Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Political choices:

I find it interesting to see where people end up when they leave the Republican Party. The motivations are varied and the actions of those who leave are somewhat more limited by virtue of the way our political system is structured. Here are a few examples:

The political columnist of the Orange County Register made a fairly public statement of his rationale for leaving the Republican Party. As might be expected for an OC Register columnist, he has said that he will let his cantankerous nature determine his action.
But I'll hang around the GOP long enough to vote in the Republican primary for Rep. Ron Paul, the only consistent defender of freedom in Congress. Then I'll probably re-register as a big "L" Libertarian, if they don't mind having me. I've got some issues with the Libertarian Party – i.e., I wish it were more serious about fielding winnable candidates in local races, and it has sported some weird candidates on the ballot at times. But it's filled with good, albeit cantankerous folks who love freedom. So I should fit in pretty well.

Former Republican Congressman, Pete McCloskey, also made a very public parting of the ways with the Republicans. I don't think that was an easy decision.
McCloskeys have been Republicans in California since 1859, the year before Lincoln's election. My great grandfather, John Henry McCloskey, orphaned in the great Irish potato famine of 1843, came to California in 1853 as a boy of 16, and joined the party just before the Civil War.
McCloskey was much more articulate than Greenhut in explaining what drove him to this decision.
What finally turned me to despair, however, was listening to the reports, or watching on C-Span, a whole series of congressional oversight hearings on C-Span, held by old friends and colleagues like Pat Leahy, Henry Waxman, Norm Dicks, Nick Rahall, Danny Akaka and others, trying to learn the truth on the misdeeds and incompetence of the Bush Administration. Time after time I saw Republican Members of the House and Senate. speak out in scorn or derision about these exercises of Congress oversight responsibility being "witch-hunts" or partisan attempts to distort the actions of people like the head of the General Service Administration and the top political appointees in the Justice and Interior Departments. Disagreement turned into disgust.
I have documented my own reasons both here and on another blog that I started a long time ago.
One major difference is that I ended up in the Green Party.

The most surprising change for me is that of Markos Moulitsas (Kos of Daily Kos). In a discussion with Charlie Rose, he admitted that he was once a Republican... being so because of the libertarian beliefs. I used a small "l" because he was talking about a philosophical viewpoint, not the specifics of the Libertarian Party. (As a side note, one should really read the comments posted at the Charlie Rose site as they are evidence of the good and bad of internet political blogging.)

What I find most striking about this admission of libertarian leanings is that it is not practiced, either in policy or in practice, on his dailykos blog.
It's a Democratic blog with one goal in mind: electoral victory.
I have posted there, most often on the issue of corruption and the basic idea that it is the money that corrupts and money knows no party. It will corrupt Democrats as easily as it does Republicans. But, corruption is not the issue that Markos recognizes. He has become another Karl Rove, Dick Morris, James Carvill, willing to spin anything in any way to make his partisan point.

There are still some worthy ideals held by traditional Republican, ideas involving personal responsibility, local government, economic fairness, ecological common sense. These have been lost in the Republican Party of Tom DeLay and Karl Rove. They were well hidden in the rhetoric of Newt Gingrich. It would seem that there are well intentioned Republicans who could find a welcome home in the Green Party.

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