Don’t Call Me a Republican

I am not a Republican.

I believe in marriage between a man and a woman.  I am a gun owner.  I am a senior manager in the middle of corporate America.  I detested the Occupy Wall Street movement.  I believe unions stifle business growth and drive productivity out of the marketplace.  My car is powered by a gas guzzling V-8 engine and I do not cringe every time I fill up the tank.  I have read Atlas Shrugged.  I liked it so much I read it again.  I am a staunch and practicing Mormon.  I believe in conservative fiscal policy and am very worried about the near $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities this country faces in the next 75 years.  I am a big fan of Reagan. I don’t believe CEOs are paid too much money. I am pro-life.

I am still not a Republican.

I have been called many names by my Republican friends and twitter followers.  Socialist.  Communist.  Liar.  Ideologue.  Big government.  I am none of these.  The uses of such phrases do not make me upset because it helps identify a more disparaging element; the Republican Party has lost their identity and justify their positions with disingenuous arguments and logical fallacies.  That’s not to say that Democrats are innocent in this regard; it’s just the tolerance for differentiated thinking is so far rooted out of the mainstream GOP.  Republicans try to use the same type of litmus behavior to identify Democrats, which is challenging given the diversity of the party. Even worse, there are high levels of justification for twisting facts, leveraging blatant dishonesty, and unethical practices with the belief that the end justifies the means.

Let me provide an example.  Currently there are several court cases being pushed through the justice branch of government involving ID cards to stop voter fraud.  This sounds reasonable on the surface.  However, when you dive into the drivers and sponsors of the legislation you realize the extensive partisan backing and maligning of facts.  There have only been 2,068 reported cases in which 10 have been found guilty of alleged in-person voter impersonation since 2000.  Yes, you read that correctly, 10. Yet the Republican Party has sponsored a dynamic effort to pass voter laws which by all accounts make it tougher for the poor, students, and minorities to vote; all key demographics of the Democratic Party.  Faced with questions around the ethics of their actions a typical response includes, “well, these are only the cases we know of…Who knows how many there actually are.” Uh huh, Right.

Let me provide another example. I watched the vast majority of the Republican National Convention this past week. Although I fully intended to hear weak arguments and faulty logic (I expect the same thing next week at the DNC), I was leveled by the blatant disregard for statements that even remotely looked anything factual. It became so bad that even Fox News wrote an article calling Paul Ryan out for his deceptive spin. Mr. Ryan blamed President Obama’s policies for closing an auto factory that was actually closed under Bush. He blamed President Obama for not implementing the same Simpson-Bowles budget recommendations that he led the charge to kill. He called out President Obama for seeking $716 billion in Medicare cuts that were also built into his budget. He also charged President Obama for our credit rating drop which was due to congressional Republicans using the debt limit as a bargaining chip.

This type of dishonest debate has emerged as the center piece of almost all of my interactions with the right. I have a family member that rails on the parasitic nature of the poor, yet their life was extended through the saving grace of Medicare curing 10 years of unchecked cancer at a ridiculous cost to taxpayers. I know of several Republican Congressmen who blasted the pet projects of President Obama’s stimulus package, yet showed up at the ribbon cuttings to take full credit. Almost every Republican I have spoken with derides socialism yet supports the military, the biggest socialist program in the US.  These same individuals also drive on public roads, send their children to public schools, visit national parks, and support the police and fire departments.  The mind-numbing-repetitive-labeling of any opposing idea as liberal or socialist completely disregards the meanings of the word and enshrines the speaker in a cloud of ignorance.

Republicans attack welfare for the poor but support bailouts for the rich. They sit on the pedestal of pro-life which diminishes once the embryo takes their first breath. They hide behind a shield of fiscal conservatism but have no idea what is driving the federal budget. They also live in Utopian world of problem solving. Yes I agree, cutting off welfare might entice the poor to work, but it will also drive up crime and promote Darwinism consequences. This type of theoretical thinking is why I do not support Ron Paul – I love his ideas – but his concepts are too drastic to be reasonable.

What annoys me most about the Republican rhetoric is the demonizing (not the opposition) of President Obama. The right’s frustration with President Obama has little to do with what he has not done, but more with what he has. In 2008 President Obama campaigned on single payer healthcare reform, student loan reform, housing reform, stimulus spending, and reduction in the annual deficit. He did not follow through on a secret agenda after election but passed the exact legislation campaigned on. Where President Obama fell short had more to his compromising spirit than his polarizing agenda. He passed healthcare reform, but instead of single payer, he contracted private insurance companies similar to Romneycare. He did not cut the deficit in half because he extended the Bush tax cuts, a broken campaign promise. Instead of trillion dollars of stimulus spending he scaled back the package to include $300 billion of tax cuts. Each of these changes favored the right, but you would never know by their posturing.

