30 May 2009

Why I Am (Still) a Registered Republican

I have seen several statements--on fliers, on television, on Twitter, on blogs--about becoming a Republican, or turning conservative. Many people have said that they've been a Republican since the Reagan years, or even because of Ronald Reagan. Others, like Dennis Miller, moved toward conservatism because of the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001. I respect that. Growing and changing one's mind is part of living.

There is a quote I've seen attributed to Winston Churchill that goes something like, "A young man who is conservative has no heart; an old man who is liberal has no brain."

Apparently I'm heartless. I'm sure you've heard tales of the "heartless conservatives." I guess I'm one of 'em. I have always believed in individual achievement bringing rewards, self-reliance, all those conservative ideals. I cannot remember ever wishing that some powerful entity would take wealth away from, for instance, Howard Hughes and give it to me.

Like many others, I am totally disgusted with the Republican party. There is a sizable portion of the party that seems to be for lowering taxes, but not for shrinking the State Bureaucratic Apparatus (what many people call "the government"). They believe that lowering tax rates will result in increased revenue, which they can then spend on their pet programs rather than the Democrats' pet programs. These people are not truly conservative.

So to the title of the post: Why I am (still) a Registered Republican. The fact is that there are two major parties in the United States, and anyone not running as a member of one of those two parties is not at all likely to win an election. Of the 535 voting and half-dozen non-voting members of Congress, only two identify themselves as Independent (and Joe Lieberman is listed as "ID", which I suppose means "Independent Democrat").

In the general elections, I have endeavored to find the candidate whose philosophy and positions most closely match my own. Most candidates that run as Democrats have a philosophy nowhere near my own. I have voted for Republicans, and for Independents (mostly the American Independent Party), and even for a Libertarian or two. But my county does not hold a primary election for independent and minor-party candidates.

I register as a Republican so that I can vote for the most conservative candidate in the primary elections. I have also started attending local "town-hall" meetings at the county's GOP headquarters. That gives me a chance to hear what our Assemblymen and State Senators are doing, and perhaps express my position for their consideration.