Rome, NY Sucks

But At Least We're Not Utica

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

For the First Time In My Life, I'm Proud to be a Republican

The first time I voted was by absentee ballot. So while the results of the election that year were favorable, I technically had no impact on it. Absentee ballots aren't counted unless an election is close enough to make a difference. However, this is also when I registered as a Republican.

The Conservative Party has an interesting history in New York. After the bizarre gubernatorial election of 1990, Conservatives became a real third party in the state. But in reality, that party mostly endorses the Republican (and sometimes Democratic) candidate. So, even if I was conservative, I wanted to vote in primaries that would make a difference.

My political views were essentially shaped by Rush Limbaugh and George Orwell. I'm against socialism for the same reasons I'm a Christian. The concept of free will is all we really have. If we can't make the choice of what to believe and how to act, what is the point? I became a social/political conservative first, and a Republican second.

The Republican Party has had some highs and lows. There was Nixon in 1972 and his "win at all costs" campaign strategy. There was the Reagan revolution. There was Bush 41 who squandered that. The Republicans regained Congress only to lose it 12 years later. There have been winners and losers. Now, there's John McCain.

If nothing else, McCain has exposed the seedy underbelly of the modern conservative movement. Reagan talked about a conservative movement within the Republican party. Conservative pundits talk about how much leverage the conservatives can force onto a Republican party. This season has seen a fracturing of conservatives who didn't like McCain's inability to conform to their checklist of single issues. Some have developed empty suit syndrome, where a real human being like Sarah Palin makes them unhinged because she wasn't a beltway fixture for 20 years before she ran for Vice President.

I'm a capitalist, but unchecked capitalism is indistinguishable from socialism. If you build a better mouse trap, the world will beat a path to your door. Under modern conservative economics, it would be fine for someone to buy the rights to that better mouse trap, burn the design plans and continue to sell their old mouse trap with a better short term profit margin. That is not progress.

John McCain and Sarah Palin represent a Republican Party I can believe in. These people have actually made progress in reducing the size of government, which is the key threat facing us economically. They have a plan that will increase our energy security and not reduce our standard of living. They have moral character and seek out the best of their party, and not anyone with an R in their title. I don't agree with them on every issue, but I don't have to. It may be a slogan, but this year the Republican ticket is putting country first, and now, this Republican is too.

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