How the GOP Purged Me

April 5th, 2010 at 12:35 pm | 246 Comments |

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I am an old Republican. I am religious, yet not a fanatic. I am a free-marketer; yet, I believe in the role of the government as a fair evenhanded referee. I am socially conservative; yet, I believe that my lesbian niece and my gay grandchild should have the full protection of the law and live as free Americans enjoying every aspect of our society with no prejudices and/or restrictions. Nowadays, my political and socio-economic profile would make me a Marxist, not a Republican.

I grew up in an era where William F. Buckley fought the John Birch society and kicked them out of the Republican Party. I grew up with -– in fact voted for the first time for –- Eisenhower. In 1956, he ran a campaign of dignity. A campaign that acknowledged that there are certain projects better suited to be handled by the government. See, business thinks in the short term, as he said. That’s the imperative of the marketplace. I invest and I expect that in a few quarters, I garner the fruits of my investment. Government, on the other hand, has the luxury to wait a few years, maybe decades, for a return on a given investment. As a former businessman, I know that first hand. Am I a Marxist for thinking that?

I witnessed the fight for equal civil rights in the 1960s. And as a proud American, I applauded the passage of the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act, and we became a better country because of them. Those acts made America stronger. Those acts, at their core, represented and still represent all the values upon which the Republican Party was founded. Yet today, our GOP representatives and leaders are ashamed of them. When they talk about them, you feel their discomfort, their clumsiness, and sometimes their shame. That awkwardness is so strong that it crosses the television screen and hits you in the face in your living room. Why is that? What happened to this generation of Republicans? We are the party of Abraham Lincoln, and yet we act and behave as if we are the party of Nathan Bedford Forrest.

I did not like Medicaid and Medicare when they were passed. I was opposed to them. Maybe I was too young, too strong, and too ideologically confined. Yet, over the years, I saw how Medicare helped millions of elderly Americans. I saw how Medicare helped my mom in her final years battling emphysema caused by years of smoking. You have to be blind to oppose those programs. You have to be blind to wish for the suffering of millions of Americans just because you believe in personal responsibility.

As a businessman, I was torn between my bottom line and providing health coverage for my employees. I knew that if I provided them with that coverage, their productivity increases. I did my best, but the riptide of the health insurance market defeated me. And with a heavy heart, I offered them gimmicky coverages that, deep down, I knew did not provide a comprehensive and adequate coverage, but it was the only coverage I could afford.

I voted for Nixon and for Reagan. Although I did not like the deficit spending of the Reagan administration, I blamed it on and rationalized it by the necessities of fighting the Cold War. I liked Reagan — who didn’t? Even my Democrat and liberal friends liked and respected him. I voted for Clinton, twice. I thought he was the best Republican president since Ike. No, I did not make a mistake. Bill Clinton was closer ideologically to Eisenhower and Nixon than Bush I and II could ever be. I thought that Clinton practiced and articulated true Republican ideology in his fiscal discipline, job creation, smart tax cuts, and foreign policy better than anyone since Ike.

Then something happened in the 1990s. The leaders of the GOP grew belligerent. They became too religious, almost zealots. They became intolerant. They began searching for purity in Republican thought and doctrine. Ideology blinded them. I continued to vote Republican, but with a certain unease. Deep down I knew that a schism happened between the modern Republican Party and the one I grew up with. During the fight over the impeachment of President Clinton, the ugly face of the Republican Party was brought to the surface. Empty rhetoric, ideological intolerance, vengeance, and religious zealotry became the common currency. Suddenly, if you are pro-choice, you could not be a Republican. If you are for smart and sensible taxes to balance out the budget, you could not be a Republican. If you are pro-civil rights, you could not be a Republican.

It started with minorities: they left the party. Then women; they divorced the GOP and sent it to sleep on the couch. Then, the young folks; they left and are leaving the Republican Party in droves. Then, someone stood up and told my niece and my grandchild that they are not fully Americans — just second class Americans because they are homosexual. They wished hell and damnation upon my loved ones just because they are different. Are we led by priests or are we led by rational politicians? Now, we have became the party of the Old Straight White Folks. We should rename the Republican Party the OSWF rather than the GOP.

Recently, since the election of Barack Obama, common sense has left the Republican Party completely. We are in the era of craziness. As David Frum has written, a deal was there to be made over the healthcare bill. Instead, this ideological purity blinded the GOP. As LBJ said it, instead of being inside the tent pissing out, we choose to be outside the tent, pissing against the wind. And we got splashed by our own nonsense. Why did we do that? Well, when a political party shrinks its electoral based to below 30% and is composed by one demographic group, all that is left are a bunch of zealots. We shrank it by kicking out of the party those who believe that abortion should be legal but limited. We shrank it by kicking out those who believe that an $11 trillion economy, like ours, needs a strong government, not a government that can be drowned in a bathtub. We shrank it when we sanctified Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck, and canonized Sarah Palin. These are the leaders of my party nowadays. How did we go from William F. Buckley to Glenn Beck? How did we go from Eisenhower and Nixon to Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann? I do not know. What I do know, however, is that these leaders remind of me of the leaders of the Whig Party. And if they continue on their nonsense, they will bring the collapse of the GOP.

I do not recognize myself in the Republican Party anymore. As someone said it before, I did not leave the Republican Party, the Republican Party left me. I have the same ideological positions on most of the issues that I had when I voted for Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan and George W. Bush in 2000. However, I just cannot trust the reins of our government and nation, of this formidably complicated and complex gigantic machine that is the USA, to the amateurish leadership of the Republican Party.

