"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
As my regular readers know (and you guys be sure to give me a call if you need a fourth for bridge), I'm pretty darned liberal. I generally disagree with the mainstream of the Republican party on a wide range of issues including taxes (I'm for them, especially with respect to capital gains and corporate profits), assistance for the poor (I'm for it), the environment (I'm for it), reasonable regulation of business (I'm for it), "tort reform" (I'm against it), and guns (I'm for them - I don't want to live in a country where only cops and soldiers are armed - but I'm also for reasonable regulation). I also disagree with the Democratic party on a wide range of issues including "welfare reform" (I'm against it), affirmative action (I'm for it to a much greater extent than the Donkeys seem to be), gay rights (what the hell is a "civil union," anyway?), the War on Drugs (or, as I call it, the "War on the Fourth Amendment"), and globalization (I'm for it, but with important reservations that the Clintonistas find abhorrent).
So, going back to our thought experiment (President McCain, remember? Pay attention!), I can see that I would have some pretty serious problems with the likely policies of a McCain administration. Fact is, I'd probably be a Nader guy right now, if I thought I had the luxury.
Still, the Republican party has produced a number of public servants over the years who I view as terribly misguided, but also as honorable, patriotic Americans. McCain is one example, but so are Bob Dole, Barry Goldwater, Chuck Hagel, and a number of others. Another example would be my own father. I argue policy with my father until I'm blue in the face, but I do not question his decency or his patriotism.
So - I don't hate Republicans. But, I'm sorry to say, I do hate the Republican party as currently constituted. In particular, I hate the people responsible for making the Republican party a virtual criminal enterprise, motivated by nothing but greed and lust for raw power, including the oozing little pustule who currently occupies the White House. Let me repeat that, more succintly: I hate - genuinely hate - George W. Bush.
Let's get down to brass tacks. What would the last four years have looked like under a McCain administration? Would the nation have come attack on September 11, 2001? Of course - bin Laden's minions didn't care who was President. Would there still have been a war in Afghanistan? Almost certainly - although I personally questioned whether war was the best course of action there, few people in either party agreed with me. Would there have been a war in Iraq? Maybe - after all, John McCain voted to authorize force against Hussein's regime (as did the junior Senator from Massachusetts). On the domestic front, would there still have been a recession? Yes - the weakness in the economy was, at least in the beginning, the result of systemic and cyclical factors beyond the control of any President. Would there still have been tax cuts? Probably - McCain is a Republican, after all. Would the administration still have pursued policies that resulted in less corporate regulation, less environmental protection, and less protection for civil liberties (including a woman's right to choose whether to carry a pregnancy to term)? Yes, yes, and yes.
But - and this is important - certain things would have been very different under a McCain administration than under a Bush administration. For example: There would not have been a wholesale trashing of the Geneva Conventions. There may still have been isolated examples of atrocities such as those we saw at Abu Ghraib, but there would not have been a pattern of policies promulgated by the Secretary of Defense which actively encouraged such abuses. There may still have been a White House energy policy that lacked important environmental safeguards, but there would not have been a policy written behind closed doors by Ken Lay and his buddies.
In short, there still would have been a conservative administration, but there would also have been a respect for the rule of law. And that's the difference between Republicans with whom people such as I disagree, and Republicans who treat the public trust as an unguarded treasure to loot at will.
I don't hate Republicans, but I hate certain Republicans. Frankly, I don't see how anyone with three functioning brain cells can not hate Tom DeLay, or Karl Rove, or John Ashcroft, or Donald Rumsfeld, or Dick Cheney. It's not about ideology; it's about decency. It's not about tax cuts or gay marriage, it's about respect for democracy. It's about Valerie Plame, and "caging" black voters in Florida, and sterile Justice Department memos arguing that the President may legally authorize torture. It's about America, and the Constitution, and our long-term credibility and authority in the world.
So, yeah - I might have been blogging about the importance of defeating President McCain, but I would not have been blogging about the importance of prosecuting President McCain.
I don't hate Republicans. I just hate these Republicans. Most especially, I hate their sock puppet and head cheerleader, George W. Bush. And I make no apologies for it.
I have been good friends with a dyed in the wool, fiscal conservative for years. It's an amazing friendship really. I can say one thing about it though and that's that through reasoned discussion, I have changed his path considerably over the years in terms of his take on political life. (He now rates Progressive Libertarian on political tests.)
My point is, we have _reason_ on our side. Once you get past the pointless rhetoric and get down to brass tacks we are right, just as we were during the civil rights movements. We are the folks that make sure that the country works for everyone.
I will say this for true conservatism, it can serve as a rudder to make certain that the progression we attempt is easier to swallow for those who fear change.
Love the blog, keep it up!