Friday, August 27, 2010

Sheepdog on the Warpath - part 3, The Finale - The GOP

One afternoon, over 30 years ago, I was sitting on the couch at home with my mom watching TV. I was only nine years old but yet I was old enough to understand that in this country, there's basically two sides when it comes to politics - the Democrats and the Republicans. We were watching a speech by Ronald Reagan during his 1979 presidential campaign and two things jumped out at me about him - his wisdom and his passion about what he believed in. I asked my mom what party he belonged to and she said, "the Republican." I thought, "then, that's what I am," and I have remained one to this day. As I grew older, I began to understand what this thing of "Republicanism" was really all about. Reagan taught that Republicans :
  1. believe government should be small with limited powers, 
  2. believe taxes should be low,
  3. believe in the free market / capitalism ,
  4. support individual liberty,
  5. support a strong national defense,
  6. have a moral compass (know the difference between right and wrong),
  7. are pro-life, 
  8. are pro-2nd Amendment,
  9. should treat people well,
  10. believe in individual responsibility, and
  11. believe in strictly following rules and laws. 
However, lately, I've been disappointed and somewhat angry with some of my fellow Republicans in regards to their votes on bills, stances on issues, their morals, and other things. They've gotten away from their roots and the values that President Reagan held dear. I've wondered several times, "Is this the best this party has got to offer now ??"

For instance, consider the following :
  • U.S. Senator (Arizona) and 2008 Presidential nominee John McCain - He's a great man and a military hero, but some of his votes on bills in the Senate have been peculiar. For instance, he voted in favor of The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which has resulted in thousands of American jobs being transferred out of the country. He voted in favor of the financial system bailout. He also supported Cap and Trade and is in favor of restricting gun sales between private individuals.
  • U.S. Senator (Tennessee) Lamar Alexander - voted in favor of the financial system bailout, in favor of Sonya Sotomayor's confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court, and against carry permit holders being able to carry concealed handguns to protect themselves and their families in National Parks. He also voted in favor of confirming John Holdren as Obama's Science Czar.
  • Mitt Romney, former Massachusetts Governor and 2008 Presidential candidate - raised numerous taxes and fees as governor and instituted "RomneyCare" which forced all Massachusetts residents to have health care insurance. RomneyCare has been a disaster as it's costs are skyrocketing and rationing is taking place.
  • Rick Scott, 2010 Republican nominee for Florida Governor - left the Columbia / HCA hospital chain he founded after they were hit for a $1.7 Billion fine for Medicare fraud.
  • Bill Haslam, 2010 Republican nominee for Tennessee Governor - The Haslam Family supported instituting a state income tax during former Governor Don Sundquist's administration. His stance on the 2nd Amendment is sketchy. At one time he was a member of Michael Bloomberg's Mayors Against Illegal Guns group which is inappropriately named. It is actually a anti-gun group that wants to ban all guns. He only resigned from the group and joined the NRA when he decided to run for governor because he knew Tennesseans would not vote for an anti-gunner for governor. Furthermore, when Knoxville opted-out of Tennessee's local park carry law, Haslam said he was o.k. with it.
  • Tennessee State Senator Mae Beavers - voted in favor of tax increases on nursing homes and HMO's which will ultimately be passed onto consumers by these entities. Furthermore, she has spoken multiple times on how she opposes "stimulus money" but then will take advantage of photo ops with projects paid for by "stimulus money." In addition, she voted in favor of the anti-gun Jimmy Naifeh for Speaker of the Tennessee House on four separate occasions.
  • South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford - caught in affair with woman from Argentina. Many of his trips to see her were at taxpayers' expense. 
  • Linda Elam, Republican nominee for Tennessee House of Representatives District 57 - during her tenure as Mt. Juliet, TN mayor, she has on multiple occasions asked to suspend the rules of order in order to do things her way. She also attempted to get the City Commission to approve a raise for her and benefits equivalent to those of full-time city employees. Shortly after those were voted down, she announced she was running for the Tennessee House. Apparently, she's determined to get those benefits some way.
These are only a few examples. I could go on and on showing how The Republican Party has time and time again given the voters less than desirable candidates and expected us to vote for them anyway. It's gotten to the point where our only option is to choose from the lesser of the evils instead of actually voting for a good conservative candidate. I now understand how Ronald Reagan felt when he switched from the Democratic Party to the Republican saying, "I didn't leave the Democratic Party. The party left me." The Republican Party has done the same thing to me.

For too long, myself and many other Republicans have walked into the voting book and looked for the "R" beside a name. It's one reason we are stuck with as many lousy Republicans as we are Democrats. I will not do that anymore. I will do my research on the candidates and pick the one that most matches my principles and values. If the Republican doesn't, I'll vote for the Independent, if they do. If there's not an Independent, I may just vote for the Democrat as a protest vote. However, it won't be as much a vote for the Democrat as it will be a vote against the Republican that doesn't match the principles and values I expect out of a Republican. It'll be my way of saying, "I'm not gonna take it anymore."
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