A Response to Steve Deace
Steve Deace is an Evangelical leader/commentator who recently posted a list of the 6 reasons he will not be voting for Mitt Romney in 2012. I don’t believe in disagreeing simply for the sake of disagreeing… but I am a huge fan of discussing things – of offering up a different view. It is in that spirit that I would like to present some responses to Steve’s 6 Reasons.
[These originally appeared on a Facebook Note that Mr. Deace posted to his personal page. That Note appears to have been taken down, so I copied these from an article posted on The Blaze website. It is my assumption that The Blaze took a verbatim copy of what was in the original Note]
[[Mr. Deace’s points appear first with my responses – in bold italics – following]]
1) Mr. Deace – I do not believe my vote determines the winner of an election the way most people do. The Bible clearly teaches there is no authority on earth except that which God has ordained, and I am a strong believer in the sovereignty of God, so pagan philosophical arguments like not voting for “A” is a vote for “B” have no impact on me, except to compel me to wonder why so many people have such simplistic logic. After all, as David Shedlock recently pointed out, if not voting for Romney is a vote for Obama then why is not voting for Obama a vote for Romney? I do believe God gives us the leaders we deserve, so I think the more faithful we are the more blessing God gives us. Thus, I view my vote as an act of worship more than a responsibility of citizenship (which also matters but not as much) and loyalty to a political party (which doesn’t matter at all).
Me – The age old mystery of Free Will vs. Pre-Destination. I don’t believe it diminishes the sovereignty of God to assert that we do, indeed, choose our leaders. May I assume that you derive the idea that all civic authority is ordained (and therefore chosen?) by God from Romans 13? If so, Tim Haile has a fascinating perspective on Romans 13 here. I would have to agree with his interpretation. I think the Big Picture view of God’s character would indicate (as Haile points out) that He would not directly appoint murderous, barbarous dictators. That doesn’t mean He does not know who will lead different groups of people and when… He does know, and He does allow. But appointing/ordaining is quite different from allowing. This of it this way… does God direct natural disasters to hit specific areas? You would be hard pressed to answer yes. Instead, in His ultimate wisdom, He allows these things to happen. He allows the natural processes He created on the earth to run their course. Likewise, He allows the whole of Humanity the Free Will to govern themselves when it comes to civic matters. That’s not to say he never intervenes… he is not, after all merely the Cosmic Clock Maker of Deistic philosophy. However, I don’t believe that either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney have been directly chosen to be installed/appointed/ordained by God in 2012. He has left that choice up to us.
2) Mr. Deace – What I am writing here is not intended to persuade anyone else to my position, but rather explain my position. When you read further you will understand why this particular position is personal to me. As a public figure (whether I want to admit I am one or not), I believe I owe you these sorts of explanations if for no other reason than I demand it from other public figures — and I must hold myself accountable to the same standard I hold others.
Me – No arguments about this one. Though it seems to be more of a reason for stating reasons he is not voting for Romney (rather than a reason itself).
3) Mr. Deace – Although at times I can get snarky with the best of them, and crack jokes about things like hoping Romney picks a terrible RINO running mate, that‘s really just gallow’s humor to keep from crying over the state of my country. The truth is I would love it if Romney shocked me into admitting I was wrong — just once. For example, I would love it if he picked a God- fearing running mate who is capable of honoring their sworn oaths of office before God and man. We are running out of time as a people, and don’t have much more time for RINOs let alone cultural marxists and socialists masquerading as Keynesians. I would love it if Romney, or even Obama for that matter, didn’t constantly live down to my expectations.
Me – RINO-schmino. That’s an epithet that used to mean something but has been so mis- applied now, it’s practically worthless. I have come to believe that we Conservatives now just throw around that insult at any politician who doesn’t go along with 110% of our preferred issue positions. We are a fickle bunch as well. Ann Coulter* used to be one of our favorites… but after she started enthusiastically supporting Romney, you would not believe the nasty comments that were made about her. There was palpable hatred directed at her from some of my fellow Conservatives. It really made me sick. We have even been fickle about Romney. In 2008, he was the Last Great Conservative Hope to stop that RINO McCain. Then all of a sudden, in 2012, we Conservatives decided Romney was RINO Satan. Romney did try too hard to appeal to Conservatives in 2008… but since that time, his positions and personal outlook have grown decidedly more Conservative. And still, some of us call him a RINO. Ah well.
