I Never Said I Wanted A Perfect Candidate
August 25, 2008
By J.J. Jackson
As this year's election cycle kicks into high gear, so too do the party hacks and unknowing pundits. I know that the English language has its quirks but it certainly is not that hard to understand for anyone that grew up speaking it.
Being someone that uses the English language regularly as a blogger and someone who writes weekly columns I say a lot of things. I don't hide what I believe and never have. If I think something someone does is stupid, I'll say so and do it bluntly. If someone says something that is wrong and flies in the face of the facts, you bet your bottom dollar that I'll speak up about it. Thousands of words come out of my mouth every week and many of them get put down on paper (or virtual paper).
But sometimes I have to wonder if the English language is more complicated than I believe it is because it appears that so many people don't seem to understand it. I mean, I'm used to the idiots who write me each week complaining that I'm being disingenuous when I say that Al Gore claimed to "invent" the Internet and who point out that he only said he helped to "create" it. That does not bother me much beyond the fact that there are still people out there too lazy to use a dictionary and see that these words are synonyms inasmuch as to invent means: "to produce (as something useful) for the first time" and to create means: "to make or bring into existence something new" (source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary). It just does not get any closer than that.
Lately I have been receiving a lot of emails from readers claiming, somehow, that I am demanding a "perfect candidate" if I am not going to support their "conservative" man (be it McCain, Paul, Baldwin or Barr) for president.
Last week on Doug Gibbs' Internet radio show, The Political Pistachio, I even admitted (I think publicly) for the first time that I was a Duncan Hunter man during the primaries. And Mr. Hunter is certainly far from "perfect". But he would have gotten my vote in November and did get my vote during the primaries (even after he backed out) because I believed he could at least be reasoned with on issues we had disagreements over and was at least a reasonable man. I cannot say the same about some of these others that I am being asked to support.
A couple of camps are really pounding me hard right now because they do not like the fact that I have spent a lot of time focusing on their candidates of choice and denouncing them as not worthy of the presidency. The first group is those who supported Ron Paul during the primaries and still have dreams of a Paul coup at the convention. Another group contains those that support John McCain. Then there is the noisy minority for Baldwin and Barr getting indignant that I will not throw my support their way.
Ron Paul and John McCain supporters have claimed time and again that, because I have at one point or another sworn never to vote for either for various reasons, I am demanding a "perfect candidate." I put that term in quotes because it appears in the vast majority of emails I receive. The Baldwin and Barr supporters are outraged because I see their positions on Iraq and downright lies about the war as unworthy characteristics for a Commander in Chief and also bemoan that I must want a "perfect" candidate since I agree with so much else these two espouse. And to be perfectly honest, Bob Barr is probably the candidate I have come closest to supporting at times and probably would support if not for comments he has made about the war on terror and the Iraq War, which I apparently believe much more strongly in than he does.
But here are the facts - well actually the only fact. Fact: I have never demanded a candidate be "perfect" in order to receive my vote. Never. Not once.
I would never make such a claim because I have studied enough history to know that no elected official in the entire history of the United States has been perfect. Not Ronald Reagan, not Abraham Lincoln, not even James Madison, Thomas Jefferson or our very first president, George Washington.
What I have done however is time and again communicated how at the very least I require that a candidate demonstrate that they understand American idealism and that they are committed to upholding such idealism as described in our founding documents. There is plenty of room for disagreement and discussion on the issues and how to implement said idealism once that foundation has been set.
A candidate for President must be willing to stand up for our Constitution and limited federal government. He cannot craft legislation that say, destroys the first amendment. I expect a candidate for President to not resort to petty name calling and insinuation of racism because I, and millions of Americans, actually believe that people should be required to come to this country legally and that if they don't then they should not be granted amnesty for their transgressions. A candidate for President must be willing to stand up for the concept that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights and that those rights are worth fighting for - even if said candidate already has theirs secured. I do not expect a candidate for President to tell bold faced lies such as calling the Iraq War "unconstitutional" when Congress clearly gave the authority for war. They may have poorly worded it, but they gave it.
We can always disagree on the finer points. But the overriding principles of libertarian and conservative thought must be upheld if you want my support. Sure, I realize that we have gotten into this mess over the course of a century and that it will likely take years to return to an America where government is limited to its constitutional roots. So I don't expect with the wave of a pen that a president would undo all the wrongs we have visited upon ourselves. But do not lie to me and say that you do not request earmarks and unconstitutional spending when the paper trail clearly shows otherwise. Then when caught do not claim that since the money was going to be spent anyway, you were just serving your constituents or some other nonsense. Do not lie to me and come up with some convoluted reason as to why some people deserve liberty while others do not simply because they live a little further away from you than the next guy.
Sure, I would love the "perfect candidate." But I am willing to settle for a man or woman, black or white or red or yellow or green with orange stripes, who has a firm grasp of what American idealism is. Because I know that a candidate like that can at least be reasoned with when the actions he or she takes raises red flags and causes all of us who still believe in the principles that built America to take a second look and question them boldly.