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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Why I'm A Republican

A reader left a comment on this blog asking me to explain why I consider myself a Republican. I thought my disdain for the Clintons would confirm any doubt about my political affiliation. However, it's a question that deserves an answer.

By way of background, I grew up in Kansas in a Republican family, in the traditional meaning of the word. This is to say, my parents were raised as members of a Republican party that no longer seems to exist. We were Nancy Kassebaum Republicans. My Grandfather was good friends with Bob Dole. The values and the agenda of today's GOP bare very little resemblance to the once great party and to the values for which Lincoln stood and upon which Kansas was founded. I have never voted for a democrat for any office until this year, when I voted for Barack Obama in the primary. (Yes, that means I voted for President Bush. Twice.)

To demonstrate how far the Republican Party has veered away from what it once was, I offer this story. I had a friend in college who was Catholic and very conservative. His girlfriend mentioned to him that I was a Republican. He said, "How can she be a Republican? She's not Catholic?" This made my head spin.

My grandmother was the daughter of a Kansas minister. She was raised a Republican. She hated Democrats, Missouri, and Catholics. Catholic and Democrat were synonymous. She was also pro-choice. Some may say she reflected a minority position within the Republican Party, but that's simply not the case. It wasn't until the Reagan Democrats that Catholics and the pro-life movement made a strong showing in the Republican Party. (This is in no way to say that Catholics are bad. I'm just stating what my grandmother believed).

The party as it stood during my formative years, as well as my parents, and my grandparents, is the party on which I base my values. Ayn Rand described it best as "rugged individualism."

"The government acts only as a policeman that protects man's rights; it uses physical force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use, such as criminals or foreign invaders. In a system of full capitalism, there should be (but, historically, has not yet been) a complete separation of state and economics, in the same way and for the same reasons as the separation of state and church."

Government interference in your life should be limited. Government should not assume responsibility for others, but rather allow them to live their own best life. The Government is not your Big Brother, but rather the crazy uncle you'd rather not see.

My reasons for disliking President Bush stem from these beliefs. No Child Left Behind is right out of the Democratic playbook and even they don't even like it. His invasion of Iraq was poorly planned, poorly executed, and against everything his father and Colin Powell had come to stand for. He has increased government spending in a way that no other Republican President has ever come close to matching. President Clinton (sadly) did more to decrease the size of government than President Bush. Then, when it came time to nominate someone for the Supreme Court to replace Sandra Day O'Connor he put forth the most unimaginative nominee: Samuel Alito. Even Reagan nominated a woman.

My disdain for President Bush aside, I remain a Republican. It is my right to do so. My support for Obama stems from his Midwestern heritage and his ability to cut through the "political speak" that makes up Politics As Usual. He is more liberal than I care to stomach, but he is closer to my sense of values than anyone else in the campaign. Will I vote for McCain this fall? Only if Hillary is the nominee.

It's time to stop trying to pigeonhole people and claim they don't belong in a certain party because they don't reflect your specific agenda. I've scoured this blog looking for my "liberal" agenda. I don't see it. I'm sure some people do. I welcome the comments. After all, I know who I am.

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Anonymous said...

You've done a very good job of explaining why your family is republican... but not why you are.

My previous comment was not an attempt to "pigeonhole" you -- as a matter of fact, I would never have commented had you not proudly declared on your front page that you're a "moderate republican". So, you pigeonholed yourself -- I was merely attempting to discern whether or not you had posted "moderate republican" satirically, because from the content of your site I see nothing that reflects any sort of belief in the conservative ideals (in the William Buckley sense that is -- standing athwart history and yelling, "Stop!").

I'm not sure how anyone can claim to be "for rugged individualism" and be FOR Barack Obama -- a man who's very campaign is the polar opposite of individualism. (if everyone is united.... everyone is the same. He's campaigning for the death of the individual -- see Mussolini for similar rants).

Barack Obama can claim his place (proudly, I might add) among the most leftist and anti-conservative candidates to have ever made it this far in the primaries. To support him, and to claim that his values most closely echo yours, is laying claim to a set of values that are the polar opposite of traditional liberalism, aka "conservatism".

Republican/Democrat... these are just parties, and irrelevant to the greater principles upon which they're founded. I would gladly vote for someone who called himself a Democrat but actually stood for conservative principles of limited government. However, Barack Obama calls himself a democrat... and he's probably downplaying his modern-sense-liberalism by doing so.

Unless of course your only consideration is foreign policy, and anti-war sentiment. Which.... we can have another friendly debate on. :-) (gladly)

DPolitico said...

I always welcome the debate. It is not in anger that I state this, but you've missed the point. To claim that I've explained why my family is Republican but not me misses the whole point. The post is entitled "Why I'm A Republican."

I can see why some would think "Moderate Republican" was satire given the content, but it is who I am.

Thanks for the comments!