Why I left GOP (response to dkos diary)
Crossposted on DKos
Two days ago LarryInNYC wrote a diary titled Another Red Stater Reaches The End(er) Of His Rope. about my diary on Swords Crossed: Iraq, Bush, Congress and USA . I was somewhat embarrased by Larry's diary because I don't actively participate at RedState any longer. That kind of a "rat leaving the sinking ship" image does not help that blog, many members of which I respect. So, I would like to clarify that I am in no way affiliated with RedState nor should it reflect negatively on them. Yes my nickname means Ender from RedState but I created it over a year ago when I was a somewhat more active user there.
So I want to quickly recap why I am leaving the GOP and then address where I stand and what our points of agreement are.
Many of you know that I originally came from USSR in 1990 at the age of 13. When I first started paying attention to politics in my senior year of High School, I quickly realized that I was a republican/conservative. I remember watching Newt presenting his Contract with America and knew that those were the principles I admired. I became a registered Republican in 1995 after becoming a US Citizen. Though I was a strong economic/pro-defense Conservative I slowly moved towards social conservatism because those were the positions of many of our allies in the GOP and since they were opposed by the Left, I was biased towards them.
I discovered blogging at the end of 2005 (though I've spend plenty of time debating politics on a chess site - chessclub.com for many years prior) and started reading RedState and LGF. Later I found DailyKos and started reading it as well - lurking to get interesting news of the day and liberal strategies. When Armando decided to create a cross-ideological debate blog Swords Crossed along with his Conservative counterpart Trevino, I jumped on that idea as I was a lot more comfortable sparring and fighting with the opposition than preaching to the choir. Eventually after Trevino and Armando left for various reasons, I became one of the FPers there (for sheer lack of any other consistent conservatives - not due to any talent or notoriety). To make a long story short, I moderated socially (bringing myself back to what always logically made sense) and remained a staunch fiscal and pro-defense conservative as I've been throughout my life.
I voted for Bush twice. Yes, and again I am not offering any apologies. As a RightWinger I believed that there did not exist a single democrat who would've been better on both the Economy and the War on Terror. I understand that many here would condemn me for it, for supporting the war in Iraq, and many other things that Liberals here consider transgressions of the Administration against US and the World. Tough. That's how I felt at the time, and on many of the different things (gitmo, nsa spying, secret facilities abroad, etc) I still strongly disagree with 99.9% of the DailyKos. I also don't feel the need to apologize for my past or present personal views.
I will however acknowledge quite a lot of self-inflicted blindness towards the Republican party. I overlooked a lot of sins, errors, corruption, lies, and ineptitude over the last six years. What people should understand is that some (though of course not all) of us on the Right, who are somewhat more conservative economically than the average Republican, have a different ideological foundation from many of you on the Left and often cannot consider voting for the Democratic Party. Even in the worst of times it is a contest of evils and GOP is the lesser. The Democratic Party is incredibly demonized in my mind as the Party of the slide towards socialism, groupthink, pacifism, lax on law and order, etc. On the other hand GOP was so lionized that it took a long long time for my trembling and clouded awareness to defeat my mind's forces of self-deception and self-persuasion. Add to that a soothing (yet totally disconnected from reality) siren's (GOP's) song of their desire and drive towards fulfilling our ideological goals and dreams and you can begin to understand that some idealists would forcefully delude themselves into thinking that everything will work out.
I can also publically acknowledge the great possibility that both Gore and Kerry would've produced better results than Bush on most different fronts. Not on the Supreme Court or other Federal judges, nor on tax cuts, but pretty much everything else would've led to a better and smarter outcome.
