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Monday, May 11, 2009

Why I Am Not A Republican (But Not A Democrat Either) - Part I

This recent CNN blog article in which Cheney essentially "outs" Colin Powell as not being a true Republican prompted me to pause and give thought to why I am not a Republican in the party's present incarnation. I am not opposed to fiscal restraint, and in fact, I believe we ought to be much more vigilant in trying to practice it while keeping the frothing Democrats from spending every last dime China has lent to us. Furthermore, I am not so socially liberal that I could be considered a TRUE "lib'rul" (liberal, in the words of many in the GOP).

What Cheney has shown, in his double-talk about inclusiveness for moderates, is that the GOP actually does not have room for moderate thought. Extremism, of any stripe, makes me uncomfortable. The simple idea that there is no room for compromise makes me uneasy. The GOP has gone from a broad-ranged, inclusive party in the 1980s to the party of closed-minded, fake-Christians, who talk about states' rights out of one side of their mouth, while talking about federal constitutional amendments defining marriage out of the other side. They talk all day about "politically correct" double standards and yet they more frequently become the ones who institute double standards. How about a little consistency?!

On top of that, many in the Republican Party seemed to give Arlen Specter a swift kick in the rear on his way out, giving very little thought to the fact that they were shoving another nail into their coffin by not trying to court him into staying. Many suggest that the two other Republican supporters of the "stimulus" bill in the Senate ought to leave the party as well. This purity cleansing is disheartening because it only seems to marginalize the Republican party while allowing the Democrats to essentially get away with anything. The Republican party has been minimized to a party of "No!", offering very little in the way of alternative approaches, ideas, or compromises. This scares me because I can envision that their (risky) strategy is to oppose all legislation, sit back and let the Democrats spend frivolously, and then get back in power eventually after we've spent too much. This is risky on two counts: 1) It gives carte blanche to the Democrats who will surely find a way to mess things up (come on, they're politicians), and 2) If somehow the Democrats do not mess up, the Republicans are doomed in the next election. It shows me that Republicans are more concerned with regaining power to push through their outdated social and fiscal agenda. This is the party that has claimed to have the monopoly on patriotism and love for country in the past few years. How about a little oversight! How about a little care for what actually happens to this country rather than your next election! And how about caring for the millions in the "middle class" who have very little to benefit from your tax policies except to go to bed at night and dream about the day they win the lottery, upon which they will be in the top 1% tax bracket for whom you fight.

I think it is safe to say "trickle-down", supply-side economics have not benefitted the middle class as the GOP claimed it would. A greater disparity in wages between the top and the bottom has continued to increase. The middle class is almost essentially becoming a lower-class block. CEO wages have grossly increased with little to no increase (and in fact some decreases) in wages indexed to inflation for common blue collar and white collar workers. Moderation is key and essential. We have a mixed/managed economy (not pure capitalism) and have had one for quite some time. The Republicans act like "socialist" activities are suddenly new to our economy, as if roads, bridges, etc. were privately funded before Obama.

I am just done, and have been done for quite some time, with the double-talk, the closed-mindedness, and desire for political purity that seems to plague the GOP as I am sure many people are these days. Until they open their minds, they are going to sink into irrelevancy as a new generation of people my age side with the Democrats on social issues and elect economic moderates. I could go on and on, but I think I will stop here and just call this Part I... more to follow.

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