Note: The author would like to thank the Psalmist, Switchfoot, and Samwise for inspiring this column.
Back in May of 1999, I made a decision to leave the Democratic Party. It was an easy decision. I had been a Democrat for 11 years. I voted for Dukakis when I was a committed leftist. But, later, when I became a pro-life conservative, there was no room for me in the party. So I became a Republican and also joined the NRA. I've been a straight shooter ever since. Excuse me if that last line sounded heterosexist. I’m a work in regress.
As a committed conservative - one who many people think should be committed - I place ideology above party loyalty. It is true that I will not vote for any Democrat under any circumstances, not even if they seek my vote for local dog catcher. The image of Florida Democrats interpreting "chads" is burned in my memory forever. Mike Adams clings to a grudge longer than Al Sharpton clings to a discredited rape victim. But that doesn't mean I will always vote Republican. Each candidate has to work to earn my vote. That is especially true if I view him as a member of the establishment, rather than a product of a grass roots movement.
Mitt Romney is not nearly as conservative as I would like him to be. So I did not feel comfortable supporting him going into the Denver presidential debate. I'm sorry to talk about my feelings. I know I'm a member of the NRA but I still have feelings. Just ask Ingrid Newkirk of PETA. I send her Christmas cards every year - although I know she does not appreciate that they are home-made and feature pictures of the deer I kill during the holiday season.
Sorry to digress. Now, let’s get back to my feelings.
Some people will say that the Denver debate changed their vote from Obama to Romney. But I am not among them. My vote was changed from going-to-sit-this-one-out to Romney. But it did not take a 90-minute debate to do it. It only took one line. He didn't have me at "hello." He got me when he scolded a boyish eye-contact-avoiding president for over-spending. Specifically, he got me when he looked right at Obama and characterized the current spending problem as “immoral.”
It was a home run. And it cut right to the heart of the nature of our spending problem. It is more than just a spending problem. It is a moral problem. To fail to grasp the depth of the moral deficit that makes possible our fiscal deficit is to misjudge the American political landscape altogether. It is to misapprehend the nature of the American constitutional experiment altogether.