The lesser good vs. the lesser evil
Posted by aogSunday, 09 November 2003 at 09:58 TrackBack Ping URL

When I unleash a rant about the Democratic Party, the standard response from a member is to point out the bad things done by the Republicans. There are, after stripping the hyperbole, usually some good points in the resulting scream of consciousness. For instance, I think President Bush is badly negligent on cutting spending and controlling the deficit. I don’t like his pandering on steel tarrifs. I think he’s dropped the ball on cleaning house in our sclerotic and dysfunctional intelligence organizations and the State Department. I think he’s made some bad mistakes in the post-war handling of Iraq. All of these are valid criticisms, but they miss the essential point of why I will almost certainly vote for Bush in 2004.

Note that in every case, the problem of Bush is that he’s not doing enough good. He’s imperfect. For instance, on free trade, Bush has given the ball a good kick downfield with bilateral free trade agreements, such as with Chile. The handling of post-war Iraq has been flawed, but we got rid of the Ba’ath and created some hope in a nation that had none while setting the stage for a long term, sustainable improvement in American security.

On the other hand, the things I dislike about the Democratic candidates are actively bad things things, like support for higher taxes, appeasement or abandonment on Iraq, the sacrifice of American sovereignty to failed states and organizations that are openly hostile, etc. So when I hit the voting both, I won’t be picking the lesser of two evils, but between the adequate and the pernicious. That makes the choice a bit easier.