September 01, 2004

How do you Know if You're a Republican?

Laura's Tuesday night convention speech was a bore and I am apparently too old and 'unhip' to get the twins' jokes, but Ahnold delivered big time! The left leaning press and Team Kerry have been painting this convention as a "masquerade ball" where the social moderates are given center stage while the religious right has a stranglehold on the official platform. Well, the Governator gave a forceful speech describing the issues on which all Republicans agree. And the basis for all of them is individual rights, appreciation of which Arnie learned under Soviet occupation in Austria.

"My fellow immigrants, my fellow Americans, how do you know if you are a Republican? I'll tell you how.

If you believe that government should be accountable to the people, not the people to the government...then you are a Republican!

If you believe a person should be treated as an individual, not as a member of an interest group... then you are a Republican!

If you believe your family knows how to spend your money better than the government does... then you are a Republican!

If you believe our educational system should be held accountable for the progress of our children ... then you are a Republican!

If you believe this country, not the United Nations, is the best hope of democracy in the world ... then you are a Republican!

And, ladies and gentlemen ...if you believe we must be fierce and relentless and terminate terrorism ... then you are a Republican!

[emphasis mine]

So I repeat my assertion that this fear of the 'Moral Majority' is unfounded. Despite W's strong religious beliefs he has done a masterful job of minimizing its influence on his policies. Not only democrats, but socially moderate republicans will prevent any of the fundamentalist laws from coming to pass. I say let them placate themselves by writing their commandments into the platform, then govern from the issues on which there is consensus. Arnold listed those issues last night.

Posted by JohnGalt at September 1, 2004 08:07 AM

Hear hear!

He also said that you can disagree with parts of the party platform and still be a good Republican.

Posted by: jk at September 1, 2004 09:50 AM

I'm teetering... Vote Democrat to offset the socially conservative Republicans or join the Republicans and work to reform from the inside? I am very interested to hear more in our Senate race between Ken Salazar and Pete Coors. For president perhaps you do have it right JK, that Bush's (or Karl Rove's) genius lies in supporing just enough to keep the social conservatives in line without actually having to pass any legislation. My fear is that he is always on the verge of caving to some real socially conservative legislation or court appointments that might actually threaten Roe v. Wade. We really are philosophically pretty close, just you choose to ignore the socially conservative parts of your party platform and I choose to ignore the socialist part of mine, each with the assurance that the other party will keep these ideas at bay. When are you forming that third party JK?

Posted by: Silence Dogood at September 1, 2004 11:11 AM

I'm in tears Silence, I hope you're not just leading me on.

I'm not doing a third party. I want you and St. Stephen to join me and Johngalt and (I think)Dagny in (subverting?) reforming the party from the inside.

The key is something we haven't discussed much: demographics. We have argued much about the exact amount of influence the evangelical set has on the GOP. We shall not resolve that but could we agree that it is waning? If the whole Berkeley Square Blog team were to hop in there to tip the scale, we can hasten it.

Looking at the trend, Silence, I would say that the religious influence is losing ground in the GOP but that the socialist influence is gaining ground in the Democrats. Without a cataclysmic loss, I can't see the Ds changing their tune. Their constituencies are too solidly entrenched.

Posted by: jk at September 1, 2004 11:41 AM

I hate to say this Silence, but voting Democrat does nothing but give the Democrats your vote of confidence that they should continue their socialistic agenda. Vote Republican and you continue to give your vote of confidence to a party that, as a whole, supports social conservatism (and the loss of individual liberty that comes with it) and also continues to send our country into fiscal oblivion. My thought is that by voting 3P, I'm not written-off as an "apathetic" voter whose views neither side really care about because I won’t show up at the polls on election day.

Of course, my strategy is written-off by many as essentially "a vote for Kerry”, which strikes me as a pretty short-term view. The monumental changes that are needed in Washington are not going to happen in the next 4 (or even 8-12 years). It is going to take perhaps 20 – 30 years to get things right, but as long as you continue to give your vote to either one of these parties, there is very little incentive for change. It is quite simple – very intelligent gentlemen like JohnGalt and JK are never going to vote Democrat because the party is far too socialist (I agree), so the Republican Party does not have to worry that much about what JK and JohnGalt the social views of JK and JohnGalt. They DO have to worry about the Christians out there who form such a large constituency and, if alienated by proper politics, could potentially swing the Democrats way.

