Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Competence and Ideology

For an apt illustration of the myopia that sometimes afflicts conservatives, to the detriment of conservatism, see Terry Frank here. With state senator Joe Haynes possibly looking to challenge John Wilder for selection as Tennessee's Lt. Governor, Frank is worried about the relative conservatism of the two candidates for the position. In this instance, that consideration is largely irrelevant.

The Oracle is not certain that Joe Haynes is a raging liberal, but that is hardly the point. It is certain that Haynes is at least competent to hold the position -- and to succeed the governor should some unforeseen and unfortunate circumstance arise. Wilder, who has been stretching the definition of ineptitude for decades, is manifestly not up to those jobs.

The goals of conservatism are not served by supporting the more conservative candidates irrespective of their competence. Conservatives, who sometimes complain that liberals glorify victimization, often think themselves victimized by liberal mainstream media. However, believing that the media have a liberal bias amplifies the importance of bringing forward thinkers and communicators who are capable of engaging the battle of ideas articulately. That does not mean that conservative leaders must be intellectuals. Ronald Reagan was effective in this arena without being one. However, conservatives who would be leaders must be able to argue for their ideas effectively. Promoting leaders who cannot do so is a disservice to the cause.

If the world made any sense, Republican senators, who are in the majority in the Tennessee General Assembly, would select Ron Ramsey as the next Lt. Governor. If that is not possible, Joe Haynes would be a clearly better choice than John Wilder.

Hat Tip: Volunteer Voters

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