James Lileks writes great angry. Here is an example. James used to have a section of his website, we think it was called screeds, for his collection of angry, nasty humor. We loved them. Kevin D. Williamson is also a master of the genre. David French is not. We are not either. That’s why it has taken us time to respond to David’s “Dump [The Donald], But Don’t Burn Down The GOP” at The Dispatch. David’s Dump doesn’t have the style of James or Kevin but who does? The problem is that it doesn’t make much sense either.
Our disagreement is interesting because we suspect that if asked to pick who should be president now we would both have the same response: Mitt’s second term. We are not saying David is not a conservative. We just think he is wrong about voting models.
One issue we are ignoring is the conjunction of dumping The Donald AND burning down the GOP. Near the beginning David says:
In other words, in the furious argument over the future of the Republican party and political conservatism, consider me squarely in the camp that seeks to dump [The Donald] but not to seek vengeance on the rest of the GOP. [Emphasis added]
It must be a Twitter thing since we are not in that milieu. We see that there are still some Never The Donald folks out there and there are some folks that want to burn the GOP because it doesn’t support The Donald enough but we didn’t know anyone was for both. We weren’t aware of an argument of any kind never made a furious one. We are not interested in that part of David’s Dump. We are interested in the Dump The Donald part. David quotes himself on how Christians should vote:
First, they must possess a personal character that is worthy of the office they seek. Second, they must broadly share my political values. If a candidate fails either prong of that test, he or she doesn’t receive my vote.
Then he goes on about The Donald’s incompetence. He needs to reread The Weed Agency to remind himself of the difficulties of governing. Yes, we know it is a work of fiction but it is instructive. He goes on to say that competence is a character trait. He is surely wrong about that. Expertise relates to specific limited areas. Everyone (do we need an almost before everyone?) has limited areas of competencies.
Sidebar One: The winner of a recent bridge tournament with thousands of entries including MWG is also (self reported) a crossword puzzle champ. We are amazed by that combination of extraordinary skills. End Sidebar One.
Our major complaint is that David’s voting model has people staying home on election day or only making a couple of votes. How many people have you voted for enthusiastically in your life? If your two main criteria are character and political values while competency fits in too do you want to help The Frontrunner win? VDH isn’t always right (is he?) but you might consider this in your voting decision.
When we get down to the general election we think you need to compare the two candidates. It is a binary choice: either The Donald or The Frontrunner will win in November. Even if you live in Wisconsin only rarely do you get to vote for a Ron Johnson. Pick the best candidate by your model and vote. If your model has you staying home often reconsider it.
Sidebar Two: One rational model for staying home is that the value of your vote is not worth the cost of making it. It is not an unreasonable conclusion. The problem is that this model means that rational people vote less. We don’t think that having rational people voting less is a good idea. End Sidebar Two.
Don’t stay home or leave the presidential choice blank on David’s orders.