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Becoming A Republican

Xenmis accuses me of demonizing the GOP because I mentioned I might want to join the Party. I found this odd, since I really am debating whether or not it's worth switching party affiliation. Frankly, the Democrats have been relatively powerless for most of my adult life, the Clinton interregnum notwithstanding, and let's face it, the Republican attack machine did a bit of a number on old Bill.

Why join the GOP? Simply put, it's safer and more effective to work from within that party for change than to hitch your fortunes to a minority party. The Democrats seem unlikely to influence the Supreme Court, Presidency, or Congress in the next couple election cycles. Unless Bush administration policies drive the US economy into depression or another undeclared war, I foresee the Democrats' minority status of the last 20 years continuing into the future for at least another 10. It won't be a perfect shut-out, but it might be close to one, much like the Party's time in political exile from 1932 to 1980 (when they retook the Senate and the Presidency). People focus on the presidency because it's easy to track, but the fact is that the Congress is probably more important on the issues I care about most. And there, the GOP has kept expanding its grasp.

Anyway, here's the Republican Oath from the GOP national site. If the Party actually supported this oath with deeds as well as words, I'd already be a Republican. As it is, the planks on fiscal responsibility, equal rights, and peace/freedom/human rights seem like leftovers from a previous incarnation of the Party, and neither seems to apply to the GOP as it exists today. So I'm still ambivalent. The actual work of declaring a party seems to amount to no more than choosing a partisan ballot during the primaries, at least in Washington state.

I'm a Republican Because...
I BELIEVE the strength of our nation lies with the individual and that each person’s dignity, freedom, ability and responsibility must be honored.
I BELIEVE in equal rights, equal justice and equal opportunity for all, regardless of race, creed, sex, age or disability.
I BELIEVE free enterprise and encouraging individual initiative have brought this nation opportunity, economic growth and prosperity.
I BELIEVE government must practice fiscal responsibility and allow individuals to keep more of the money they earn.
I BELIEVE the proper role of government is to provide for the people only those critical functions that cannot be performed by individuals or private organizations and that the best government is that which governs least.
I BELIEVE the most effective, responsible and responsive government is government closest to the people.
I BELIEVE Americans must retain the principles that have made us strong while developing new and innovative ideas to meet the challenges of changing times.
I BELIEVE Americans value and should preserve our national strength and pride while working to extend peace, freedom and human rights throughout the world.
FINALLY, I believe the Republican Party is the best vehicle for translating these ideals into positive and successful principles of government.


( 8 sutras — Your wisdom )
Nov. 7th, 2004 07:35 pm (UTC)
back when there was the "defense of marriage" rally at Safeco, there was a lesbian Seattlite protester who had a long chat with one of the attendees about how she had been a Forbes delegate - and then the party moved away from her.

i'm always trying to declare for the party where there's a choice to be made in the primaries, so that i can hope to make whatever candidate wins the general more palatable. i think the concept of change from within is laudable and potentially effective.

i note that the oath doesn't list the social agenda that makes the current incarnation of the party what they are (and oh look, we're free to discriminate based on sexual orientation). if the Republicans could cease legislation of morality, treat medical research like they treat other businesses, and take the long view on management of resources/the environment, then i could proudly declare myself a member. i would prefer that we have more parties and form coalitions to create legislation. even more, i wish that there were no parties, and we could judge individual candidates on their merit rather than their label. sometimes partisan politics feels like racism.

in fact, i believe that they key to making the Republicans back into the party of Lincoln is to get the religious right to splinter off. now to develop my wedge strategy...
Nov. 7th, 2004 07:57 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I noticed the wiggle room to discriminate on sexual orientation. It's one of the few bright spots of Cheney's service that he defended his daughter Lynn against the weight of party disapproval.

I guess I'll go looking for the party platform next, just to see how the Oath translates into idealized GOP policy. I suspect that's where one finds the nastier side of things. The Oath is a bit of sunny optimism.

I always regret that we, as a nation, didn't listen to George Washington about the formation of political parties, as in this quotation from his Farewell Address (1796):
I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the State, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally.
   This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but in those of the popular form it is seen in its greatest rankness and is truly their worst enemy....
I'd be thrilled if the evangelicals decided the Republicans weren't pure enough for them, and split off to form some sort of Dominion Party. Hope you find that wedge issue!
Nov. 7th, 2004 08:55 pm (UTC)
stem cells may be the answer. if that research gets done and yields real results against cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer's, there will be a revolution. i expect the sacred fetus to be divided into its component parts in short order by families clamoring for the cure.
pulling the props out from under the pro-life plank (and just how does that go with the death penalty anyway?) will take out a goodly section of the religious conservative base, or perhaps turn abortion and reproductive health into a non-issue.
Nov. 7th, 2004 08:38 pm (UTC)
Hi. This is C.
When one registers to vote in many states - including Pennsylvania where I first registered - one must declare a party. I like small government. I like fiscal responsibility. I like social and legal justice. I don't like public agencies dictating what I can and can't do with my money, time, privacy and beliefs when they don't interfere with anyone else. I believe as Cicero did, that 'the more numerous the laws, the more corrupt the state.' I had to pick a party, and I joined the GOP because they claimed to stand for these things. They did, once. They don't now, and I want my damn Party back.

