I guess. Sort of.
It’s been a few years since the Democratic Party abandoned its historic commitment to the growth of human rights and liberalism abroad.
Not all Democrats abandoned it, of course, but the “grass roots base” that now dominates the Party advocates a decreased American global footprint—economically, militarily, diplomatically, you name it, they want to reduce it. This faction is, in my opinion, the single most dangerous political group in the U.S. today. They are not, of course, the craziest (after all, Larouche and his ilk keep rearing their heads), but danger arises through a combination of bad ideas and access to power. These folks have long pushed bad ideas. It is only over the past few years, however, that they have seized control of one of our major political parties. And that makes them very, very dangerous.
The desire to reduce America’s global footprint is ass-backwards. We should be expanding as quickly as possible in every sphere. Military engagement is necessary to secure the country and to continue the battle against Islamofacism and other anti-liberal forces. Diplomatic engagement is crucial to enlisting allies of our own in this struggle, and to convince others that they share our interest in an increasingly liberal world. Economic engagement is the only way to ensure American leadership not only in economics and finance, but also in technology and innovation. The Democratic faction pushing in the opposite direction will erode the world’s prospects for a future of freedom and prosperity. And no Democrat, including those who do know better, will be able to govern without their support.
In January 2005, after a lifetime as an active Democrat, I realized that the Party had abandoned many of the critical values that had long attracted me. The lukewarm response to Bush’s Second Inaugural, coupled with the elevation of Howard Dean to the position of DNC Chair, told me that I had been correct: the 2004 election was the last opportunity to keep the populist, leftist wing from controlling the party. I quietly reregistered as an independent.
During the summer of 2006, the Democratic faithful knocked Senator Joe Lieberman out of the Party during the Connecticut primary. His sin? Fidelity to liberal values around the globe and at home. I stayed a registered independent, but dropped the quiet part. I issued a proud Declaration of Independents.
With the 2006 election cycle complete, I turned my attention to the field of 2008 Presidential contenders. I saw two candidates—and only two candidates—who instilled me with confidence about their ability to perform during this critical juncture in our history. Both were Republicans: Rudy Giuliani and John McCain. Both men represented the ability to do two important things: First and foremost, I believe that they are capable of defending American interests abroad while promoting the growth of global liberalism. Second, they represent an opportunity to wrest control of the Republican Party from its social conservative wing—a faction that, until recently, I considered the most dangerous part of the American polity. I determined to vote in the Republican primary.
I maintained my Independent registration because despite the Democrats many efforts to chase me away, the Republicans have not yet done much to woo me. In fact, every now and again, they seem to go out of their way to chase me back (see e.g., immigration policy). Today, I learned that, in a rather cynical ploy, the California Republican Party has decided to change longstanding rules: it will not allow Independents to vote in its upcoming primary.
There is really only one explanation for this change: It is a rearguard effort by factions, still powerful within the State Party, desperate to hold control. If they succeed—and if they succeed nationwide—Americans will be caught with an untenable choice, a choice that could persist for decades. We could be forced to choose between a Democratic Party hellbent on making the world poorer and more dangerous and a Republican Party hellbent on making life at home less tolerant and less comfortable. The best way out of this logjam is to challenge the currently weaker dangerous faction from within its own party.
As a result, I have changed my party affiliation. So now I’m a Republican.Don’t make me sorry.