The time for conservatives to compromise has come and gone. The time for decisive and prudential judgments in our votes has arrived, and that means abandoning Mitt Romney this election.
One of the great mistakes conservatives make when voting today is misjudging and mischaracterizing our political opponents. Words such as "socialist, radical, and communist" are tossed around with little regard to their historical meaning or modern implications. Then, we portray every election as a "turning point" in history, making over-exaggerated claims about the consequences of a political loss. Few actually argue that Mr. Romney stands by himself as a solid candidate for the presidency, but we are told we must get rid of the main problem, President Obama, even if it means settling for the lesser of two evils. This logic appears solid, but for the fact that it is based on two fundamentally flawed premises. One being: Mr. Obama is the problem. Two being: Mr. Romney is the solution.
Mr. Romney is anything but the ideal candidate. He is not running a campaign based on his plans or record but on why Mr. Obama has failed. We all know President Obama has failed. I want to know how Mr. Romney plans to fix America.
He has no economic plan. And his record as governor of Massachusetts shows he supported the government welfare state and constant government intrusions into the personal lives of American citizens. One can only conclude that as president, he wouldn't cut back entitlements and would reject raising so much as one dollar in the taxes needed to finance those entitlements.
His foreign policy is more neoconservative interventionism, pointless and hopeless "nation-building," and another war in the Middle East — against Iran. This policy flies in the face of hundreds of years of conservative tradition; it completely disregards the Constitution and ignores the sound advice of our Founding Fathers.
Now we move to the social issues — the real reason many conservatives will vote for Mr. Romney. Perhaps the most important one for conservatives is abortion, yet on that issue, the Republican nominee is just as liberal as President Obama. Until Mr. Romney became conveniently pro-life just in time for the 2008 GOP primary, he adamantly "supported a woman's right to choose" (as he called it), and he stated abortion "should be safe and legal" and that he would "sustain and support" Roe v. Wade.
If we elect Mr. Romney, he will do the minimum necessary to placate the conservative base, but he will not change the trajectory of a nation gone astray.
And we need that kind of fundamental change because Mr. Obama is not an aberration but a symptom of a problem more than 40 years in the making. He is a symptom of the liberal and sexual revolutions of the 1960s that have infected public schools and higher education, corrupted the media and entertainment industry, led to the disintegration of the family, and the decline of organized religion. Defeating Mr. Obama won't solve these problems because he didn't cause them; rather, he is the direct result of them.
Even if Mr. Romney wins and turns back or mitigates some of the president's most egregious violations of liberty and traditional morality, such as the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," the Affordable Care Act, and the contraception mandate, what will happen when a liberal Democrat retakes the White House? Calls for these policies will come back with renewed force. That is, unless there is a fundamental change in Washington.
Mr. Romney is not going to bring that change, so a vote for him is the ultimate wasted vote.
So…what now? Vote for someone who actually represents you, vote third party. There are numerous qualified candidates who represent sound conservative values. Virgil Goode and Ron Paul are two possibilities.
It's true that this election, a third party has little hope. But when, in the course of American history, has any political party or worthwhile movement risen up overnight in one election? If leaders of the civil rights movement had the same attitude as many conservatives today, then blacks would still be sitting in the back of the bus.
We may endure some short term suffering and criticism. This should not upset us. Christ never promised us an easy road. In fact he said the exact opposite: "you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers" (Matthew 24:9). We must have the courage of our convictions. Otherwise, we risk damning ourselves and our children to misery because we lacked the fortitude to do what was the necessary in 2012.
Joe Walsh, a Baltimore a native, is studying philosophy at Christendom College in Front Royal, Va. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.