Obama is polling pretty well. This is not a statement intended to get me into some drawn out and pointless argument over the validity of polls; it is merely a statement of fact. The fact is, even if we, the GOP, manage to pull this thing out, it is very likely going to be very close. If we do not want Obama to win, then, I think it’s safe to say we have work to do.
When I was volunteering my time to make phone calls and write letters for Fred Thompson, the mantra among the detractors was “the campaign isn’t doing enough.” Now that we’re a couple weeks away from the general election (and, really, before now), that same defeatist monster is again rearing its ugly head: “the campaign isn’t doing enough.”
I’m here to say, the campaign isn’t doing enough — because a vital part of the campaign is too busy complaining to pick up a phone or send a letter. Back before there was such a thing as the Internet — before telephones and television, even — campaigning was done by word of mouth. That is, a guy picked a candidate based on issues, and told his neighbor. If his neighbor agreed, he told his neighbor. And so on. The advent of electronic communication did not eliminate word of mouth — only expedited it. Until now.
There is a level of apathy from those removed from the Left side of the aisle that is nearly unprecedented. Many people are simply unexcited by our choice of candidates. We’re not even sure we want to vote. Or, we say, we will vote, but we’re not about to put time and effort into campaigning. Well, campers, we have a matter of days to get this going. And, regardless of your motivation for voting McCain, it is up to you, and it is up to me, to find like-minded individuals and convince them of our cause. Or, regardless of your vote, there will be an Obama presidency.
There are two basic groups of people not voting for Obama: there is the McCainiac — he who supports John McCain for President — and there is the “Nobama” voter. The McCainiac takes no convincing. He will come to the polls, and he will pull the McCain lever.
The rest of us, however, need incentive to vote McCain. A reason. For some, Sarah Palin was exactly what was needed. Her addition to the ticket took many a lukewarm conservative voter and transformed them to diehards. There is the PUMA voter — the former Hillary voters who somehow have managed, in all of this, to be far more realistic than many Conservatives: they choose McCain over Obama because no other candidate has a snowball’s chance in hell of winning this election.
Then there are the “See, I told you so” voters (I find myself in this category). We are voting for McCain because if Obama wins and mucks it up (which, we know, he will do if he wins), having voted McCain gives us standing to say, “See? I told you so.” We vote McCain because we know that a vote for a third party is a wasted vote in this election — and our “see I told you so” is drastically reduced in authority.
The final group — the group that must be addressed — is the third party group. Now, it goes without saying that a GOP candidate will never, ever, draw votes from the Nader crowd. However, there are two other parties, at least, who may still be converted, at least temporarily, to the GOP platform. Libertarians and members of the Constitution Party alike have plenty of reason to dislike the GOP. Indeed, were it not for a few core issues, I would easily find myself among these groups rather than Republican. However, it is the reasons they dislike Republicans that may give us our strongest standing in winning them over.
Both of these groups — Libertarians and Constitutionalists — hate Big Government. With a passion. Even more than many who call themselves “Conservatives” in many ways. Now, if they truly mean this, an Obama presidency can only register as a nightmare. Regardless of how they feel about McCain, Obama will tax higher, create more government waste, spend more and regulate more. Neither of these groups can honestly stand by and watch this happen. This is not to mention the Supreme Court issue — possibly the single most powerful difference between these two candidates.
It is time for Libertarians and Constitutionalists to face facts: your candidates will not — cannot — win. At best you will make some barely noticed and quickly-forgotten statement, while helping to hand the election over to somebody who has neither the intellect for foreign experience, nor the principles for smaller government.
We cannot force those in the third parties to view a McCain win as a true victory. Indeed, I’m not sure I view it that way — but rather as a place-holder for the future Conservative Leadership. But, in politics as in war, there are many small skirmishes — many fights of dubious outcome — that create a path for real victory. And while McCain may or may not be considered a “win” for Conservatism, Barack Obama is most certainly a loss.