Now I am sure several Republicans will read my arguments and cry foul; that I am engaging in the exact same stereotyping I am calling out. Fair enough. However, the levels are not even in the same ballpark. The last two years of congressional leadership is an embarrassment to American politics. The House floor has voted 31 times to repeal Obamacare knowing the bill would never leave the chamber. The Senate has filibustered even the most contrite votes including lower court judge appointments. Yet this is an unethical strategic advantage for the Republicans. Republicans hide behind the smaller-government-works-better mantra driven by legislative inefficiencies that they create.

It’s not that I am fundamentally opposed to the ideas shared by Republicans; it’s more that I am opposed to the way they share. Even within party, dissension from core platforms brands the iconic label of RINO (Republican In Name Only) which is the scarlet “A” of the Republican party. Such weeding out of centrist ideas fundamentally shifts the political balance and swings the pendulum too far to the right. This type of political rhetoric will continue to cost the Republicans seats in Congress, much like the last election (NV and DE). Of course any opposition to Republican ideas always results in the same typical hyperbole — liberal, socialist, or even a liar — which I never take personally.

Just don’t call me a Republican.

29 Replies to “Don’t Call Me a Republican”

  1. i’m not a democrat (am independent), but i agree wholeheartedly with all of your points.

    I believe the Republican platform as a whole is “like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.”

  2. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this article! I’ve been talking about politics with my husband a lot lately, and I’ve mentioned so many of these points more than once, but you said it so eloquently! Thanks for putting these things out there in such a great way!

  3. Excellent post, Matthew. I agree with many of your points, and as I teach a class on Critical Thinking, your ideas challenge me to teach in such a way that I can educate those around me to choose for themselves how they will vote, and not lean on rhetoric and bullying.

    Many good points–thanks.

    1. I applaud your well-written article. Those who will take the time to really read and understand what you are saying will hopefully see that you have something valuable and worthwhile to say.

  4. You make some good points. The Republican Party does not hold to its ideals all the time. They don’t follow their logic out all the way and then hold with it. That is why there are the Libertarian and Constitutionalist Parties. But many who agree with those parties are lumped together with the Republicans because they know that the tiny parties don’t have a chance.

    An important fact to remember is that no party is constant, because each is made up of individuals, and I can guarantee that you can find unethical, illogical, power hungry people in any party or group of people. That said, you will find more admirers of Ayn Rand in the Republican party and more more admirers of Marx in the Democrat party.

    The important point is who is the better man, who more closely follows the ideals of the Church, Romney or Obama? Who lives in harmony with the teachings of the Prophets, Romney or Obama? Who has more executive experience? Who has been a successful executive? Who prizes the Constitution more?

    I find that there are people who seem to have an emotional attachment to Obama, and nothing that he has done or failed to do, nothing about the people with whom he surrounds himself, nothing in his upbringing or education, seems to matter. It seems like there is absolutely nothing that he could do that would change some people’s mind about him. As used to be said in the south, “I’d rather vote for a yellow dog than any Republican.” It seems to me to be a form of idolatry.

    Try making a list of the issues, and write your own ideas on each. Then look up, as far as possible, what each candidate has said or done in each area. Kind of like a description of what you think are important. (BTW, in the “charitable,understanding the common man’s experience, ex- bishops and stake presidents rate pretty highly.) I think that in any rational assessment, Romney has it all over Obama.

    1. Dems would not be so charged up supportive of President Obama if it had not been for all the GOP lies, via RNC mailers and convention, Ryan, Romney, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Karl Rove, Internet emails, and erroneous postings such as you see here by republicans. The list goes sadly on and on.

      I am truly grateful that GOP showed it’s true colors prior to the election. I’m sure many more Dems will now vote a straight Democratic ticket instead of resting on their laurels as they so sadly did in 2010.