I’m only 28 years old and don’t make much money yet so if Kerry raises my taxes over the next four years then it will not cost me too much (even 100% of nothing is still nothing). I’m mostly concerned about 10-15 years down the road when I am making a substantial amount of money and the government has no choice but to tax the hell out of me because our federal deficit is so large.

Change does not happen overnight… And I’m not much of a believer in change happening by maintaining the status quo either…

Posted by: saint stephen at September 1, 2004 12:06 PM


You ARE going to give your vote to the very man who epitomizes the evangelical movement.

Posted by: saint stephen at September 1, 2004 12:15 PM

One final thought: with Clinton's blow-out win in the mid-90's and the fact that he was an extremely moderate Democrat in the majority of his fiscal views, one could have argued only 4-8 years ago that the Ds were coming around.

I think that the war in Iraq has divided this country so much that I feel many citizens are going to vote for JFK just to vote against W. Add W's social views and a rapidly growing deficit to the mix and I know several people who are going to vote Democrat simply because they do not see too much of a difference in the individual liberties that both sides promise.

Posted by: saint stephen at September 1, 2004 12:25 PM


(By the way I don't know you but I do love your comments -- even though as a partisan, they exasperate me, I do enjoy them.)

While W offers himself as an evangelical, I cannot see any policy decisions that he has made that have been because of his views or even pandering to his voters.

Partial birth abortion and limited funding of stem cell research seem very moderate and both enjoy a plurality of support. Faith Based Initiatives blurs the lines a bit for my tastes but he defends that on efficacy, not epiphany.

In short, he is A WHOLE LOT more religious than I am, but he has done nothing to concern me that he is governing by faith. (Unless St. Paul told him to do the steel tariffs...)

Economically, may I say “AAAAARGH!” It is NOT what Mr. Kerry is going to take from you (I sound like Kennedy…) It is the capital that his tax increases will drive from investment and innovation into tax shelters. If your plans for your future wealth will require any kind of outside capital – or a vibrant economy – I would humbly suggest your making a principled vote for George W. Bush.

Clinton and the DLC proved to me that the Dems cannot escape their entrenched constituencies. Even to “pick a winner like Clinton” they refused to look at Evan Bayh or Joe Lieberman. Hate to name call, but the loonies are really running the asylum over there.

Posted by: jk at September 1, 2004 01:06 PM

I don't know Saint Stephen, more political parties always brings to my mind that an even smaller looney minority could be a majority if there were more parties to go around. The "big tent" concept forces both parties to the middle.

No JK, I am not just leading you on, but I don't know if I agree with your assesment about the waning influence of the social conservatives. Maybe it is just a small few making a lot of noise, but it seems to me that this defense of marriage amendment has re-invigorated the SC's. Abortion has become a tired old battle and so locked up in the courts (and court appointments - or the lack thereof) that gay marriage has become their battle cry, and one with which they can gather a lot more support than on abortion. Stem cell research is (at the risk of sounding elitist) a bit too technical for the average folk. (Let's just say it doesn't fit on a bumper sticker well.) The faith based initiative was pandering pure and simple, and if you ask me, a perfect example of big government. Why are these charities so much more efficient than their government counterparts? I think precisely because they are not government programs and not subject to the red tape involved in those. Mark my words, give government money to these charities along with no doubt a huge list of regulations and forms and watch them become just as inefficient as our current government programs.

I think all these topics however miss a more fundamental although harder to define social battle being waged by the SC's against an onslaught (real or perceived) against their traditional values. There are small grass roots organizations in every school district pushing to bring prayer, God, and in some cases Creationism (presenting evolution as a theory with or without alternative theories) back to schools. Just as you mused on the good old days in your post on happiness there are many folks out there who believe that most of what ails us can be corrected by a return to more tradional ways and values. It is certainly not a rage against modernity like that from the likes of the Taliban, nor a wish to close our borders and isolate ourselves in a Judeo Christian utopia, but there are elements of these things in the ideals they espouse.

