“I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.”
~ Barry Goldwater
You and I don’t always see eye to eye. Our ideologies, opinions, and approach to governing often differ, and occasionally our passions get the best of us. But first and foremost, I hope you will agree – we are both Americans, wanting what is best for our country.
Membership within the Republican Party appears to be increasingly exclusive. So before proceeding, let’s talk about you, the intended recipient of this letter…
Although more modern, you are an “Old School” Republican, predating 1980 revisions…
- You value freedom and equality, the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
- You are fiscally conservative. You support limited government, limited taxation, and a balanced budget.
- You are not conservative socially. Regardless of opinions and traditions, you recognize supporting small government includes supporting a woman’s right to choose, to make her own healthcare decisions.
- You support the separation of church and state. You believe Leviticus should not govern American policy and citizens. Consenting adults should be free to marry who they love, regardless of sexual preference.
- You are informed and decent. You believe President Obama is a Christian, born in the United States.
You, my Old School Republican friend, are not so very different from my parents, so please understand – I respect and appreciate your America. Although I am a Democrat, I share a similar dream.
It is because of our shared values that I am reaching out to you, specifically, why I am asking you to put party affiliation aside and hear my concerns with an unfiltered ear…
Politics aside, I hope we can agree on the following.
When Barack Obama became President in January 2009, he inherited:
- Two wars
- Unpaid tax cuts
- A financial crisis caused largely by deregulation in the banking and mortgage industries
- An economy hemorrhaging over 500K jobs a month
- And a stock market in free fall
To be fair, Democrats and Republicans, alike, had fingerprints all over the problems Obama inherited. Leading up to 2008, Democrats too voted for wars, deregulation, and tax cuts that contributed to the mounting debt.
While the degree of responsibility may vary, had Democrats stood by their convictions, not been so intimidated during the Bush years, the financial crisis could have been minimized or avoided all together. There’s enough blame to go around.
But this is 2013. And from my perspective, the question is no longer, who caused the crisis (because make no mistake, we’re still dealing with the same crisis)…
Instead, I’m asking – Who took action and most effectively dealt with the mess?
I understood Obama would be tasked with addressing the failures of the prior Administration: poorly managed wars that led to the loss of American lives, the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and a decimated middle class on life support.
Despite the crisis Obama inherited, I also recognized that investments in America, like extending unemployment benefits, providing additional tax cuts, and saving the auto industry, were necessary to avoid calamity.
Unfortunately for the Republican establishment, I also realized something they’re desperately banking on us to forget…
The trajectory of Bush’s debt (charted above) doesn’t change unless his policies are reversed.
In 2008, I knew that ending 2 wars, implementing financial regulations, and restoring the middle class wouldn’t be easy tasks, especially when faced with deep-rooted unemployment, a housing crisis and special interests with bottom lines.
Despite the toxicity of politics and corruption in Washington DC, I genuinely believed the Senator from Illinois would prevail.
Four years later, I’m happy to report: Obama delivered. And it’s not a question of opinion. It’s a matter of fact.
Because of Obama / Democratic efforts:
- One war is over and another is ending.
- More homes are being sold, values are on the rise, and foreclosure filings are at their lowest point in five years.
- Consumer protections against predatory banking are being implemented.
- The hemorrhaging of jobs in the private sector has been mended by 32 months of continued job growth.
- The rates of annual spending, revenue, and budget deficits have all decreased to levels not seen since before Eisenhower.
- And as an added bonus…
- The American auto industry is back on top
- Bin Laden in dead
- And America is more respected in the world
Are Obama’s policies perfect or complete? No, far from it… But I don’t blame the President or Democrats for policy shortcomings. At least they were present and accounted for…
Other than vilifying the President and terrifying the electorate on Fox News, where were the Republicans from 2009 to 2012? Because their actions reveal they certainly weren’t accepting responsibility or giving a damn about America…
- Republicans engaged in record-breaking obstructionism. They rejected bills they once sponsored, turned the Senate into minority rule, and blocked job creating efforts that prolonged high unemployment.
- Republicans incited unnecessary panic by threatening to default on debt and shut down government, causing S&P to downgrade the US credit rating, which further depressed consumer confidence and impeded economic growth and hiring.
- Republicans have repeatedly held the middle class hostage, insisting the Bush tax cuts need to be extended for the wealthy “job creators”. Yet they ignore an inconvenient fact – the Bush Tax cuts did not net a single job, and the rich have only gotten richer.
Why is it acceptable that the political party that spearheaded the wars and financial crisis refused to pay down their debt? And why did they only become sanctimoniously prudent with spending when Main Street needed them most?
It’s not the politics of Washington DC I find upsetting. The reason I’m writing you is to point out – The Republican weapon of choice against Barack Obama is America.
Whether you’ve voted Republican, Independent, or Democratic in the past, we all complain about corruption in politics, a government that no longer works for the people but against us. But seldom is the corruption so blatant, insulting, and egregious.
We can reward government malpractice, fortifying corruption and greed into the system by not holding Republicans in office accountable. Or, we can dream again and celebrate Democracy. We can send a message to Washington DC. tailored for the Republican Party in 2013…
This is America, a land of principles and character. I reject extremism, refuse to be frightened, and I won’t reward incompetence.
Help me help you. If you value the Republican brand: reject extremism and intolerance, a government that intrudes into the lives of citizens and regulates the pursuit of happiness. Support politicians that work for the people, not against them. Hit reset on the Republican Party, and take back a brand that is rightfully yours.
As a liberal, I’m sometimes dramatic and verbose. This letter is certainly no exception… Regardless, thank you for your objectivity and consideration.
Your Republican pragmatism is appreciated, now more than ever…
Your old friend,