Monday, November 10, 2008

It's Over, and Republicans for Obama Helped Push it Over!

Obama won by a substantial popular and electoral majority. It is clear from exit polls as well as the massive numbers of Republicans who told me they voted for Obama that RFOs were more than anyone predicted in number.

I won't gloat, I'll just sign off this blog for now with a Yes We Did! and come back some day if the need arises.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Time for a New Third Party Offshoot from the Republican Party

The Republican Party is dead. Yes, I'm saying this before the election. Even if McCain wins, which could happen if Obama supporters stay home thinking the election is in the bag, the GOP still has lost its way along with a substantial number of members. While high-profile Republicans like Susan Eisenhower and Frank Schaeffer have made the headlines, the real exodus is on Main Street.

Contrary to popular belief, a large percentage of Republicans are unhappy not because of the Bush administration itself, but because of the recent clear revelations of what direction the Party is heading. Actually, we've started realizing the problems began all the way back in Reagan's presidency, and the only thing that has remained "Republican" has been the talking points. Let's quickly review the Republican Principles listed on the GOP site itself.
Republican Principles

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.
Does the current Republican leadership represent these values? An honest assessment will reveal that there is a new set of principles at work within the leadership.
2008 Republican Principles (Chuck Lasker's perception)

I'm a Republican Because...

I BELIEVE the strength of our nation lies in military might and God's help, as long as we do His Will and make this a Christian nation while supporting Israel until the day Israel is destroyed and Jesus returns.

I BELIEVE that each person's dignity, freedom, ability and responsibility must be honored unless we can encroach on these in the name of safety or other short-term excuse that the idiot populace will accept.

I BELIEVE in special rights and justice for Republican politicians, Christian leaders, the extremely wealthy and lobbyists, regardless of cause as long as the money is right.

I BELIEVE in equal justice and equal opportunity for everyone else, regardless of race, creed, sex, age or disability, unless we're talking about lazy black people, illegal Mexican people, uneducated women, homosexuals, or, if justice and opportunity for disabled people costs businesses money.

I BELIEVE large corporate profits, stock market wealth and protection of monopolies will bring this nation opportunity, economic growth and increased prosperity for the upper one percent of incomes.

I BELIEVE government should talk about fiscal responsibility and allowing individuals to keep more of the money they earn, but should actually borrow and spend recklessly and place the full burden of taxes on those with lower and lower incomes and future generations for short term gain. Any taxes on the rich are socialism.

I BELIEVE the proper role of government is to advance Christian evangelical morals through tax code, control of education, judicial appointments, privatization and the proper Christian philosophies of wealth and warfare.

I BELIEVE the most effective, responsible and responsive government is government run by those who know best, and all means necessary must be used to work against poll access by the lowly, the lazy, the stupid and the poor.

I BELIEVE the Republican Party was founded by America's founding fathers to fight Roe vs. Wade, to protect "Under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance they wrote, to put "Under God" on our money, and to keep the Ten Commandments in our Courtrooms and government buildings.

I BELIEVE that we must never speak to our enemies, unless they're very big enemies with money and cheap labor agreements.

I BELIEVE in free trade with lower nations that provide cheap labor and higher profits and any attempt to induce labor or environmental equality on these nations is liberalism.

I BELIEVE you're either with us or you're with the terrorists. If you do not have the same beliefs we do, you are un-American and worthy of derision, abuse, vandalism, placement on no-fly lists and investigation.

I BELIEVE anyone labeled "liberal" is a socialist, which is actually communist, which is actually Marxist, which means evil.

I BELIEVE abortion must be made illegal, but stopping extramarital and teen sex is more important than reducing abortion rates, so I support abstinence-only education, blocking of access to birth control by teens, and punishing poor people for being lazy by blocking access to health care to those women who want to keep their babies.

I BELIEVE Americans must retain only those principles that we consider important while developing new and innovative ideas for bringing power to a Republican executive branch and reducing the power of the annoying Congress and the activist Courts.

