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. http://www.gop.com/about/imarepublicanbecause.htm. 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.

10 comments:

bmovies said...

Your blog post is kind of puzzling. You give a list of principles that the Republican party has strayed from and should get back to. Which I agree with you 110 percent. Not only should those principles be the principles of the Republican party, but for the entire country as well.

However, I fail to see how voting for Obama is going to accomplish any of that. Maybe this isnt your intention, but your blog posts give me the impression that you're not voting for Obama as much as you are voting against McCain (and/or the Republican party). You are not telling me why you are voting for Obama.

Obama does not stand for those principles you listed. He is diametrically opposed to them and if elected will see to it that the exact opposite of what you want will be enacted. Oh, he might not get ALL of his agenda through. He might get half, or even less than that. But after an Obama administration, when the Republican party wins back the White House (and or the majority of both houses of congress), it will be that much more of an uphill climb to get those things reversed.

Yes, McCain is one of many who has strayed from Republican principles, and will continue to do so if elected. Which is one of the many reasons I am NOT voting for McCain. But I sure as heck as not voting for Obama either as that is no solution. That accomplishes the exact opposite of what you want to happen.

"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"

My decision is to stay and fight and try to change things from the inside. I have a better advantage to change things as an insider than leaving the party and sitting and waiting them to change.

Leaving the party (becoming an outsider), then sitting and waiting for them to change accomplishes nothing. Fighting, and from within, gives me a fighting chance. I may not have results overnight as these things take alot of time. It may take years, but it can still happen.

Chuck Lasker said...

Thanks for the comment, bmovies. I understand what you're saying. If you read my other blog posts, you'll see that I do support Obama, and did even before McCain was chosen. If you read Obama's book, The Audacity of Hope, you'll find he actually does embody the principles of the Republican Party that I list, much more than McCain.

The reality is, it's going to be Obama or McCain. Voting for anyone else is a waste. If McCain wins, it's a statement to the Republican Party that their negative campaigning and neoconservative agenda are acceptable. If Obama wins, it will collapse the Republican Party and cause a reassessment that would allow "change from the inside."

Brian said...

In 2007, according to the National Journal, Obama’s voting record made him “the most liberal Senator.” According to Americans for Democratic Action (ADA), the main liberal advocacy group, Obama voted their way 98% of the time.

How could any conservative in their right mind want the federal government to be controlled by the most far left major candidate in the history of the country who will have a liberal majority in Congress run by Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. His judicial appointments alone would set back the conservative cause by a generation.

I have no problem with people supporting Obama or liberalism. That is their right as an American. But anyone who claims to be a conservative and supports Obama is either a liar or no longer a conservative.

Chuck Lasker said...

brian,

The National Journal had John Kerry as the most liberal in 2004, and Al Gore as most liberal in 2000. It's a scam, designed so people like you can use it as a talking point, even though it's been debunked.

But now you say he's the most far left in the history of the country? Come on, you're being disingenuous. You simply don't have the facts, which in my opinion makes you "not in your right mind." If you read The Audacity of Hope, you'll find you're wrong. But you won't, because today's Republicans shove their heads in the sand, watch Hannity and Limbaugh, and make believe the Republican Party is still conservative and honest. I'm an old school conservative, not the new neoconservative fascist that runs the party now, and calls anyone who disagrees "out of their mind" and "a liar or no longer a conservative."

Brian said...

First of all Chuck, I admire you for allowing dissenting views to be aired on your blog comments unlike the folks at RFO who quickly ban anyone who disagrees that Obama is the "chosen one." We can all learn from each other if we have a dialogue.

I just don't see how anyone who calls themselves a conservative can support Obama, not because I'm a neocon but because the facts prove he is.

Some highlights of his 2006 votes:

· Voted against extending the Bush tax cuts on capital gains and dividends.

· Voted against permanently repealing the Death Tax. (Called the cuts a "Paris Hilton" tax break for "billionaire heirs and heiresses") · Voted against CAFTA.

· Voted YES on raising the minimum wage to $7.25 rather than $6.25.

· Opposed the lifting of $0.54 per gallon tariff on cheaper Brazillian ethanol. Said, "ethanol imports are neither necessary nor a practical response to current gasoline prices."

· Voted against the bankruptcy abuse bill.

· Opposes privatizing Social Security

· Voted against drilling in ANWR.

· Voted against confirmation of Sam Alito AND John Roberts as chief justice.

· Voted against extending the PATRIOT Act's wiretap provision.

· Opposed any bans on partial birth abortions.

