Who will have me?
I'm not running for anything. But I'm doing a personal, political sanity check in the aftermath of the 2006 Midterm Election, trying to determine whether I'm registered in the party that best reflects my views. I have doubts. And I see a battle coming for the direction of the party of Lincoln. Will we become a party epitomized by individuals with names like Giuliani, Schwarzenegger and Bloomberg or Frist, Coulter and Dobson?
The GOP let me down on Iraq and immigration. And the GOP dotes over evangelical Christians. Then again, the Dems are wimps in the war on terror. And they too seem to cater to their own fringe. I'm not sure where that leaves me.
Quick background: I turned age 18 in the spring of 1980 and immediately registered in the GOP. The party seemed to fit what I then was thinking. Equally important, it was the party of my parents, and like many Americans, I followed in their footsteps. When it came time to cast my first ballot, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush were still competing for Pennsylvania votes. I met them both on the stump, was enamored with each, and thrilled when they joined forces during that summer's convention. I have never missed voting in an election in the 26 years that I have been registered as a Republican, although I do not recall ever pulling a straight lever in a general election. Along the way, I have run for office as a Republican, served as an alternative delegate to a GOP convention, and have served as a Presidential appointee in a Republican administration.
But is the GOP still for me?
1. Bin Laden. I want a continuous commitment of manpower directed toward finding and killing Bin Laden and Al-Zawahiri. It matters not to me whether they are isolated, neutered, and disengaged, nor whether they are in Pakistan. I want them hunted, found and caused to suffer a heinous death. The full court press should never end.
2. Profiling. Let's look for terrorists who look like terrorists. Those who threaten us have similarities. In virtually every instance, they have race, gender, ethnicity, religion and appearance in common. Those characteristics should be considered as we seek to prevent terrorist strikes against the United States. Everyone needs to be screened, but some more than others. When the terrorists start looking like Thurston Howell, III, we will change accordingly.
3. Torture. Once we identify the bad guys, we need to glean from them information of impending attacks by any means necessary, and that includes torture. If you believe it NOT to be efficacious, tell me why our best, brightest and most experienced interrogators continually seek to use it as a technique? Answer: it works.
4. Preventing terror. We need to implement all the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, those who were entrusted to study what went wrong pre-9/11 and recommend how to prevent its recurrence.
5. Iraq. We need an end game. And don't call it "cut and run". As a matter of fact, if anything is unpatriotic, it's not affording our soldiers an explanation of how their mission will end. It's time to articulate an exit strategy so as to light a fire under Iraqis and let them know they need to stand on their own two feet sooner than later.
6. Immigration. Our borders are porous. They need to be closed. Only when they are closed should we make decisions as to what to do with the millions who are already here illegally. It is impractical to believe we will ship them back to wherever they came from. But through attrition, and by ensuring no more of their friends and relatives join them, we will probably diminish the herd.
7. Gays. Homosexuals do not threaten my marriage. Heterosexual marriages have their own troubles, but the fate of conventional marriages has nothing to do with whether same sex couples can marry one another or partake in a civil union. No guy now married to a woman is waiting in the wings for a court decision trying to decide whether to ditch his spouse and hook up with a man. As we seek to find some accommodation for same sex couples, we need to end that false argument.
8. Abortion. I want to be registered in a party that has room in its tent for pro-life and pro-choice views. And Plan B should be sold over the counter to individuals 18 and over. And I surely don't want politicians determining my end of life plan.
9. Embryonic stem cells research. Do it. Fund it. Pardon my callous nature, but that which exists in a Petri dish is undeserving of the full rights that are afforded a viable fetus.
10. Term limits. We need citizen politicians, not professionals. Two terms in the Senate and six in the House seems like plenty to ensure we get grounded folks who are capable of earning a living when not serving us.
11. Campaign finance. Let's stop trying to regulate campaign donations. Someone will always find a loophole. Let anyone spend whatever they are willing to affect the outcome of a race, so long as there is full and immediate disclosure, so voters can react accordingly.
12. Entitlements. Social Security, Medicare and other entitlements make up more than half of our federal spending. The number of people on Social Security and Medicare will double in the next 15 years, and life expectancy continues to grow. We cannot afford to continue the status quo. Time to confront AARP: the retirement age in this country needs to be raised from 65 to 70. Balanced Budget should not be two dirty words. I do not want my children and grandchildren saddled with paying for our wasteful spending.
13. Death taxes. We all work so hard just trying to lead a comfortable life in the hopes of leaving nest eggs for our children. It's un-American that when we check out, Uncle Sam will be standing there with his hand out to tax our earnings for the second time. The estate tax must end.
14. Global warming. Beats the hell out of me. But given the apparent stakes if the concerns are valid, I think we should err on the side of taking precaution.
15. Guns. A symptom, not cause of our problems. Single parent households pose more of a threat to safety than firearms. Let's address that issue.
Will any party have me?