      1. You seem like a prophet now, well put and spot on! The Republican Party is hypocritical in so many ways and seems to be getting worse by the week. I believe they call it “doubling down” in Las Vegas. I am very liberal but love having honest political discussions. I have changed my mind on many issues or at least moderated my views when approached with honest dialogue supported by fact (and everyone has a right to his/her own opinion, but facts are facts). One issue I feel that there could be middle ground on is abortion; most people who are pro-choice are not pro abortion, but support legal-rare-safe. The main point being rare. If much of the resources both sides pour into advertising, lobbying, & fundraising; we could use it to find ways of keeping unwanted pregnancies to a minimum & have funds to help mothers/guardians that have financial difficulties. The Republican Party seems to care more for a fetus than they do for a school age child. I say this because they always have education & safety net programs for children at the top of their list to cut, not the military.
        This is only one of many issues that have never made sense to me where the Republican Party is coming from. Also remember a lot of this debt came from G. W. Bush administration as well. Anyway before I get on my soap box again, I want to commend Mr. Anselmo on a great article that gives me hope that some dialogue maybe possible in the future between the “Left” & the “right”. There are too many important issues that need solutions that can’t come from one side or the other but from a compromise of many view points. This is what made this country work in the past and the only way we will have a future as a functional country. Bet wishes to all….

  5. About Ryan supposedly lying about the Janesville GM plant:

    Ryan’s speech accurately described the plant’s history and status. Read it again:

    Right there at that plant, candidate Obama said, “I believe that if our government is there to support you, this plant will be here for another 100 years.”

    That’s what he said in 2008. Well, as it turned out, that plant didn’t last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day.

    “Locked up and empty” and hanging by a thread. And that’s exactly what the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel described last fall:

    General Motors Co. has committed to reopen its idled plant in Spring Hill, Tenn., and keep its shuttered assembly plant in Janesville on standby status.

    …Since they were shut down in 2009, both the Janesville and Tennessee plants have been on standby status, meaning they were not producing vehicles, but they were not completely shut down.

    In other words, everything Paul Ryan said was true: He pointed to Obama’s own lofty promises about the plant being open for the next “100 years” if he were elected and contrasted it with the reality of a shuttered factory locked up and empty to this day. It was Obama who lied to Janesville workers. Ryan told America the truth.

    Under Obamanomics, the government picks winners and losers. Obama promised Janesville would be a winner even as his economic policies guaranteed it would always be a loser. Indeed, Obama’s whole 2008 Janesville speech is a sobering road map for the job-killing policies he has put in place as president.

    Were Obama serious about American manufacturing, he would allow energy companies to explore (Gulf drilling moratorium), would facilitate bringing those resources to market (blocking the Keystone pipeline), allow companies to hire employees without massive medical costs (Obamacare), encourage flexible, non-union shops (demonizing Boeing, the UAW bailout), and stop forcing or subsidizing companies to make products consumers don’t want, like the Chevy Volt or windmills and solar cells that won’t pay for themselves over their lifetime.

    1. 1. Janesville was locked up in Nov 2008-BEFORE Obama became President.
      2. Ryan practiced Scaredacare on the 716 billion comment. Ryan’s budget would take the exact $$ OUT of medicare to cover his $5trillion tax cut to rich. Obama’s $716 billion medicare plan was a. fund free preventative care for all seniors and b. remainder shored up medicare program for 8 more yrs. Ryan lied-he was stealing from Medicare and putting NO new program in place.
      You are either a GOP plant perpectuating lies or you are getting your facts from the same people in GOP who spout lies: President not Christn american, That HI isn’t a state,Mitt killed OBL,that Iraq had WMD. Today Head of RNC Reince Preibus is quoting Romney’s lead by using FAKE GOP POlls. HA! Please try hard and change the CHANNEL!!!

    2. 2. Gulf drilling: That one yr moratorium has been lifted. Under Obama, USA has double oil production and tripled oil leases.

      3. Obamacare has already reduced increases in health care costs to 4% for two yrs in a row. This was one of the primary goals. It is also budget neutral ..(paid for) per CBO. Even the worst scare tactics by right wing Heritage Foundation have stated 8% increase in costs.

      One cost savings often overlooked is that by getting people covered and to a regular doctor’s office for minor illness, WE won’t be paying for the emergency room visits for a problem left unattended and paying 4 to 5 times the cost.

      4. To build back the Middle class, Pres Obama is for fair pay for work performed. However that is achieved, he will not over-manage or like GOP, union bust arbitrarily. Many feel that there more NEED for unions again. Only 14% of workers are in Unions, down drastically.

      5. Solar products are becoming more affordable as mass production increases. What was out of site a few yrs ago is now more affordable. I have $4.00 solar lights outside from Walmart. The demand for affordable solar panels is growing. The President is not doing this backwards or wrong.
      Walmart has solar panels on their store roofs in many of their stores.

