Let’s assume that you stridently oppose the reelection of President Obama but you are just not sold on Governor Romney, the presumptive Republican candidate. Do you vote for Romney, since “anyone is better than Obama,” or do you chart a very different course, even sacrificing this election for the long term sake of the country?
Obama’s critics would tell us that we simply cannot afford four more years of his presidency, that his policies are destroying the very fabric of what makes America great, that he is undermining the economy, weakening the military, hurting us internationally, waging war against the Church, and attacking our moral, family values. Four more years of an Obama presidency would also mean the selection of least one, if not two or even three new Supreme Court justices, which would have major implications for decades to come.
The choice, then, for many is simple: “I’m voting for anyone but Obama. The only thing that matters is getting him out.”
Conservative critics of Gov. Romney would say, “Yes, it’s true that we need to defeat Obama, but there’s hardly any difference between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. And a vote for Romney is not a vote for change.”
Amy Contrada, founder of MassResistance, is one of Romney’s staunchest critics, documenting her concerns in meticulous detail in her 600-plus page book Mitt Romney’s Deception. (Needless to say, this does not appear to have been on Ann Coulter’s reading list.) The book’s subtitle says it all, speaking of “His [Romney’s] Stealth Promotion of ‘Gay Rights’ and ‘Gay Marriage’ in Massachusetts.” (Gay activists recently reported with approval that, “Richard Grenell, an openly gay former official in the administration of President George W. Bush, has been tapped to serve as a spokesman for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign on issues pertaining to national security and foreign policy.”)
Conservative author Gregg Jackson states that Romney is responsible for the “$50 co-pay tax payer funded abortion” and calls him “the most uber-leftist governor in our nation’s history.” And then, of course, there is the issue of RomneyCare.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, would not commit to supporting Gov. Romney during an April 11th appearance on MSNBC, while Orthodox Jewish rabbi Yehuda Levin has recently argued that “it is far more acceptable religiously, spiritually & morally not to vote for Romney & have a loyal opposition, G-D willing, in the Senate & the House.” Not surprisingly, Gregg Jackson is among an increasing number of conservatives who are asking, “Time for Christians and conservatives to break ranks with the GOP?” Could it be?
Could it be time to send a loud message to the Republican establishment? Could it be time for a third party to form with its sights set on future elections? (Let’s not forget that the Republican Party was once the new kid on the block.)
For the “anyone but Obama” camp, this kind of reasoning is as foolhardy as it is off limits. In four more years, they would argue, America will be unrecognizable and broken beyond the point of recovery, at least for the immediate future. And, they would be quick to remind us, Obama himself told President Medvedev of Russia that in his next term, he will have “more flexibility,” a chilling prospect, to be sure. And what about those Supreme Court justices Obama will appoint?
On the other hand, if America needs a radical course correction, what’s the use of electing another status quo (or worse) president, if, in fact, that’s what Romney would be? If the political establishment is a big part (the biggest part?) of the problem, then the only way to bring about real change is to challenge the establishment or to work outside the establishment. If not now, then when?
The question becomes even more acute when it comes to conservative Christians, especially the large block of Evangelicals who vote Republican. Year after year and election cycle after election cycle we are promised the moon by the latest “savior” candidate, only to be disappointed four years later. (My article on “Don’t Put Your Trust in a Political Savior” is relevant here.)
And, as people of faith, when we see ongoing moral decline in our nation (the fault, we would be quick to add, of the evil Democrats), we pray like crazy for revival and reformation, only to take our foot off the gas once the latest and greatest Republican becomes president.
Perhaps we conservative Christians need the bottom to drop out before we really get serious? Perhaps we need the worst case scenario to unfold before we realize that the kind of change we desire will not come from the White House or the Congress as much as it will come through each of us living out our faith without compromise or shame?
I understand that talk like this is completely sacrilegious in most conservative circles, but it’s talk that needs to take place.
So what do you think: Is anyone better than Obama or is this the time to chart a far more radical course for change?
Michael Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University and has served as a professor at a number of seminaries. He hosts the nationally syndicated, daily talk radio show, the Line of Fire, and his latest book is The Real Kosher Jesus.