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;
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.