When I was sixteen I stayed up until 4am watching the 2000 Presidential election returns come in. I was rooting for Bush over Gore. I don’t even remember why anymore–I didn’t truly understand their policy differences. For the next ten years I roughly considered myself a moderate Republican. No longer.
I can’t even pretend to support the national Republican party today. Believe me, I’m pretty good at making excuses for a team that I support, even when logic suggests otherwise. After all, I’m a lifelong Cubs fan. But politics is different. This stuff isn’t a game. It matters to all of us. And I can no longer justify anything about the current state of the GOP
So here, in no particular order, are seven reasons why I’m officially cashing in my elephant card for the time being
1) Equality: If I cross the Potomac it is against the law for me to get married, adopt a child, or donate blood. In large part it is entirely because of Republican conduct. This is absolutely unacceptable.
2) Tax Cuts Over Deficit Reduction: The GOP used to support deficit reduction first, tax cuts second. Now it supports every possible tax cut no matter what and has done more to raise the deficit than the Democrats over the last three decades.
3) Liberty Only When Conveneint: Today’s GOP is for individual freedom, except when it comes to what you do behind closed doors or chose to put in your own body.
4) Military Dogma: We are not in an arms race. Reducing military spending does not mean that we are letting the terrorists win.
5) Inequality: The problem is not that there is economic inequality but that the rate of inequality has gone up 10-fold in twenty years. It is not “class warfare” to at least ask questions about why this might have happened.
6) Obama Bashing: Supporting a healthcare proposal more moderate than Richard Nixon’s does not make Obama a socialist. Supporting tax levels lower than at any point in the last 70 years does not make Obama a socialist. Killing more terrorists leaders in two years than the previous ten does not mean Obama is “apologizing for America.”
7) All Regulation is Bad: Going back to the Gilded Age of industrial barons will make the lives of 99.55% of us much worse. Some regulation–at the highest levels–in areas that affect every single citizen (finance)–does not mean that we are giving up on free-market capitalism.
Looking at this list as a whole, I realize my main concerns are two-fold: extremism and hypocrisy. The fringe of the party has taken every basic idea to its ridiculous ends and claim to believe certain principles while supporting policies that reject them. Republican Dwight Eisenhower is perhaps the most under-appreciated President of the last century. If you believe what he did, then today you’d be called a liberal.