The Spectacle Blog

Re: May the best candidate win

By on 5.5.08 | 6:08PM

My post labeled "Operation Chaos" objectionable, not Rush Limbaugh himself, though I find the defense offered on his behalf problematic:


What is Rush Limbaugh? Is he a partisan political operative? Does he collect his paycheck from the Republican National Committee? Or is he, alternatively, an idealistic philosopher in an ivory tower, pondering obscure questions of the greater good?

No, Rush is a professional broadcaster whose livelihood is dependent on attracting listeners and advertisers to his show.

Other entertainers intent on attracting an audience include Keith Olbermann, Al Franken and Michael Moore. Is it verbotten to declare anything that they do "objectionable" because they're simply pursuing their livelihood? I should hope not.

This is a better defense:


Rush believes that what is bad for the Democratic Party is good for America. (If you want to argue that point, take it up with Rush.)

I think I just did. The counterargument offered is as follows:
My problem with your "risk-averse approach," Conor, is your apparent belief that there would be any meaningful policy difference between an Obama administration and a Clinton administration. I see no basis for such a belief. Any consideration of electing the better of the two Democrats is a non-starter, if both are equally bad -- or if each is at least so bad that there's no point trying to calculate which is worse.

I strenuously disagree that there wouldn't be any meaningful policy differences between the two Democrats. The fact that one supported the war in Iraq and the other opposed it suggests that they do differ on large, consequential questions. One example, off the top of my head, that is certain to come up in the future: Senator Obama is likely to conduct one-on-one talks with objectionable foreign leaders, whereas Senator Clinton is more reluctant to do so, believing that such talks lend abhorrent regimes legitimacy. Another is the difference between health care with mandates and without -- I'm against either plan, but I'd certainly prefer the latter, as should any principled backer of small government.

Nor do I think that policy differences are the only portents of how their presidencies might play out. These are people of different generations whose life experiences, advisors, temperments and supporters are all quite different.

Just as I don't think it is obvious which is most electable, I don't think it's certain which candidate would perform better, or please conservatives more, if elected. Forced to state a preference based on one metric or the other, however, a risk-averse, tempermentally conservative voter ought to choose the latter.

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