SAN DIEGO, October 8, 2012 — I’ll never forget the old Laurel and Hardy movie, in which those two lovable buffoons were ordering dessert in a restaurant.
“What kind of ice cream do you have?” asked Stanley, the slimmer, dopier one.
The waiter replied, “We have pistachio or vanilla.”
With a gleeful, child like enthusiasm, Stanley said, “I’ll take chocolate.”
Life can be that way at times. Much as we’d like to believe we can have it all, much as we think we’re entitled to unlimited choices, the list is not always as big as Ben and Jerry’s. Many assume, as Stanley did, that because they like chocolate, the restaurant must offer chocolate. Indeed, we can be in so much denial, that we do not even hear the waiter. But deep preference will not miraculously turn two flavors into three.
While this observation may be obvious while discussing dessert, it hides more easily when strong convictions collide with political reality. Many Libertarians and Conservatives are standing by Ron Paul and Gary Johnson because they see little difference between Obama and Romney. They are mistaken. There may be reason to conclude that neither choice is ideal, but anyone who sees no difference at all must have been asleep during last week’s debate.
Be that as it may, former Republican Governor Gary Johnson is running as a third party candidate and Ron Paul fans offer a strong write-in campaign as an alternative to the Republican and Democratic nominations. Congressman Paul has not commented on this development one way or the other but inasmuch as he never endorsed Romney at the GOP convention, we can conclude that the write-in movement does not upset him.
Most conservatives, while disagreeing with Paul on foreign policy, still admire his domestic viewpoints and honest adherence to our Constitution’s original intent. They are still concerned about Ron Paul votes ruining November’s outcome.
Many modern elections have had third party choices and write-in campaigns which made little more difference to the outcome than a toy poodle attacking a German Sheppard. But most of those candidates did not share the popularity of Ron Paul. Even a less popular figure could affect an election this close. According to the latest Rasmussen Poll (Monday, October 8, 2012) Romney and Obama are tied at 48 percent, which means Romney’s bump from last week’s debate has already been sanded down. Therefore, a split anti-Obama vote could prove lethal, even if only a sliver is shaven off. Add in Gary Johnson, whose name is already written on the ballot in 47 states along with Washington D.C., and we might just witness a majority of voters rejecting Obama, yet handing him the election at the same time.
Paul and Johnson are painfully aware of this potential outcome. Johnson talks as if the problem is found exclusively in the Ron Paul write-in movement which he says ‘will effectively be meaningless’” (Politico, 9-26-12).
I have news for you, Gary. Your own campaign is just as meaningless, unless your objective is to keep Barack Obama in office.
Ironically, while Paul’s supporters vow to write in his name, Paul himself has dropped a hint that he may vote for Johnson.
“There are other people who are technically capable of winning because they’re on a lot of ballots,” Paul said (Fox Business, 9-3-10).
But neither the Libertarian ballot box nor the write-in protest vote will provide a victory to either gentleman. It’s high time Paul and Johnson admit that the very constitution they so passionately defend may not be worth the paper it is printed on if their loitering helps Obama’s re-election.
Much can happen in four years. For proof, look back at the last four years. Obama’s contempt for our founding document has already been demonstrated with an end run around welfare and immigration laws passed or upheld by the other branches of government. Regardless of how one feels about those issues specifically, the process itself is chilling: Our president stretches the limits of Executive Order and rules by fiat. Any man willing to do this while running for re-election might just be unstoppable if he’s awarded a second term. Even so, Obama will have an opportunity to appoint additional judges who view the Constitution as a “living breathing document.” If Ron Paul and Gary Johnson are truly concerned about our constitution, there can be only one course of action: Johnson needs to drop out of the race. Paul needs to bury the hatchet with the GOP regardless of how he feels he was treated at the convention. He must discourage the write-in campaign and publically announce that he will vote for Romney instead of casting a worthless protest vote for Johnson. Any other decision could be fatal for our nation. A second term of Obama may just end any honest application of the Constitution once and for all. How sad if these “champions of the Constitution” help to make this happen. The moment of truth has arrived. Are Ron Paul and Gary Johnson concerned about the freedom of our Republic or the inflation of their own egos?
But these candidates aren’t the only ones responsible for soul searching. So are their fans. Disenchanted with both Romney and Obama, many are eager to exhibit their disdain. This is understandable. There is nothing wrong with protests. People should use their First Amendment freedom to express themselves loudly and clearly. But while doing so, they must also preserve this same First Amendment. That can only be done with a reality check: In the voting booth, we do not find an endless supply of life changing choices. Any political system is a flawed system. The opportunity to make our world perfect will not present itself in November.
It always sounds righteous to reject “the lesser of two evils” but it’s still preferable to the GREATER of two evils. Sorry, Stanley, much as you might love chocolate, the choice is pistachio or vanilla.
Bob Siegel is a weekend radio talk show host on KCBQ and columnist. Details of his show can be found at www.bobsiegel.net.
Many comments to posts are discussed by Bob over the air where anyone is free to call in and respond/debate. Call in toll free number: 1-888-344-1170. Read more Forbidden Table Talk in The Washington Times Communities.
This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.