Posted by Brad @ 1:21 am on September 15th 2012

Why I’m a Registered Republican

I have my own reasons – and I’ve been a Republican since the day I turned 18. But I also completely identify with Tod Kelly’s reasons for switching his own registration this week.

So Iím going to be a Republican, and Iím going to cast my primary vote for the most fiscally conservative, grounded in reality, non-magical believing candidate thatís thrown his or her hat into the ring. I trust the Democrats in Oregon to put up a quality candidate with Big Ideas, even if many of those ideas are terrible. I donít trust Republicans in Oregon to put up a quality candidate to be the adult voice of reason that demands careful consideration of those Big Ideas. So Iím going to make sure that someone who would be that candidate gets at least one vote.

Look, the Republican party is basically crazy. I get that. Nobody can accuse me of hypocrisy during Republican rule; there is no bigger Republican basher than I.

But, their basic core – their basic, linchpin argument – is that the seat of sovereignty is the individual, and that government exists, primarily, to protect that sovereignty. And I will never get past that, if it’s not first and foremost. I am a Jeffersonian, through and through.

But nearly equal to that, I don’t fear partisanship, particularly; I don’t fear divided government, or one party or the other creating tar pits against change. What I fear are the sort of conditions following 911, that brought us the Patriot Act, the 2002 elections, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and how those were initiated and developed in the early years. I believe, deeply, in the need for a principled and robust opposition – even when I think that opposition is wrong. I cite Kip’s Law a lot, or the idea that we should do X because it solves for those asshole Republicans/Democrats who have screwed everything up and X will totally work great because only Democrats/Republicans will be in charge1 I cite it because I find that notion a lot dumber than just about any other unexamined conceit in politics. Anybody who roots for the opposition party to put up the worst possible candidate because then they’ll be easier to beat is, to me, a complete jagoff, who cares more about party than country.

Mostly, I believe that it’s the tension between competing viewpoints – that is not the same as bipartisanship – that is the secret to our success. I can think of a helluva lot of examples of government/nations/societies that have devolved into horrible things because one party took over rulership and were able to accomplish everything they wished. I can think of very, very few that devolved because people argued too much or the minority opposition was too damn obstinate.

So I remain a Republican, and in every primary election, I research candidates and pull the trigger for the Republican I like the best. In many cases, that is a Republican who I still will vote against in the general election (Arlen Spector/Pat Toomey comes to mind) – but I feel that that vote is worth just as much as most of my general elections lever-pulls. My general election voting record is, at this point, completely all over the place. But I’m proud to be a Republican, and I’m a committed primary voter, and most of all, I reject the notion, put forward to me by a lot of people, that because most Republicans are assholes, I should never vote for any (or, the corollary, that a vote for any Republican is essentially a tactic endorsement of the worst of Republicanism).

I am proud that Mitt Romney won the Republican nomination, in a weird way (and in a totally relative sense). I have absolutely no plans to vote for him.

Those are not mutually exclusive thoughts.

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