The confessions of a right-wing blogger and how it can help us save the country

I realize this is old news, the “defection” of right-wing blogger John Cole, who finally cracked and disowned the GOP. But I hadn’t read his post or Kos’ response, as busy as I was with GOTV work, “activist” blogging, being a daddy, and working. But the posts are important — stirring, even — a reminder at what we’re fighting for here in Montana and everywhere across the United States.

It started with Cole’s admitting he’d had it with supporting the Republican Party. The Shiavo debacle cracked him.

In short, it really sucks looking around at the wreckage that is my party and realizing that the only decent thing to do is to pull the plug on them (or help). I am not really having any fun attacking my old friends- but I don’t know how else to respond when people call decent men like Jim Webb a pervert for no other reason than to win an election. I don’t know how to deal with people who think savaging a man with Parkinson’s for electoral gain is appropriate election-year discourse. I don’t know how to react to people who think that calling anyone who disagrees with them on Iraq a “terrorist-enabler” than to swing back. I don’t know how to react to people who think that media reports of party hacks in the administration overruling scientists on issues like global warming, endangered species, intelligent design, prescription drugs, etc., are signs of… liberal media bias.

And it makes me mad. I still think of myself as a Republican- but I think the whole party has been hijacked by frauds and religionists and crooks and liars and corporate shills, and it frustrates me to no end to see my former friends enabling them, and I wonder ‘Why can’t they see what I see?” I don’t think I am crazy, I don’t think my beliefs have changed radically, and I don’t think I have been (as suggested by others) brainwashed by my commentariat.

I hate getting up in the morning, surfing the news, and finding more and more evidence that my party is nothing but a bunch of frauds. I feel like I am betraying my friends in the party and the blogosphere when I attack them, even though I believe it is they who have betrayed what ‘we’ allegedly believe in. Bush has been a terrible President. The past Congresses have been horrible- spending excessively, engaging in widespread corruption, butting in to things they should have no say in (like end of life decisions), refusing to hold this administration accountable for ANYTHING, and using wedge issues to keep themselves in power at the expense of gays, etc. And I don’t know why my friends on the right still keep fighting for these guys to stay in power. Why do they keep attacking decent people like Jim Webb- to keep this corrupt lot of fools in office? Why can’t they just admit they were sold a bill of goods and start over? Why do they want to remain in power, but without any principles? Are tax cuts that important? What is gained by keeping troops in harms way with no clear plan for victory? With no desire to change course? With our guys dying every day in what looks to be for no real good reason? Why?

I couldn’t have written a better diatribe against the GOP myself. And every single word of this impassioned post applies doubly to Conrad Burns. This is the struggle that Montana Republicans are having as they look at themselves in the mirror in the morning. They’ve got their cr*p Party and they’re terrified of voting for a Democrat.

Kos — who you might expect to whoop with glee at a conservative defection — actually sympathizes with Cole. You see, the great Wizard of Kos was once…*gasp*…a Republican!

Lest I come off as condescending or patronizing, please understand that I left the Republican Party in 1992 for pretty much the same reasons, if in a different era. It was at the height of the Christian Coalition’s rise to power. The deficit was a mess. The politics of Lee Atwater were dragging politics into the gutter — a foreshadowing of the Reign of Rove. And really, as socially liberal as I am, I am still and always will be a strong supporter of fiscal responsibility and a healthy, robust entrepreneurial business climate. I was a Libertarian Republican in a party already moving toward its present authoritarian foundation.

I was a precinct captain for the Republican Party at the age of 16. I campaigned for Bush Sr. I door knocked, phone banked, stuffed envelopes — whatever. I have a picture somewhere of me and Papa Bush, taken during one of his campaign swings through Illinois in 1988. I dug up an old comic book I had drawn together. In the dedication page, I dedicated it to the “Republican Party”.

And despite all that work, all the emotional investment, all the fights I had gotten into because of my trust in the GOP, I had to come to a realization that it was all for naught. That what I thought and hoped the Republican Party was about really, at the end of the day, was nowhere near the reality. Coming just two years after I tore myself away from the Catholic Church, I felt like everything I had believed in for so long was a cruel lie.
I could be flip and say, “come on in, the water’s fine on our side!” But first of all, it’s not like our party doesn’t have its own problems. And more importantly, partisan fealty (especially for us political junkies), like religion, goes much deeper than the intellect. It cuts to the very core of who we are, of how we define ourselves. That’s why for many of the disillusioned, it’s simply easier to tune out or become “independent” than it is to jump in bed with the other party.

Here’s the thing. We’re a country in crisis right now. We’re embroiled in a terrible war that’s draining our financial resources and slaughtering hundreds of thousands of innocents and destabilizing the most dangerous region in the world.

We’re in a constitutional crisis: our executive has attacked the very foundations of our legal tradition in habeas corpus. Forget all the other stuff, the torture bill allows the President to jail whomever he wants and ensures they’ll never see a trial or light of day. Even if they’re innocent. Or a political prisoner, not a criminal.

We’re in a financial crisis. Our budget deficit is alarming and growing rapidly. Spending is out of control. Tax cuts targeting the wealthiest in our country are irresponsible when the middle class is burdened by out-of-control housing and health-care costs, never mind working class families.

Our Congress is corrupt, our President incompetent. Conrad Burns and Dennis Rehberg are the worst of the worst. They’ve rubber-stamped every Bush foreign policy plan. They stood by and even supported the administration as it bungled the Iraqi occupation. They lard federal budgets with pork while cutting taxes and giving subsidies to multinational corporations. They take from creeps like Abramoff — Burns changed his vote for Abramoff, Rehberg made constituents use Abramoff clients to represent them in Congress.

You conservatives may not like everything the Democratic Party stands for, but right now we can’t afford six more years of Burns and two of Rehberg. We need to right the ship, address the crucial issues affecting the country. Once things are back on track we can resume our old squabbling, the little nitpicky issues we each obsess over. But right now it’s time to save this country.

  1. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers!

    Methinks the old pendulum is gonna hit some crooks SQUARE IN THE ARSE tonight! Burns anyway. Better late than never I guess. Reminds me of a good progressive friend I had a long time ago who actually voted for Nixon. I was dumbfounded. I couldn’t believe that he would do that. When I asked him why, he explained that Nixon would be SO bad that it would be the death of the Republican party. Well, he was almost right. It wasn’t Nixon though, IT WAS A SON OF A BUSH! Now, the folks responsible for this mess need to be put in jail. Like South Africa, we need a truth and reconcilaition committee. This cannot happen again in America. EVER! Sinclair Lewis was right. It CAN happen here, but only once! Now, Corny Burns, GET THEE TO JAIL!

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