We are living through tough times. We are being challenged like I have never seen America being challenged before. China is a formidable foe, and it is out there competing against us on every field and beating us on several fronts. While our education budgets are being slashed in every state across the nation, China is doubling and tripling theirs. These are the challenges and challengers that we are facing. And we need our best and brightest to lead us, not a half-term governor or radio/TV talking heads.

Maybe I am too old and too cynical, but I think the Republican party is in the last stages of agony. If nothing happens, we might win an election or even two, but in the long run we will lose America.

Recent Posts by Chris Currey



246 Comments so far ↓

  • CentristNYer

    franco 2 // Apr 6, 2010 at 11:36 am

    “Am I wrong here?”

    Yes. You’re wrong.

    “Please tell me I’m wrong that Chris Curry who voted for Clinton twice over Bush I Dole and Perot, who’s idol is Eisenhower is someone the modern day GOP should be trying to persuade, and please also tell me how. What would Michael Steele have to do to get Chris Curry nodding his head and pulling the lever for some Republican?”

    It’s certainly not surprising to anyone here that you haven’t paid attention to or absorbed anything that Frum et al have written, but if you had, you wouldn’t be asking this question. This is a party that spent the last few decades sucking up to fringe groups, promoting an irresponsible economic agenda, denying widely accepted science, nominating know-nothings like Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann, pushing and then mismanaging two wars, making no effort to pass genuine health insurance reform, etc., etc., etc.

    How much more do you have to hear? Isn’t it painfully obvious — even to you — that if the party stops doing what it’s been doing that it stands a chance of restoring its long-lost reputation for fiscal responsibility and competence?

    THAT’S what Michael Steele has to do to win back Republicans like Chris Currey and Otto and me.

  • JimBob

    The GOP got beat in 2006-08 because of the Iraq war something Chris Currey doesn’t touch on. He does call himself an Eisenhower Republican but Ike used his farewell address to the nation on Jan 17, 1961 to warn the American people about the dangers of the military industrial complex. Sounds like Ron Paul.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8y06NSBBRtY

    In his memoirs Reagan wrote

    ” Perhaps we didn’t appreciate fully enough the depth of the hatred and the complexity of the problems that made the Middle East such a jungle. Perhaps the idea of a suicide car bomber committing mass murder to gain instant entry to Paradise was so foreign to our own values and consciousness that it did not create in us the concern for the marines’ safety that it should have.

    In the weeks immediately after the bombing, I believe the last thing that we should do was turn tail and leave. Yet the irrationality of Middle Eastern politics forced us to rethink our policy there. If there would be some rethinking of policy before our men die, we would be a lot better off. If that policy had changed towards more of a neutral position and neutrality, those 241 marines would be alive today.”

    Neutrality in the Middle East. Sounds like Ron Paul

    If Republicans want to come back they need to embrace the ideas of Ron Paul. The biggest threat this country faces is debt. That’s what the tea party people care about. They are worried about their kids and Grandchildren’s future. And rest assured we can’t begin to solve the debt bomb until we come home.

  • Conservative: the GOP Is Filled With Intolerant Fanatics — Party of Old White Folks « SpeakEasy

    [...] Read the whole piece here. Tana Ganeva is an AlterNet.org editor. Follow her on Twitter. You can email her at tanaalternet@gmail.com Share [...]

  • Rabiner

    JimBob:

    “If Republicans want to come back they need to embrace the ideas of Ron Paul.”

    I’d only agree halfheartedly with this sentiment. As a Democrat I love Ron Paul’s foreign policy ideas. I also hate his domestic policy ideas and don’t agree with him on social issues.

    I really have to agree with Sinz on how the Republican party is acting. They’re acting like a political party that is in a Parliamentary government not a 2 party government like the United States. The reason there has never been a successful 3rd party candidate in this country and not even a new 2nd party since the 1850s is because either the Democratic party or Republican party tend to coop the ideas of these 3rd parties into their policy platforms, thus making the 3rd party unnecessary. Democrats did this by passing Social Security and thus ending the rise of the Communist party in the 1920s/1930s. We also haven’t seen a large realignment of political parties since the 1960s after the passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts.

    If the Republican party wants to become more viable in all parts of the country and not just the South one of two things will need to happen. They will need to end this lunacy of ‘purity’ and allow deviation depending on region. A Republican from New England almost has to be pro-choice to be elected. Same goes for the West Coast in statewide elections (there are rural congressional districts that vote republican). Same goes for Gay Marriage as time goes on considering the huge generational gap on the issue.

    As a Democrat I’ve come to realize over time that this country needs a well functioning policy debate from BOTH parties. When one party can get all the votes from their side of the isle, it leads to policies that tend to be less moderate in nature, more racial in changing the current system and that can lead to disaster in the short and long runs. If Democrats had the idea that Republicans would of voted, even just a few, for HCR then they would of courted those Republicans over the Far Left Wing of the Democratic Party. It would of given more political cover and the same amount of votes in the end to pass the legislation. But Republicans decided to stand on ‘principle’ and complain they were left out of the process when we all knew they’d never consider voting for the final legislation.

  • pj

    I fing the article entitled ‘How the GOP purged me’ to be silly. First of all the GOP is not opposed to civil rights. But the allogation that Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman are extremists, just indicates how far left the author is. Sarah and Michelle are very mainstream traditional Americans. Rush Limbaugh, and Glenn Beck, is this fellow ever bothered to listen to them , would know that they are very reasonable people. The point of this article, and I am afraid of David Frum, is to protray conservatives as radicals and extremists.

    Chris Currey and David Frum appear to me to fit into the slice of our population who are fiscally conservative but socially liberal. They really don’t know where to fit in. But I think that the term RINO fits them pretty well, don’t you?

