I prefer the democratic party. American politics are really a joke. The "liberal" democrats are too lenient with social policy, and the "conservative" republicans are too religious, historically poor in performance (since the definitions of liberal and conservative have changed and the parties have realigned), and too much in favor of corporate interests. I assess candidates rather than parties as well. I don't see how the republican party could serve my interests being pro-life, pro-christian, anti-gay rights (I'm not gay, I just think gays should be awarded the dignity everyone else is given), pro-gun, pro-death penalty. An atheist republican is sort of an oxymoron. The parties of modern America have misconstrued and altered the proper ideals of liberalism and conservatism, so I too pick the lesser of two evils. Or at least I try.
If you are a fiscal conservative and you make under 5 million dollars per year, you aught to consider voting for Obama as he will save you money in both the short and the long term. Go look up his proposed tax cuts versus McCain.
I encourage you all to engage in a historical inquiry into the "free-market economy" and what happens when our country flirts with the idea of Laissez-faire capitalism.
I also encourage you to look beyond just what you are taxed and examine what "conservative" deficit spending and gross military spending has done to our economy. It has been the policy of republican administrations since Nixon to privatize our government at the expense of our people while plunging us into an mind boggling abyss of debt from which our children will probably never recover. We pay $406,000,000,000 dollars per year just in interest on our $9,500,000,000,000 debt. To give you some idea of the scale of our interest payments, they equal about 8% of our national budget.
Let that sink in for a moment.
We give 1% to the environment and 3% to education. %0.9 to agriculture and %2.5 to "vetrans benefits" (I hear they aren't very beneficial)
And this money isn't doing ANYTHING for you. Imagine if every year the president of the United States and Congress got together and just burned $406 BILLION dollars on the White House lawn and toasted marshmallows on it.
There is absolutely nothing fiscally conservative about being a Republican.
Here is the long and the short of it. We've been on vacation for thirty-some-odd years in this country and now we have to shovel shit to get out. Pull on your hip waders. We will either leave Iraq, quit starting wars, cut spending, raise taxes and pay off our debt or we will be crushed under it and our country will fail. The "Magical Fairies" option where small people with wings wave magic wands and absolve us of a 9 trillion dollar debt seems almost too unlikely to bother mentioning. But there you have it.
Now, I may be way off base here. What (if anything) have I claimed that is not accurate? I have honestly attempted to understand conservative thinking unsuccessfully for years now and it's not sinking in how the methodology of Regan, Bush I and Bush II are saving us money and strengthening our country as they allow wages to stagnate, jobs to leave for foreign shores, multinationals to flourish without paying taxes and the middle class to foot the bill. Not to mention starting wars, "losing" 200 billion dollars in Iraq (oops, it was here just a second a go,) no bid contracts, private armies of "contractors," corporate personhood, lying, stealing... where in this are we saving money? Was it the $600 kicker check? At the same time, every man, woman and child paid out (on average) $1348 to cover the national debt.
The "free-market economy" is a fairy tale.
Wake up guys. =P
I consider myself republican for the most part. The main thing about that party that bothers me is, of course, the religious aspect of the party. So really, I don't think it is possible for an atheist to be 100 percent republican.
To me - classical conservatism means 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it.' Conversely, it decidedly allows for 'if the wheels are fallin' of the wagon - damn well better fix it.'
The mantra of 'smaller government' is pure bullshit whenever it comes out of the mouth of a politician. Total conflict of interest there - and it's never true. They just have different ideas about what part of government should get bigger.
I don't consider myself conservative or liberal - though there are plenty who would love to label me. Interesting, though, depending on what they've heard me say - and what they consider themselves - they may go either way.
If it's not broken, we might still be able to improve it. If it is broken, get over your ideology and offer a solution. If your solution doesn't fix the problem, try something else.
BTW - Hitchens is quite capable of being an idiot and a jackass. But like my dad always told me, anyone who says they don't have an asshole is full of shit.
Oh - and doing the prudent thing - like tell boys to wear condoms when they have sex - is the prudent thing to do. Wisdom is never achieved by slapping blinders on anyone's eyes. Whenever I hear someone say we shouldn't do something sensible because it will send the wrong message - I immediately refuse to vote for them ever again.
F of A - your response is overly simply. Why would you claim that belonging to a political party makes someone a simpleton. Perhaps someone feels that by joining and supporting a party they can accomplish a greater good. The choice of a political party membership can be a practical choice.
The only power of a "party", is in adherence to the "party ideology". I, for myself, do not equivocate on my positions; especially not for group acceptance/membership.
To feel that a party that supports ideological positions, that the individual does not/cannot support, but is for the "greater good" ... I can't even get my head around that, other than to say, hypocrisy and equivocation.
Joining a party doesn't mean that you agree with everything the party stands for. It also doesn't mean that you sopport everyone in the party.
That's called denial of individual responsibility and even worse: "tacit approval". That's the problem of membership, it forces you into supporting things you would not otherwise, logically, support.
If that is not the case, why don't you become a member of church? I'm certain there are any number of things the church supports that you would find logical; so even if you don't support the minister/preacher, the deacons, the bishops, you can still make the assumption that the church, with your tacit approval, is still for the "greater good"?
"Religion" by any other name, is still religion. Call it political ideology if you feel the need, but it is religion, just the same.
With regards to health care, every other civilized and 1st world country out there has some form of Universal, single-payer or socialized medicine/health care. And all the problems that are associated with that form of healthcare are just false.
None of those countries have the geographic expanse and the demographic diversity of the U.S. So that argument fails. None of those countries have an economy with the kind of power that our's has had; although, it is likely that is a thing of the past.
Also, many of those same countries have had, since WWII, more of our money for their national defense than many of them spend from their own coffers. Which just happens to be why our Defense budget is so inordinately high, although no one cares to talk about this fact.
Canadians aren't irresponsible because they have free health care, in fact they are MORE healthier then Americans, same goes for about every other country, I think even Costa-Rica has a higher health rating then the US.
Neither does Canada have our population by number, nor the demographic diversity, nor the illegal alien problems; all of which directly affect "statistical" representations of "overall health". If our "healthcare" is so bad, why is it that our biggest problem is Medicare because we have an "aging populace" ...
Another thing to consider: name another country that receives more self-exiled aliens than the U.S. Summarily, you can't. Yet, you do not see anyone jumping in a boat or jumping in a prop plane seeking to escape the oppression of America. Especially like Mexicans, Cubans, Haitian who risk their lives just to get here.
What's wrong with the system in this country isn't health"care"; it is health insurance regulation by States that prevent proper competition, it is Torts Laws, (i.e. a dumbfuck can spill hot coffee in their lap and sue and receive a 1.5 million dollar award), and it is most certainly those geitenneuker's that we call "lawyers", "attorneys" along with a populace that is as corrupt and uneducated as any in all known third world countries.
I agree. The Republican Party used to stand for protection against a big government that would encroach on people's personal freedoms, against big government and big taxes. I would have considered myself a Republican perhaps. But as a gay, atheist, and liberal, I cannot support a party that is overrun by Conservative fanatics who would inhibit my personal freedoms and make the rich richer and the poor poorer.
The Republican Party and liberalism did not use to be mutually exclusive, but today I don't see how any responsible-minded liberal could vote for a Republican.
That is except for Ron Paul of course. I feel bad for him though haha. He is most definitely a libertarian, but wouldn't get elected to anything if he didn't call himself a Republican or a Democrat.