Is there really such a thing as a "Progressive Republican"?The Price of Admission
July 1, 2009
Do social liberals have a place in the modern Republican Party?
That is the question that I and Mike from the Big Stick have been trying to answer. In a recent post, Mike had this to say about social liberals (meaning, those in favor of same-sex marriage or abortion rights):
"The Republican Party can always use more members and if they can be convinced to pull the lever for Republican candidates most of the time, that’s a good thing. What continues to concern me though is what Dennis’ idea of ‘accept’ means. Does it mean that we will accept social liberals in the way that they were accepted 30 years ago? That would mean taking their vote on matters of fiscal policy, national security and some domestic issue while losing it on abortion and gay marriage. That’s an arrangement I can certainly live with."
What I think Dennis is looking for is not just mere acceptance of social liberals. He wants the Republican Party adopt their positions, or at least move significantly towards them. That is a desire I have a lot of trouble embracing. I will be the first to admit that Republican does not have to equate to conservative. That’s probably why I will always call myself a conservative first and a Republican second because for me personally the conservatism is more important and the party is simply a vehicle for carrying it forward. But even if we allow for more ‘moderate’ views within the GOP, do abortion rights and gay marriage fit within a reasonable Republican platform?
So, Mike thinks its a good thing to be accepting of people who might have different views on social issues, but just don’t start getting uppity and ask to change things.
Part of Mike’s reasoning is that opposition to gay marriage, heck opposition to being gay is part and parcel of the Republican way of living. I know that I should read more of the conservative greats like Edmund Burke or Russell Kirk, but I’m pretty sure they had very little to say on those issues.
The reason the current GOP tends to be against gay rights as a whole is not because it was that way from the beginning, but because social conservatives got organized and became involved in local and state parties as well as making changes in the national party’s platform.
Mike also is not very approving of the fact that I or others might want to press for change in the GOP. I would love if the GOP were gay-friendly, but I would be happy if it just adopted a live-and-let-live policy. On abortion, even though I tend to be pro-choice, I respect my friends that are pro-life and think they have good points. I just wish that we would allow that those who are pro-choice be respected and not driven out of the party.
And this is the problem: social conservatism has become the price of admission for taking part in the GOP. I’ve heard more than one person say that everyone is welcome to be a part of the Republican Party, as long as one doesn’t touch was has become the keystone of the modern GOP, social conservatism.
Of course, what is happening is that more and more people are scoffing at paying the price. I’ve known too many of my fellow gay men and lesbians who would be great Republicans, but have left the party or will never join because of the intolerant atmosphere they percieve coming from the GOP. There are also too many young folks who see such intolerance as straight-up hate, having nothing to do with being Republican or conservative. As Ian Tanner recently noted:
When it comes to personal politics, my generation is much more in favor of socially liberal record. One of the biggest issues is Gay Marriage. Im not going to give my opinion on the subject just yet, that’s another post in the work- but I will say civil unions are a joke.
Yes, I do want change in the GOP when it comes to gay issues. What does it have to do with my Republican values? Everything. This party was started in part on the issue of slavery, or more to the point on finding ways to abolish slavery. This party began by believing in simple equality, hardly a leftish notion. But somehow, we have forgotten those values and now think that there are some people that are “second-class.” We have candidates that run on “traditional values” and spread fear about those who are simply different. I think the party should be supportive or two people entering into a conserving institution like marriage.
Yeah, I want to change things in the GOP. Is that bad? No. Social conservatives have been doing that for 30 years.
Have a problem with that? Tough. It’s my party too.http://progressiverepublican.info/2009/ ... admission/The fundies who control the GOP despise the "centrists." If the centrists are now second-class citizens, what does that make the "progressive republicans" (besides an oxymoron)?