      6. If we did not have to negotiate with GOP, we would have less deficit. Pres would have let the tax cuts expire for the upper brackets, saving 70 billion a yr.

      So GOP needs to put the FACTS in front and their rhetoric in the trash. They can never win by perpetuating falsehoods; pretending that they did not have a hand in all wrongs of last decade.

    3. What Obama said was accurate. “if our government is there to support you, this plant will be here for another 100 years.” Apparently, the government WASN’T there for Janesville under Bush, so the Janesville plant closed it’s doors BEFORE Obama had a chance to help out. The GOP lies and twisting of the truth is horrifying to me. How anyone could vote for a bunch of old white men who want to take my daughter’s rights away, is beyond me! I REFUSE to be dragged back to the time when women were owned by their husbands.

  6. Okay, I won’t call you a Republican if you don’t want me to. But what are you? An independent?

    The Republican party certainly has gone absurdly far to the right these days. I’m quite liberal–an environmentalist, pro-choice, pro-gun-control, a scientist and public sector employee, and no fan of Mr. Reagan–and I have no problem identifying with the democratic party. But if I were a rational and sane person who happened to espouse conservative ideas, I’m not sure I’d be thrilled about aligning myself with the Republican party. So, what’s your solution? And where’s the movement to take back the Republican party from the reactionaries?

    1. Hi Laura — in the end the difference between a Republican and Democrat is simple — the role of government. All these other wedge issues and platforms are just a distraction.

      I believe the government can provide solutions for education, healthcare, children born into poverty, elderly, infrastructure, and other needs of society. Thats why I call myself a Democrat (albeit a conservative one).

      1. Well, yes, the fundamental difference between any political group is what they perceive the appropriate role of the government to be. But, different preferences for that role drive policy positions for many of the other issues that you mention–not just the government safety net. Should the government have a role in protecting the environment by taxing and regulating vehicle pollution and excess fossil fuel consumption? Should the government have a role in restricting gun ownership and usage? Should the government permit or restrict access to abortion? Should the government pursue policies that permit or prohibit workers from organizing into unions to pursue collective bargaining? These are all questions about the proper role of government as well. I’m not sure if these are what you meant by “wedge issues”–your comment seemed to imply that wedge issues were those other than the welfare/safety net ones you mention–but I and many others see these as critically important, and fundamental to the discussion of government’s role, not as distractions.

        1. I’m a former republican. You might want to see some of the posts made in these very subjects. The point he is making is that overall he sees te Democratic Party as more rational and inclusive and willing to accept a variety of ideas with its party. The GOP will not even accept those if us who are more moderate & unique. Hopefully democrats will. The divisive and namecling nature of politics is counter productive and creates division where there doesn’t need to be. It’s practically a disease now to be a moderate. I’m concerned with women’s rights around the world and the Democratic Party is doing more for that. I’m also mormon and a mother and married. I don’t think te violence against women & children in America and across the world can be tolerated or turned away from bc it’s ugly. Democrats r doing a better job not turning away and so I’m now all in. Hope the party can respect my choices.

  7. The Dems are now more fiscally conservative AND for far less intrusive govt.than the GOP.
    Clinton had a good fiscal record and Obama paid for his big program ACA, as opposed to GOP’s unfunded Wars and Medicare Pt D-two programs that curse our deficit to this day. Medicare Pt D runs $500 billion per yr. It could have been much cheaper if the GOP had negotiated with big Pharma. These are the reasons that I am voting Democratic.

  8. I disagree with you intensely on several issues, but don’t feel it necessary to set you aflame. I agree intensely with much you say. The part that chaps my hide is that I had just about made peace with giving up on rational political discourse, and here you go being all civil and articulate. Seriously though, well made and, I’d wager, well- considered. This is what the Founders had in mind, a forum where solutions could be honed and fitted to the realities and consensus. Keep up the good work!

  9. I’m sorry that I am just finding your post, I enjoyed the read. I agree with some points and not others, big surprise. My concern is your view on unions. As recent as debate comments made by Newt Gingrich on child labor laws and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act have the need for employee protection been more apparent. The thirst for profit over safety, fairness, unfettered demands gave birth to unions, and remain necessary. The entire situation with public unions in Wisconsin should be a national embarrassment. Those unions were willing to give up pay and benefits for the good of the state. That said, I see a reason for open honest dialog on both sides. I am a registered Independent that votes Democratic because I’m waiting on a viable third party. Like you I have problems with some of the actions taken by President Obama, but Romney is a sorry excuse for humanity…period.

