October 16, 2006
Tired of holding your nose?
On the subject of impending Republican defeat, Glenn Reynolds has a good Pre-Mortem roundup, which became quite lengthy, was linked by Pajamas Media, and has been followed by another (post-pre-mortem?) roundup in which Glenn asks whether he's a shill for Democrats (or something even worse, an "InstaLaphamite").
There are a lot of opinions, but nearly everyone is talking about the Republicans' impending defeat. And almost everyone (including me) is disgusted with the Republicans.
The truth is, I can't remember a time when I wasn't disgusted with the Republicans. My first vote was for McGovern in 1972, and since then, my disgust has ebbed and flowed. It wasn't until Bill Clinton (whom I voted for) was president that my disgust over the Republicans was exceeded by my disgust over the Democrats. Since then, I've become convinced that the Democrats are irreversibly, permanently in favor of socialism -- much more than the Republicans will ever be. The 9/11 attacks and the post-9/11 fallout also convinced me that the Republicans are better on defense issues. (I suspect there's still a war, too.)
While it is true that in general the Democrats are better on many sexual and social issues, there's also that sexual identity politics thing, which I don't like too much. And I just don't see sex as the leading issue in American politics. At least, I don't think it should be. In this regard, the Foley scandal has caused me to be more disgusted with the Democrats than the Republicans, for I think their exploitation of the scandal is cheap demagoguery at its absolute worst. It might be revenge for Monica Lewinsky, but at least that involved actual sex (as opposed to cyber raunch), and it also involved perjury. Ordinary voters, though, seem to think Foley/Masturgate is actually an important reason to vote the Republicans out.
That people can be so stupid astounds me. I mean, it's not as if there aren't plenty of reasons to vote the Republicans out, but a single congressman talking dirty to street-wise pages? For which he's already out on his ass?
Anyway, back to my point. I have long been disgusted with the Republicans -- so much so that I'm almost tired of holding my nose when I go to the polls. Yet I plan to vote for them again, despite my disgust.
What is it that makes my ability to hold my nose in spite of my longstanding, seasoned disgust so apparently special? The way people are acting, you'd almost think there's something new to be disgusted about. To me, it's the same old disgust. I don't like the war on drugs, the culture war, the endless politicization of genitalia, the pork, the refusal to stop the hemorrhage at the borders, but I don't see anything new other than the Foley scandal (which, contrarian as it sounds, only heightens my disgust at the Democrats).
Maybe the problem is too much disgust, for too long. Is that an argument for voting Democrat? Why? I don't think any Republican voter is dumb enough to believe Democrats will be less disgusting, so the idea must be that it's time to change the disgust channel to a different kind of disgust program.
I don't think it's a good solution or a good program. Let's assume the nation is now steeped in Bush Disgust. The man has been president for nearly two terms, many mistakes were made, and many problems remain unsolved. Disgust with Bush and the Republicans is so tired that it's already an old issue. Republican candidates have been outdoing themselves trying to distance themselves from Bush. It's almost as if, knowing how disgusted the voters are, they unconsciously buy into the change-the-channel argument.
But what's the new channel? From what I can see, it's promising to be a Clinton rerun. Clinton II -- he's back with his wife, who has spent years assiduously repackaging herself as a moderate!
(Fool me twice, or will that be three times?)
Sorry, but that's old disgust. Bush will be out in two years, and I'm tired of being disgusted with Republicans, but I'll hold my nose forever before I return to the Clinton Disgust Channel.
At a recent fund-raiser, the elder Bush put it quite well:
At the fund-raiser, [George H.W.] Bush said he would "hate to think what life would be like" if Republicans lost control of Congress.I remember all too well the phenomenon of what he calls "these committees" and "crazy legislation."
There's disgust, and then there's disgust.
I'll vote Republican despite my disgust. Despite the fact that I've held my nose for so long that I can't stand it. Despite the fact that I'm tired of holding up my arm in order to hold my nose.
Hell, I'll vote Republican even if I have to wear one of these.
I'm afraid that's the best I can offer.
And I'm afraid it does little to address the concerns Glenn Reynolds raised earlier:
It's true, the Democrats are worse, but lots of people are starting to feel taken advantage of by that approach, as the GOP shows no signs of trying to get, you know, better.I realize that wearing a noseclip to the polls is not the perfect solution, but if the GOP isn't making an effort, I think Republican voters should. It's a visible and (at only $3.95) an inexpensive way to register a vote of disgust.
UPDATE: Many thanks to Glenn Reynolds for linking this post, and welcome all!
I wrote this post because not only do I complain a lot, but because nearly everyone is complaining, and I wanted to offer an election aid. (While I think libertarians are more accustomed to holding their noses than most people, these days there's so much stench at the polls that everyone needs assistance.)
ADDITIONAL NOTE: Be sure to read Mrs. du Toit's comment below. She's "highly skeptical about the defeat warnings," and may be onto something.
posted by Eric on 10.16.06 at 09:23 AM
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