Thursday, September 16, 2010

All Things Considered

In all of the sturm und drang over the Christine O'Donnell win over Mike Castle in the Delaware GOP primary I wonder if anyone has mentioned perhaps the strongest reason not to have voted for the very liberal Mr. Castle.

People have noted that Mr. Castle is a credible threat to bolt the party once he got elected, but suppose his victory had given the Republicans 51 seats and thus the majority. He wouldn't have to defect to the Democrats in order to render the Republican advantage useless. All he'd have to do would be to threaten it, and he'd be holding the whole GOP caucus hostage to the Democrats' progressive agenda, an agenda which he largely supports.

The mere threat to switch parties, an act which would result in the Republicans losing their majority, and thus control, of the Senate would be enough to frighten his GOP colleagues into compromising and dithering where compromise and dithering were not necessary. What then would Republicans have accomplished by electing him to the Senate?

Christine O'Donnell has some ethical problems (although it's not clear how serious they are), but in an election like last Tuesday's what Republican voters need to ask is which candidate's votes in the Senate would be worse for the country? Here's a thought experiment for conservatives: Suppose Bill Clinton, a moderate-liberal with a lot of well-documented ethical shortcomings, were running against Barack Obama, a far-left radical, for the United States Senate. Which man should you vote for? I can't imagine any conservative answering that they would vote for Obama even if it were more likely that his election would produce a favorable majority in the Senate.

O'Donnell has nothing like the ethical baggage of Clinton, and she's more conservative. Mike Castle is pretty much an older version of Obama, at least in terms of his votes in Congress.

All things considered, it seems to me that Delaware Republicans made the right choice.

The Case for Traditional Marriage

The editors at National Review make an excellent argument in favor of maintaining the traditional view of marriage and rejecting the arguments proffered on behalf of same-sex marriage. Here's an excerpt:
Both the fact that we are debating same-sex marriage and the way that debate has progressed suggest that many of us have lost sight of why marriage exists in the first place as a social institution and a matter of public policy. One prominent supporter of same-sex marriage says that the purpose of marriage is to express and safeguard an emotional union of adults; another says that its purpose is to make it more likely that people will have others to give them care in sickness and old age.
So at the risk of awkwardness, we must talk about the facts of life. It is true that marriage is, in part, an emotional union, and it is also true that spouses often take care of each other and thereby reduce the caregiving burden on other people. But neither of these truths is the fundamental reason for marriage.
The reason marriage exists is that the sexual intercourse of men and women regularly produces children. If it did not produce children, neither society nor the government would have much reason, let alone a valid reason, to regulate people’s emotional unions. (The government does not regulate non-marital friendships, no matter how intense they are.) If mutual caregiving were the purpose of marriage, there would be no reason to exclude adult incestuous unions from marriage. What the institution and policy of marriage aims to regulate is sex, not love or commitment.
If you're chary of same-sex marriage but not sure how to best respond to those of your friends who challenge you on the issue, this article is a must-read.

Hey, Let's Make 'em Vote

The Daily Beast's Peter Beinart offers a typically liberal solution to the problem of voter apathy: Compulsory voting. Pass a law that would require everyone to submit a ballot every election. With compulsory voting, Beinart argues, the Democratic base, normally torpid during mid-term elections, would be compelled to vote for whomever their political overseers instruct them to support, and we wouldn't be getting all these right-wing extremists winning elections. It would increase civic involvement, and given the edge enjoyed by Democrats in voter registration, ensure Democratic hegemony until, well, until the eschaton.

Great idea. Force people to vote. More state coercion. Less individual freedom. More corruption of the election process. More people voting who haven't a clue whom they're voting for or why. This is an idea to make a liberal's heart thrum with excitement and make everyone else wonder how a guy like this gets anyone to read him.