20 February 2007

Why I May Register Republican

I may register Republican for the California primaries.

This may give regular readers pause. I am what Europeans would call a conservative and what Rush Limbaugh would call a communist. I consider myself a capitalist who is wary of big business, a fan of democracy who is distrustful of big government, and a Christian who is skeptical of churches. Like most Americans, I have more faith in markets, democracy, and God than the institutions that claim to represent them.

What has most defined my politics since 9-11 is a growing revulsion towards the Bush-led (or is that bush league) Republicans. Bush's attacks on rights in the name of national security seem to me criminal and worthy of impeachment. I still can't decide whether Bush's war on terror is evidence of conspiracy or stupidity and have finally decided that there is no reason that it can't be both. I'm more than slightly annoyed at the fiscal recklessness of this administration, its wild disregard for the science of global warming, and its seemingly odd inability, or unwillingness to separate religious conviction from public policy. I am most appalled at how every Republican of any significance has aided and abetted Bush. So why would I even think about registering Republican?

Because at this point I really don't care a great deal about the differences between Obama and Dodd, Clinton and Kucinich, Edwards and Biden. I do, on the other hand, care a great deal about the differences between a Chuck Hagel who has been brave enough to speak out against the troop surge and a Newt Gingrich who seems to be hoping for World War 3. Such men represent for me very different futures.

The country can only benefit whem the Democrats have reasonable opposition.

This country didn't make its way by adopting a political machine capable of steering only right or left. Sure, the capitalists won the Civil War and the robber barons gained control over most state legislatures in the late 1800s and early 1900s. But those robber barons helped to build this nation by creating the modern corporation and developing our financial markets. Also, they were checked by brave politicians like those Roosevelts and by labor unions and a progressive movement able to rein in some of their worst excesses. This country lurched left and right at various times but has managed, so far, to stay out of the ditch.

Forward movement is not maintained by moving right or left. The ability to turn right or left simply keeps one from driving into the ditch. Unless we can take control of the Republican Party away from the nut jobs, we're going to lose a very valuable asset in this country - the ability to steer right as needed.

The Republican Party is broken. The only reason I may defer registering Republican for now is that as important as it is to repair this broken half of our political system, it is more important to first begin repairing the country.


Life Hiker said...

Ron, you should register as a republican. I feel the same way you do, and I have not changed my republican registration even though my republican "representative" is a complete idiot. I'd like to bring the party back to its roots by remaining as part of the disloyal opposition.

It cracked me up that many of the campaign workers for the democrat candidate who lost narrowly in my district were republicans. We are not alone.

Eric Byers said...

In Wisconsin I was able to do this without register, but that also means all the democrats go out and vote for the Republican primaries, or vice versa, I think it's a good thing, but it could mess things up.

Dave said...

Here in the heart of the South, we can vote in either primary without registering before hand. You "register" when you appear at the polling place.

In most years here, some politician is sent to the showers in the primary by "cross-over" voters who vote for a person who would be a weaker candidate in the general election or for the person running in the "other party" who is less objectionable.

Peter said...

In Utah, particularly in Utah county where I'm from, the only way to make a difference in politics is to register as a republican and vote for the most liberal candidate in the primaries.

Ron Davison said...

Peter, I love the idea of Utah, Utah - sounds sort of like New York, New York. Now if you were to become to Utah, Utah what Woody Allen is to NY, NY, you would likely have a global audience. Sounds fascinating.

LH - I may just form the green libertarian party instead. :)

Eric & Dave - we used to have an open primary in CA. I loved that. Depending on which party had the most interesting candidates, I could vote any which way - and often did. Now I'm registered as an independent which basically means I have no influence in the primaries.

Peter said...

Awesome, Ron!

In 2003, after I moved from Utah, Utah to New York, New York, I resigned my membership in the Mormon church.


How bizarre (fitting?) that you should mention both places to me in your reply. :)