Weighing The Candidate And The Moment

Conor Friedersdorf:

Let me offer what is evidently a radical argument identifying the candidate that best approximates your ideological beliefs is not sufficient reason to cast a presidential vote on his behalf. Yes, a conservative is naturally going to weigh a candidate’s adherence to conservatism very heavily, but not as an end in itself. The ultimate goal is to choose the candidate whose election most benefits the country, not the candidate whose beliefs most closely reflect your own.

I did my best to explain why Obama fits this moment in my article last fall, whatever your politics. I might add that I regard this kind of flexibility, this ability for liberals to occasionally see the merit of a conservative in power (as many did with Reagan) and the ability for conservatives to occasionally see the merit of a liberal in power (as many now do with Obama) is a sign of a polity's health, not lack of spine.

The strength of a two-party system is undermined if both are defined by pure ideology and adherence to it.