7 Reasons Why I Can No Longer Call Myself a Republican

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.

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11 comments

  1. >> It is not “class warfare” to at least ask questions about why this might have happened. <<

    Don't you think that government intervention (to the benefit of a small minority) has caused inequality to rise?

    1. I am slowly being persuaded that a variety of political factors have indeed contributed not to the inequality, but the rising rate of inequality. “Winner Take-All Politics” by Hacker & Pierson has influenced me on this.

      What do you think?

  2. Some very detailed and focused thoughts on a few key points. Your summation my say it all. That “Looking at this list as a whole, The fringe of the party has taken every basic idea to its ridiculous ends”. I am assuming the fringe is a small group of people on the extreme ends. I think the fringe of all partys engage in the same process looking at a narrow field of issues appealing to niche groups, with easy wins,and without forsight of overall impact. For someone’s decisions and choices to be determined by those on the fringe ( of any party)are in essence including themselves in the same group. There is a much larger broader range of ideas and thoughts that exist between the fringes.

    1. I understand your point about not allowing the fringe of any group to dictate a decision to support or oppose that group.

      But perhaps what I didn’t make clear is that what I call the “fringe” has taken over the GOP establishment. That is the very reason why I can no longer call myself a member.

      What used to be fringe actually represents a majority of people voting in Republican primaries and running for office as Republicans. Republican Senators, Republican members of the House, and Republican Presidential nominees expouse the 7 ideas that I oppose above.

      I have no doubt that there are Republicans who agree with me on the above issues. But the Republicans who are actually making policy do not. That is why, in most cases, I will not be supporting Republican candidates.

      I see no reason to call myself a Republican when I reject almost everything that the party is doing policy-wise.

  3. I have to agree with you buddy – I have voted in every election that I have been elgible to vote in (53 yrs) and all but one time have voted Republican. Based on the behavior in the party over the past year and the need of the canidates to push their personal agendas above public good, I no longer consider myself a Republican. Democracy is built on moderation and tollerence not on the extreme frenge and “Severe Republicans” Well thought out and articulated.

    1. Thanks Don. I wonder how many people in your age group and background think the same way as you do?

      It could have huge implications this November. It will still be a close election, and Virginia is up for grabs. I bet that people of your thinking–who can go either way in an election–will decide who actually wins the state (and perhaps the Presidency).

  4. Glad to have you on the team! This election cycle has been pretty frightening, and I totally agree that elements of the GOP are really alienating some who’d otherwise be on board with the party. As you might guess, the stances taken on social issues are the most alarming to me and, I think, will be looked upon years from now with embarrassment. Being against gay marriage is fortunately becoming an increasingly ridiculous position to hold, but there’s still a long way to go and it’s really disappointing. I’m also turned off by how women are being treated. Santorum wants to triple the tax exemption provided for each child (because underpopulation is really what’s killing this country, right?) and would prefer that contraception be banned. Besides all the obvious arguments in favor of women’s rights and the enormous economic benefits that contraception and women in the workforce brought to our country, it’s just off-putting to watch man after man talk about what’s right for women. Call me crazy, but I think women have demonstrated long enough that they provide value well beyond procreation, and plenty are willing to speak up for themselves if they’re not bullied out of doing so.

    I also agree that we’re heading down a very dangerous path if we don’t get the inequality acceleration under control. Plenty of people in the top tax brackets aren’t job creators. A large percentage are attorneys and bankers who work for giant firms — not entrepreneurs and small business owners who hire teams of people to work for them. I’m certainly not one to demonize high-income earners, but history has shown us what happens when the gap gets too wide, and it’s not a pretty sight.

    To take a turn back to the social side, I’m especially turned off by recent statements about religion. Santorum demonizing the separation of church and state (not to mention higher education — seriously?) is made even worse by his argument that religious speech is being shut out of the public square. I’m not sure what square he’s referencing, but I’m only aware of one openly non-theistic person among the 550 or so top officials in the federal government (House, Senate, President, Cabinet, etc.). It’s next to impossible to get elected in this country unless you are openly and enthusiastically religious (and in most parts of the country, that religion must be some flavor of Christianity). Shouldn’t we at least wait until there are, say, 5 atheists in high federal office before we declare that the entire country has been handed over to godless heathens? Of course, if you accept Santorum’s premise that there is no such thing as a liberal Christian (he regards it as an oxymoron), then I suppose the federal government might be considered mostly non-secular.

    With so many people being marginalized at such a high rate, it certainly makes you wonder who will be left to vote for the Republican nominee (particularly if it’s Santorum), but I’m sure someone’s running the numbers for them.

    Keep up the good blogging!

    1. Great thoughts re: women’s issues. Of course, I’m of the same mindset when it comes to the frightening way that so many in the GOP feel comfortable interfering in these private decisions–and then claiming to be the champion of individual liberty. What makes it even more stomach-turning is the way GOP standard-bearers are handling the issue. Not having a woman testify at the hearing? Ridiculous. Of course, Rush L used the opportunity yesterday to call the woman who was supposed to testify a slut. Great for his ratings but not something I want to be a part of.

      I absolutely agree re: the “job creators” mantra. It’s been a nifty political trick to automatically convince the public that “rich people = job creators.” As you point out, it is not at all that simple. Interestingly, the single tax break that the GOP actually fought against was the payroll tax cut–the one cut that exclusively targets jobs. Instead they championed lower taxes on capital gains and the income for the ultra-rich. That is not fiscal responsibility.

      I assumed that the church-state issue would particularly rile you. And me. As you note, Santorum must be referencing a different “public square” than the one that we are seeing. I think you are right on the one non-believing person (a Congressman from CA?). Five seems like a good round number before an official war against us heathens can be declared, haha. Unfortunately, some equate not being able to force their religion on others as their religion being “attacked.” in many states it is technically illegal to run for office as an atheist. I’m looking at you, Texas. I kid you not.

      My mind is still boggled that Rick Santorum may be the GOP nominee for President. But in the end it all comes down to delegates and, for the big show, electoral college members. Depending on the dynamics in a few states, anything could happen. Though, if I remember correctly, you railed against the electoral college in a speech for a CHP class many years ago. 🙂

  5. If you asked me 5 years ago if you’d be writing this blog post I would have said no way. The fact that you’re still thinking dynamically about issues is more important than which party you align with. Let’s be frank – the Republicans need you more than you need them.

    You can return to the GOP when you get overwhelmed with bleeding hearts and after they adopt modern social policies, but for now, welcome to the dark side. I know it wasn’t easy for you.

    1. Thanks good sir. I’m rooting for a Santorum primary win and GOP implosion in November to shake the party to its senses. Instead, its likely to be Romney candidacy and a close win for Obama. If that happens, I’m afraid the GOP clown-show may last a few more years.

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