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To be or not to be GOP…

09/02/2010

On January 24, Meghan McCain posted this entry on her Daily Beast blog. 
I love Meghan McCain. While I may not agree with most of her ideology our views coincide in a few key areas, and I think that she could take the GOP in a good direction if more of the old guard would be willing to listen to her. The linked post discusses once again the negativity that she faces from so many members of the GOP who find her “too moderate” to represent their interests, only this time she has posted her views according to the GOP’s own “litmus test”. Check out the post for her answers…
I decided that I wanted to go ahead and do the same. I am a fiscal moderate, after all, and a social liberal, and over the last 8-9 months I have struggled with my own political identity as I’ve felt the shift toward the center from my previous far, far left stance. So…below you’ll find the questions to the litmus test in bold, with my answers. I’ll add a point for every “yes” answer; totals are cumulative.
Do you believe in…
1. Smaller government, smaller national debt, lower deficits and lower taxes by opposing bills like Obama’s “stimulus” bill.
Yes and no. By being fiscally responsible and making wise appropriations we can reduce our national debt and cut taxes. President Obama’s stimulus bill did less for the people of this country than for the corporations, but a stimulus more geared to the people who are suffering would have been a responsible decision.
Total: .5
2. Market-based health-care reform and opposition to Obama-style government-run health care.
No. This is an area where I believe we need some intervention from the government to prevent extortion by insurance companies and continually rising costs of health care. We have price-inelastic demand for healthcare coupled with what has increasingly become a widespread inability to pay for the same. Something has to be done.
Total: .5
3. Market-based energy reforms by opposing cap-and-trade legislation.
No. The environment is one of my biggest issues (after foreign policy and defense), and cap and trade is the only way to encourage businesses to make the environmentally conscious decision rather than to pollute all they can. Progress is no longer progress when we lose our landscape, clean drinking water, and ignore research that has already suggested innovative ways to address global climate change. (For more information, pick up Superfreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Health Insurance.)
Total: .5 (Note: At this point I have already missed the threshold that President Reagan set forth, that anybody who agrees with 8/10 of these statements could be considered a friend rather than an opponent.)
4. Workers’ right to secret ballot by opposing card check.
Yes. I don’t think that workers should be exposed to retaliatory action by either employers or fellow employees for expressing their position on the presence of a labor union in their workplace.
Total: 1.5
5. Legal immigration and assimilation into American society by opposing amnesty for illegal immigrants.
No, because of the wording. I am completely in support of legal immigration and assimilation, but we need to have a more comprehensive immigration framework that allows undocumented immigrants the right to participate in an amnesty-to-citizenship process as well as systematically redefining the criteria for immigration and providing for stricter security standards. By extending amnesty to undocumented immigrants who are already in the country, we will know who is here and where they are, and we will keep children in complete households rather than continue to tear families apart.

Total: 1.5

6. Victory in Iraq and Afghanistan by supporting military-recommended troop surges.

No. Instead of continuing with troop surges we should seek international cooperation from our NATO partners in ISAF and other partners in the region to focus on state-building and transition of security operations to the Iraqi and Afghan people. The longer we remain entangled in the region, the more credibility and national security we sacrifice.

Total: 1.5

7. Containment of Iraq and North Korea, particularly effective action to eliminate their nuclear-weapons threat.

Yes, especially with regard to North Korea. We should continue to use diplomatic channels to discourage weapons development, but since Kim Jong-Il’s government has demonstrated an unwillingness to cooperate with international mandates and legislation already in place, we should not disregard the possibility of a more active containment policy. Of course…this would also mean that we need to expedite our disengagement with Afghanistan to alleviate the strain on our resources.

Total: 2.5

8. Retention of the Defense of Marriage Act.


No. No, no, definitely not. This is actually a contradiction to the idea of smaller government — we do not have the right to legislate marriage, nor does any person have the right to impede the right of two people who are of sound mind to enter into a marriage contract.


Total: 2.5 (Note: this, according to MMc, is the central issue of the litmus test. Regardless of her own score, 8/10, she posits that it is her response to this specific question that makes her an outsider in the GOP.)
9. Protecting the lives of vulnerable people by opposing health-care rationing and denial of health care and government funding of abortion.

Yes. While this is contradictory to the idea of eliminating government-run health care (hello, Medicare!) I think the Republicans actually have this one right. We have a responsibility to all of our citizens to provide the utmost level of health care and access to treatments, regardless of age or medical condition. Nobody should be denied medical care. Also, I know the abortion debate is heavy, and I personally believe that every woman has the right to make her own reproductive decisions. However, there are more effective methods of health care that can protect the mother without resulting in abortions, and I believe we should dedicate resources to effective sex education and expanding access to birth control to promote personal responsibility early on. I would much rather pay for a teenager’s birth control than for her abortion.

Total: 3.5

10. The right to keep and bear arms by opposing government restrictions on gun ownership.

Yes…and no. I believe in the Second Amendment, but I also believe that there are people in the country who through their own actions have abused that right and privilege, and should therefore not be allowed to enjoy it further. My own father is an example of this; much as I love him, I would fight any legislator in this country who would put forth that my father deserves to ever own a firearm again. Because of that, we do have to have some regulations to make sure that people who will actually take advantage of this right are not taking unfair advantage of it. I’m not talking about tracking and spying on gun owners; I’m just advocating responsible registration and background checks.

Total: 4


Verdict: Apparently, I am not a Republican. I do, however, lean more toward the center than many of my friends. I can’t consider it a tragedy that President Reagan and I would not have seen eye to eye, nor can I really mourn the fact that the GOP of today would never count me as one of their own. I am comfortable with where I am.


So, where do you fall?

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