September 24, 2008

Honest Republicans

You probably clicked through because you thought this was going to be some kind of joke (much like the Bush Presidency, or the selection of Palin as a VP candidate). But no, I am actually going to tell you about something that many liberals insist doesn't exist: honest Republicans.

An Honest Republican is one who reviews all the facts, adds them all up, and accepts the conclusions even when they go against their personal beliefs.

Dr. Larry Hunter is an economist and a Republican. He was in the Reagan administration, he served on Bob Dole's presidential campaign, and he helped write the "Contract with America." He's a staunch conservative by any measure. Back in July, he wrote an opinion piece for the NY Daily News, and its title says it all: "I'm a lifelong conservative activist and I'm backing Barack Obama"

When I first made this decision, many colleagues were shocked. How could I support a candidate with a domestic policy platform that's antithetical to almost everything I believe in?

The answer is simple: Unjustified war and unconstitutional abridgment of individual rights vs. ill-conceived tax and economic policies - this is the difference between venial and mortal sins.

He goes on to point out what Obama supporters (and rational people) have been saying all along; McCain is going to be a de facto extension of the Bush Administration.

But war in the middle east isn't the only issue he examined:
Plus, when it comes to domestic issues, I don't take Obama at his word. That may sound cynical. But the fact that he says just about all the wrong things on domestic issues doesn't bother me as much as it once would have. After all, the Republicans said all the right things - fiscal responsibility, spending restraint - and it didn't mean a thing.
Today, George F. Will finally comes around to the same conclusion; Obama is a better choice than McCain, despite the fact that Obama's platform is basically the antithesis of Will's own views. Will's reasoning is much like my own:
It is arguable that, because of his inexperience, Obama is not ready for the presidency. It is arguable that McCain, because of his boiling moralism and bottomless reservoir of certitudes, is not suited to the presidency. Unreadiness can be corrected, although perhaps at great cost, by experience. Can a dismaying temperament be fixed?

Mr. Will may have been moved by McCain's reaction to recent events, as his column mostly discusses exactly that. But perhaps it just distilled the absurdity of the GOP's claims when examined against reality.

He observes a typical example of that disconnect:
By a Gresham's Law of political discourse, McCain's Queen of Hearts intervention in the opaque financial crisis overshadowed a solid conservative complaint from the Republican Study Committee, chaired by Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas. In a letter to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, the RSC decried the improvised torrent of bailouts as a "dangerous and unmistakable precedent for the federal government both to be looked to and indeed relied upon to save private sector companies from the consequences of their poor economic decisions." This letter, listing just $650 billion of the perhaps more than $1 trillion in new federal exposures to risk, was sent while McCain's campaign, characteristically substituting vehemence for coherence, was airing an ad warning that Obama favors "massive government, billions in spending increases."
It speaks volumes when even the most conservative pundits are supporting the "inexperienced" liberal candidate.


  1. This is not meant as a blast or criticism in any way. I really, honest to blog, am looking for an answer to this question.

    Why is this guy considered so honest for looking at the facts and deciding against his party when essentially Joe Lieberman has done that same thing but Democrats view him as a traitor?

    Again, I'm asking this question honestly. I believe this guy deserves praise and Lieberman is a traitor...but why? I'm a Republican (voting for Obama). It seems I should be viewing this the other way around.

  2. That's a fair question, and one that had not occurred to me because frankly I don't give a rat's ass about Lieberman one way or the other. Don't hate him, don't love him, I pretty much ignore him.

    But now that the question has been called to my attention:

    Dr. Hunter and Mr. Will both looked at their party's stated goals, and discovered that not only have the current administration and candidate failed to take actions that carried the party towards those goals, but that the opposition party actually carried the nation closer to those stated goals. Their core beliefs are unchanged; they simply recognize that their party isn't living up to its own ideals.

    Lieberman looked at his party's stated goals, and realized he didn't agree with half of them. He actually changed his core beliefs, essentially abandoning his party's platform.