Response:This morning I see that Andrew Sullivan commented on this blog. He said the blog was rather "far out" and that I was barely a Republican. Hmmm. The only way that I can best reply is to say that I am not leaving the Republican party, but the Republican party has left me. Let me explain.
I consider myself a traditional Republican in the mold of Barry Goldwater, Nelson Rockefeller and John McCain. Yes, that puts me in a minority in the party these days. There was a time when moderate Republicans held sway in the party, but that has long since past. We are now derided as Democrats in disguise, even though our wing of the party has had a long history in the party and in spite of the fact that we are distinct from Democrats.
I am a Republican for many reasons. One, I believe that government should be limited, meaning it should keep its nose out of certain things that are regarded as private. I am pro-choice, not because I think abortion is wonderful, but because this is a medical issue and the state has no business telling people what they can or cannot do. I am against sodomy laws because again, the state has no business looking into the sexual practices of its citizens. The GOP used to be a party that cared about limiting government. It wasn't odd to find Republicans on the board of say, Planned Parenthood in the 1970s. Now, the party is firmly in the pro-life camp and candidate or politician that is found to be pro-choice will find themselves attacked by pro-life groups. People like Barry Goldwater were considered persona no grata because of their pro-choice stance which is far more conservative than those who want the government dictating medical policy.
In the wake of 9/11, we have seen our government starting to probe even more deeper into the lives of Americans. While it is understandable that we as a nation must become more vigilant to protect ourselves from another terrorist attack and that government must do what it can to protect the homeland, that does not mean that we trample on the civil liberties that we are fighting to protect.
Second, I believe in fiscal disciplne. We have to learn to live within our means and make sure we are not passing debt off to future generations. The Bush Adminstration has allowed government to grow tremendously and more importantly, allowed the budget to swell to monstrous proportions. This has made a mockery of claiming the mantle of fiscal responsibility. Fiscal disciplne means sound spending and when necessary sound and fair tax policy. The current philosophy in the GOP seems to be cut taxes like there's no tomorrow, enact new government programs without finding ways to pay for them, and never never ever raise a tax since taxes are sinful.
The party has left its basic principles. It talks about liberty from an onerous government and yet wants to use that same government to tell women when to have children or gays and lesbians to not have sex. It talks a good talk about how liberals and Democrats are spending like drunken sailors and yet the government only grew slower under Clinton than it did under the younger Bush. I don't think that I have left the party at all; the party has been taken over by former southern Democrats who could no longer find a place in the Democratic party in the 60s and 70s.
One can look at this blog and see that I have criticized the left and right equally. I have written extensively on how the left has not been willing to face the changed reality after 9/11. I have criticized the Left's love of Castro who in my view is just another corrupt dictator. But because I have criticized the President or the party a few times, my legitimacy is called into question. Criticism is part of being American. We should be civil, yes, but we should speak our minds as well.
As for writing for TomPaine.com, I wrote an article on the Republican Party and race for another webjournal. The editor sent it to TomPaine and I okayed it. That is the only article that has appeared there. Writing for TomPaine does not make me anymore a liberal than being Editor for New Republic makes Mr. Sullivan a Democrat. It appeared there and that is all. I do not agree with all of their views, but I was happy for the exposure.
Finally, I think I speak for many concerning how far the party has drifted to the far right. Many committed Republicans have felt ashamed to call themselves Republicans because the party has grown more intolerant and fiscally irresposible. I want this blog to be a voice for those moderates who have been silenced by far right in the party. I hope it can show that being a Republican can be something to be proud of once again.