I BELIEVE Americans value and should preserve our national strength and pride while working to extend peace, freedom and human rights to good Americans only, and to create international opportunities throughout the world to develop inexpensive manufacturing for American companies.

FINALLY, I believe the Republican Party is the best vehicle for translating these ideals into positive and successful principles of government, and I believe we must use any means necessary, including lies, smears, voter suppression, federal police, the Secret Service, warrantless spying, even the destruction of lives and reputations, to progress our God-endorsed agenda.
Frank Schaeffer, author of the memoir that explains his (now regretted) part in helping the evangelicals take over the Republican Party titled "Crazy for God," describes our current Party well in his Huffington Post blog. The Republican Party has been taken over by The Religious Right, The Neoconservative Movement, and Corporate Business Interests.

Susan Eisenhower, granddaughter of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, has also left the Republican Party with a scathing indictment of the McCain campaign and the current GOP leadership.

Many moderate Republicans still do not realize what has happened. They believe the Republican Party is still the same. They follow the Republican rhetoric of today because they haven't stopped to see the hypocrisy, the contradictions, and the slowly-changed priorities. Those moderate Republicans still supporting McCain are unwitting participants in an entirely new agenda.

This is why you have middle class Republicans screaming that there should be more tax breaks for the rich, but tax breaks for the middle class are socialism. This is why, after 40 years of Republicans doing nothing to reduce abortions, pro-lifers are still voting for Republicans with the insane hope that this time they'll do something. This is why Christian Republicans are supporting a Christian-in-name-only (McCain) against a fellow brother in Christ (Obama). And this is why a completely unqualified hockey mom can be touted as the "future of the Republican Party," simply because she spews out the proper talking points and wants to use courts and police forces to end abortion while eliminating programs that reduce unwanted pregnancies that lead to abortions.

I spoke with a young African-American Democrat at an Obama rally last month and he was shocked to learn where the GOP came from and the progressive programs we spearheaded. So, a little history of the Republican Party is in order. Don't skip it if you think you know our history, because you probably don't.

The Republican Party was created in 1854 as an anti-slavery party. Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower created the interstate highway system, worked to integrate black and white public schools nationwide, and expanded Social Security. Republicans pushed through the Civil Rights Act of 1964. President Richard Nixon sat down with Communist China and the Soviet Union "without preconditions" and negotiated new trade and arms agreements, expanded Social Security, tried to pass minimum wage and universal health care plans (unsuccessfully), created the EPA and OSHA, and created The Philadelphia Plan, which was the U.S. government's first affirmative action program. President Gerald Ford pushed through the Equal Rights Amendment, proclaiming, "In this Land of the Free, it is right, and by nature it ought to be, that all men and all women are equal before the law."

Does this sound like the party of Bush/Cheney/McCain/Palin? Is this the kind of progress you hear from Republicans while promoting McCain on the news today? How did our Party get to this point? A little more history is in order, which again will probably surprise (and possibly anger) most Republicans.

President Reagan was the first president in American history to lower the highest tax rate and raise the lowest tax rate, beginning a shift in tax burden to the middle class that has continued through to the "Bush Tax Cuts." Reagan increased the national debt from $700 billion to $3 trillion. Reagan was the first Republican President to truly court the evangelical vote, moving the Republican platform far to the right. Reagan's coalition with evangelical leaders like Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, James Dobson and others began the anti-Democracy tactics of voter suppression of the poor and minorities. Paul Weyrich, a cofounder of the Moral Majority, said,
"Many of our Christians have what I call the 'goo goo' syndrome -- good government. They want everybody to vote. I don't want everybody to vote. . . . As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down."
Clearly, Ronald Reagan was doing what he thought was best for the country, and had no idea what evil would be wrought by allowing the Religious Right a seat at the GOP table. Reagan ended the Cold War, lead through a prosperous time in America, and made us safer than we'd been since before World War II. But an honest analysis shows that Reagan began the slide to the current neoconservative Party.