  • JimBob

    Rabiner, Republicans don’t have a purity test. Olympia Snow for example. What will draw people to the Republican party is getting serious about fiscal policy. Entitlements and empire are bankrupting the country. We should begin to draw down our overseas empire and start the painful process of reforming the entitlement state. How anyone can argue that Republicans opposing Obamo’s new health care entitlement is bad policy is well just naive. Republicans as usual did a lousy job of explaining it to the American people. Adding another huge entitlement right when the country is looking at trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see is suicidal.

    New GOP = social issues state level. Fiscal discipline at the national level. New motto = Lets get our books balanced. It’s for the children and their children.

  • CentristNYer

    pj // Apr 6, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    “…the allogation that Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman are extremists, just indicates how far left the author is. Sarah and Michelle are very mainstream traditional Americans. Rush Limbaugh, and Glenn Beck, is this fellow ever bothered to listen to them , would know that they are very reasonable people”

    This is parody, right?

  • Sunny

    pj wrote:
    “But the allogation that Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman are extremists, just indicates how far left the author is. Sarah and Michelle are very mainstream traditional Americans.”

    I’m sort of curious how you define mainstream.

    “But I think that the term RINO fits them pretty well, don’t you?”

    I’m also curious if you could provide a concise definition of RINO. Not looking for Republican in Name Only, but essentially what qualities you consider critical and necessary components of “Republican,” and how the two people you mentioned fall outside that paradigm.

  • ksana

    I am new to this blog and really enjoy the intelligent diversity of opinions so reminiscent of the old days of the GOP and its conservative wing. This is one of the best pieces that I have read in a long time. It completely mirrors my feelings and my experience, including the exact moment when I crossed the line, abandoned the Republican Party and voted for Clinton for President. It is very reassuring to realize that one is not alone and that there are others out there who are disgusted with the tone, the rhetoric, the stupidity and narrow-mindedness that has taken root in the GOP today. Is there hope and light at the end of this dark tunnel? I don’t see it, but hope that I am wrong for the sake of our country, our children and grandchildren.

  • Rabiner

    JimBob:

    “Rabiner, Republicans don’t have a purity test. Olympia Snow for example. What will draw people to the Republican party is getting serious about fiscal policy. Entitlements and empire are bankrupting the country.”

    I’m looking for the rule rather than the exception. The Republican Party demonized Olympia Snow as a RINO for her willingness to try to make the HCR bill more conservative and more to her liking. This should of been the way the Republican Party approached health care but they decided to take the Jim Demint approach of trying to ‘break Obama’. The Republican party needs to stop being perceived as the home of “Southern Evangelicals” if it wants to appeal widely to the other regions of this country.

    Social issues have alienated voting blocs such as Jews, Muslims, Homosexuals, pro-choice women and youth. I mention youth since they tend to be far for libertarian on social issues than the Republican Party and thus agree with Democrats on more of these issues it seems. Their immigration policies and rhetoric that came out of 2006-2007 alienated Hispanics. It isn’t like Republicans are changing with the demographic shifts or the cultural shifts in this country.

    Pj:

    Michelle Bachman and Sarah Palin are so irrational on so many issues I tend to wonder how they were ever elected or reelected to public office. Another I’ve find so loony would have to be Steve King of Iowa. When public officials start telling their constituents to not fill out the US Census or that if we had listened to him and abolished the IRS then a crazy guy wouldn’t of flown his plane into an IRS building it’s then time to stop listening to them and vote them out of office. I really wonder how a majority of citizens in their districts really believe them, are willingly ignorant and just vote party line or Democrats haven’t had to desire to field a candidate that can tie their own shoes?

  • franco 2

    It’s really funny to see a bunch of people like CentristNYer the author Chris Curry and others who aren’t Republicans lecture people who are actually INCLINED to vote for Republicans over Democrats, on what we should be doing.

    They way they talk you’d think that the GOP hasn’t won an election in decades, and they are begging Democrats to take them back like jilted lovers. Sorry girls, we aren’t interested in you, you can stop trying to tease us – it just looks bad for you.

    VA NJ MA are the three most recent elections. You might want to try to understand the trend lines. Polls are not looking good for Democrats either individually or generically. Your leader Obama is finally revealed to be so vapid that even the press acolytes are beginning to wonder. I wouldn’t be surprised if by 2012 Obi-won will have a D challenger in the primary.

    These folks also write as though the GOP is the only party that ever was irresponsible and overspent. They write as though the Democrats haven’t morphed into socialists , like THEY are mainstream. Guess what. They are the fringe and the radicals.

    News bulletin to you clueless drones: We don’t need you. We don’t need you at all. Your party, the DEMOCRATIC party, will lose historically in 2010 . The American people have discovered that, as bad a the Republicans have been, the Democrats are worse! You will lose the House of Representatives and possibly you Senate majority. Harry Reid is going down to ignominious defeat. Specter will be replaced by Toomey.

    My God you folks win two election cycles and you get delusional.

  • captn

    Rabiner

    The fight McCain is facing right now is a fine example of what has happened to the Republican Party recently. How anyone can really believe that McCain is not conservative is beyond me, but he is in the primary fight of his life. If he wins the nomination he will take the the seat easily, since he is very popular among the general electorate. His challenger, however, could very easily lose the general election, especially considering that Arizona has become more moderate in recent years. And that’s to say nothing of the large Hispanic population, which has recently left the party in droves. Once again, the right wing of the party could “win” the primary, only to lose the seat in the general election. (The ultimate irony would be if McCain ran as an Independent, and they lost the race to him. Which is what happened to the Dems with Lieberman.)

    I want to pose again a question I asked earlier, and I’m interested in hearing from those who used to be Republicans but find the party too severe for them now. Do you see anybody on the national scene who can sculpt the party platform in such a way as to not alienate those on the far right, but still appeal to moderate voters?

