A Vote For Huckabee Is A Vote For Giuliani

Hugh Hewitt explains. [Hey, thanks for the link, and welcome Townhall readers.] Particularly interesting to me is Hewitt's application of tort law to electoral politics. What he's really describing is the need for voters concerned about the morality of their vote to use the virtue of prudence --practical wisdom, which is not reducible to upright intention-- in casting their vote. Prudence includes (citing this work, lest I be accused yet again of speaking in Straussian code):
1. Memory of the past, so that one may learn from experience what is to be done or avoided in particular circumstances.

2. Understanding of the present, so that one may judge whether a given action is lawful or unlawful, morally good or evil, fitting or unfitting.

3. Docility, so that those who lack experience may accept the counsel and advice of those who have experience.

4. Sagacity, so that one may act rightly in urgent cases when time or circumstances do not permit delay.

5. Reasoning power, so that when time permits, one may act after the required consideration and reflection.

6. Foresight, so that one may judge the immediate means in view of the end or goal being sought.

7. Circumspection, so that one may take into consideration the special circumstances surrounding a given act, as to persons and places.

8. Precaution, so that one will take into consideration the possible obstacles from without, or one's own weakness or incapacity in view of a given action.(1)

Particular emphasis in Hewitt's tort analogy on foresight:

The concept of foreseeability as a component of liability is second nature to lawyers, but perhaps it is not intuitive outside of the law. If an action will foreseeably result in a consequence, even if that consequence is not an immediate one, then the action is understood to cause the consequence. Voting for Huckabee has only one foreseeable result --weakening Romney-- which itself has one foreseeable result: nominating Rudy. Jaw, jaw, jaw all day, but those are the facts.

Yes. And if a "pro-life" protest vote will forseeably lead to a Hillary presidency, then the voter is understood to cause the abortion legislation she will sign into law. The question for values voters is what our end is. Is it to be right, and recognized as such, and listened to and credited? Or is it to defend human life --and where that isn't possible outright, to limit harm to the greatest degree possible?

I was asked in a comment box last week what's wrong with "taking a principled stand" and voting for a third party, and that's my answer --it is forseeable that a 3rd party candidacy will give us President Hillary. That might "teach the Republicans a lesson" (although experience indicates otherwise), but the education of the Republican party as such is not a fit end --not for a "values voter," I would argue. Before Kant went and unhitched the conscience from any consideration of the likely consequences of its actions, Christians would have been the first to understand that.

Furthermore, although it's perfectly true as my commenter indicated that there's nothing in the Constitution that explicitly calls for a two-party system, Federalist #10 on the problem of faction explains why no third party can function for long in the American system. The Founders looked at Europe with its endless wars of religion and ethnic obsessions and tried to devise a system that would be free of such parochial considerations. They knew that we men are fallen and they could neither end interested motives nor get everyone to agree with each other all the time, so instead they devised a system by which it would be nearly impossible for any interest group --no matter how noble-- to gain sway over the whole. Madison puts it this way:
The inference to which we are brought is, that the causes of faction cannot removed; and that relief is only to be sought in the means of controlling its effects.
And the means they chose is to make it difficult for "pure" parties --factions-- to operate. I won't rehearse the whole argument here, but here's part of it:
The smaller the society, the fewer probably will be the distinct parties and interests composing it; the fewer the distinct parties and interests, the more frequently will a majority be found of the same party; and the smaller the number of individuals composing a majority, and the smaller the compass within which they are placed, the more easily will they concert and execute their plans of oppression. Extend the sphere, and you take in a greater variety of parties and interests; you make it less probable that a majority of the whole will have a common motive to invade the rights of other citizens; or if such a common motive exists, it will be more difficult for all who feel it to discover their own strength, and to act in unison with each other.
Or in other words, the Federal system was made large enough to prevent interest groups from being able to rule --if you want the Presidency, you are forced to make common cause with other groups. "Third parties" are not fit for America --they make sense in a Parliamentary system, in which seats in the legislature are apportioned according to voting percentages. But in a winner-take-all system such as ours, they just don't work. As Hewitt puts it: jaw, jaw, jaw, but that's the fact.