Mark Rosenfelder has a post up about what Arlen Spector’s switch to the Democratic Party means. I won’t repeat what he says other than to say that I don’t think Olympia Snowe will be changing parties and that his defection adds another obstacle in front of the upcoming Supreme Court nomination.
He also says that there is a new Republican Party will eventually revitalize the GOP, and I agree. The real principles of conservatism— personal responsibility, small government, fiscal responsibility, personal freedom, respect for existing institutions, and so on— are not unreasonable in of themselves. The problem is, the GOP does not actually stand for those things:
- Personal responsibility: they approve of refusal clauses that allow pharmacists to avoid doing their jobs even though they knew what they were getting into when they voluntarily took up their job.
- Small government: both of the big parties do not actually make the government smaller; instead what they do is shift the government around, making the net result be a choice between big government and large government.
- Fiscal responsibility: it’s simple math. If the government gets less because it cut taxes, it also has to give less by cutting spending. Anything else results in a deficit, which over the long run is not fiscally responsible.
- Personal freedom: to the current GOP, the “personal” in personal freedom does not include LGBT people, or a woman’s freedom to control her own body.
- Respect for existing institutions: gutting the necessary parts of government is not my idea of respecting institutions.
A party that actually stands for the real principles of conservatism would be perfectly reasonable. By considering to vote for such a party, it will promote centrism by preventing one side of the political spectrum from being in power too much, avoiding extremism in either direction. If different parties control the House of Representatives and the Presidency, it promotes compromise and also helps prevent extremism and eliminate the worst policies of both parties.
For example, by not being extremist, the GOP would get rid of its tax cuts solve every problem mentality. In reality, the problems and issues facing government have complex causes and necessitate multi-faceted approaches to dealing with them. A tax cut might solve part of a problem, but so could increasing spending, cutting red tape, or other actions. Going in with the notion that one course of action will always be the best course of action will solve fewer problems and solve most of them worse than being open to multiple options.