By Margaret Goodwin
A lot of people this year told me proudly they were going to vote their “principles” rather than voting for the “lesser of two evils.” Then they proudly and solipsistically cast their ballots for Dave Brownlow, knowing that Brownlow didn’t have a chance of winning, knowing that Merkley is on the far left, and knowing that it was going to be a very close race. I agree that Gordon Smith isn’t as conservative as he should be, as he used to be, or as I’d like him to be. But handing the election to Merkley to spite Smith is like chopping off your tongue because you have a bad taste in your mouth.
What good are principles when the result of following them is the same as choosing the greater of two evils? Gordon Smith lost by 4% of the vote. Dave Brownlow got 5% of the vote. Had those “principled” conservatives voted for Smith instead of Brownlow, Oregon would still have a Republican seat in the Senate. So what do they care about a Republican seat? They aren’t Republicans. They’re Constitutionalists. Is Merkley going to uphold the Constitution better than Smith? Do Democrats generally uphold the Constitution better than Republicans? Like it or not, we have a two-party system. When conservatives vote for a third party candidate, it always helps the liberals expand their power base.
That is the legacy of their “principled” voting. Yet they call themselves conservatives, and even proclaim themselves more conservative than thou. It’s ironic that it was the Constitution Party that pushed Oregon further to the left in this election. Was that their goal? If not, then whatever their goal was failed miserably, and the rest of the conservatives in this state can only hope they learn from their mistake.
What I want to know is are you guys proud of your accomplishment? If so, why? If not, are you going to do the same thing next time, or will you try to help pull our state (and our nation) back to the right, even if we have to drag it through the center to get there?