Friday, May 04, 2012

Singing the Election Blues

If you'll pardon my saying so, this isn't a good time to be a Republican.

Consider this excerpt from an article by Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein in last Sunday's Washington Post:

The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.

The article was titled Let's Just Say It: The Republicans Are the Problem, and it has generated no small amount of commentary ... some (but, sadly, very little) of it even well-reasoned and civil. As of this morning, it had generated more than 5,000 online comments, most of which fall into two categories: ad hominem attacks against the authors; and thunderous denunciations of Democrats/Liberals which consist of nanny-nanny-boo-boo quasi-arguments that have nothing to do with refuting the points made in the article.

This is what political discourse has come to.

In 1969, I turned 18 and celebrated my birthday registering to vote ... as a Republican. I was pretty conservative back then, the child of life-long Republicans and horrified by the behavior of many of my fellow students at Penn State, for whom expression of political beliefs consisted of sit-ins, vandalism, shouting down speakers with whom they disagreed, and conducting the occasional riot. I was a student volunteer for the presidential reelection campaign of Richard Nixon in 1972 (in retrospect, not one of my better political moments, but at the time, who knew?). 

I tell you the above to remind you that I am still, more than 40 years later, a fundamentally conservative fellow. I still agree with some of the most basic tenets of the GOP, including the importance of personal responsibility, fiscal conservatism, strong defense, and the importance of defending our basic constitutional rights. 

However, there's also a vein of ... gasp! ... liberalism that runs through my political makeup as well. I'm deeply offended by the social fascism of the extreme religious right, which ... when you come right down to it ... isn't all that different from that of the most extreme Islamists. I believe in freedom of speech, but strongly believe that screaming insults and demonizing the opposition is not the same as debating issues based on facts and evidence. I believe in the importance of the Second Amendment, but think that the deification of firearms has gone much too far and led to some almost unbelievably stupid results, like this one

In short, I'd like to still be a Republican, but the party has utterly lost me for the reasons documented by Mann and Ornstein. I might like to be a Democrat, but the inability of that party to connect reality to policy is a turn-off.

So ...

I call myself an Independent, whatever that means any more. There's no way I can vote for Mitt Romney (or anyone in the present-day GOP), and I'm suffering from a certain level of buyer's remorse over President Obama (for whom I did, in fact, vote in the last election). I can't not vote in November, but I don't know who to vote for. This guy is starting to look pretty good ...

And, of course, there's my old standby ...

It's going to be a bad election year for the country.

And, especially, for the GOP. And it's their own fault.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.



The Mistress of the Dark said...

I want to write in Hillary. The problem with this country is you are either way liberal or way conservative. There are no moderates anymore. And combine that with the fact that crazy Christian values of those conservatives get tossed into the mix makes everything more unappealing.

John A Hill said...

I'm still registered as a Republican but haven't voted like it for several election cycles. It's not the party I signed up for anymore.

Bilbo for President!

Duckbutt said...

Why are we always in the winter of our political discontent? Was it always this way?

I have buyer's remorse. And no compelling reason to vote for anyone.

Locally, it seems like the asses are running things.

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

I have been an independent since the age of 18. I tend to lean more democrate I admit. I did vote for Regan and sure did get grief from friends for that. But now I don't believe I can ever vote for another republican. If the right has a good idea or the people the left won't let it pass and if the left has a good idea God knows the right will call it socialist or worse and NOTHING gets done. NOTHING. I hate it all but I know I can't vote for Romney. I just can't. So you're candidate is lookin' good Bill.

Mike said...

I'm registered... at Home Depot. At least there I have some decent choices.

Dana said...

I am ... ummm ... fiscally conservative and generally socially liberal. There is NO candidate for me.

I'll be skipping this election - that way I can bitch about everyone!

eViL pOp TaRt said...

Bilbo for President!

In my opinion, both the parties are the problem -- we have a bipartisan bunch of morons running the monkey cage within the Beltway.

/Fiscal conservative; social liberal to middle of the road. But mainly pragmastic -- we have too much adherence to political philosophies that results in cognitive gridlock.

Bilbo said...

Andrea - are you my long-lost twin?

John - same here. However, I don't want to be President ... I'm holding out for "Illustrious Potentate."

Duckbutt - I hear you. You know the difference between a horse race and a political race? In a horse race, the whole horse runs.

Peg - you're singing in my choir!

Mike - that's a great line ... I may have to use it myself sometime!

Dana - that's one approach, I guess ... although you may rather just write in a better candidate. I hear Mr Ed and J. Fred Muggs are free.

Angelique - "a bipartisan bunch of morons" ... at least there's SOME element of bipartisanship here. And "cognitive gridlock" is a good expression, but it implies that there is actually cognition going on in Congress, which appears questionable on most days. Just sayin' ...