President George H. W. Bush attempted to overturn Reagan's borrow and spend legacy but was unsuccessful. Bush also ended the Kuwait-Iraq war quickly as befits Republican principles.

Under President Clinton, even as he balanced the budget and reformed welfare, the Republican leadership accelerated their right wing agenda using Clinton's "liberalism" as fear-based propaganda. By the time George W. Bush won the 2000 Republican nomination by pandering to the evangelicals against John McCain's centrist campaign, the religious right was firmly in control. However, most Republicans, including myself, continued to believe the Party supported the more moderate principles it still claimed to advocate.

Today, the Republican Party is a ghost of its original self. The Bush administration and Republican Congress increased the size of government, increased debt spending, pulled us into an unnecessary war, squandered our reputation internationally, violated our civil rights, reinterpreted the Constitution, attacked a non-threatening sovereign country, tortured prisoners, enabled monopolies and large corporations to crush individual initiatives, gave additional tax cuts only for the rich at the expense of the middle class, and destroyed any remaining trust Americans had in the government. The current GOP campaign is using lawyers to suppress Democratic votes, using hate, lies and smears, and has adopted an "ends justify the means" scorched-earth campaign that is literally destroying our Democratic system.

It's no wonder reasonable, tolerant, progressive Republicans are jumping ship, while new recruits to the Republican Party are diminishing. Why would anyone other than an extreme right wing evangelical Christian or selfish wealthy American even consider joining such a platform?

Some people are trying to fix the Republican Party from the inside, such as the Republican Leadership Council. But I believe this is a lost cause, as signaled by conservative Christopher Buckley's forced resignation from The National Review, the magazine his father founded, for endorsing Barack Obama for President. The "you're either with us or against us" neoconservatives attack any dissenting opinion with violent rhetoric or even actual violence. Frankly, the Republican Party leadership will not allow reform or change.

It is time that we moderate Republicans join together to form a new political party. Moving to the Democratic Party is not an option for most of us, as they have their own issues, with a general move to the extreme left only countered by Senator Obama's centrist policies.

What can we call our new party? The word "Republican" should remain in our name, in my opinion, to affirm our commitment to republicanism. "Progressive Republican Party" sounds great, but it's the name of a party in Turkey. This is not necessarily a game stopper, but "Moderate Republican Party" is acceptable and is only similar to the "Republican Moderate Party of (ironically) Alaska." I've tossed out the humorous names of Orthodox Republicans or The Legitimate Republican Party as being too sarcastic. Whatever the name, here are the principles I propose it be founded on:
The essence of Republicanism, the foundation of our Constitution and Bill of Rights, is that all people have inalienable rights that cannot be voted away by a majority of voters, which is the essential difference between a Republic and a Democracy;

It is the duty of government to be fiscally responsible with the people's money via balanced budgets, efficient administration of duties and programs, and minimal debt;

Government should defer functions to the private sector and community organizations whenever it better serves citizens as long as functions are monitored and regulated to prevent corruption and waste;

The Constitution and Bill of Rights are to be defended in full, regardless of short term popular fears or desires, with special attention to the intent of the original authors and signers;

The government shall respect individual liberty and personal privacy, regulating personal behavior only when directly required for the safety and liberty of others;

No person is above the Rule of Law, especially our elected representatives and their appointments;

Taxes are at best a necessary evil and shall be kept as low as possible for all citizens, based on conservative stewardship and minimal spending;

A strong national defense shall be maintained, with a reluctance to enter into foreign entanglements and a permanent ban on all military activities against American citizens or on American soil;

As an active participant on the world stage, we shall have a planned, consistent, proactive foreign policy that promotes friendship and cooperation, plus full engagement with our enemies;

Government shall work towards total independence from foreign countries in all essential areas, including energy, food, defense, and intelligence;

We shall be responsible stewards of our national natural resources through environmental awareness, including an understanding of our effect on the planet and the planet's effect on our nation;

