09.13.12

Best of both worlds or lesser of two evils

Posted in Society at 15:49 by RjZ

I know how many of you in the United States feel. You’ve seen enough political ads already and you don’t want either of them. It’s a common problem these days but not likely a new one. The American middle is frustrated by both the left and the right. Each side is working so hard to get their base out to vote, that they’ve move farther and farther from the rest, and indeed majority, of the citizenry. Maybe you’re one of the many self-described socially liberal, fiscally conservatives? Perhaps you’re the kind of person who wouldn’t mind if the U.S. were run a bit more like your home, that is, don’t spend more money than you’ve got, and don’t stick your nose into other’s business.

Why isn’t there a party that offers this? Even libertarians (who, theoretically offer exactly this recipe) are often tainted by a decidedly non-pragmatic view allowing for zero compromises. Does Ron Paul really think the Gold Standard is a practical solution right now? For those centrists seeking to get the best out of our two party system who are uncomfortable “throwing away their vote” on a party outside the mainstream, I propose the following simple solution.

Liberals in the Whitehouse, conservatives in the legislature. As a libertarian I actually like the idea of gridlock that such configuration has shown to produce. Wallstreet likes it too. The Dow doesn’t rise more for business friendly conservatives; instead it does best when power is split. I don’t want my government to do so much for me, as it’s nearly impossible for such a large system to avoid unintended consequences and not cost a fortune doing it. But don’t worry, this isn’t the real reason you should agree to such a balance of power. There are many advantages, even without gridlock. Generally, conservatives are better at passing laws that spend less than liberals and are less over-reaching. They preach small government and, even if they’re not always very good at living up to it, it’s safe to assume that their starting point for new laws isn’t exactly over-arching social reform. So let’s get them into the legislature where, if they’re going to write more laws, at least they’ll tend towards limiting government’s reach, and their extremist Tea-Party wing will scream at every penny they want to spend.

Of course, my liberal readers are screaming too right now about how deep conservatives are reaching inside people’s living arrangements and even into the pants of women! Today’s conservatives seem to think that religion, particularly, their socially conservative anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-anything that doesn’t look like a Christian Taliban version is part and parcel with small government and a Christian-God-First society is the only way to restore America to it’s former glory. This non-sensical view isn’t borne out by any evidence. Has the U.S. really fallen into deeper moral decay due to gays being married? Is it really worse than the 60s? Have they seen Mad Men (looks like people weren’t so morally upright fifty years ago either)? 2012 U.S. isn’t more morally corrupt; if anything, we’re simply more morally honest.

Never fear liberal readers! The crazy religiously motivated laws that a conservative legislature will write and pass will simply be vetoed by a liberal president. Why a liberal president (instead of, say, achieving strategic gridlock the other way around, with a conservative president and liberal legislature)? Frankly, a so-called elitist, liberal president is a better bet for foreign policy. Just a moment’s comparison of Obama and Bush II should provide at least some evidence here. A liberal president is better received by most of our international allies and can still aggressively respond to threats, without bluster or bullying. The current liberal administration ended a war, is ending another one, yet is no softy. They captured and killed the head of a terror organization that threatened us and jumped into a conflict in Libya where Europe dithered and proposed a no-fly zone while tanks rolled in to destroy a city. The same liberal president has restored or improved relations with critical not-quite allies like China and Russia; where as our current choice for conservative leader seems to think that antagonizing Russia is a plan that wouldn’t just play into Russia’s prime-minister-for-life strength. (it would!)

But there’s more. The chief executive has an important power beyond not acting like a bullying playground child. The president appoints Supreme Court Justices. Selected for life Justices wield incredible long-term social power that can change the face of our nation. If you’re one of the majority of Americans who wants the government to do what is necessary but nothing more (even if we argue about what necessary is) without limiting our freedoms nor telling us who we can have sex with, marry, or when we must have a child, then, no matter how much you might dislike a liberal president’s track record or promises, his or her choices for the Supreme Court are safer for you than the conservative.

You think you might like Romney and Ryan’s view for a financially secure, lower taxes, future, but wish they didn’t spend so much time talking about gay marriage, or how God has chosen Team America to be the best country on earth? Afraid of Obama’s invasive health-care spending and pinko vision of an everybody-just-has-to-help-everybody society, but you can’t deny, the guy did send Qaddafi packing and eliminated Osama Bin Laden, all while generally raising America’s profile world-wide?

Easy enough: you can vote libertarian, or, if that’s no good for you, at least consider how you can get the best of both worlds by voting for the lesser of two evils: Liberals in the Whitehouse and conservatives in the legislature! What’s your take?

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