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Like Satan debating Beelzebub

Commenting on the second act of the Romney/Obama debate miniseries, the astute foreign policy expert Daniel Pipes observed that “Romney missed an opportunity by not discussing larger issues but letting himself get mired in details.” In the same vein a commentator on one of the GOP’s party-line tea-party sites lamented that “even when moderator Candy Crowley allowed him time to rebut an attack Mitt Romney missed several opportunities to punch back hard. Some of these attacks had been previewed during the Democratic National Convention, so there’s no excuse for Romney to have been caught flat-footed this late in the game.” At Richard Viguerie’s website another observer said that Romney “failed to use many of the conservative ideas that he should have to counter the president’s blather – in that sense, a missed opportunity.”

For authentically American conservatives, the phrase “missed opportunity” could very well end up being the most suitable name for the folder in which the 2012 election is filed away. In the 2008 election, actuated mainly by feelings related to his skin color, a modest majority of voters sent to the White House the most thoroughly un-vetted, un-American, anti-American, anti-Constitution, God-evasive, radical socialist, would-be tyrant who ever ran for president of the United States. Back in 2008, the party line of the GOP wing of the elitist faction read that conservatives had no choice but to vote for that once and future traitor to almost every conservative cause, John McCain. Then as now I refused to accept their soul-decaying “lesser of evils” illogic. I took the position that once the American people experienced the truth of who Obama really is and what he represents, a hefty majority would urgently look for a chance to vomit him up.

That urge was clearly in play during the 2010 election. It has only grown since then. As I expected, Obama’s tenure has roused the patriotic instincts of the conservative grass roots. Galvanized by love of God and country, grass-roots conservatives dreamt of the moment when a candidate true to those instincts would raise the standard of faith and principle ’round which to rally the forces that would hurl the socialist nightmare from America’s path. It was clear during the GOP’s sham primary elections that the elitist faction leaders who now decide the party’s fate had nothing but cynical contempt for this grass-roots conservative dream. Instead they engineered the nomination of a candidate who makes conservative promises, but who then delivers mostly leftist, socialist results.

Romney fails to use conservative ideas because he doesn’t share the conservative vision. He isn’t making persuasive conservatives arguments because he himself is not persuaded by them. The debates don’t focus on fundamental differences between Romney and Obama because there are no fundamental differences. In a debate between Satan and Beelzebub, the debate focuses on small differences in the details. That’s because, as the old saying goes, “the devil is in the details” – and no one but the devil is involved in the debate. That’s what happens when we settle for a choice of evils.

On the issues of principle, Romney and Obama agree in rejecting the fundamental principles on which the United States was founded, succinctly articulated in the Declaration of Independence. In principle, for example, Romney and Obama agree in rejecting the notion of God-endowed unalienable rights all governments are instituted to secure and obliged to respect. This is clear in Obama’s embrace of every kind of abortion, up to and including the post-natal variety. But it’s also clear in Romney’s agreement with those who adamantly insist that Todd Akin’s campaign should be hounded to defeat because, unlike Mitt Romney, Akin refuses to defend so-called “abortion rights” in the cases of rape and incest. As a matter of unalienable right, the murder of innocent human beings must be rejected in principle. The failure of any government to secure (i.e., defend and protect) the unalienable right to life is a deal-breaking dereliction of duty, in any case.

Romney and Obama also agree in principle when it comes to the coercion of conscience. In this regard, aside from the implementation of Romneycare that ultimately aimed to impose unconscionable mandates on Catholic and other hospitals, there is Romney’s repeated statement (dutifully echoed by Paul Ryan) that he will continue Obama’s policy of forcing military personnel to accept, respect and honor open homosexuality in the ranks. This is the most blatant and systematic coercion of conscience imaginable. As a matter of principle, therefore, Romney agrees with Obama that specious “homosexual rights” trump the unalienable right freely to acknowledge and live by “the laws of nature and of nature’s God.” But the very idea of respect for unalienable rights depends upon the existence and authority of the transcendent standard promulgated by humanity’s God-endowed conscience. So their agreement on this point means that both men have abandoned that idea, whatever lip-service Romney deploys to mask that fact.

Romney has said that like Obama he supports and would have signed into so-called law the provision of the NDAA that allows people to be arrested and detained by the military without due process. Both men therefore reject the notion that the U.S. government cannot, routinely and by law, deprive people of life, liberty or property without due process. The U.S. Constitution explicitly forbids it. Yet when it comes to potential abuses of executive power there is no abuse that is, in practice, more destructive of liberty than such an arbitrary power of arrest and permanent detention. In effect it hands the Executive a warrant to suspend the Constitution at will, and with no accountability. It makes lawful what is otherwise, on the face of it, a high crime against the Supreme Law of the land, and therefore an impeachable offense.

Shills for the sham two-party system have predictably proclaimed that the fate of the nation hangs in the balance in the debates between Obama and Romney. But more fateful, and potentially fatal, to the perpetuation of America’s liberty and self-government are the issues that will not be placed in the balance during these debates because they are issues on which Romney and Obama do not disagree. As we have seen, this includes issues fundamental to the ideas, concepts and logic without which the possibility of constitutional self-government, of, by and for the people, would never have been recognized and successfully carried out. In all the centuries before America’s founding, humanity remained oblivious to this possibility. In the centuries since, by successfully implementing self-government, generations of Americans have opened the world’s eyes. Now we have an election in which the American people are asked to accept a false alternative that, either way, invites them to betray that achievement. There is a better way. Before Nov. 6, don’t miss the opportunity to consider it.