I normally think Kevin Williamson at National Review has some astute, even sometimes brilliant, observations in his articles. I found his latest to be highly suspect and disappointing, partially because it likely reflects the views of many others. His thesis is this: If you think Obama is simply wrong and an incompetent manager, you’ll be happy with Romney; if you think Obama is evil, you will not be happy with Romney. Williamson places himself with the former group. He also believes a technocratic manager who wants to appear conservative will get more accomplished legislatively with a conservative Congress than would a “flame-thrower” like Gringrich or Santorum. On this point, I might agree, as I’ve said before, although I’d still go with the most conservative presidential choice for reasons beyond legislative wrangling.
For me, the major flaw in his reasoning is this: how do you define evil? While I don’t believe Obama wants to kill half the American population, I do believe he’s completely representative of the far-left that wants to “remake” America, to transform it from a free society to a “fair” society, with fairness defined according to the priorities of the left. We all know what those priorities are, so no sense wasting space here. If we’re to define “evil” as governing against the consent of the governed, then Obama fits this description. If lawlessness is evil, then he fits this description. If radical transformation against the will of the majority is evil, then it fits. If weakening America vis a vis the rest of the world is evil, then it fits.
I fault Williamson for mainly setting up a straw-man argument, but it’s significant, and the reason I bring this to your attention is because I think this will be a major theme in the election. Most of the country and the Republican Party is divided over whether or not we’ve hit a rough patch and need to elect Republicans to smooth out the edges, and those who believe we are in the midst of an existential crisis and the only way to undo the radicalism which has gotten us to this point is with more radicalism of the Constitutional, government-slashing kind, just for starters. If there’s to be civil war, it’s necessary for our very survival. It’s do or die right now. Those of us who are in the “existential threat” group will get no assist from people like Williamson, apparently, who are willing to merely trim around the edges without reversing our course and undoing decades of serious, cancerous damage.
Here’s his piece: