The Jeffersonian: Politicks, Sports, and Culture

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Where Have All the (real) Republicans Gone?

If I could put sound on each post, you'd be listening to Paula Cole right now.

Via Shakespeare's Sister, a guest columnist for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer writes "What happened to real Republicans?"

Some excerpts:

When I was a boy, Republicans cherished personal liberty. Creating secret no-fly lists and spy-on-your-neighbor programs, turning medical records over to police, holding people without trial in hidden military compounds, saying it's legal to torture them-- that's how we thought only Communists would behave.

Above all, the Republicans back in those days were the party of responsibility. They understood a balance sheet. "Yes," they would say like a patient father with an immature child, "we'd all love that, but we can't afford it. Look right here at the numbers." Fiscal discipline was a value held almost as deeply as family and religion. Republicans new that nothing works if you can't pay for it, that only ruin and shame can come from laying out more than you take in.


When the issue of long-term planning for Social Security came up, I thought maybe the Republicans I remember had resurfaced. That is exactly the sort of issue a white-haired Republican accountant for the water district would have raised in my youth. "Now, in 40 years," he would patiently explain, "the way these bonds are structured, we're going to have a shortfall, unless we adopt prudent measures right now." So the board would adopt prudent measures. After all, they were responsible people."

Now the current crop of main-line Republicans can be called lots of things. But has anyone, ever, outside of Republican fundies, ever, called President George W. Bush prudent?!?

I know plenty of good, solid, thinking Republicans. Those that want a balanced budget. Those that don't want the government intervening when a man feels its time to extract the feeding tube from his spouse. Those that want a government they can trust. But, against my loudest exhortations, they still held their nose and voted for Bush. Maybe it's because they're fellow Texans, maybe it's because we nominated Kerry and had such an infatuation with Dean and never really paid attention to Edwards or Leiberman. Maybe it's because they have an insane infatuation with pachyderms. Whatever it is, they're right there for us- all we need to do is reach out and take them.

There are tens-if not hundreds- of thousands of these old-school, Eisenhower/Prescott Bush Republicans out there ripe for the picking in each battleground state. They could very well be our answer to the Reagan, Perry, Gramm "I didn't leave my party, my party left me"-types. But we have to appeal to them. It's about good, transparent government. It's about personal liberty. It's about being able to read a balance sheet. And, in the end, It's about them being able to trust us on national security. We're the party of Roosevelt, Truman, and Kennedy for chrissakes. Foreign policy is in our genetic make-up.

But they're Republicans. They're not going to come to us. We need to go to them.