Free enterprise and innovation shall be promoted, with a focus on protecting individuals and small businesses from monopolies, oligopolies, and unfair competition from large corporations;

It is the obligation of our elected officials and their appointees to reject campaign or other contributions that are meant to influence agendas in any way, and to make all decisions based solely on what is best for their constituents;

Recognizing that we are a union of states, no federal power shall be granted that can better be served closer to the people via state's rights;

The balance of power for all three branches of government shall be maintained, with recognition of the intent in forming our Republic to have representation closest to the people;

The Executive Branch shall execute laws as written by the Congress and will decline to use Executive Orders, Presidential Signing Statements or other tools to thwart the will of the people as indicated by their state's representatives;

The most essential principle is equal rights, equal justice and equal opportunity for all.
Is it crazy for me, just some guy, a "Joe Six Pack" if you will, to try to form a new American political party? Probably. But let me know if you would like to join me, and pass this on to other disaffected Republicans. Let's start the discussion and see where it goes.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Obama '08 Historical Research Project

I am starting an archive of this historical election and asking for help. After the election, the site will be at The archive will be made up of stories, photos and videos from Obama supporters sharing their experiences. If you'd like to be kept informed, sign up for our newsletter at

I've also created a Yes We Did! store to help raise funds for the project.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Be a Maverick, Vote Obama!

Watching Palin and McCain describe themselves as mavericks over and over and over, even a "team of mavericks," I started to wonder. They brag that they "go against their party" as part of being mavericky. So they honor going against their party.

I am a Republican voting for Obama. I'm going against my party! I'm a maverick! The Republicans should honor what I'm doing instead of calling me names and threatening me with violence. I expect that voting for a Democrat for President is SO mavericky that they should make ME President in 8 years when Obama finishes the greatest presidency in my lifetime.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

An Open Letter to Barack Obama from a Republican Supporter

Senator Obama, sir. If I may be so bold as to give you some of my thoughts. I believe this election will not be decided by Democratic or Republican loyalists. It will not even be decided by independents and centrists, because these groups mostly sided with John Kerry four years ago and Al Gore eight years ago, and they lost. This election will be decided by how many Republicans cross over and vote for you.

As a Republican for Obama, I've been involved with your campaign all year. I go to campaign offices, I speak and email with every level of Indiana campaign staffers, and I very publically promote my Republican for Obama status. I've held Republicans for Obama meetings, I write blogs and articles and letters to the editor. I've been on multiple local news shows, XM Radio, the New York Times, and on many blogs supporting your candidacy. Even though I'm such a strong supporter, I'm not 100% sure I'm truly included in your "big tent."

Your campaign has embraced the Republicans for Obama movement, and even created a section of dedicated to us. The page highlights several prominent Republicans who are supporting your candidacy, and there's even a little blog on there.

But that's it! Other than that bit of lip service, I have not seen you reaching out to Republicans, even those of us supporting you.

I was at your Terre Haute, Indiana, event last month, covering it for Huffington Post. A Republican asked if you intended to keep us in mind when you're president. Your answer started out fine, but you didn't answer the question. Your basic statement was the, "we are not Republicans or Democrats, we are all Americans" answer you've used before. However, you did not address the fact that a lot of us conservatives are putting our trust on the line here, believing you will not suddenly become a left wing nut.

When you chose Joe Biden as your running mate, you lost a lot of us. I've been a Republican for 27 years, and I've been very unhappy with Biden's liberalism. I was upset with your choice at first myself, but, based on my trust in your leadership, I researched Biden's voting record and looked at his character. I accept your choice now, but many Republicans who were supporting you do not. We need you to tell us how your selection wasn't a super-liberal move.

The polls are showing that possibly 9% of registered Republicans will vote for you in November. Being a resident of the most Republican county in Indiana, and having spoken with literally hundreds of people in this county alone, I believe the number will be more like 20%, giving you a massive victory. However, this will only happen if you reach out to us directly.

