The best, Milton Friedman liked to remind us, is often the enemy of the good.
Last week I expected one of my readers to cite the great economist against me. On Wednesday I had offered six (count em: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6) reasons why conservatives might cheer a Mitt Romney defeat next November. Readers of my Common Sense squib objected.
On Thursday I offered for their consideration former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, whose Republican bid was squelched by media and GOP insiders, and is now seeking the Libertarian Partys presidential nomination. Still no great support from my readers. On Friday I took a step back and tried to explain where I was coming from. Accolades from those commenting on the ThisIsCommonSense.com website were few and far between.
The basic point from my readers is that Obama is awful, and must be stopped. Sure, Mitt Romney is a slippery candidate with few principles. Sure, he wont likely be very good. But at least hed be better than Obama, who would have another four years at the reins, ruining the country.
They could have quoted Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman at me. My preference for candidates like Gary Johnson and Ron Paul may, indeed, be support of better and best. But since they cannot win, voting for them — and encouraging others to vote for them — allows a horrible candidate, the current president, to continue to wreck the nation.
The best thus becomes the conquistador of the good (Mitt Romney).
Its an arguable point. And my readers ably argued it. My initial counter to their barrage? That this is the usual trap we are all-too familiar with. Conservatives and libertarians are perennially scolded to accept some mediocre-to-bad candidate, like George Herbert Walker Bush, Robert Dole, George Walker Bush, John McCain, and now Romney, and just choke down the bile and realize that with the Democrats in charge, things would be worse.