Why I’m Voting for Bob Lott

I was at the usual Sunday night thing the other week. A relative newcomer found out that I worked for a sister site to Real Clear Politics. We bantered a bit, then he tried to pin me down politically.

“Who are you voting for for president?” he asked.

“Bob Lott,” I said. “He’s even got the perfect slogan: Bob Lott, Why not?”

“No, but seriously…”

“I am serious,” I cut him off. “We don’t elect a president via the popular vote, we use an electoral college to elect a president and that’s winner-take-all. There is no chance Washington state will go for Romney and so I get to vote for the guy I actually want to vote for, my dad.”

I cast a ballot for Dad in the last presidential election and actually endorsed him in the American Spectator. Technically, the Spectator is not allowed to run endorsements, but they decided that only applies to actual candidates.

This time around, I had a few Bob Lott buttons made up and left one on the counter at my parents’ place when they were out. They look like this:

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Four More Gore!

1. Sometimes you learn new things. Christopher Buckley, in his obit of Gore Vidal, offers one likely reason why father William F. Buckley didn’t throw a punch at Vidal in their immortal exchange. He sets the scene:

If you look closely at the footage of the 1968 TV contretemps between WFB and Vidal, you’ll see WFB trying to rise out of his chair at the moment of maximum heat. If you look very closely, you’ll see him physically straining, but something holding him back.

This leaves readers wondering, What exactly was that “something” that held WFB back? Answer:

A few days before, [WFB] was sailing in Long Island Sound when a Coast Guard cutter zoomed past his sailboat, knocking him to the deck, breaking his collarbone. During the Chicago debates, he was wearing a clavicle brace. It’s possible that the brace prevented the moment from being truly iconic.

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Why I Might End Up Voting for Dad Again

The American Spectator is a run by a non-profit, which means that the publication itself is not allowed to explicitly endorse a candidate or piece of legislation. There is some wiggle room for contributors to do so in its pages, but in practice the editors have decided to ixnay endorsementsway.

In fact, I only know of one explicit endorsement the Spectator ran in the last presidential election cycle, because I wrote it. In the column in question, I told readers that over Presidents’ Day I had finally “sat down and had a good think about where the current crop of candidates fits in the long run of America’s chief executives” and found the results “depressing.”

Sure, I was unhappy that John McCain was the Republican nominee but “seriously,” I asked, “Mitt Romney would have been much better?” I speculated that, were that the case, “A year from now, we’d be fighting over Romneycare instead of [Obamacare].”

The column told readers they would “soon be warned against ‘throwing your vote away’ on some crank third party candidate in general election. Instead, we should figure out which of the two major party candidates will do the least damage, fasten that clothespin, and do our Christian duty.” It cautioned, not so fast, Christian soldiers.

Yes, a third party vote might amount to throwing one’s vote away, but so what? If these were the options the big two parties were offering us (Obama or Hillary vs. McCain or Romney), then perhaps it was best to throw those votes away. So, I endorsed my father.

“Bob Lott for President,” was the unambigious headline. In response to angry reader mail, I even worked up a pretty good cheer/taunt: “Bob Lott! Why Not?”

The piece ran because Dad was not a candidate and had no chance in hell of winning any elective office. Executive editor Wlady Pleszczynski, with his poetic Polish soul, understood that this was not so much an endorsement as an anguished love letter to America. Surely, I was hoping against hope, we can find it in us to do better than this.

And four years later, the candidates are… Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

So I might be voting for Dad again. Over the next few months, I’ll explore the ins and outs of that decision. This will not be an exercise in narcissism or posturing, or at least that is not the intent.

Obviously, the political ground has shifted some since the last presidential contest. A lot of readers had misgivings about our choices in the last go-round and might still be scratching their heads about what to do this time. Maybe in watching a fellow anguished voter puzzle it out, they can get some idea where to go from here.


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