Let's be honest. While I'm a true "Obama supporter," most Republicans for Obama are actually "Republicans against McCain." We are all nervous, feeling like we're betraying our party, wondering if we're just enamored by your great speeches, hoping you're truly going to follow through with your centrist platform. But it would not take much, just a little gaffe here, a statement about guns or abortion or Nancy Pelosi there, to lose us by the millions.

So I have a simple request as a Republican for Obama, because I want you to win. Please address us directly. I'd like to interview you with the questions I've gathered from other Republicans for Obama, but I'd accept a speech directed to Republicans. It can be a major speech, unprecedented, like your race speech. Tell us how you'll pick your Supreme Court nominees, that you won't take our guns, how you truly feel about abortion, how you're strong on national security, how you intend to work "across the aisle," and how you'll return the balance of power after Bush's massive power grabs. We're out here, we're waiting, and telling us we're included in your campaign would change a close race to a major sweep similar to Ronald Reagan's second term election that brought in so many Democrats. Ignore us, though, and many Republicans for Obama will probably just stay home on November 4th.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Trickle-Down Economics Primer, and Why It No Longer Works

My first presidential vote was for Ronald Reagan’s second term, mainly because I agreed with his “trickle-down economics” philosophy. It’s a term we hear often right now, but many don’t understand what it means. Meanwhile Senator Obama refers to a new economic structure that works “bottom up.”

In its simplest sense, trickle-down economics means the more money the rich have, the more it will trickle down to lower classes when they spend it. So, when the government “lets” the rich and corporations “keep” their money (low taxes), they will use that money to buy American products and services, and invest in American businesses. The expenditures, like new cars, new homes, servants, accountants, a new yacht, and corporate expenses, will create jobs and economic growth. Investment in new businesses, and helping grow existing businesses, also creates jobs. The vast majority of jobs in America are small business jobs, and helping them grow simply helps create more jobs. The money the rich don’t pay into taxes gets spent in America, and everyone benefits.

Does it work? It certainly sounds like it makes sense. And it used to work exactly as explained. But trickle-down economics depends on two things. One, a closed system, where the money stays in America, and two, an investment structure in America that encourages investment in growing businesses to create jobs.

In the 1980s, America was almost a closed system. Worldwide business existed, of course, but in general, when an American wanted to buy a yacht, they bought it from an American yacht company. Even when they bought a Mercedes, they bought it from an American-owned Mercedes dealership, so a lot of the profit stayed here in America. For the most part, the money did trickle down, which is why we were so happy in the 80s. The 90s was a boom, too, because the rich invested in new Internet businesses and the economy grew dramatically, leading to President Clinton taking credit for Reagan’s system that he simply didn’t break. 

So why, when Bush and a Republican Congress forced through the tax cuts to the super rich a couple of years ago, did the economy grow, but the money didn’t trickle down?

The system went wrong because the two legs of trickle-down economics were both broken.

  • Leg 1, a closed system. President Clinton passed NAFTA, opening our system. If a rich American wants to buy a yacht, they are just as likely today to buy from Italy, France, Egypt, New Zealand, or Germany as in America – actually more likely because they’re cheaper in some of these countries due to cheap labor, and they avoid American sales tax. If a rich American wants to buy a Mercedes now, they can just as easily order it directly from Germany. And cheap labor? Undocumented workers send billions of American dollars to their relatives in Mexico. The rich vacation in Dubai or Italy instead of California or New York City. With so many products being manufactured in other countries, even basic purchases don’t benefit America’s economy. All of this is “trickle away economics,” as the money is trickling out of America, not down to Americans.
  • Leg 2, an investment structure that encourages investment in growing businesses. President Bush oversaw massive deregulation of financial institutions creating a casino-level structure on Wall Street. Instead of investing in new and growing businesses directly, investors started putting their money into large groups which invest in commodities (oil, coffee, pork bellies) and large corporate stock in a short term profit methodology so they can show quick profits and sell more shares. Commodities investments do not create jobs, they are just ways that the rich pass money back and forth. The demand for short term stock profits from corporations actually eliminated jobs as layoffs and exporting jobs were perceived as positive actions so corporations were rewarded for increasingly pushing more work onto the lowest levels to show ever-increasing productivity. A company could not simply maintain and pay dividends, which benefit long term investors. Instead, it’s either increase productivity or die. Therefore, with the new system, there is zero trickle-down to the middle class, and even more trickle away to other countries.  