  • Jill

    I agree with this article. I’m currently 30, and sadly, I was unaware until late into adulthood that being ‘conservative’ actually meant supporting LESS government involvement overall! I know many other liberal/democratic leaning people as well who do not grasp that the GOP was originally based on increasing freedom. The blend of lower gov’t regulation of the economy, combined with the increased trend in the ’90′s and ’00′s of conservative focus on limiting personal liberties (gay marriage rights, abortion, etc.) led to the overshadowing of what the GOP did used to stand for.

    I am sick of the debate on both sides. Just looking through the comments posted here (Democrats blah blah blah, Republicans blah blah blah) leaves me feeling irritated and apathetic. I don’t care about what “Republicans” think or “Democrats” think, I care about the most logical, reasonable solution to a particular issue. I care about seeing politicians meet in the middle, and none of the comments on this article make me think it’s ever going to be possible.

  • Ravi.J

    Mr. Currey,
    You were with GOP when it took a wrong, tight right turn. You were all along with GOP until it reached end of road in a cliff. Now, why are you complaining about those who drove you there? Couldn’t you have used the same prudence earlier to prevent from GOP from becoming what it is today? Why complain and blame others when you were very much part of that bandwagon? For e.g., I can’t recall you ever writing how stupid and criminal it was to drive this country into a war with Iraq!

  • Rabiner

    Captn:

    That is a perfect example. McCain seems to be running such a terrible campaign though. Especially his current revelation that he’s never considered himself a ‘Maverick’ even though it is on his memoirs and was how he marketed himself in the 2008 presidential campaign in interviews and tv advertisements.

    I can’t answer your second part since I’ve never been a Republican and honestly I’ve lived in a Congressional District that has been so Gerrymandered that no Republican has ever attempted to run seriously for office. If you were wondering my current Congresswoman is Diane Watson (D-CA) who I’ve never liked since I saw her debate during a special election in 2001 after the death of our former representative. I’d of considered voting for Mitt Romney had he maintained his positions that he stood for as Governor of Mass instead of changing all his positions to cater to Republican primary voters.

    I’d of considered McCain if 1) he wasn’t 72 years old and probably ‘older’ due to 5 years as a POW since he nominated Sarah Palin as VP, 2) he understood economics, 3) during the campaign he didn’t let Sarah Palin alienate urban areas by saying over and over that there were ‘Real Americans’ and other Americans. That isn’t to say I’d of voted for him but I made my decision eventually in Debates. If you were curious I voted for Bill Richardson in the Democratic Primaries due to his foreign policy and executive experience as governor of New Mexico.

  • Sunny

    “It’s really funny to see a bunch of people like CentristNYer the author Chris Curry and others who aren’t Republicans lecture people who are actually INCLINED to vote for Republicans over Democrats, on what we should be doing.”

    Okey doke.
    I’ve been voting since 1984, the first year I was eligible.
    I’ve never voted for a Democrat (though I think I did cast a protest vote for a Libertarian one year, when I was sure the Republican candidate would take my state even without my vote)
    I live in a reliably red state.
    I was raised Christian, and remain one.

    And I’m watching my party cannibalize itself.
    My leanings tend to mirror Mr. Currey’s, though I didn’t vote for Clinton. Still, I’m conservative enough and small-government enough to wonder what business it is of the feds if two people of the same sex want to form a binding contract together, pledging mutual fidelity and shared assets. I’m conservative enough and small-government enough to hate abortion, but wildly hate the idea that any young girl has to explain to some government entity that she’s been raped, or abused, or is age 11, so she can get permission to have some control over her body. I think Condi Rice, in her characteristally understated way, said she was mildly pro-choice — which fits me. I’m educated enough to believe that evolution is supported by a mountain of evidence, and the strength of my faith does not depend on insisting on a 6000 year old earth. Further, I think public schools should be teaching science, which is following the evidence where it leads, not deciding what the result will be and tailoring the evidence to suit it. I’m against amending the Constitution to bring it more in line with God’s law, though I think Huck, too, is a likeable fellow. I’m against the new placement of the 10 commandments on public buildings, though I think an historic exception should be carved out for older monuments which, at the time of their placement, were intended to demonstrate commonality — like the monument donated by the Jewish community in thanks for the local boys who served and helped to liberate Dachau.

    I realize that “socialist” is simply defined as either state ownership of the means of production, or state control over privately owned means of production — and that that means our schools, roads, prisons, public utilities, teaching hospitals, and fire departments are “socialist”. We live in a mixed economy, so the question doesn’t stop when you tell me something is socialist — it stops after we’ve discussed whether it should be.

    I think Mr. Obama is a likeable fellow, and I’m delighted that he’s a living exemplar of an African American male who maximized his education opportunities, and married the mother of his children *before* he started having them — and stayed married. I don’t have to hate him to wildly disagree with him. I don’t think he’s the antichrist, a Machurian candidate, or a Muslim, and I’m firmly convinced he was actually factually born in Hawaii. I found it disconcerting that the early objections to him was that he was both a radical Muslim AND that his Christian pastor was so offensive. I disagree strongly with some of his policies, but expected to — he’s a Democrat. I’m not a Tea Partier, though the debt scares the snockers out of me, too — I’ve just never been able to surrender enough of my self-will to participate in a mob.

    Here’s the deal.
    I don’t _care_ what the Republican party does. If a candidate is strong on the issues I feel strongly about — strong defense, strong economic principles, a big focus on how to help small businesses, rule of law, the 2nd amendment — then I might vote for them. The party will do what the party will do; when enough people decide to stop sending donations, maybe they’ll get the memo. Until then, there’s a great deal of freedom in NOT feeling like I’m tacitly supporting positions I disagree with simply by virtue of membership.

