Maybe I should join the Republicans. If the Democrats are so feckless as to let Bush be elected twice, why stick with them? Given that the Republicans have what it takes and the Dems don’t, wouldn’t I have more say on public policy and the next president as a Republican than as a Democrat? In 2008, the Republicans are going to nominate the next president, and the votes for him that count are in the Republican primaries.
There’s good work to be done as a Republican, too. Republican principles could be put to good use. Let’s run down some issues.
The Republicans passed No Child Left Behind. The Republican principle of accountability demands that we also fully fund it.
Parents should have more choices in their childrens’ public education. Democrats are afraid to say that because it could rile up conservative hostility toward the NEA, aka “terrorists.” As a Republican, I would be able to call for more parent choice without betraying a major supporter of my party.
As a Republican, I’d support states’ rights. And that’s not just code for “discrimination.” It’s the real deal.
So I’d call for the State Department to end its legal attacks against medical marijuana and euthenasia. No one’s constitutional rights are being violated by these state laws, so there’s no reason for the federal government to interfere in these state matters.
Same for gay marriage. Marriage is a state issue. I like the Constitution as it was written, not with a sectarian, anti-gay-marriage amendment tacked on.
Free Market Policy
As a Republican, I would see that free market capitalism has been vindicated. I’d support free markets across the globe, including in the US.
I’d oppose increases to the federal minimum wage. States are free to set higher minimum wages if they like, and many already do.
Citizens should be free to make their own free market decisions about drugs from Canada. They should be able to choose whether to buy goods from Cuba and whether to travel there and spend their private cash. Goods, money, ideas, and people should flow freely.
I’d work to end the dumping of US agricultural produce onto third world markets, where it drives down the price of food, makes farming less profitable, and results in continued food shortages. When we help people in poor countries get food, we should do it by buying food regionally or by supplying goods that support locals farms rather than undermine them (farm machinery, fertilizer, pesticide, etc.). For that matter, I’d work to end domestic farm subsidies, which make it harder for farmers in poor countries to sell us their produce.
I’d work to repeal laws against consensual market transactions, such as prostitution and selling pot.
I’d eliminate government programs that interfere with free market decisionmaking, such as various forms of corporate welfare and subsidy.
The current health insurance system places the burden on employers. It makes life especially hard for entrepreneurs and small business owners. As a Republican, I’d recognize that entrepreneurs and small business owners are a boon to our economy, and I’d campaign to take the health care burden off employers by instituting federal health insurance for all. Currently, we spend one-fourth of our health care dollars on paperwork on administration, while Medicare spends only 3% on administration. A more efficient, federal healthcare system would free up money for the rest of the economy.
Since we know that innovation is the key to continued economic success, I would support stem cell research and therapeutic cloning.
The government has no place making personal medical decisions for private citizens. Bush charges the Democrats with wanting to put bureaucrats in charge of your personal health decisions, but as a Republican I would leave these decisions up to you. As such, I would call for ending legal opposition to abortion and euthenasia.
While no limited-government conservative would want the State telling the individual what medical procedures to have or not have, I would still recognize abortions as unfortunate and work to make them less common. First order of business would be getting the morning-after pill through the federal bureaucracy so that single women who make the mistake of having unprotected sex can avoid pregnancies that would otherwise end in abortions. Aggressive contraceptive education would be next.
Simpler Tax Code
With Bush, I’d like to simplfy our tax code. Item number one: cut the deduction for home mortgage interest payments. This deduction is a tremendous give-away to millionaires, money in the bank for the middle class, and nothing for the people that need money the most.
Here in Washington state, I’d call for the elimination of the B&O tax (“business and operations”). B&O is charged as a percentage of your business’s volume, not profit. Your first year in business, you could lose money and then owe B&O on top of that. B&O is a tax on businesses and especially on entrepreneurs. There’s got to be a better way to raise the revenue.
With Rumsfeld, I’d call for a more efficient, streamlined military. First step, dump SDI, the “Star Wars” defense. Why is it called the “Star Wars” defense system? Because it was cool in the 70s.
I’d pull most of our troops out of Iraq. We took out Saddam, and the world should be grateful. But it’s stupid to have our mili tary tied down in a nation-building project. That’s what the UN is for. We should pull out and get ready for the next time the world needs a little bit of American can-do.
The Republican ideal of accountability means that I’d call for Rumsfeld’s resignation. Now if he’s actually learned from his mistakes and acknowledges them, then he doesn’t have to go. After all, screwing up in a big way can be an important learning opportunity. If Rumsfeld demonstrates that he’s learned his lesson by laying out to the citizenry the mistakes he’s made, apologizing, and resolving not to repeat these mistakes, then he can stay.
As a conservative, I would support the long-established understanding of the 2nd Amendment, that it applies to state militias, rather than the novel one championed by Ashcroft.