Here are his ratings from various groups:

Abortion Issues:
-Senator Obama supported the interests of the Planned Parenthood 100 percent.
-Senator Obama supported the interests of the National Right to Life Committee 0 percent.
-Senator Obama supported the interests of the NARAL Pro-Choice America 100 percent.
Budget, Spending and Taxes:
-Senator Obama supported the interests of the FreedomWorks 6 percent.
-Senator Obama supported the interests of the National Taxpayers Union 6 percent.
-Senator Obama supported the interests of the Americans for Tax Reform 0 percent.
Civil Liberties:
-Senator Obama supported the interests of 83 percent.
Government Reform:
-Senator Obama supported the interests of Citizens Against Government Waste 13 percent.
Gun Issues:
-Senator Obama supported the interests of the Gun Owners of America 0 percent.
-Based on lifetime voting records on gun issues and the results of a questionnaire sent to all state legislative candidates they assigned Senator Obama a grade of F.
Immigration:
-Senator Obama supported the interests of the American Immigration Lawyers Association 88 percent in 2006.
-Senator Obama supported the interests of the U.S. Border Control 8 percent in 2005-2006.
-Senator Obama supported the interests of the Federation for American Immigration Reform 0 percent in 2005.
-Senator Obama supported the interests of the Americans for Better Immigration 14 percent in 2003-2006.
Labor:
-Senator Obama supported the interests of the Service Employees International Union 94 percent in 2006.
-Senator Obama supported the interests of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers 100 percent in 2005-2006.
-Senator Obama supported the interests of the American Federation of Government Employees 100 percent in 2005.
-Senator Obama supported the interests of the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers 100 percent in 2005.
-Senator Obama supported the interests of the Service Employees International Union 92 percent in 2005.
-Senator Obama supported the interests of the United Auto Workers 93 percent in 2005.
-Senator Obama supported the interests of the AFL-CIO 92 percent in 2005.
-Senator Obama supported the interests of the United Electrical Radio and Machine Workers 100 percent in 2005.
-Senator Obama supported the interests of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Worker 100 percent in 2005.
-Senator Obama supported the interests of the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees 100 percent in 2005.

I don't care what he says in a book, his voting record is what counts and it is straight ahead party line left.

How can you as a conservative defend his voting record.

Chuck Lasker said...

Even worse, brian. At republicansforobama.org, I linked to my site that sells some Obama gear, and they deleted the entire thread, because it competes with THEIR Obama gear sales.

I'm not saying Obama is a conservative. I'm saying he's MORE conservative than other Democrats, and that McCain is a liar in the pockets of the lobbyists.

None of these votes make Obama "the most liberal Senator in American history," or even close.

· Voted against extending the Bush tax cuts on capital gains and dividends.

And it passed, and look at our economy now. Since when is the Republican Party the party of "tax cuts only for the rich?" It's amazing to me how 95% of Republicans are middle class, but they support anything that helps the rich. Of course, we're supposed to support trickle down economics, but here's my view: http://conservativesforobama.blogspot.com/2008/09/trickle-down-economics-primer-and-why.html. If trickle down still worked, the Bush tax cuts would have saved our economy.

· Voted against permanently repealing the Death Tax. (Called the cuts a "Paris Hilton" tax break for "billionaire heirs and heiresses")

Obama support PAYGO, meaning no tax cuts unless they're "paid for" somehow, with spending cuts or new taxes. This is part of a balanced budget philosophy that the Republicans give lip service to, but have never achieved. Only Bill Clinton had a balanced budget. If the Death Tax could be eliminated by cutting spending, Obama would vote for that. But he won't vote for straight tax cuts with no way to pay for them.

· Voted against CAFTA.

Obama is for fair trade, not free trade. There's a difference, and that difference is killing us. For us to try to compete with slave-labor countries only brings our standard of living down. Republicans were against "free trade" as it is before they were for it.

· Voted YES on raising the minimum wage to $7.25 rather than $6.25.

And it's been raised, and nothing bad happened. If you were making minimum wage, you'd probably support this, if you could afford a phone or computer to even try to support it.

· Opposed the lifting of $0.54 per gallon tariff on cheaper Brazillian ethanol. Said, "ethanol imports are neither necessary nor a practical response to current gasoline prices."

Ethanol is a Republican issue?

· Voted against the bankruptcy abuse bill.

Again, this bill was only for the rich, and hurt the middle class. Republicans USED to be for the middle class. Part of the mortgage crisis of today is this bill's provision to disallow bankruptcy courts to include mortgages in a restructuring. Obama was right.

· Opposes privatizing Social Security

If Social Security had been privatized during this crisis, it would be gone now. President Eisenhower, the last true Republican president, understood the need for a government-handled safety net for our elders.

· Voted against drilling in ANWR.

