Controlling the Tides
There have been times, over the past year, when I’ve felt compelled, in public and private intra–Anchor Rising discussions, to defend commenter Anthony. This is how he reciprocates:
If you can’t vote for Chafee over Sheldon Whitehouse, you are not a Republican. You are not a conservative. You are just a disgruntled, pathetic sore loser.
Granted that, in his comment, Anthony is not addressing me directly, but a personal insult is no less personal for being broadly cast. What anybody who has read Anchor Rising for more than the past few weeks should know and keep in mind is that I am manifestly not a “Laffey guy,” as some would have it now. Indeed, until very recently, I was pretty much intending to sitting out the primaries.
I long ago resolved never to vote for Linc Chafee, but my handling of his opponents remains an open question. Whatever votes I cast from here on out, while they may result in part from disgruntlement, will not be spurred by the sting of Laffey’s loss.
The closing weeks and months of the primary emphasized for me two considerations:
- I am unimpressed with the national Republicans’ leadership.
- I am beyond unimpressed with the Rhode Island GOP.
Chafee is central to perpetuating both of these factors. In the former case, his vacillation and liberal contrariness weaken the hands of those whose policies I would support, and it was on his behalf that the National Republican Senatorial Committee lay bare its ugly lust for power. In the latter case, he contributes credibility to an uncredible organization — emboldening those invested in the status quo of a me-too “alternative” party in the state.
With increasing obviousness over the past fifteen years, we have been heading into a critical time for national security. The decades to come will also be critical for the fiscal security of the United States and its citizens. And throughout it all, technology and the berserker gasps of moral relativism will make it crucial, during the next half-century, to reinforce the bulwark principles of our culture.
Although I had been drawn in to what may prove to have been a period of conservative fantasy that problems might actually be solved following the dreamlike false peace of the previous decade, the palliative of power among our leaders has begun to convince me that calamity is inevitable. Moreover, the longer we postpone the inevitable, the worse it may be. And whether the damage is maximal or not, a change in leadership will come.
Now that he’s actually begun to put his face forward in the campaign, my opinion of Sheldon Whitehouse is that the Democrats could not have chosen a better incumbent to be overthrown down the road. (His last name isn’t even Kennedy.) Even a coworker of mine who is a reflexive Democrat, from a demographic that has been ill served by its support for that party yet has hardly changed its voting habits, mocks Whitehouse’s presentation in his commercials.
I’m open to arguments that I should only inflict one negative for Chafee on election day (i.e., the not vote) rather than two (the not vote plus the opponent vote). I’m increasingly persuaded, however, that there may be something of hope in the odor of stale baby powder and pressed silk against which I will have to hold my nose should I fill in the arrow for the trust-funded Democrat at the top of my ballot.