Purity vs. Pragmatism

I was reading some of the show notes on Neal Boortz’s Nuze earlier in the week and this first bullet point jumped out at me:

Beating Obama – ridding our nation of this dangerous un-American anti-capitalist, is far more important than the purity of the ideology of the GOP candidate. This nation would be better off with pretty much any Waffle House cook as president than with Barack Obama.

I’m not totally sold on that thought, but we (the Republicans) might be forced with that choice again just looking at the field. Pragmatism vs. idealism is a topic that comes up from time to time (especially during the elections), but each side paints the other as either willing to whore oneself out in order to advance the agenda down the field, or having one’s head up in the clouds that you can’t see that Boeing 747 heading straight towards you.

John McCain was about as exciting as tapioca pudding, but he was better than the alternative. We’re tiring of being forced to choose between “not as bad” and “really bad”, but it looks like we don’t have a choice. I tend to agree with Boortz on this point:

Do Rick Santorum and Ron Paul seriously think they still have a chance to win? Do I seriously think they don’t? I want Paul to stay in the mix … we need his libertarian influence in the debates. We don’t need Santorum’s theocratic message.

Congressman Ron Paul and Senator Rick Santorum are pretty much long shots now. I do believe that having Congressman Paul remaining in keeps the debate more interesting and forces libertarian issues to the front.

At the end of the day, Republicans will have either Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich as the nominee. Once the delegates cast their ballots and the nomination sealed, the losing sides will have to make up their mind on whether to vote for the nominee or sulk at home because their guy didn’t win. Either vote for the guy you didn’t like during the primary or award President Obama 4 more years*.

*With all due respect, a third party candidate won’t be elected as president in 2012. It just won’t happen.


  1. Baker says:

    Say what you will about John McCain, I thought he was pretty damn exciting.

    He would’ve passed Bowles Simpson (or at least pushed hard for it) and wouldn’t have cut defense. He wouldn’t have passed the health care bill. For my money, those three things would be pretty huge.

    Agreed on Santorum, Mitt and Newt basically believe the same things anyway but aren’t going to be a bull in a china shop talking about it. Let’s whittle this thing down to three and get on with it.

      • Baker says:

        You’re right and that was stupid on my part. My point was he’d be strong on it. But I do think he would’ve passed B-S. And even the most far right person that does not happen to have a talk radio must realize how much room there is to cut in defense.

        When Republicans are cutting, Democrats scream about teachers, cops, and fire fighters, as if there are no other government jobs.

        When someone goes to cut Defense, Republicans scream about the soldiers and national security, as if there are not billions to contractors and bureaucrats.

  2. Disagree about Santorum. We need him to stay in the race so that when Newt implodes and takes Romney down with him we have an anti-Paul in the race. 🙂

    Good post Nathan. I try to follow William F. Buckley’s advice and vote for the most conservative candidate who has a chance to win.

  3. KD_fiscal conservative says:

    For me, its not about Purity or Pragmatism, but rather Fantasy Land and Real World. For example, Romeny says he will cap baseline spending at 18% of GDP, but he identifies no real cuts to current federal spending, talks about how horrible Medicare cuts are, and wants to INCREASE military spending levels by 4%. So if anyone really believes Romeny(or Newt “lets live on the moon” Gingrich) will actually make the painful cuts to spending, I would have to say you are living in some type of fantasy land. I think, based on Romeny’s status quo tax plan and Gingrich’s huge deficit plan, the next 4-5 years are going to bad regardless of the letter behind the Presidents name.

  4. ricstewart says:

    I don’t ask that a candidate be perfect. I don’t have to agree on 100% of the issues. All I ask for is someone who provides a marked contrast with the policies of the Obama administration.

    I honestly don’t see a marked policy difference between Mitt, Newt, and Obama. They may use different rhetoric and buzzwords, but I expect them all to continue Keynesian policies, disregard civil liberties, and continue the same foreign policies.

    If it comes down to Newt or Mitt against Obama, what’s the point. In fact, as much as I hate to say it, we might be safer with Obama instead of Newt/Mitt… at least with a Democrat in the White House, Republicans would be alert and provide resistance. We all know what happens to most conservatives when the occupant of the Oval Office has an (R) beside his name.

    • KD_fiscal conservative says:

      “In fact, as much as I hate to say it, we might be safer with Obama instead of Newt/Mitt’

      I kind of agree with you there. The last time the Repubs ran Washington DC, very little got done in terms of energy independence, tax overhaul(not just targeted loopholes and subsidies), immigration reform, or healthcare reform. I think people need a boogey-man to work against, like big-bad Bubba in the 1990s. I think much of the gridlock would be cleared up with a strong Repub. majority in the Senate.

  5. Noway says:

    No one has seriously proposed “cutting” anything. Some have said they’d cut things but their cuts are no more than increases in spending. The first man that actually proposes cutting a real dollar out of the budget will go down to a flaming defeat. We all saw the government union trash lock down the state house because Walker rightly signed legislation denying them the power to collectively bargain, a right they should never, ever have had from the beginning. This nation has arrived at that point where the great entitlement mentality will fillet the first politician to cut their right to the spoils taken from the producers and given to the worthless. That’s why it infuriates the hell out of me that a Republican like Newt and Perry have gone democrat and attacked Romney on his wealth. It’s a smart political tactic but morally repugnant. Every federal dept should be cut by 10% This year, SSecurity’s age should go up to 66 This year. As a nation we’re already dead and spending will never, ever be genuinely cut. Everyone TALKS a good game.

  6. Rick Day says:

    For the first time in my life, I am voting in a Republican presidential primary for a federal office of any kind (I did cross over to vote against Ralphie “Bibleboy” Reed. trufax!).

    And I shall touch the Liberty Screen for Dr. Ron Paul.

    And when the GOP does their predictable thing, which is support the WRONG candidate, I’ll vote for our next POTUS, Barrrrrrrrrrrak Hussssssssssssssssein Obama.

    At least surprise us independents and make Paul a Veep. Paul as President of the Senate? That would be cool.

  7. grumpymoderate says:

    I’m voting in a GOP primary for the first time, and I’m voting for Romney. We’ve already had enough years of a divided Washington. Gingrich would promote more of the same, not less.

  8. TolleyJenkins says:

    You should have stopped reading when he called Obama “un-American.” That’s usually a strong sign that whatever follows is going to be inflammatory nonsense.

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