Q&A Friday #52: If You Had To Choose, Would You Rather Have Steele Or Allen Elected?

Question: “The same question that John J. Miller posed at The Corner: The DC metro area is home to a pair of close Senate races. If a Republican must win one and a Democrat must win the other, would you prefer to see victories by Jim Webb and Michael Steele or George Allen and Ben Cardin?” — maledicta

Answer: Of course, it goes without saying that I want both of them to win. However, if I absolutely had to choose between Allen or Steele, I’d want Allen to be reelected because it’s not just about getting candidates elected, it’s about getting them to act conservatively once they’re there. Since Allen is more conservative than Steele and he’s from a state that’s more conservative, he’s going to vote more conservatively.

Now, the argument could be made that Webb is closer to the middle than Cardin, so a Steele/Webb combo might produce more conservative votes than an Allen/Cardin grouping. But, the problem with that is when you’re talking about big votes on important issues, the Democrats usually crumble and vote whichever way they’re told by the Party.

Take the Alito vote for example. Alito was as qualified to be on the court as Roberts and ideologically, they appear to have about the same philosophy, but for purely political reasons, the Democrats felt compelled to vote against Alito. So, what happened? Well, even though Roberts got 22 votes from the Democrats, Alito received only 4. That’s what happens when the Democratic Party starts cracking the whip — and if there had actually been a chance to defeat Alito, he wouldn’t have even gotten 4 Democratic votes. So, when crunch time comes on the big issues, either Webb or Cardin would probably end up voting the same way.

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That means it’s all about getting the most conservative votes out of a Senator and since that’s the case, Allen would be the guy.

PS: You could also argue that having Steele in the Senate might help the GOP bring more black Americans into the Party. Could that happen? Yes. But, how much has having Condi Rice and Colin Powell in the cabinet helped Bush or for that matter, the whole Party, with black Americans? Not much, if at all. So, there’s no guarantee that Steele could improve the situation.

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