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The first time I ever voted in an election was in 1984, and that vote was cast for Ronald Reagan. Unfortunately I have not had the honor of voting for anyone even close to his caliber since. In my mind, he was and is everything that Republican should be. I wish that were the case to the GOP. I’ve heard that the establishment never really liked Reagan, and have abandoned true conservatives since the defeat of Goldwater in ’64.
Since 1984, I have voted Republican except in 1996 and 2008. In 1996 I voted for Harry Browne, Libertarian and author of the book “Why Government Doesn’t Work“. I supported Harry Browne in 1996, and yes, I support Ron Paul now.
In 2008 I voted on every issue and every race except for President. I loath John McCain. I believe that Barack Obama won in 2008 not because he was such a great leader or speaker, but rather because McCain was so completely wrong. The best thing McCain had going for him was Sarah Palin. Conservatives did not like McCain, and although he won the nomination, he never had the support of the base. The angry white RiNO was never going to win, and that was obvious when his campaign became one of defending Obama and not bringing real solutions to the table.
I would never have voted for Obama, and I will not in 2012. The man had no experience, and when our nation needed leadership, he is what we got. Of course his politics are pretty far removed from mine as well. I am not liberal. I lean libertarian, so there are issues I agree with liberals on, but my distrust of big government runs far too deep.
The primaries are going, and the race is down to Romney or Gingrich. If Paul is still in I will vote for him in the primary, and in the general I will vote for Romney or Gingrich. I’m not thrilled by either, and I am left wondering if the GOP isn’t going to see itself fall apart.
Simply put, the GOP has become Liberal Lite. In the absence of the Soviet threat, and holding a disdain for Goldwater and Reagan, it is a party that has lost its soul. You are not the party of vision when what you stand for is nothing more than “We aren’t them”. Everything else is just lip service. The party of small government and less regulation has grow government and increased regulation, but to a lesser degree than the Democrats. Democrat Lite!!!
At a time when many in this country still subscribe to the Reagan Revolution, to the ideals of the Republic, it seems both parties are intent on growing government. The Tea Party emerged not out of the GOP, but out of the people who observed a government that no longer reflected the will of the people. Most Americans agree with the Tea Party. In many ways the Occupy Movement reflects the same frustrations from the base of the other side. Big government is rightly perceived as a threat, and a pawn to big business and big labor. The people are betrayed, and it is time to reclaim our birthright.
Gingrich is the face of the post Reagan GOP, that gave lip service to the Gipper but followed corruption. The GOP failed in their contract with America. They did keep Clinton in check, thus his legacy is greater than it should have been, but for all the opportunity, the GOP went for power over principle. In going after Clinton and not just keeping him in check, they laid the groundwork for what was later seen with the Democrats accusing Bush of masterminding 9-11. Of course they also said he was the village idiot. Politics doesn’t always make sense.
Romney is the face of the GOP today. He is not a conservative. I know what he says, but how much does it really mean? I have no issue with the concept that what is fine at the state level is not fine on a federal level, and thus I can overlook RomneyCare. I believe he will work to overturn ObamaCare. He will not fulfill the ideals of the Reagan Revolution. He will not work to restore our rights. He will not work to scale back government. He is better equipped to deal with our economic reality than our current president, but he is no Reagan.
So liberal lite, or conservative? Conservatives are the single largest ideological group. The future of the GOP hinges on that question, and if it is the former and not the latter, the GOP will go the way of the Whigs.