The Nation's Pulse

Bob Lott for President

The second coming of Chester Alan Arthur.

By 2.18.08

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This Presidents' Day, I finally sat down and had a good think about where the current crop of candidates fits in the long run of America's chief executives. Any way you look at it, it's kind of depressing.

It's a downer for a number of reasons, and not just because of how the races have shaken out. Conservatives by and large despise John McCain, but, seriously, Mitt Romney would have been much better?

My guess is that if he managed to get the nomination, Romney'd have rolled up his sleeves and gone after those dreaded moderate voters with gusto. A year from now, we'd be fighting over Romneycare instead of Hillarycare.

To be fair, almost anybody would have been a disappointment. What the activist base of the GOP really wanted was Ronald Reagan, and he's been term-limited. The Democrats have gone nostalgic, too. They either want a second Clinton administration -- this time, minus the sex scandals -- or JFK redivivus.

The party faithful pine for larger-than-life leaders, and that probably isn't so far from the average American's expectation. The candidates do their best to promise the moon and the stars, right after they've depleted the earth. The Arizona senator will vanquish America's enemies by land, sea, and air; the Democrats will vanquish the common cold with their government run healthcare.

What options does that leave for us voters who don't want a terribly activist government or a world-historic leader? What if, instead of a Reagan or a JFK, what we really long for is another Chester Alan Arthur?

WE WILL SOON be warned against "throwing your vote away" on some crank third party candidate in the general election. Instead, we should figure out which of the two major party candidates will do the least damage, fasten that clothespin, and do our Christian duty.

Or not. Granted, most votes for non-Big Two candidates really do seem like wasted votes. We cast those ballots to send a message but nobody listens. Politicians and pundits and our fellow citizens simply ignore results that don't affect the larger contest of R's and D's. But sometimes those statements are still worth it, because they are important to we the only nominally enfranchised voters.

That's why I'm voting for my dad in this year's presidential election. I'm not saying any reader should follow my example but you could do worse, and likely will. Bob Lott is not and has never been a candidate for any office. If elected, he will not even think about serving. I doubt he'd give interviews to curious journalists. In fact, he might not speak to this one for a few weeks after so public an endorsement.

I'm voting for Bob Lott for two reasons. The first is that he's my dad; a vote for your dad simply cannot be a wasted vote, no matter what the outcome of the election.

The second reason is that he's on old school conservative. He's not political, but what he thinks of as "common sense" is like screeching nails on a chalkboard to most liberals. As he explains it, "I'm not very PC."

Dad thinks the federal government spends way too much money: on pork; on entitlements; on things that should be the business of states, if at all; and on too many wars. He spends quite a bit of time every year helping to raise money for the local crisis pregnancy center in Bellingham, Washington.

He's also a Baptist minister, but unlike Mike Huckabee Bob Lott is a Baptist minister who would never, ever vote to raise your taxes. He's the only Rev. I know with a degree in economics (for the wages of sin is, wait, first carry the decimal).

This is supposedly a "change" year in American politics. Well, I hear that and I think, here is a man whose whole career has been devoted to encouraging real change in people's lives. Government had almost nothing to do with it. So he gets my respect, and my vote.

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About the Author
Jeremy Lott is an editor of rare.us.