4) Mr. Deace – On the other hand, history has shown it‘s who’s at the top of the ticket that matters, just ask Sarah Palin. While it’s idealistic to fantasize about a Godly man having influence over Romney, the truth is the list is long and tragic of Godly men who have already compromised themselves over Romney. Just read our book “We Won’t Get Fooled Again” if you want the documentation. A little bit of leaven ruins the whole loaf.
Me – My advice to you is to start from the position that Romney is not the Devil Incarnate. It’s a curious thing that people like us on the Right have spent more time and energy “vetting” Mitt Romney than we ever did with President Obama. Romney is a flawed human being (just like all of us. Starting from that point, here is my full and harshest critique of him: Romney grew up, came of age, and matured with a mentality that had its baseline to the Center-Left. He governed to the Center-Left in Massachusetts, not simply because his constituency was extremely liberal, but also because that was where he was most comfortable. When he decided he wanted to be President, he made calculated moves to the right. Since then, he has whitewashed or actually distorted his actual history to make it seem like he was the clone of Ronald Reagan. These moves to the Right at first sat awkwardly with Romney. He has struggled to make his rhetoric match his actions. But as time has worn on (he’s been shifting to the Right for a good 10 years now) Mitt has settled into a Center-Right mindset.
Now, all that being said, Romney is a problem-solver and he understands private enterprise. Those two characteristics make him our best choice in November. Not just as the lesser of two evils, but as someone who can keep the country from diving off the fiscal cliff.
5) Mr. Deace – It is the responsibility of the candidate/politician to earn my vote, not my responsibility as a citizen to compromise God’s moral standard to vote for them. I am the boss, they are the job applicant. Therefore, the burden of hiring is on them, and not me. If a candidate wants my support, live up to my standard and you’ll get it. It’s just that simple.
Me – As Bismarck said, “Politics is the art of the possible”. You kind of have to play with the cards you are dealt. If we wait for Reagan 2.0, we will be waiting forever. I would suggest, ever so humbly, that your standards for a politician won’t be met by anyone. (Isn’t the whole point of the Cross that no human can live up to God’s moral standard?) Moreover, Romney has the best chance of anyone in recent memory to be a truly transformational President. After Obama proved the inefficacy of Keynesian economics, the country (at long, long last) appears to be ready to start tackling our long term entitlement problems. And Romney’s support of Paul Ryan’s budget plans is a signal that Romney is willing to take these things on. As God’s representatives here on earth it is our (the Church’s) responsibility to take care of people’s needs and to allow God to speak through us to address social and moral failings. It’s not the President’s job to be a Culture Warrior. The President should stick to things like making sure the Federal Government abides by its limited role as spelled out in the Constitution.
6) Mr. Deace – As a Christian I am not motivated by fear, because perfect love casts out all fear. I am motivated by faith, so boogeymen don’t scare me. My God lives, and the grave couldn’t hold him. So you’ll forgive me if fear-mongering propaganda doesn’t drive me into the arms of a slightly less poisonous snake.
Me – With all due respect, the Romney=Obama-lite argument is just silly. They have two completely different worldviews and will have two completely different chosen paths as President. “Not voting for Romney is a vote for Obama” might be a slight rhetorical stretch, but it’s not “fear-mongering propaganda” to objectively say that another four years of Obama would be very, very bad for this country. So, then, if not Obama, who? Our only other viable choice is Mitt Romney. If we support and vote for him, we achieve Conservative Goal Numero Uno (namely, getting rid of Barack Obama). And if Romney is our next President, he will be objectively better than Obama…not just a “slightly less poisonous snake”. I think the “I won’t vote simply for the lesser of two evils” rhetoric is merely a way for people to not take responsibility for what happens in this country.