I really think there are a great number of financially conservative, socially liberal (or at least socially moderate) people out there. I believe a number of elected Republicans fit that description, but they don't have the leeway to act on their beliefs. Conservatives more willingly make deals and compromises to get some of what they want than liberals do; it's what makes conservative organizations seem so effective. They'll hash out their differences in private. But, with the party agenda hijacked by social conservatives, dissenting Republicans are losing their battles behind closed doors, doubtless by having the GOP threaten to not support them for reelection. It saddens me, and it must stop.

I believe the Republican party will split, and do so soon, based on the social agenda of the conservative evangelical christian voting block. Their beliefs are anathema to me and, I believe, incompatible with many, even many within the GOP. This is the wedge. This is the fault line along which the party will crack. I would very much like to participate in that break, and I don't think I'm alone. The GOP, faster than any other political institution, will unite against external threats. Only internal pressures will fracture it, and I think that is the way true change can happen.

Ideally, we could dump the party system, but like-minded individuals will always flock together. I firmly believe you are correct. We need to talk about it more.

Welcome to the Dark Side.
Nov. 7th, 2004 09:06 pm (UTC)
Thanks, glad to be here. Where do I sign up for Force Lightning 101?
Nov. 8th, 2004 09:22 pm (UTC)
I hope you're right about the Christian radicals going off on their own and allowing the Republican party to return to what it once was. That would be such a great thing for the US, help eliminate the current 50/50 split and animosity toward the other half that now exists. I mean, if it gets down to actual philosophical differences, people don't hate one another.

My personal belief is that we need a third party that's all about the long view. Let the reds and blues worry about the current generation; this new party will only work on issues that continue to have an effect more than a generation from now.

(Deleted comment)
Nov. 10th, 2004 07:37 pm (UTC)
Re: Just keep voting Libertarian.
Thanks for reminding me, S. I've been meaning to write a letter to Carter since the hypocrisy surrounding Reagan's funeral flooded the airwaves. Just wanted to drop him a line and thank him for being (in my eyes) the only morally upstanding president we've had in my lifetime. He may not have been the greatest president, but he's proven in office and out of it that he stands more for peace and people than war and profit.

Sorry for the straying from the main topic. Here's hoping the party can splinter off the fundies and the extremists and return to what it claims are its values. Unfortunately, the bulk of my family is staunchly Republican and they're not getting more moderate in their old age. Makes for "interesting" family get-togethers. :S
Nov. 20th, 2004 12:30 am (UTC)
Sigfried here....

Parties are a bit like grocery stores... Grocers tend to build right next to one another. Why? Shoppers mostly go to whats close to home, and by being next to one another they are equadistant from thier competaters to potential customers, then they can compete on brand or appearance. Parties need majorities to win, so they need to be politicaly equadistant from their constituancy.

Thing is, there are lots of ways to measure political distance, lots of points to measure from. So what you do is build a coalition based on points of contact and more importantly emphasise the points that are far away on the other party. Thus pro choice conservatives are more concenred with taxes and welfare than social issues.

The only way the rebuplicans will jetison the Christian Conservatives is if they have some larger group they pick up. The only way the CC's will split from the GOP is if they can join a majority party closer to thier views. So if the GOP jetisens the CC's they need to pick up someone, who? Fiscal conservatives?, they already have them. Minorities, they are making inroads there already.

Third parties don't work because... individual politions can't run without the massive organized support of the parties. Breaking away means death, so even if you have some differences you stick it out or suffer the fate of Nader and his ilk. And without powerfull polititans you cant form a powerfull party. Without buisness support you don't have the moent and without power why would buisness waste money on you?

Joining the winning team... this could work if enough people do it. But the CC's have their heart in it, you would need equal passion and numbers to boot them out.

New Issues... this is probably the key. Find an issue that current GOP members dont like but the CC's are passionate about. Something more important than fiscal liberty and precieved honesty. I can't think of anything like that unless the republicans truly break the treasury wide open.

Here is my grand plan...... (also not likey to succede)
Step 1: Ditch the democrats and make them into a horrible minority party of the extreem left.
Step 2: encourage the republicans to become ultra right wing by supporting all the worst CC's they have
Step 3: Form a new party of all the disgusted middle americans and leave the yahoos choking in the political dust. Basicaly you have to radicalize the middle against the extreems they form coalitians with normaly.

Truth is the republicans in power are mostly moderate by comparison to the extreem CC folks. Bush does more talk about god than action, and is more liberal with social programs than most republicans would like. I think what we hate about him most is he dosn't comprimise, he just does exactly as he likes and wilds the power to make it happen without opposition. His coalition is strong because they all cant stand the idea of joining the democrats and Bush's views are do not appear radical to middle america because they arn't all that radical. They don't care who his radical allies are, so long as he walks the middle-right line.

Hard Liberals and greens and such will never rule america untill our culture changes dramaticaly. We are a country of liberty but not liberalism as it exists on the left. I think the center of america likes low taxes, no hand outs for the lazy, god with a small "g", freedom without hedonism, and people who dont make trouble.
( 8 sutras — Your wisdom )

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