It seems to me that many left-wingers confuse good intentions with good outcomes and mistake the feeling of virtue for virtue itself. I hear them say things like, “Well, at least Obama cares,” as if the presidency were not an important job that could be done well or badly. Would they choose to be operated on by a surgeon because he cares or would they prefer one who knew what he was doing and could get the job done? They praise programs for their intent without considering their outcomes or costs. They do not weigh their liberty in the balance of their reason. At their worst, they cherish a sense of themselves as good and generous because they vote for the people who tell them they are good and generous, and hold as hateful those who will not join in praising the emperor’s new clothes.
But there is a conservative version of this as well. There are conservatives who confuse good principles with good outcomes and who mistake the feeling of wisdom for wisdom itself. I hear them say things like, “There’s no difference between Obama and Romney,” as if a president with no intention and no plan of fixing our looming debt crisis is the same as a candidate with a proven record of fixing such problems and who has given his word to try. They hold their firm adherence to their ideals above the doing of what good they can. They trumpet their vaunted love of liberty while throwing their vote away on a Gary Johnson or Ron Paul, which will do not one thing for their liberty or anyone else’s. At their worst, they cherish a sense of themselves as superior because of their fantasized solutions while discounting as a fool anyone who would support the best option available.
Over the course of this campaign, I have come to have a lot more respect for and confidence in Mitt Romney than I did when the campaign began. In fact, I have come to hope he may be just the man the moment requires. Maybe this means he’s just a good politician and I’m gullible or maybe it means he’s a good man with a good plan and I’ve come to see him more clearly. But in either case, there is no doubt in my mind that he is by far — by far — the better of the two plausible choices. Obama is a mediocrity schooled in hostility to our founding principles. Romney is a successful man of the world who may not hew to every tenet of my cherished beliefs, but who wants to see the country prosperous, free, and powerful as it once was and as it can and should be again.
So yes, you’re wiser than all of us — more firmly rooted in conservative principles than any of us — you are wholly unpolluted by the shabby compromises of either party and your protest vote will rock our worlds.
Now shut up and go vote for Mitt Romney. For the love of your country, choose the better way.