The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Cutting off his nose to spite his face?

Yesterday a story appeared in the Washington Times titled “‘Extremists’ chase some Republicans toward Obama.” It began with a discussion with a New Jersey resident named John Martin, who heads a group of Republicans for Obama. Martin said that Mitt Romney is doing nothing to keep his loyalty, that the Republican presidential nominee lacks the will or desire to stand up to "extremists" who have gained a sturdy foothold in the party, and President Obama is far from the socialist demon portrayed by GOP leaders. Therefore he will vote for Mr. Obama.

Like Mr. Martin, I consider myself a moderate within the Republican Party and I am unhappy with the extremism that has gained such a foothold. But I am incredulous that Mr. Martin does not see that the Democratic Party is equally riddled by extremists of the left, and that he can, with a straight face, say that “President Obama is far from the socialist demon portrayed by GOP leaders.” My wife is a moderate Democrat, and she feels that, as far as Mitt Romney is to her right, she sees Pres. Obama as further to her left.

The article does mention that Mr. Martin voted for Obama four years ago, so he's been thinking this way for a long time; I don't have any way of getting into his head, so I don't understand exactly what is in it, but I gather from the article that he actually likes Obamacare — which puts him to the left of the majority of the public, not just Republicans.

The article ends:

Whether he stays with the Republican Party depends on what happens in November. An Obama win, he hopes, would foster discussion and self-examination within the GOP to return to its “big tent” roots.

He said he fears that a Romney win would serve as justification for conservatives to continue remaking the party in their likeness.

I doubt it. An Obama win, as was the case four years ago, might drive the party further into the kind of extremism he deplores. Mitt Romney, after all, has been considered insufficiently conservative by that group. While a Romney win, I think, would lead to his governing moderately, as he did in Massachusetts. An Obama win, in fact, would lead to the kind of socialist government that, as Marco Rubio said at the convention in Tampa, people came to this country to get away from. Remember, Obama has tried to gain some semblance of the appearance of moderation in his first term — apparently enough to attract the likes of Mr. Martin, even though I think he's been the most radical President in over a century! This, to make his re-election likely. In a second term, all wraps are off. And this is the President who told Dmitry Medvedev (standing in for Vladimir Putin) that he will have more “flexibility” after he is re-elected!

If Mr. Martin thinks an Obama presidency is closer to what he, as a moderate Republican, wants than a Romney presidency would be, I wonder how he could have been attracted to the GOP in the first place.

Anyone who, in the interest of reducing the extremist influence in the Republican Party, supports a radical extremist like Barack Obama, is cutting off his nose to spite his face. We need moderates to stay in the party and try to influence its direction, rather than to leave the party exclusively in the hands of those extremists we deplore. And we certainly do not want to leave the country in the hands of extremists of the opposite persuasion, such as Barack Obama.

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