"Settling on a candidate at the start of the primary and caucus season tells voters, particularly evangelicals, that they must abandon principles for pragmatism."

There are 3 Comments

DavidO's picture

I don't think I can take 11 months of political filings posts. I'm not demanding SI stop doing it. Just saying I may already have voter fatigue. I'm probably a bad citizen because of it.

Dick Dayton's picture

We live in central Iowa. Our phone rings multiple times a day (I am glad for caller ID) and the airwaves are saturated with sound bites from one candidate or another. I am thankful that we live where we have real choices, unlike the people of North Korea, but I must admit to some "media fatigue."

I do plan to participate in the caucus and watch results. But, I must remember that the gospel is more about bringing the livng Christ to dying souls than about transforming society. God transformed me when He redeemed me. It was regeneration, not reformation. If Paul could effectively serve the Lord under the reign of the Roman emperors, we can still serve our Almighty God in America.

Dick Dayton

Aaron Blumer's picture


Politics... it's where we live... And what happens here shapes life not only for ourselves but for our children and grand children, unless the Lord returns before then.

So these political things matter. "Political" means basically "having to do with making decisions involving groups of people." Involvement is nearly inescapable, but escaping would be irresponsible, anyway.

As for the O.P....

...that they must abandon principles for pragmatism.

As usual, the idealists view their own ideas as "principles" but act as though other people's ideas are not "principles." The choice is not between pragmatism and principles but between one set of principles and another set of principles. The idea that "results are sometimes an important part of the ethics of a choice" is a principle.
The idea that "allowing Obama to be reelected would be worse than any of the alternatives" is also a principle.

The ideas that "all Christians are better statesmen than all non-Christians" and "we are a Christian nation" are also principles: highly debatable ones. Jeffress is trying here to avoid that debate by framing it as a debate about principle vs. pragmatism. But it's really a debate about conflicting principles and one worth having rather than avoiding.

The kernel of truth in what Jeffress is saying is that it's not so important to weigh end-game results (electability etc.) in these caucuses and primaries. When a non-mainstream candidate wins a caucus, that often has an impact on whoever does get nominated and on the party as a whole. So, it can be worth it to get a die hard conservative green lighted at this stage, even if he doesn't make it to nomination.
(I suppose the idealists would call the above voting on principle, but it's also a results argument).

Interesting analysis of the Iowa situation http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/01/03/prepare-to-be-surprised-by-iow... ]here , by the way.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.