Unimaginative Apologetics, Refuted

IPR relays word of a discussion between Parker Ward and J.C. Allen in the Letters to the Editor section of Louisiana's Shreveport Times. Allen is the chairman of the Caddo Parish Republican Executive Committee. Ward is a young conservative political activist who recently left the GOP for the Constitution Party. In a letter to the Shreveport Times, Ward explained the reasons behind his move and made a pitch for the Constitution Party:
I left the GOP because it is moving away from its Christian Conservative Constitutional roots and is no longer for less federal government, less taxation, and more expensive, beloved, and valued liberty. I believe our politicians in D.C. are making a mockery out of the highest governing document in our land, the Constitution. People say we are no longer under the old Constitutional laws; I would have to say to you, why, yes we are, friend. The Republican Party is moving to the Democrats former bearing and inching themselves more rapidly to socialism. What can we, the Constitution-loving Americans, do to keep our Constitutional rights? We are losing rights and freedoms left and right under both parties. If we are going to preserve the America we love then we need to get up and put our money where our mouths are.Change your voter registration to Constitution Party, run with that party, and only vote for candidates who will stand up for the Constitution of the United States of America.
Allen's pathetic response is duopolist boilerplate, but the very fact that the chairman of the local Republican Executive Committee found it necessary to respond at all demonstrates the fear of effective local third party activism that motivates partisans of the duopoly parties. In response to Ward, Allen writes:
While some conservatives may feel that the Republican Party has abandoned them, it is this party that remains the only hope for conservative principles to again emerge victorious. It is important that these conservatives realize that it will be much easier and take less time to mold the Republican Party into its previous conservative image than to build a new party into an effective alternative, which history has shown rarely happens. Historically, conservative, minor third party efforts have accomplished just the opposite of what was intended. For example, Ross Perot's party drained off enough conservative votes from the first President George Bush to ensure the election of Bill Clinton. Independents, although not a party, wield more power as a voting block than almost all of the minor parties put together. Yet Independents have very few elected officials, control very few, if any, committees in legislatures and have held very few governor seats. They can, however, make a difference in election outcomes . . . The state and local Republican organizations will continue to court the conservative Democrats and unaffiliated in an effort to attract these voters to help build a stronger conservative base in the Republican Party that can make a difference.
Ideologues of the duopoly parties really are an unimaginative bunch. Since March, when I first started maintaining Poli-Tea, I have responded in one way or another, and on multiple occasions, to all of the arguments put forward here by Allen, of which there are four: 1) the brute fact argument, 2) the argument by impatience, 3) the historical argument, and 4) the spoiler argument. First, in the present context, the brute fact argument is a mere assertion, and, ironically, it is unsupported by the facts. Allen states that the GOP "remains the only hope for conservative principles to again emerge victorious." This claim is completely undermined by the dialogical context in which it is uttered. That conservatives are leaving the Republican Party for the Constitution Party proves that the GOP is not their only hope. Next, the argument by impatience is often coded as pragmatism. Allen writes: "it will be much easier and take less time to mold the Republican Party into its previous conservative image than to build a new party into an effective alternative, which history has shown rarely happens." Again, no facts are supplied to support this assertion. It is noteworthy, however, that Allen sees the problem primarily as one of 'image' and branding, rather than substance. Conservatives do not desire the mere appearance of conservatism, they want an effective alternative, which is why they are seeking out third party and independent alternatives to the duopoly charade. Thirdly, the historical component of Allen's remark is, of course, technically true. Ironically, however, the Republican Party itself is the best evidence of the fact that third parties can become major organs of political power. And finally, just for fun, let's assume that the spoiler argument does indeed hold water, but also that it cuts both ways. If President George Bush had the decency, for the good of the nation and the future of conservatism, to withdraw his candidacy for president, he never would have spoiled Perot's chances of defeating Clinton in 1992.

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