  • JimBob

    No Rabiner, the health care bill is a disaster. Democrats weren’t looking for any compromise. They see it as a naked power grab. Even Warren Buffet an early Obama supporter said the last thing the country needs is another entitlement program. Real health care reform would have focused on more capitalism and less government as the way to control cost. Being able to buy insurance across state lines. Vouchers for the poor so they could purchase insurance. Instead we get a Mitt Romney style reform and the state of Mass is going broke because of it. Obama care will bankrupt the country.

  • CentristNYer

    franco 2 // Apr 6, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    “VA NJ MA are the three most recent elections. You might want to try to understand the trend lines.”

    Yes, and the GOP won these three contests by doing exactly what Frum and others have been advocating here: IGNORING the radical right and moving toward the center with credible, reasonable candidates. By contrast, the tea partiers and right wing nuts who backed Doug Hoffman over the more moderate Republican in NY-23 suffered a huge loss in a district that had been reliably conservative since the 19th century.

    (It also didn’t hurt that the Democrats ran awful candidates in all three states who badly damaged themselves.)

    So, yes, franco, please tell us all about these “trend lines.”

  • Van Carter

    Mr. Franco,

    The trouble is not the electoral success of the GOP in the near term, it is confronting the long term electoral hurdles which confront it.

    The sophistry and bitter rhetoric currently being utilized by the GOP in the persons of Frank Luntz, the operatives of FreedomWorks and in some cases the GOP leadership are serving to alienate sizable tracts of the U.S. electorate.

    It is a fact that changing demographics will diminish the power of white voters and older voters to determine the outcomes of elections. If the GOP continues to operate in the manner it has these past 18 months, the party will consign itself to a perpetual minority status.

    Oh, and please examine the statistical realities of the Democratic Party losing the senate and the house. Last I looked there is about an 8% chance of the GOP losing the Senate and I believe about 20-25% of losing the House. Further, the presidency will not be changing for at least 2 more years after the 2010 mid-terms and continued obstruction the result of near-sighted ideological purity will only result in greater use of majority tactics such as reconciliation to pass legislation that will be less and less conservative as conservatives marginalize their ability to effect legislation.

  • Rabiner

    Sorry but buying insurance across state lines should be decided by the States. They have the power to relegate what types of insurance can be bought and sold in their states. Also if you could purchase insurance from another state and that insurance didn’t have to meet your state’s requirements on quality of the insurance plan then we would all get the worst available insurance quality from 1 state. It would be a race to the bottom basically.

    The HCR bill was not government centric or there would be a public option. It does increase regulations on insurance companies which nearly all people could agree were necessary. I’m more in line with Frum’s point of view about the funding of hte program could be changed and that would be a good change to have but the goal and outcomes of increasing insurance access and attempting to lower insurance costs is a good goal.

  • Van Carter

    Lacking the ability to edit, I note a mistake in my 4th paragraph. Obviously the Democratic party currently controls the Senate and the GOP has about an 8% chance of gaining a majority.

  • captn

    I supported Hilary in the primaries, but I didn’t have any qualms about voting for Obama later. Obama doesn’t have a wealth of experience, but hes sharp as a tack. I value intelligence and policy knowledge over experience. Hilary, for that matter, doesn’t have that much experience either, but her grasp of policy is impressive. And I miss Bill ;)

    As for McCain, I’ve always liked him, but I wouldn’t have voted for him for policy reasons alone. His pick of Palin was just plain scary. As you point out, hes an old guy, and the chances of him dying in office are not small. A President Palin would have been a disaster. Her lack of even basic policy knowledge was breathtaking. How can any Republican, or any candidate for Federal office, not know what the Bush doctrine is. It was the defining foreign policy element of the Bush administration.

    I should add, if I were an Arizonan, I would probably vote for McCain, just as I voted for Snow when I lived in Maine. Congress has so many members that the ideology of any one isn’t as important as how well they represent their districts. Presidents, on the other hand, have the power to broadly shape the policy direction of the entire country.

  • franco 2

    Sunny,

    I am not a GOPer. I sympathize with them and I’m very wary of Democrats which you seem to be considering you generally vote GOP or Libertarian. I am a kind of anomoly but I don’t feel alone in my vies (perhaps here)

    The gay marriage thing doesn’t interest me. I think perhaps the State should end all subsidies to marriage and leave it at that – but of course that will never happen. I see the gay marriage issue as phony politically . It’s a deliberate wedge issue to force Republicans into a spot. There are still lots of traditional people in this country. That is a good thing. They hold this country together they work hard and they are people of faith – good people. For the most part they aren’t bigots and to claim that someone who holds a traditional view is homophobic or bigoted is actually quite bigoted and unfair. I don’t see these people venting at mosques where they REALLY hold traditional views. I don’t see these people putting down Mexicans and South Americans as homophobes and bigots because they are against gay marriage. They don’t disparage Chinese people or the regime for forbidding it.. Wanting to keep traditional values like marriage isn’t bigotry.

    Another reason it is a phoney issue is because it affects a TINY portion of the population maybe 1%.
    Face it how many gays really want to get married? Not someday…now? Not that many. I have a lot of gay friends they just want OTHER gays to be able to get married. Thay want that stamp of approval from the culture. I grew up counter-culture and I’m all for expressing oneself outside the culture. Create you own religion./ Stop with this “fairness” crap. Life is unfair, but there are many things that make it rich. Don’t force everyone else to conform to you, that’s pretty boring. Lots of people use it as an example of Republican bigotry, that’s why it has become such an issue. I’m sorry I’m just not moved.