The Dems in my view have ended up in a total reactionary mode. Politically they are just out foxed at every turn by the Republicans. I think part of this is that the conservative media machine doesn't really waste a lot of time trying to pretend to be objective and so is a lot more effective at hammering a message home. Part is just that W and his team are much more politically austute then JK as his. I don't think the party is sliding down into socialism so much as just getting so desperate to get a foot hold against the Republicans that they have fallen back on the age old politcal tack of promising everyone what they want. Unions are waning and so too is their influence. There is so much animosity against the legal profession that this traditional influence seems to be waning as well. The new Dems have stumbled, perhaps due to lack of a good charismatic leader, and so have slid down into the attack position against the incumbent. Bush has also taken a page or two from Clinton's play book about co-opting good ideas from the other side so well that the Dems are left holding an empty bag. I am hoping that our current state of affairs which I think is extremely antagonistic on both sides will soon have to give way to a more moderated approach. Bush was supposed to bring civility back to Washington, but it doesn't seem to me that he has done much reaching across the aisle.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at September 1, 2004 05:21 PM

Silence - There is a big difference in our understanding of what it means (at least to me) of voting for a 3P. It's not about voting for any 3P just for the sake of voting 3P (in which case I should then vote for myself) because that would be dangerously close to anarchy. It is about voting for the right 3P - which is one that entails fiscal conservatism and social liberties.

JK - I think economically you are giving just a little too much credit to the theory of "trickle-down economics" (especially when it is combined with the huge deficits during the Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II years). Paying down our national deb[t] also has a very positive economic impact (lowers the overall effective interest rate thus increasing investment). And if 4 years of Kerry throws the nation into economic oblivion then I have no doubt a Republican (or better yet a libertarian) will be elected. I certainly did not hear about a "lack of capital" during Clinton's 8 years either.

Posted by: saint stephen at September 1, 2004 05:40 PM


If you mean supply side economics, where a reduction in marginal tax rates has led to impressive GDP growth EVERYTIME it has been tried, yeah, I'm one of those.

As to "Reubenomics," where we tax the crap out of the citizenry to pay down the d e b t. It did seem to work once -- and yet when you rewind historical data, there is about zero correlation between US d e b t and interest rates.

President Clinton, not normally the most modest man, fails to take credit for what he did do to prolong and expand the (ahem) Reagan expansion. That is free trade. He and his party run from it now, but NAFTA, GATT, and China's admission to the WTO created wealth -- not the sainted '93 tax hike.

Don't want to get personal but I had nightmares last night about Libertarians who believed in Reubenomics. My NED, man. It seems a bad combo to me...

Posted by: jk at September 2, 2004 09:12 AM

JK, If you are implying that Clinton "prolonged" the Reagan expansion then I seriously have to laugh at your Republican spin. The Reagan expansion ran into the same trouble W is running into - record deficits. At some point these deficits HAVE to be paid for. I'd have to see your "historical data" before I can make any comment on it b/c data can, and usually is, manipulated to serve the interest of those championing it. What I rely on in my understanding of how paying down the national d e b t impacts investment are the economic principles of "supply and demand" mixed with a little common sense.

Now, as a libertarian who believes that the right answer is both low (as well as fair and equal) taxation and a balanced budget, I feel that I can point out the gross misbehavior of BOTH sides. Please do not confuse me for a Democrat when I don't jump on full board with Reaganomics (a term which is synonomous with me for record deficits as far as actual practice goes)... Bush #1 had to live through the downside of Reaganomics. Imagine if there was a leader who could accomplish both Reagan's AND Clinton's philosophies. That is why I feel a balance is needed.

Of course the answer may be that "we are so far gone that this idea is impossible" and if that is the case then I simply need to get back to work and forget politics altogether.

Posted by: saint stephen at September 2, 2004 10:26 AM


It is difficult as we are discussing what is essentially perception. I walk around without a coat in the winter and people say "aren't you cold?" Most of the summer I am unbearably hot.

Likewise, the religious people in the GOP don't really bother me. I have good friends who are very devout. The country's founders were pious men who nonetheless created a government that was strikingly secular. Having been denied the right to worship, they were cautions to keep religious coercion out of government power.

I flat out don't feel the discomfort in their presence that every other person on this blog does. I'll fight them tooth and nail on the FMA. It's got nada chance of passing. Let 'em kick up sand in their sandbox. You see it as reinvigorating them, I see it as proof of their irrelevance, if not a last gasp.

When I say they are waning, I'm speaking in demographic time scales. Younger people will tip the party farther from social conservatism. It may ebb and flow on the way out, but I see the "South Park Republicans" taking over.

We talked about cataclysmic realignment in a previous post. Zell Miller says that he's staying a Democrat to pick up the pieces of the party and try to rebuild it. That might happen but will take a cataclysmic event. I feel the GOP can reform itself from the inside.

Posted by: jk at September 2, 2004 10:40 AM
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