An attempt to engage serious discussion
I live in a battleground state so I've seen both sides. I voted for two Republicans on November 2nd (Senator and state legislator) so I'm not completely opposed to what the elephants have to offer. I am opposed to much of the Bush Administration's more radical policies such as huge deficits and banning gay marriage.
I would like to invite some of the conservative members of this forum to engage in discussion of the following issues;
Limited government and small business
and maybe for good measure I'll add privatizing Social Security.
So here are my viewpoints on each of these.
1. Religion/morality. Spirituality is a wonderful thing, the feeling of living a good life and of leaving the world a better place by teaching your children well is a powerful motivator. However religious views run the gamut from Fred Phelps saying, "God hates fags" to the Unity and Unitarian Churches which welcome all seekers regardless of sexual orientation. Our constitutional Bill of Rights states that no law will be passed "respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." To me that means that Fred Phelp's church shouldn't be allowed to make their views on homosexuality the law of the land. It's pretty clear that a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage will never pass and I would agree that the Bill of Rights doesn't give marriage rights to gays. But there are situations every day when good people (who play on the "other team") are unable to visit loved ones in the hospital or help determine the course of care because they are not blood relatives.
I'm married with two kids and attend a church where about a third of the congregation enjoys an alternative life style, i.e. we have more than a few 2 Mom families. I believe it is incumbent upon us as a society to find some mechanism for these good people to be able to support each other in times of medical crisis. The objections I've heard to such from the right are based in irrational fears. Those religious institutions that have had problems with sexual abuse have been those which hide and condemn diversity of sexual orientation. My 14 year old son is in a confirmation class that's being taught by 2 gay men and 2 straight men and it seems what he's learning is not to be afraid of differences in orientation. To me that's a good thing.
2. Natural resource utilization; George Bush is an oil man and to the right it seems the solution to the problem of limited natural resources is find more. That has worked OK in the past. But despite the fact that greenhouse gases are accumulating in our atmosphere and the 1990s was the warmest decade on record, the scientists on the right say we cannot conclude that one caused the other. OK, but it seems that something is happening and we should be cognizant of the fact that we are increasing climate risk in ways we don't understand. Perhaps fostering use of more efficient vehicles would be smart?
Then again the sleeping giant is awakening, they are selling a lot of cars in China. Competition for crude oil is heating up and the era of cheap energy is over. Finding more oil now will bring resources that are too small on line too late to be much help. The market may have beat ,our government to the punch, with crude over $50 a bbl sales of large SUVs and trucks are down significantly. I think our country would have been better served by a government that encouraged research into alternative fuels and higher efficiency vehicles because then we'd have more products available now. Instead there's 6 months to a year wait to buy a Prius.
3. The Democrats have not been viewed as a friend of small business. They have been too sympathetic to labor unions to have credibility with most business leaders. The times really have changed here and the middle ground must be found to ease restrictions on small businesses in order to foster job growth. Big companies can always hire a lawyer, it's the little guys who get crushed by regulation. Still job sites need to be safe and health care is a growing issue for the working poor.
4. It seems President Bush hasn't seen a spending bill he didn't like. If the definition of liberal is a political leader who runs up big deficits then Bush is the most liberal President we've had since FDR. The debt we are running up now won't be paid off by my kids, maybe my grandchildren. Privatizing Social Security will require another $1 Trillion of federal debt to implement. That is madness to consider at this time.
The one thing that seems to come out of these views is that the Bush Administration is very poor at planning. They've botched the war in Iraq, they didn't plan for the oil shortage and they've run up enormous deficits. So why are conservatives glad this guy was reelected???? More important what can be done to improve their performance? It seems Bush feels he has a mandate to do whatever he wants and he hasn't demonstrated a willingness to work with the left to craft legislation that finds a consensus. He has been a divider not a uniter.
My $.02, your thoughts,