    Abortion is another difficult subject. I participated in two abortions and the second one really threw me – and I’m a guy! It’s not pretty. Once you have kids and see ultrasounds and the fact that your kid has the same “personality” as the ultrasound, it’s pretty clear, regardless of religion, that abortion may just be wrong and selfish. Nevertheless abortion is one of those issues that isn’t going to change much and all the arguments are peripheral like late-term abortions parental notification etc. Each representative can have his own nuanced views, and by the way there are many Democrats who oppose abortion and the ancillary issues surrounding it, so it isn’t a purely partisan issue.

    Just because some folks who don’t believe in evolution tend to vote Republican doesn’t mean that Republicans don’t believe in science. There are LOTS of whack-jobs who vote for Democrats too.

    My main problem with folks here like CentristNyer and others is the idea that Republicans need to go after votes “in the center” and abandon their base. The base is there and it isn’t going away. The fact is there are way more votes in the base than these phantom centrists. They don’t exist. Frum and friends are chasing after a phantom and want to abandon real voters.

    There are things Republicans do that I am fighting as well. In fact I did not vote for McCain because Republicans crammed him down our throats. I would have voted for almost any other except Huckabee.

    Speaking of Huck if you have a libertarian streak you should avoid Huckabee. He’s a theocrat. He’s a “do-gooder” and he actually likes to use State power to regulate all kinds of things. He is also a phony, a complete phony. But this post is long enough…some other time..

  • franco 2

    But I couldn’t bring myself to vote for Obama because he’s a leftist. Leftism is the real threat. It always ends up at the same place tyranny. That’s because in order for the society to run properly according to the government people need to be coerced. We can see it happening before our eyes in Venezuela. Here it is close to the tipping point once there it will be rapid. That’s because socialism is already here and once a certain point is reached, there is no going back. I don’t know if they have gay marriage or abortion on demand in Venezuela and Cuba, but I think people are much freer here in a free country. OK you can’t get married if you are gay. Big frikin deal.

  • MikeB

    I feel very much the same as Currey. I didn’t vote for Clinton, I don’t think I ever voted other than Republican until 2008. I kept thinking the fringe had no where to go but with us fiscal conservatives. Then I watched George Bush the younger start with a budget in surplus and run up higher deficits than ever and I realized that the GOP had no interest in fiscal conservatives and I was the one they thought had no where to go. Emergency Rooms in this country are required by law to treat everyone regardless of ability to pay. Requiring people to purchase insurance to pay for that treatment is far from socialism. The fact that so many Republicans have a problem with that bit of personal fiscal responsibility illustrates why they consistently grow the federal deficit. Look at a graph of the deficit as a percentage of GDP. It drops steadily from World War II until Reagan gets elected and then it skyrockets until Bill Clinton gets elected when it starts to drop. Then George Bush the younger gets elected and off it goes again. If Republicans are supposed to be conservative its totally unclear what it is they’re conserving.

  • ottovbvs

    franco 2 // Apr 6, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    “I am not a GOPer”

    …….hahahahaahahahahahahaha….too funny

  • S.L. Toddard

    “I grew up in an era where William F. Buckley fought the John Birch society and kicked them out of the Republican Party”

    I wonder if the author is cognizant of the irony here. Just after the “Conservative Movement” was born the purging began, as he himself recounts here. The Canadian whose name is on the masthead at this very publication led his very own purge of anti-war conservatives and traditionalists to *his* right, for not toeing the party line on the Iraq debacle (incidentally, history proved the purgees right, and the purger wrong). Only now does it seem to be a problem, when those being purged are on the Republican left. And note whose expulsion the author bemoans – is it Sam Francis’s? Robert Novak’s? Joe Sobran’s? Pat Buchanan’s? The Southern traditionalists? The anti-war conservatives? No – just his own, David Frum’s, and their fellow travelers on the ideological left. Folks who, like the author, believe our economy needs “strong government”.

    There is another layer of irony here as well: the GOP is no less statist, no less enamored of reckless government expansion, wild spending and massive liberal utopian schemes like No Child Left Behind and the War In Iraq than it was when Frum and co. were in the GOP’s good graces, helping to send four thousands of my countrymen (*not* Frum’s) to senseless deaths in the desert. Frum has not been purged for what he believes – he’s been purged for what he’s written. It is not a problem when an establishment Republican has no conservative principles like Mr. Frum (almost no one in the GOP establishment has principles of any stripe any more, much less conservative ones). It’s only a problem when he *stops pretending* he has conservative principles.

  • kevinb

    WOW…well said! It’s funny…I’ve always considered myself a pretty middle of the road voter…more fiscally conservative and socially liberal. I don’t care what you do…as long as it doesn’t hurt me or anyone else, be my guest! The Republicans pretty much disgust me these days. Under Bush I started to wonder if we were going the way of a theocracy. The hypocracy of it is head-scratching. Don’t talk about the ideals of liberty and freedom if you aren’t talking about freedom for ALL…whether you are from a Judeo-Christian faith, Islam, Budism or no religion at all…whether you are speaking about men or women…gay or straight…black or white or brown or purple. Then there’s antoher issue…I just don’t get how a “Christian Conservative” could possibly believe that Jesus would want us to allow our fellow man to endure pain or death because he or she didn’t have enough money to pay a doctor or hospital.

    I think that our political system is broken…period. Too much power concentrated in too few hands makes for a very fragile system that is prone to corruption. I can’t think of a true Statesman…all just greedy politicians willing to twist themselves into a pretzle to get re-elected…and that has resulted in catering to the extremes…for money and votes. I think it’s time for a new Constitutional Convention.

  • kevinb

    OMG…I almost fell out of my seat upon reading the post by “PJ”…I’m glad my laptop still works after the mouthful of water I had in my mouth sprayed all over the screen and keyboard, ” Rush Limbaugh, and Glenn Beck, is this fellow ever bothered to listen to them , would know that they are very reasonable people.”