In other words, instead of buying American products and services, instead of direct investing in business growth, the rich, the large corporations and the investment groups have been playing games, spending outside the U.S., and keeping their investment monies outside growth-creating areas. And the result is today’s economic crunch. The middle class is holding the majority of the tax burden due to tax cuts for the rich, and the rich are keeping the money instead of trickling it down.

The current economic crisis is the death of the trickle-down economics philosophy, living proof that it has failed. While homeowners are being blamed for buying houses they could not afford, nobody is stating that the reason they can’t afford them is a combination of high inflation and stagnant salaries. The mortgage industry would be fine if trickle-down economics had worked. If the Bush administration had created a tax cut system that benefited the middle class instead of the rich, such as Barack Obama’s plan, and had regulated the lending industry more closely, home owners would be able to afford their mortgages, and the rich would not need to be bailed out. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Heart and Soul of the Republican Party

Only once during this election have I agreed with Mitt Romney. During the primary, Romney criticized the McCain campaign's lies, saying,

I think Senator McCain was called out for what everyone has said was a false accusation. "The New York Times," "Washington Post," "Time" magazine, Bill Bennett, everybody has said what he said was simply wrong and reprehensible. I think it was a huge mistake on his part. He wants to stick with it. So he got to take the shots for it, as long as he's doing that. I think people are going to really say, what's the heart and soul of the Republican Party going to be going forward?
This quote would fit perfectly today regarding McCain's sleazy ad campaign against Senator Obama.

I've been a Republican for 27 years. I've voted straight Republican in every presidential election. This year I'm supporting Barack Obama, but I remain a Republican, and continue to support local Republicans who haven't gone the way of the neocons. But I've been wavering between remaining a Republican to try to change things from the inside, and leaving the Party until they return to their roots. I also want to know, "what is the heart and soul of the Republican Party going forward?"

Susan Eisenhower, the granddaughter of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, is a political consultant who has been a Republican her entire life. Recently she left the Republican Party and registered as Independent. In her press release she said,

As an independent I want to be free of the constraints and burdens that have come with trying to make my own views explainable in the context of today's party. Hijacked by a relatively small few, the GOP of today bears no resemblance to Lincoln, Roosevelt or Eisenhower's party, or many of the other Republican administrations that came after. In my grandparents' time, the thrust of the party was rooted in: a respect for the constitution; the defense of civil liberties; a commitment to fiscal responsibility; the pursuit and stewardship of America's interests abroad; the use of multilateral international engagement and "soft power"; the advancement of civil rights; investment in infrastructure; environmental stewardship; the promotion of science and its discoveries; and a philosophical approach focused squarely on the future.
Even the most extreme Republicans are beginning to question McCain's tactics. Karl Rove, who is credited with taking negative attack campaigning to the lowest levels in the past 8 years, said, "McCain has gone in his ads one step too far, and sort of attributing to Obama things that are, you know, beyond the 100-percent-truth test." That's like Barry Bonds being critical of steroid use by other baseball players.

