A Party of Principles


I was a Republican long before I was a conservative. Heck, I was a Republican well before I could even vote. When I was a young child, I was asked some questions about the president that went like this:

Q: Where does the president live?

Me: In the White House.

Q: And what is the president’s job?

Me: To keep the Democrats out of the building.

(True story)

As a little kid, I didn’t really understand all the policy implications of tax cuts, deregulation, or building up the military, but I knew Democrats shouldn’t be in power.

Much latter in life I started thinking about why that is; why is it better for Republicans to run the government, not Democrats. That’s when I truly became a conservative.

I read the men and women who have spent their lives discovering political truths; I read Hayek, Mills, Burke, Friedman, Locke, Goldberg, Cooke, Kristol, Shapiro, Krauthammer, and many more. I thought about the morality of taxes, the excessive burden of regulation, and the importance of national defense.

All of this made me an even more committed Republican. I knew that Republicans weren’t perfect, but that in any given race the Republican was more conservative than the Democrat. Wherever I was, whatever the election was for, I could confidently cast my ballot for the Republican nominee. I might prefer a Texas Republican to a New Jersey Republican, but a moderate New Jersey Republican would be better than a far left New Jersey Democrat any day of the week.

That formula held true for most of my life. Some Republicans were more accepting of big government spending than others, some were less willing to roll back government interference in our lives than others, but they all had a base level of decency and commitment to the ideals that make our country exceptional.

That has begun to change. Last year, Republicans nominated and elected a president who openly envies dictators and admitted to sexually assaulting numerous women. Today, that same president tweeted out his continued support for a Senate candidate who was twice removed from office for violating his oath even before it was revealed he is a pedophile.

That Alabama seems likely to elect Moore is a further stain on the GOP, and will be used against every Republican running for office nationwide. If Moore wins, every Republican candidate will be asked if they support a pedophile, almost certainly costing them seats just like Todd Akin did. Is that really worth keeping a Democrat out of the Senate for three years?

But such utilitarian calculations should not even be necessary. What happened to the party of principles, to the party of character?

If the only goal is keeping Democrats out of the building, the Socialist Party USA is accepting new members. Join them.

If you are a Republican, you likely had a visceral reaction to the idea of joining the socialist party. I hated writing it, because socialists are everything I am against. But the important factor is what they and I stand for, not the party label. If a member of the Republican Party opposes religious liberty, supports abortion or socialized medicine, advocates for a strong man government, or is of low character, we should oppose them just as if they had checked the box marked Democrat.

Otherwise, why be a Republican?