  • franco 2

    Doesn’t it say a lot when lefties use this junior high school bulling tactic of dismissal and mockery, like kevinb here above?

    It isn’t funny. It can’t be funny to kevinb, regardless of his background and beliefs that someone in an ostensibly conservative chat room would think Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck are reasonable. They do have about 30 million listeners combined.

    I mean, I don’t spew water over my keyboard when i read some Truther say 9/11 was a hoax. I’m used to hearing this from some quarters. I disagree, I think they are wrong and paranoid, but it doesn’t elicit laughter from me, nor should it.

    The pretense is pretty lame.

    So why is he misrepresenting his actions/reactions? He didn’t spew water over his keyboard, he didn’t even laugh out loud. He just wants to mock and dismiss and try to intimidate. This is all kevinb has to offer- just like back in junior high. That’s how people like kevinb operate. Kevinb has his beliefs and feels a need to enforce them however he can. It’s simple bullying. And we are onto it.

    Ditto with otto

  • CentristNYer

    kevinb // Apr 6, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    “OMG…I almost fell out of my seat upon reading the post by “PJ”…”

    I’m sure his post was parody. No one could be this oblivious.

  • More Conservatism Is Dead at The Fry Side

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  • philmon

    Well, I’ve never been a Republican, although I’ve tended to vote that way. To me, a Republican is a member of a Party, which amounts to a club.

    I do think that people tend to overstate, as Chris does here, the position of social conservatives in the Republican Party. They don’t WISH eternal damnation on gays. Many just believe that that is what is probably in store for them. As long as they don’t think the law should put them in jail or otherwise restrict their liberty, they are entitled to their religious beliefs. You know, that first amendment thing. And as I said, only a very few, very fringe Christians “wish” eternal damnation on anybody.

    But what they also don’t wish is for someone to legally force them to call something “marriage” that they don’t believe is marriage, and be further forced to accept behavior they already tolerate. None of us have a right to be accepted by anybody. And everybody has the right to freely assoicate … or not … with anyone they wish to associate … or not.

    This does not make people second class citizens. The government shouldn’t even be involved in making decisions over what marriage is, as it is a social institution, not a government institution. The government can recognize and enforce contracts, but it has no businiess telling us that something we have always called “A” will now include “not A”, regardless of the similarities “not A” may have with “A”. Because the next logical step is hate-speech laws being applied to those who don’t agree with the Official State Position.

    That is what this is about. Forced acceptance. It runs counter to our ideals of Liberty. If you want acceptance, work for it socially. Don’t try to do an end-run around the Constitution and mandate it by some bogus made-up rationalization of non-acceptance being synonymous with “second class citizen”.

    Our Constitution basically says everyone is equal UNDER THE LAW. It doesn’t say everyone has to treat everyone else equally. That may be a desirable social goal. And it may not be. But that argument is to be made in the sphere of society, among people — to win over willing converts. Not to dictate to them what they will believe.

    It is in this sense that, though I have sympathy for Chris and his neice and granddaughter — I have to say, no. Certainly Republicans have had their flaws — but we are a nation of laws, not of men. And this is exactly why. Men are flawed. We are not supposed to be led by politicians, we are supposed to be led by our individual conscienses. We, from the beginning were arguably supposed to be led by the clergy of our choice than by politicians. We elect politicians to carry out our will (within the confines of the Constitution), not to lead us. They work for us. Not the other way around.

    If it’s a choice between the endless march to statism on the Democratic fast track, or the slower Republican track, I grudgingly pick the slower Republican track as the lesser evil. But ultimately, we have to reform at least one party (both would be nice!) back to something much closer to the ideals upon which this country was founded. The rest will fall in to place.

  • Rabiner

    Franco:

    Its reasonable to think Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh are unreasonable. While Rush is unreasonable and uses a lot of hyperbole to make his points he isn’t crazy. Glen Beck on the other hand is certifiable. His whole premise is to use paranoia to make points. His logic isn’t logic at all but rather something far less intelligent. Sure he’s a performer on TV network that claims to provide balanced news but he’s really just stoking fears that are unfounded. He practices ‘guilt by association’ even when there is no real association between the two people he’s attacking.

    The difference between a ‘Truther’ and Glen Beck is that Glen Beck has political clout in the Republican party and Truthers have no clout in the Democratic Party. I don’t see 50 Democratic Congressmen claiming that President Obama was not born in this Country or refusing to admit that he was born in Hawaii. Rather than speak truth and tell their supporters that “they’re wrong on this” they’d rather beat around the bush and stoke paranoia.

  • Rabiner

    Philmon:

    Marriage is both a social and CIVIL contract. Gay Marriage wouldn’t force religious organizations into performing marriage ceremonies but it would force the government to give them the legal status and benefits associated with marriage. That’s why it should be legal. Once the government decided to regulate who and who can’t marry and associated benefits to it then they shouldn’t put a barrier to it for homosexual couples. Once in this country a Black person and White person couldn’t marry and that was deemed unconstitutional. It wasn’t tolerated originally in society but now it’s common place. Times change, societies evolve and denying a segment of the population the protections of marriage without calling it something different to maintain a stigma will cease to exist in the next ten years either from voters, the legislature, or the courts.

    You talk about how we are all equal under the law and they individually we don’t have to treat people equally. That’s true, but if the laws treat people unequally then there is problem with the law.

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  • blogenfreude

    Blame yourself. Did you object to Nixon’s Southern Strategy? Did you complain when Reagan activated bigots and religious zealots to vote for him? Did you say anything when GWB ignited the worst elements of your party to step up? I doubt it. So reap what you have sown. You had power, but you sold your soul to get it. The GOP is now mainly sociopaths, the criminally insane, and the home-schooled. And it will die – not tomorrow, but soon enough.

