here's Mark Shea:
The results of the Iowa Caucuses were incredibly close, a virtual tie: Romney by 8 votes… .000065%.
I have friends who have opined that they may opt out of the voting process in this election cycle.
That is a really bad idea.
The stakes of the 2012 election are high.
Your votes count.
As wearisome as the process is, stay engaged with the issues and candidates.
Votes matter. [Emphasis in original--E.M.]
Suddenly, the Iowa caucuses, after not mattering at all when Paul looked like he might win, matter a great deal and show us the Wisdom of the Voters. Neocons are particularly enthused with Santorum, who promises to ignore the Pope and the catechism on that whole pre-emptive war thing, as well as re-establish torture as a fundamental American value (in keeping with the disproportionately large enthusiasm for torture so-called “conservative” Catholics have in defiance of the teaching of Holy Church). Indeed, the damp-handed Orwellian from Pennsylvania has actually had the temerity to tell Vietnam torture victim John McCain that he doesn’t understand torture as well as he does. [All links in original--E.M.]Mark goes on, in his post with the restrained and subtle title "Empty Suit and War/Torture Enthusiast Win Iowa!" to remark about how odd it is that few people can be found who are actually enthusiastic about the (up to now, anyway) presumed frontrunner, Mitt Romney. I don't think it's odd; I think it's one of the only signs of sanity left in the Republican Party. Alas, that sign is immediately contradicted by the reality that none of the candidates have been able to inspire much more than lukewarm enthusiasm among the voters.
I mean, those of us who have been accustomed in the past to voting for Republicans are used to the rallying cry of "Hold your nose and vote for X!" when it comes time for the general election. I can't, though, for the life of me remember this rallying cry being so prevalent during the primary season. "Hold your nose and vote for one of these clowns, because even though they're all deeply flawed and have no real ideas and would (with one possible exception) have signed NDAA 2012 right alongside the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania to say nothing of declaring preemptive war on any nation that has threateningly large amounts of oil and approving of super-duper enhanced interrogation which is not torture for reasons that are deeply personally linguistic, they're all we've got!" is not exactly the most inspiring Republican message I've ever heard. (Too wordy, for one thing.)
Republicans, and those of their friends who while not actually being members of the party still tend to share some of their ideals, may be forgiven for having hoped that the present election cycle might have produced an actual leader, instead of a group which is clearly still trying to play one on TV. But then again, in our age of Obama, where substance quite obviously didn't matter to the electorate so long as the right things were read with the right sort of inflection off of the right brand of Teleprompter, promising all the right sorts of goodies and government freebies to the masses while reassuring the 1% that they would only be called upon to talk about sacrifice, but not actually to do any of it themselves, perhaps the Republican field could be forgiven for thinking that "The best lack all conviction, while the worst/Are full of passionate intensity" was some sort of election-year motto, a rule to live by, a principle to emulate themselves.
And so I read things like what the good Father Z. has written with a sort of perplexity. How much will one's vote really count when a nose-holding selection of some person C.S. Lewis would have unhesitatingly referred to as a man (and I can say that, as Bachmann has dropped out) without a chest is the only possible outcome of this election?