  10. I find that being a centrist is about finding the practical solution that works and using independent thought. I thought that the Republicans had the same idea. I have never been so wrong. Their closed-minded extremism has lead me to endorse the No Labels Movement and the Modern Whig Party.

  11. There is a lot of finger pointing and calls of extremism on both sides of the isle these days. Don’t for a second think that the Democrats are “more inclusive”, or immune to the problems you’ve pointed out with the republicans. I’ve had many democrats call me an idiot, a moron, a bigot etc. because I didn’t agree with their ideology. Just as I’ve seen many republicans do the same. In my opinion BOTH political parties (the Parties not necessarily individuals within the parties.) are just a half a step better than the Gaddianton robbers, more interested in power and keeping it than doing what’s right for the country. I’ve been a registered independent for for more than a decade now and its only getting worse, it means I’m excluded from much of the up front process but I feel that it would be hypocritical of me to join with either party.

  12. Hello
    I agree with so, not all. In your opinion do you think same sex couples are entitled to the state/fed benefits that marriage provides? I don’t think the church should have a say in stuff like that. I think I read you are from Utah, no offense but I hope the states is mandated to allow SSM.
    What I don’t get about conservatives is how they say they believe in personal freedom / liberty yet limit personal freedom / liberty for certain groups. Not sure how they play both sides of that coin

  13. Many of your views are simply wrong.

    Unions stifle corporate success? You bet they do! Places paying $1/day make more profits. That is why manufacturing has moved abroad. However as a manager over there you would make $3/day. So let’s lower everyone’s wages and see what kind of craphole the nation turns into. Being a Christian Mormon and you believe we are not here to help people….you put corporations first in your economic views….proves you are no Christian.

    A V8 engine that you are proud of. It literally costs you more whereas you could spend less with a less powerful engine. Again….your views hurt YOU. You have a total conflict of logic….you are pleased to pay more when you could pay less? What logic does this make…and of course you are making the world more polluted than you need to. Do you also just throw your trash in the street for everyone else to clean up and suffer from? Even your INTENT is poor….you pollute and waste money and you don’t care. It is not like you are regretting your decision you love gas guzzing….paying more….hurting the world more. Not Christian at all.

    CEOs are not paid too much? They currently make 300+ times what workers make. the top income earners earned OVER 100% MORE INCOME since the economic collapse….taking money from average people…to make those already rich richer for no reason….and then they didn’t hire people at good wages they cut worker pay……AND they were slow to hire people back. CEOs not making too much is your support of Feudalism. Without distribution of income we would have the top 1%…..a very small merchant class making enough to eat and a little more…..and peasants as the 99%. This is why the Occupy movement was successful in turning the talk for even Republicans to that of income inequality. Income inequality was PRECISELY why the economic recovery has been slow….if more people had more money they could buy more stuff.

    If you lived YOUR WORDS……you would reject things UNIONS gave you (including weekends, benefits and workers rights and safety rules)…..you would personally pay your CEO out of your pocket a significant part of your paycheck every month and you would run your car exhaust into your home directly. You are not living your words in any sense of the term whatsoever. you are hurting your world….you are hurting your brothers and sisters is Christ and you are hurting you.

    I just saw you work for P&G…….and you dislike Occupy??? WTF!!!!!
    Your BLOOD of your profits is AVERAGE PEOPLE BUYING AVERAGE STUFF….your items…..consumables. Could you imagine if people making minimum wage had a significant increase in pay….they could afford to buy your name brand items more often than generics. They could buy MORE of your products instead of skimping on them. MY GOD……this is basic economics. Your customers make more pay…….they buy more of your crap……how do you not see this MATHEMATICALLY PROVEN FORMULA. Again…..your customers have budgets…..they see pay increases providing more money for their average stuff……they are able to buy more of your items. HOW NOT?

    I don’t care what you call you…..many of your views are ugly and they hurt you. YOU are your worst enemy. you should be a WILD supporter of Occupy and increasing minimum wage and providing people with healthcare (freeing up even more money in the average persons pocket) and you should be for redistributing income from the CEO worth millions to thousands of the workers who could then afford thousands more of your items.

    Mathematically…….you are wrong. It is not opinion……..it is MATH. I am stunned at your myopic view of how a mass appeal corporation has made even $1 in profit.

  14. Wow this post has staying power lol
    Personally I’m glad people no longer have a say on SSM. Leave each other alone. I also more so now am anti corporation. As my twitter page says, I have conservative leanings, I feel them slipping with growing disgust with the GOP
    Jmo

Leave a Reply