  • philmon

    “Marriage is both a social and CIVIL contract. ”

    Not exactly. Marriage is a social institution that is recognized by the government as a contract.

    My position is that gays can enter into any kind of arrangement they like and call it anything they like — but to further nuance my position as I have stated on my own blog in the past … I’d be quite happy to have the word “marriage” replaced in civil contract with “civil union” or whatever. Gays and “Hets” would each be free to call each whatever they like. Then the government could enforce those contracts without officially expanding the definition of a word for everyone, against the will of the majority — due to the demands of some.

    I used to think that the government would never force religious organizations (or as our founders called them, “Establishment(s) of Religion” ) to perform gay marriages, but I’m not so sure anymore. Progressives are the royalty of rationalization, and their entire goal in life seems to be to force their version of morality onto everyone using the coercive power of the state. They find ways of justifying things. Each new “reform” becomes the jumping-off point for the next one.

    Maybe they wouldn’t. But I could easily see a minister preaching his or her believe that such behavior is wrong being accused of a hate crime and arrested for it. Things like this have happened. Not in this country yet. But there are those in this country who seem hell-bent on emulating countries that have. It would completely violate the first amendment, I know. But we do have people (such as Rahm Emmanuel) who believe that the First Amendment is “highly overrated”, people who want to completely abolish the second amendment, and the tenth amendment has been trampled to the point where it is practically meaningless anymore.

    When you have Congressmen who can say “I don’t care about the Constitution” when it comes to passing legislation they want to pass because THEY believe “it’s the right thing to do”… the Constitution might as well not exist.

  • Rabiner

    Philmon:

    Sure I’ll agree with “Marriage is a social institution that is recognized by the government as a contract” but also say Marriage is a civil institution in this country that is encouraged through tax benefits and other legal protections. No person advocating Gay Marriage in the mainstream expects churches to perform these ceremonies. That is the role of the government rather than religious organizations.

    It’s ironic that you question Progressives’ motives and say their “entire goal in life seems to be to force their version of morality onto everyone using the coercive power of the state” when it is Conservatives that are unwilling to allow segments of the population time and again have equal access to legal protections, legal standing, and representation. It was Progressives who were successful in enfranchising women in the 1910s. It was Progressives who were successful in passing Civil Rights legislation in the 1950s and 1960s. It was Progressives who have been fighting for the last 20 years to allow GLBT population the ability to serve in the military without being deceitful, the ability to marry, and the ability to adopt children in all States.

  • maryvirginia

    Hate, hate, hate. Republicans are full of hate these days. That’s why I left. And self-righteousness. Yuck, self-righteousness, the sign of a closed mind.

  • vff_on_the_move

    I was encouraged by Philmon’s suggestion – ” I’d be quite happy to have the word “marriage” replaced in civil contract with “civil union” or whatever”. While I am straight, my politically active gay friend agrees with philmon and I about the Government getting out of the religious sacrament of marriage and just focus its power on “civil unions”. I think civil unions should be for both gays and straights. Then if the couple wants the religious sacrament of marriage they could ask their church for that. Each Church would then have its own rules. Gays would probably be able to marry if they belonged to a Unitarian Fellowship but not if they belonged to a Catholic Parish. That to me means religious freedom and a separation of Church and State, which I think are blurred by current laws.

  • jedwards95

    Finally a republican with some common sense – oh wait, you’re not a republican anymore. Great article and I couldn’t agree more. Even though I’ve always been a democrat, I too wonder what happened to the GOP. At least there used to be conversation between the two parties and both “seemed” to have good intentions. These days, it’s all about talking points and getting re-elected. When are people going to realize that Rush, Hannity, Beck, Palin and their like aren’t at all interested in what’s good for America? All they care about is higher paying sponsors and/or a better book deal. They never offer real solutions, just berate anyone who does. Just like the new nuke treaty. Reagan proposed the exact same 30% cut 20 years ago, but Rush won’t tell you that. These guys have taken Howard Stern’s playbook and run with it. The more simplistic and outrageous the statement, the more people tune in. Are we really a nation of morons? We do we continue to kick ourselves in the ass? We should be thinking 20 years ahead, not one news or election cycle.

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  • graphictruth


    I created an account just to say “thank you” for saying this. I’ve been saying “I’m a Conservative, but…” since 9/11. I happen to think that Barry Goldwater DEFINES the farthest right you can go without falling out of the rational scope of reasonable discussion.

    Nowdays, Barry Goldwater seems like a flaming Liberal. Hell, the John Birch Society sounds reasonable by comparison to the flaming stupid that passes for Conservatism these days.

    So I thank you, and by virtue of you being published here, I’ve added the Frum Forum to my sidebar, along with a small, tiny glimmer of hope.

    Now, will everyone who agrees with this post vote for someone FAR to the LEFT of Obama? Because if you hadn’t noticed, he’s WAY outside the Goldwater Limit. And not on the other side of center, OH no. What you said about Clinton being the best Republican President since Ike? Well, Barack (he’s a KENYAN!) Obama is way too Old White Protestant Establishment Male for Ike to have ever been comfortable with. And that makes people who think he’s really a socialist too crazy to even talk to.

    …and that, gentles, is why I returned to Canada. Because if Obama is a Socialist, that makes Barry Goldwater an Anarcho-Syndicalist, or maybe even a left-wing Marxist.

    And that’s just too freakin’ silly for words.

    It’s time to put the children to bed and let the grown-ups run things again.

    (btw, I made that illustration. I’m proud of it. I don’t happen to have a local copy handy, so I linked to zazzle to get it. Not intended as spam… but it goes to beer and other good causes.)

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