The Corner

Response to Derbyshire

You can vote or not vote, of course; it’s a free country. But I don’t think that your “thunderclap of disapproval” is at all likely to have the effects you want. For the message it will send is that conservative voters are implacable, and make no distinctions between those who are with them 0 percent and 50 percent. (And in truth, Talent and Santorum have been there a lot more often than 50 percent on any rational conservative’s list of issues.) If they’re not willing to be 100 percenters, which few of them can be, then they have no incentive to improve their average. (The skewed incentives reminds me a bit of the No Child Left Behind Act.) You’re right that sensible voters have been following the advice I give for years, and it has yet to usher in an ideal political situation. That’s because it’s timeless advice, and because the world does not exist to make us happy.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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