Friday, April 11, 2008

Rescuing the GOP

I was fairly satisfied with being a registered Republican for over 30 years. While I didn't agree with the party on every issue, I agreed with Democrats on far less. Being an independent didn't much appeal to me, because it seemed rather wishy washy, to tell the truth.

Besides, I got to indulge in my contrariness by being a Republican in Dem-dominated Massachusetts.
Now I live in Connecticut, where there's actually still a functioning GOP, so simply being contrary isn't a good enough stance. Picking a party is more significant when there's an actual consequence.

Bushism drove me out of the GOP this year. Very little about what I dislike about Bush seems authentically conservative to me, and I'm baffled why so many so-called conservatives are in his camp. Expansive government, unchecked spending, unwise foreign policy, corruption and valuing expediency over principle are not just bad when Democrats do them.

And I'll admit that I'm severely disillusioned by the whole Iraq affair. It may or may not have been a good idea, but I don't think there's any doubt at all that it was very badly executed. Indeed, it was so badly executed as to be criminal. There finally seems to be a general in charge who's been able to execute tactics and operations that may salvage something less than debacle from our war, although there's still no clear strategic vision guiding things. Still, Peraeus' and Gates' success is damning of Bush's leadership as commander in chief because nothing is being done now that couldn't have been done years ago. The success may come too late. Bush's inability to hold people accountable for failure fatally compromised his war leadership. The president's main job as CinC is to find generals who win and keep firing the losing ones until he does.

Even all this, however, would not have been enough to drive me away. I'm more inclined to hope that McCain's approach to Iraq might possibly work something out than Obama's.

But I can't be in a party that supports torture.

And until the day that the Grand Old Party remembers that it was born out of the honorable and noble cause of human dignity and freedom that is wholly incompatible with the unholy, dishonorable and dehumanizing practice of torture and inhumane treatment, I'll be out.

The Democrats' flaws have improved not a whit. But they are the opposition party we have, and so they'll have to do. Right now their main good quality is that they're not Republicans. We'll need a little spell of them in power to clean out the rot. In the meantime maybe the Republicans will come to their senses.

Some may say that the Democrats are worse because they support abortion.

That gives some choice -- between the abortionists and the torturers, eh? Well, at the moment the torturers are doing more damage to America. Accepting torture means accepting the very same moral relativity that accepts abortion, really. The morally consistent position is to reject both.

Accepting torture has brought lawlessness and disregard for the Constitution into the very highest reaches of our government. We found out this week that specific torture techniques were discussed within the very walls of the White House among the highest officials of the government. U.S. cabinet officers! Shame.

Well, I'm out.

Only a party the repudiates Bush will be worthy of the legacy left by Reagan, Eisenhower, TR and Lincoln.
I'll vote for Democrats as long as I must, and for some select Republicans who seem to get it. But there will be an "I" next to my name in the voting lists from now on.

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