November 10, 2004

About that Election

I was so burnt out after the election that I decided to take a week off. I'm glad I did, because it made it possible to stand on the shoulders of several other writers in today's AmSpec column, which, for a change of pace, gives post-election advice to Republicans rather than Democrats.

Posted by John Tabin at November 10, 2004 01:16 AM

I read your column and felt for the first time in a while that there may be a reason to hope for sane policy and rational governance. Then I remembered what I have been reading and hearing the last week and came to my senses.

I am a former life-long Democrat, now Independent who, after September 11 looked to the liberal pundits I had always relied upon and found not rational arguments about how best to fight this new war, but raving denials that there was in fact any war to fight. I decided that if my party was going to abdicate its role as loyal opposition in favor of sniping at a war president and, in some cases, making argument for the enemy, I would leave my party and support my president.

But although I voted for President Bush, I am not in the least happy about it, although I still feel absolutely right in my decision. My problem lies in the choice that I face.

There is no logical reason to stay registered as an Independent and lock myself out of the primary elections. Yet, I find that the two major parties no longer seem to speak to me. I don't expect parties and candidates to be exactly as I would like them, I would just like it if there was more "liberal" discussion and less dogmatic squabbling. And I suspect that I am not alone.

Where is a pro-defense, pro-gay marriage, pro-flat tax, pro-choice (with partial-birth restrictions), pro-2nd amendment, pro-secular society voter to go? Am I really, as I hear from pundits on both sides, just muddled in my thinking? Is it so difficult for anybody to understand that I could support a woman's right to choose but ackowledge that if someone waits until the 8th month that maybe the decision has already been made? Or that while I am just fine with two guys kissing (although two girls kissing is my gay visualization of choice)I would rather that the states decide and not the courts?

So my question is, where do I go, and is there ever to be a party and candidate for me?

I'm a red voter in a blue state, which I suppose makes me purple. And purple is the color of bruises, no?

Posted by: Daniel at November 10, 2004 10:31 AM

Excellent piece in The American Spectator. It should be widely circulated as an encapsulation of the agenda of South Park Republicans.

Posted by: Paul at November 10, 2004 10:42 AM

Thanks for a very insightful article. I agree with you that gay marriage and abortion are issues best dealt with at the state level- at least for the 30 + years that it probably takes for the nation to come to a general consensus.

I help out with a teen group, acting as one of the moderators in a class in which the kids discuss moral/ethical questions. Last week they were discussing abortion. All but 3 of the students consider themselves liberal democrats. 2 are very conservative, and 1 is moderately conservative. They had a reasonably civil discussion, and toward the end I briefly summarized what I had heard and asked if I understood their positions correctly. While they felt that abortion was probably wrong, they felt it should be legal because 1) there are some medical conditions that threaten the mother's life that would require an abortion and 2) if abortion was illegal, there would be back alley abortions anyway. They did think that some restrictions on abortion were reasonable- for example, they would ban partial birth abortion and abortion past 6 months. Keep in mind, these are the opinions of kids who pride themselves on being liberal, but I think they were willing to go further to restrict abortion than the Bush administration had dared to hope possible.

The Democrats have done a great job of creating the impression that social issues like abortion and gay marriage are "all or none" issues. I think Republicans can get significant support for their positions on social issues IF they make clear that they aren't trying to impose their positions on the entire nation, but that they want to provide voters and state legislatures the opportunity to choose a middle ground.

Posted by: Jean at November 10, 2004 12:01 PM