I think I've been wandering in the mist for far too long. I finally recognized that the Republican Party is currently not the Conservative Party. They have become incredibly corrupt and also lost track of their ideological foundation. They have allowed an inept and foolish President to follow through with error after error that were inconsistent with what the Party stood for. The Republican Congress has endorsed the anti-conservative spending without restraint, has little care for the deficit, has not criticised the ill-advised Iraq war, and instead chose to bend over for everything that came down the pike from the foolish and arrogant executive. What some claim is a stand of principle over Iraq is in reality an inability to adjust and change in response to adversity and none of the elected republicans chose to question it. The knee-jerk loyalty to stupidity, anti-conservative principles of large government, high spending, stupid foreign policy, and idiotic war policy leaves me very troubled with the current state of the Republican Party. It's obvious that the Bush administration moved in the wrong direction in the War on Terror when it decided to follow up with the fervent wish to take revenge on Iraq regardless of where greater threats resided. It is troubling that it took me so long to take an objective look at why I gave the same exact breaks to and excuses for GOP but I finally did it. Because the current state of the Republican party is so obnoxious and shows no desire to change, I decided to leave it. For now.
I am an idealist. I like Newt Gingrich because he thinks and engages in the arena of ideas and also because he is a futurist. I am a futurist too. I spend a lot of time thinking of how humanity can improve itself and what policies and moves will benefit our country and the planet in the future. But I am a RightWinger because:
- I believe that individual rights trump community rights and individual liberty is the most important thing we have in Civilized Society.
- I believe in objective morality, right and wrong, good and evil.
- I believe that personal responsibility makes government help unnecessary to the vast majority of individuals currently being helped.
- I believe that the true constitutional role of the government is to provide for defense of our country from all threats foreign and domestic, and for the judiciary system at home for the purpose of protecting individual rights and punishing the criminals.
- I believe that our government should in general be smaller, smarter, and more efficient.
- I believe that currently public assets like the School System and our Infrastructure should be wholly privatized along with increased oversight from the government and strict regulations to protect against lowered standards, ripoffs, and lowered quality.
- I believe that success should never be penalized with higher taxes and private enterprise should not be limited.
- I do not believe in "socially responsible" capitalism and that capitalism is moral in itself by allowing individuals to achieve to their fullest potential.
- I believe that free markets and globalization are not something that should ever be limited from our end, regardless of how it might affect us. It is fair to let the chips fall where they may.
- I believe that corporations and other businesses should never be limited in their ability to expand but common sense regulations of the environmental impact and corruption are necessary and should be vigorously enforced. Corporate influence in government should be limited.
- I believe that US should have a strong and vibrant military ready to engage our enemies when real threats present themselves.
- I believe that we should use our economic muscle (whether through trade incentives/punishment, or even foreign aid) to better the World and work towards changing the worst governments on Earth.
Issues and Views in which I have more in common with the Left include:
- I am pro-choice along with supporting some small common sense restrictions.
- I am strongly pro-science - for Stem Cell research and Cloning research as well.
- I am agnostic and thus very secular in my outlook.
- I think it is possible for the Government to get some things right.
- I believe that compromise on our principles to get legislation moderately acceptable to both sides is ok to get things done.
- I want our education system improved regardless of whether it stays public or private
- I want Social Security and Medicare improved and protected regardless of whether it stays public or private
- I want US to be a moral leader to other nations.
- I want a full reform and cleanup of our Electoral System to make sure it is fair and above reproach.
Where does my leaving the GOP place me right now? In my Swords Crossed diary linked above I stated that I would vote against the Democratic Party any chance I get, but that is not really true. If I thought that it would be in the best interests of our country and help bring about change on my own side I would consider voting Democratic and I would try to persuade other Conservatives as well.
I realize that what I say here in this diary can be interpreted by others on my side as giving aid and comfort to the enemy. Perhaps it is demoralizing. Unfortunately it needs to be said. President Bush and the Republican Congress have decimated the Republican Party by corruption, ineptitude, and disregard of conservative principles. They have left us weakened, and are showing no desire to change even in response to a very sharp rebuke of 2006 elections. I am not going to lend them support unless they undergo a fundamental restructuring and will continue showing my disgust. At the same time I will continue supporting Conservative principles in everything I write.
This diary is already too long so I will stop here. I know other Conservatives who came to the same conclusions as I had, and I hope many more others will do so soon. The sooner the better because it will hasten the time when we can start to rebuild and perhaps... hopefully... become the honest opposition that Americans can be proud of. If it takes engaging in the conversation with the Left, then so be it.