So what do I believe the heart and soul of the Republican Party should be? Truth, honor, and a respect for American voters. I've come up with a list of core Republican principles that the Party needs to return to. This will only happen by expelling or marginalizing the radical evangelicals and corporate interests that have turned the Party towards fascism.
  • Fiscal responsibility (balanced budgets and no long term debts);

  • Limited government;

  • A commitment to, and defense of, the Constitution and Bill of Rights;

  • Individual liberty with a respect for personal privacy and keeping government out of our personal lives;

  • Rule of law, with no American above the law, especially our elected representatives and their appointments;

  • Low taxes for everyone based on conservative stewardship and minimal spending;

  • A strong national defense, with a reluctance to enter into foreign entanglements;

  • A planned, proactive foreign policy that promotes friendship and cooperation, plus full engagement with our enemies;

  • Responsible stewardship of our national natural resources through environmental awareness;

  • Free enterprise, with a focus on protecting small business from monopolies, oligopolies, and unfair competition from large corporations;

  • States' rights over federal consolidation of power;

  • Maintenance of balance of power for all three branches of government;

A quick review of this list shows the current Bush/McCain/Cheney Republican Party is completely off the path, leading to member defections to the Democratic Party and hangers-on like me who are voting for Obama. This movement has some interesting bedfellows.

One group that is trying to change things from the inside is the Republican Leadership Council. As their site explains, "Inspired by a drive to get back to the fundamentals of the Republican Party, Senator John Danforth, Lt. Governor Michael Steele, and Governor Christine Todd Whitman created the political organization the Republican Leadership Council, which advocates for the historic Republican principles of liberty, individual responsibility, and personal freedom." They further state, "RLC-PAC's vision is a Republican Party that is unified by the basic tenets of fiscal responsibility and personal freedom, but that allows for diverse opinions on social issues by its members."

We are also seeing attempts to bring diversity to the mostly white Republican Party by groups such as Hip Hop Republicans. Per their site, a "Hip Hop Republican" sees that "...for far too long, urban areas have been controlled by a Democrat monopoly and ignored by head-in-the-sand Republican leaders..." and works to change that paradigm. Site founder, Richard Ivory, explained to me, "In so many ways the Obama campaign has forced this party to recognize that we have to change. My focus and mission is to bring more blacks into the Party and other minorities into the party. I am a Republican but a realist. My question is, does the policy work?" Ivory adds, "A more diverse party will be a more sane party." Republican Ivory sees four concepts that must be followed to meet the goals of addressing urban issues: "economic empowerment"; "educational choice"; "access to information"; and "empowering the potential of the individual."

Even poker players are urging the GOP to return to core values. "My point is simple. Is the Republican Party no longer the party of personal freedom and individual responsibility? Why has this party, that used to protect my rights, now become the party that wants to create a Nanny-state? Stay away from issues of personal liberty, except to remove old laws that restrict these liberties," professional poker player and 2004 World Series of Poker champion Greg Raymer posted to the GOP Platform site while it was open for comments.

During an interview with XM Radio POTUS '08, host Adrienne Mitchell asked me, "Has anyone from the McCain campaign contacted you to try to say, 'hey, hey, come back?'" The answer is that they have not. Instead, I have been maligned at every turn by Republicans. The Hamilton County, Indiana, Republican Party Chairman, Charlie White, said about me, "Anyone alleged Republican who is for Obama, is either not a Republican, but they are into more form than substance.[sic]" Regardless of the poor grammar, the message is clear, "you're either with us or you're against us." This is the current heart and soul of the Republican Party, and it must change for the Party to survive.

On November 5th, after Senator Obama has won the election, I hope some Republican Party leaders come back to this post and start considering the future of our Party, whether it will be the Party of lies, smears, anger and intolerance, or return to the Party that freed the slaves, spearheaded the civil rights movement, and brought America respect from every part of the world.

I'll be waiting.

UPDATE: I found this on the GOP Web site. It closely aligns with my list that others have said was off base. What I DON'T see on this list is making this a Christian nation, making abortion illegal, suspending Constitutional rights to people suspected of terrorism, drilling offshore and in ANWR, tax cuts only for the rich, smearing opponents and questioning their patriotism in order to win an election, free trade agreements, war with non-threatening countries like Iraq, increasing Executive Power including warrantless wire tapping, not talking to our enemies until they surrender, or defining marriage as being between a man and a woman. In fact, I don't see "safety before liberty" anywhere in there that would cause the support of the Patriot Act or any other power grab. Even the GOP's own site shows how far the Party has fallen.