what the hell?
You know, whenever we get any publicity from the national media, as we did today with Avlon's piece at Politico, we tend to get several new visitors. Some are kindred spirits, some are simply curious, and some are, well, frankly affronted at the entire concept of a "Republicans for Obama" organization.
These visitors tend to start their posts with phrases like "What the hell" and proceed to argue that Obama represents the exact opposite of everything the Republican Party stands for and that if we support Obama than we're just plain not Republicans anymore.
Well, trust me, I understand the confusion. Indeed, it's widely advertised that Obama is the "single most liberal" Senator in the US, etc etc. But I'd like to take this opportunity to explain how we can, from a Republican standpoint, justify our support for Barack Obama's campaign for the Presidency.
Now, the principles I'll outline here may not represent the organization officially, and it certainly shouldn't be assumed that each and every RFOer agrees with every point. But hopefully it will provide some reasoned, civil insight into why we're crossing party lines this year.
1. The Republican Party has traditionally been one of fiscal responsibility. Unfortunately, the current incarnation of the party seems to spend like it's going out of style. Instead of tax and spend, the party leaders prefer to spend and spend, and on top of that propose gimmicks like tax rebates to buy votes. The result is an American dollar valuation that's plummeting. It's no wonder none of us can afford to buy anything anymore. The GOP has to get back to its fiscally responsible roots.
2. The Republican Party has traditionally been the party that defends and respects civil liberties and privacy. Unfortunately, our own party has now become the one to justify suspension and abridgment of many of the liberties we hold dear. When you combine such abridgment with an extension of executive power, that's a dangerous combination. We have to make it clear to our party leaders that we refuse to stand for these autocratic/oligarchic tendencies.
3. The Republican Party traditionally stands for conservative foreign policy. A conservative foreign policy keeps a strong defense department at the ready, but primarily relies on negotiation and diplomacy in international relations. Engagement is a merely a last resort, not the first line of defense. In this sense, Obama's foreign policy is actually more conservative than the conservatives'.
4. Not all Republicans are religious, and certainly not all are Christian. But those of us who are feel that it's time for the Republicans to quite pretending they have a monopoly on American faith, to quit pretending that the "compassionate conservatives" speak for all Christians. Frankly, it's time to end the religious right's hijacking of the Republican Party. Not because we're irreligous - overwhelmingly the American people are a people of faith - but because we realize that to attempt to boil all of America's policy down to two or three social issues is woefully inadequate to meet the very real challenges our society faces. Further it is an injustice and disservice to all of us to attempt to do so, certainly to attempt to do so in the name of morality or religion.
I hope that helps shed some light on our point of view here at RFO. Again, it shouldn't be inferred that everyone at RFO would agree with each of my points, and indeed, several have other points that I undoubtedly overlooked. But I do hope that this can give others, especially of our own party, a starting point for understanding where we're coming from.
Barbara, lead blogger, RFO.