see GOP primary voters taking their time assessing all the candidates. Defeating Obama should not be the only objective. Choosing a candidate that can lead and reform Washington is even more important. This is not the time for "holding one's nose" or voting for the "lesser of two evils". After all, the lesser of two evil is still evil.