My post on libertarians and Republicans, and ones like it on other sites, has generated a lot of response from folks arguing about whether there is a true schism emerging in the Republican Party. I am not a Republican, so I am not on the inside. Strong libertarians like me (read this if you want to know what that means) can pretty safely be treated as a fringe, so I haven't really been in a position to argue that the Republicans mights truly be in trouble.
However, yesterday I had the chance to interact with a number of family friends. Included were a number of men, many in their 60's-80's, who have been lifelong classic Chamber of Commerce Republicans, including two that ran Fortune 100 companies. These were classic red state Republicans, many of whom had been active in the party at some point in their lives. And, almost to a man, they were disenchanted with the Republicans. They cited trade protectionism, profligate spending, and Tom-DeLay-type capture by the system. These men, all who would call themselves religious, were frustrated at the apparent capture of the Party by religious interests.
Several of these folks pointed me to this editorial by John Danforth as representing what is frustrating them about the Administration and the Party.
During the 18 years I served in the Senate, Republicans often disagreed with
each other. But there was much that held us together. We believed in limited
government, in keeping light the burden of taxation and regulation. We encouraged
the private sector, so that a free economy might thrive. We believed that judges
should interpret the law, not legislate. We were internationalists who supported
an engaged foreign policy, a strong national defense and free trade. These were
principles shared by virtually all Republicans.
But in recent times, we Republicans have allowed this shared agenda to become
secondary to the agenda of Christian conservatives. As a senator, I worried
every day about the size of the federal deficit. I did not spend a single minute
worrying about the effect of gays on the institution of marriage. Today it seems
to be the other way around.
The historic principles of the Republican Party offer America its best hope
for a prosperous and secure future. Our current fixation on a religious agenda
has turned us in the wrong direction. It is time for Republicans to rediscover our roots.
For those of you who don't know and might mistake Mr. Danforth for some rampaging secularist, former Senator Danforth, beyond having gone to the greatest undergraduate institution in the world, is a pro-life ordained minister.
I encourage you to read it all.