Why is drilling for oil a Republican issue? There are billions of barrels of oil available in locations approved for drilling, but the oil companies don't drill. Why? Because they don't want to. Not ONE oil company has supported McCain's "drill baby drill" idea. It's just a political gimmick. It should be possible to be a Republican and not support raping the environment.

· Voted against confirmation of Sam Alito AND John Roberts as chief justice.

As I said, he's not a conservative like you or me, but I'd rather him than Palin, who would put Supreme Court Justices in that want to turn America into a Christian society.

· Voted against extending the PATRIOT Act's wiretap provision.

Great! Privacy and civil rights USED to be Republican issues! Freedom over security USED to be Republican issues! The entire Patriot Act is anti-Republican.

· Opposed any bans on partial birth abortions.

Please see my UPDATE at http://conservativesforobama.blogspot.com/2008/07/barack-obama-and-pro-life-issue.html.

Now, look at McCain's voting record and how it lead to this current economic crisis. He also was pro-choice before it was convenient to be pro-life. He was anti-regulation until now he's pro-regulation. He was anti-drilling before he was pro-drilling. He lies in almost all campaign ads. He'll do anything to win, including pick a pretty VP running mate that is dangerous to the country if she gets in with her complete lack of experience.

Don't vote Republican for the sake of voting Republican. Look at the 4 candidates by themselves and make a decision that truly reflects the core Republican principles as outlined above.

Brian said...

Chuck,

1. " I'm saying he's MORE conservative than other Democrats" If so, then why does he have such high scores from all the major liberal advocacy groups.

2. The Bush tax cuts likely saved the economy after 9/11. Please read http://www.heritage.org/research/taxes/bg2001.cfm

3. McCain was also against the Bush tax cuts because Bush wouldn't cut spending. My biggest disappointment in Bush is his huge expansion of the federal government. The biggest since LBJ.

4. Obama is now for fair trade. During the primaries he was calling for protectionist trade policies.

5. Where in the constitution does it give the federal government the right to set a minimum wage?

6. I'll grant you ethanol is not a Republican issue.

7. The bankruptcy act was designed to make it harder for people with consumer debt to repeatedly file bankruptcy. Why should I have to pay for people who can't handle or don't deserve credit?

8. Drilling in ANWR would not rape the environment. We can safely drill without doing any harming of the environment. ANWR is the size of South Carolina. The part we want to drill on is about the size of the DC airport.

9. Sam Alito and John Roberts are the exact type of justices those of us in the conservative movement have been fighting for. This issue alone should make you as a conservative not vote for Obama. To say Palin is going to be picking justices to turn us into a theocracy is nonsense and you know it.

10. Obama has the most pro abortion voting record of anyone who has ever been a major party nominee. This is an absolute provable fact.

11. " make a decision that truly reflects the core Republican principles as outlined above."

With the possible exception of being against the Patriot Act, you did not name one Republican principle.

I have no issue with you supporting Obama, but the case that one can be a conservative and vote for Obama is just not being made.

Who do you think Ronald Reagan would vote for?

I really appreciate you letting me comment on your blog.

Chuck Lasker said...

I think, brian, we have a difference of opinion on what the Republican Party principles are. And that's understandable. I'm an Eisenhower Republican (social liberal, fiscal conservative) and you're a Reagan Republican (social and fiscal conservative).

But even if you take Reagan's ideals, the current Republican leadership, such as McCain, only pay lip service to them, but don't follow them at all. This socialist bail out is a good example, as is the Iraq War. These Republicans have spent more than all other administrations combined, compared to Bill Clinton's balanced budget.

I don't ask who Reagan would vote for, I ask who Reagan would BE. He would be the leader running on principle, like Obama, not the one running on "whatever it takes to win" compromise of principles, like McCain.

Brian said...

Yes, Chuck you being an Eisenhower Republican and me being a Reagan Republican totally explains our differences in conservative philosophy.

And I agree with you 100% about the current Republican leadership and John McCain.

But I only have two choices on November 4th. I would seriously considering voting for a Democrat this year if it wasn't someone so liberal as Obama and if the Republicans controlled Congress. I still say a far left president combined with a Democrat majority in the House and Senate is a disaster for conservative principles of both the Eisenhower and Reagan camps.

Chuck Lasker said...

I guess it's the disaster we know (McCain) versus the possible disaster we don't know. I thought Bill Clinton would destroy this country, but he had the only balanced budget in 50 years, and things didn't get bad. Alternatively, Bush has us in more debt than all previous administrations combined - to Communist China, no less - and McCain promises to continue those failed policies. Even if I didn't like Obama, I'd vote for him just to change direction.