Comments: A Little Rant

"The idea that some people I'd previously thought of as intelligent and thoughtful are actually planning to vote for someone who is this afraid of an unscripted question.

I am so with you on that. I've been thinking that often. I was at a big party this week and it was mostly a crowd of 20 somethings and 30 somethings. Maybe 20% of the crowd called themself Republican, which is reflective of the social circle I run in. A few them said, sensibly enough, that they usually vote Republican but couldn't vote for Bush. A few said they were proud to vote for Bush. I had two friends, a man and a woman, from opposite sides of the political spectrum, who said they believed in individualism, freedom of speech, and respect for the working class, but they fell into a heated disagreement about which party championed these beliefs. It's like they were in an alternate realities, they disagreed about some very basic facts. The woman was 27 and Republican and the guy was 37 and very Democrat, and neither could convince the other that the other party was lying through its teeth on nearly all issues.

Also, reading your post, I thought of one of my friends who voted for Nader in 2000 and now is really proud to be voting for Bush. War does strange things people. It brings out sides of people you'd rather not know about.

Posted by Lawrence Krubner at August 21, 2004 12:20 PM

I know I don't do enough reading of material detailing the opposition picture :) of the country. I don't read even a tenth as much of the material printed to support the Republican POV as I do books and other material offered by the Left.

That's partly because the loudest voices from the Right are so distasteful to me. I mean, there are conservatives like George Will, whom I disagree with but can read regularly, but look at the books being published from the Right.

The vast majority of conservative authors are still obsessed with proving the Bill Clinton (and, by association, Hillary) was the anti-christ. Aside from them, you have the hate-mongers (C**lter, L*mb**gh, etc.) and the "The Left Is UnAmerican" faction. (Some of these categories overlap.)

Where are the sensible publications from conservatives? Is it that sensible Republicans don't have anything to offer outside of the neocons' view of perpetual warfare in the name of 'democracy'?

Once you remove the resistance of the Religious Right to true social tolerance, are conservatives left with no social agenda any of them can identify?

I can't believe that the wingnuts are all that's left of the Republican Party but they certainly seem to be the only ones talking.

That's part of what makes it difficult for me to understand how so many people can still be reflexively voting Republican. I've gone through a long "apolitical" stretch myself, but at my least-informed, I can't imagine myself voting that carelessly.

Posted by Anne at August 22, 2004 11:55 AM

The amount of shame that is heaped on people for being "librul" has alot to do with it. I'm a full immersion liberal who will get in your face about it. But the fear and hatred of the mythical liberals that the Limbaugh types have created is so thorough that people who really should know better are amazed to find out that I vote for the Democrats and try to heap shame on me. It's all emotional thinking, and people don't want to vote for the party that "hates America". But they also know they are voting for the party that houses the ugliest of the ugly in racism, sexism, censorship, homophobia, you name it. So they compromise with themselves and claim to be "moderate" Republicans. And yes, they are the biggest problem.

Posted by Amanda at August 22, 2004 12:26 PM

It still mystifies me, Amanda.

Or maybe my brain just isn't agile enough to let me run such a mental obstacle race -- telling myself I can identify publicly with the "good parts" of a party while having no responsibility for speaking out publicly against the bad parts.

Clearly there are some issues that are of so much importance to these people that sexism, racism, and the rest of the Republican Party's current offerings can be overlooked, but it's a mystery to me what those might be.

Jobs? The Republicans are never the party to turn to for those.

Security? The current crop of neocons are a disaster. "They" hate us more today than they did three or four years ago.

Education? Healthcare? Social Security? Reducing crime rates? Preventing corporate fraud? The Republicans aren't the party to turn to to safeguard any of those issues.

Fiscal responsibility? Don't make me laugh. We'll be decades getting out from under the burden of this Bush Administration's criminally reckless financial policies.

The only thing that's left to me is assuming that all of those Republicans think discriminating against gays, preventing abortions, and promoting one or two religious sects are important enough to destroy the country over.

(Okay, that's a bit extreme, but I still insist that I haven't read anyone "conservative" in the last year laying out for me exactly what the Republican party stands for these days, besides the neocons' goals.)

Posted by Anne at August 22, 2004 06:17 PM

Well, I'm somewhat sympathetic to moderate Republicans who hate several of the factions in the Republican party, because I have the same relationship to the Democratic party. I always vote for the Democrats, but there are issues (education, foreign policy, federal versus local power) where I find myself at odds with the dominant sentiment of the Democratic party. Likewise, I know there are some decent people who vote Republican (my older brother, for instance) but who are displeased to be in the same party that harbors so many unreconstrcuted racists (Strom Thurmond, Jesse Helms) and religious fanatics (Jerry Falwell).

But what can we do? America doesn't have a parlimentary system, instead we have two "big tent" parties that have to hold inside of themselves some very diverse factions.

Posted by Lawrence Krubner at August 23, 2004 09:37 AM