An American Editor

March 12, 2012

Why I Can’t Vote Republican

I consider myself an independent when it comes to politics. Depending on the primary contest, because New York doesn’t have open primaries, I may affiliate with a party so I can participate in a primary, but when it actually comes to voting on election day, I rarely vote for candidates from a single party.

But as the Republicans move further away from the center, which is where I am, it becomes increasingly difficult to consider voting for a Republican. It seems that, as each day passes, the Republicans are deliberately closing the door more tightly to any thinking independent or centrist-oriented voter.

What seals my decision so early in the election year is not only the poor quality of the Republican candidates (although I admit that I do not think very highly of Barack Obama, either), but their clear lack of honesty and moral conscience as evidenced by their responses to Rush Limbaugh’s defamation of Sandra Fluke. (See “Obama Backs Student in Furor With Limbaugh on Birth Control” in the New York Times for more details about the controversy.) Even the head of her Catholic university, who clearly disagrees with Ms. Fluke’s views on contraception, came to her defense.

Here is what the New York Times reports Limbaugh had to say:

“What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute.” Those remarks and others whipped up a frenzy of denunciations, but on Thursday, Mr. Limbaugh held his ground, declaring: “If we’re going to pay for your contraceptives and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch.”

Conservatives should be outraged by this attack, but they aren’t. And Limbaugh, an admitted drug abuser who has been convicted of drug-related offenses, should not be a conservative icon because of his lack of a moral conscience — but he is.

Mitt Romney and  Rick Santorum claim to be family men, and Newt Gingrich claims to have found morality. All claim to be concerned about the good of Americans, yet they are willing to stand by and let a woman be defamed simply because her views on what is a controversial topic in America do not comport with their views. This tells me that, should one of these men be elected president, given the opportunity, they will try to suppress dissent any way they can. It tells me that these Republicans do not really care about an individual’s constitutional rights, do not care about family values, do not care about anything but what will get them nominated and elected. They lack a moral conscience. I do not want as president, or even as local councilperson, someone who talks the talk of being a moral person but walks the walk of a moral-less person.

I haven’t yet forgotten the Republican lies against their own John McCain (remember the lie about his having a black mistress and a black child that magically appeared just before voters in South Carolina went to the primary polls?), and the willingness of conservative Republicans to outright, knowingly lie to voters just to win their vote.

I also haven’t forgotten George W. Bush’s lack of moral courage to stand up to the Swift Boaters in his capacity as commander-in-chief of the armed forces and defend John Kerry from the false attacks. Kerry at least went to Vietnam; his attackers and George W. Bush partied at home instead. But Bush should have stood up for Kerry in this matter. Kerry didn’t give himself his medals; they were awarded by the United States Navy, and the Swift Boaters not only attacked Kerry but also attacked the veracity of the U.S. Navy — people George W. Bush, as commander-in-chief, should have defended.

As each election cycle comes, Republicans increasingly display a wholesale disregard for the things that matter most — honesty and moral conscience. George W. Bush still has no regrets about lying to the American public about the supposed weapons of mass destruction; after all, neither he nor Dick Cheney had to face enemy fire — either then or in their youth, when they avoided military service.

I find that, because of their lack of moral conscience, Republicans are quick to commit Americans to war. Bush did it in Iraq and Afghanistan; Romney, Santorum, and Gingrich are promising to do the same in Iran should they be elected. The morals-less three (Romney, Santorum, and Gingrich) are also quick to impose their male values on women. They would prefer that a woman die rather than be allowed to use contraception or have an abortion.

Have we forgotten how antigay Dick Cheney was until his daughter came out? Because it affected him directly, his tune changed. Have we forgotten how indignant Gingrich was about the so-called Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky affair while he was cheating on his own wife?

It is not that Democrats are so much better. Rather, it is that they are better, and my only real choice is Democrat or Republican. Given those limitations and the fact that when it comes to moral conscience Republicans seem to lack one, I will be voting Democrat in the presidential election. My hope is that the Republicans face their Rubicon again, as they did in 1964 when they nominated Barry Goldwater. That might cause Republicans to rethink their drift to the extreme right, might cause them to gain a moral conscience and no longer tolerate the tactics and lies of the Limbaughs and the Swift Boaters, and might cause centrist Republicans like Olympia Snowe (who has announced she will not run for reelection because of the rightward tilt of the Republican party and its unwillingness to be anything but obstructionist) to regain favor and their willingness to serve.

Should that occur, I would happily consider voting for a Republican candidate. Until then, this independent has moved toward the Democrat side of the aisle.


  1. Well said!


    Comment by Kari Gulbrandsen — March 12, 2012 @ 4:26 am | Reply

  2. Amen. I would love to vote for a middle of the road, rational, thinking Republican or Democrat who would advocate goodl old-fashioned American values of hard work, thrift and self-reliance.

    I have been disenchanted with the Democrats for a very long time, but the Republicans have morphed into something that truly scares me.

    This is going to be a long, sad year.


    Comment by Meredith Morgan — March 12, 2012 @ 7:19 am | Reply

    • Agree. Living in dread of all the negative advertising to come. Wish they could ban those awful TV ads. Only the broadcasters’ coffers would suffer.


      Comment by Laura — March 13, 2012 @ 8:35 am | Reply

  3. I’ll admit that I’m more liberal than centrist, but I also think that our country runs best when liberals and conservatives find that middle ground. Neither side gets everything they want, but when is getting everything you want good for you?

    Rich, you’ve made a great, measured argument here, and I agree with it wholeheartedly.


    Comment by Erin C Brenner — March 12, 2012 @ 9:33 am | Reply

  4. The fight in our household is over which is worse, the Republican war on science or the Repulican war on women’s rights.


    Comment by Joe J. — March 12, 2012 @ 10:21 am | Reply

  5. Very well-said. Maybe it’s because I’m an editor and have spent my life working with words that I find Limbaugh’s blatantly stupid and denigrating attacks so disturbing. His twisted use of language and argumentation can infuriate and exhaust me.

    But I had not yet worked out in my mind what bothered me so much about the candidates’ lack of response. Thanks for drawing those lines so well.


    Comment by Tammy Ditmore — March 12, 2012 @ 11:06 am | Reply

  6. I agree with everything you said about Limbaugh, Gingrich, Santorum, Romney, and Cheney. But it bothers me when I hear people say they are voting for the lesser of two evils.

    I voted for Obama in 2008 because I believed in his message of hope and change. When he promised to end the unconstitutional wars and bring the troops home from Iraq within 13 months, close Gitmo, stop illegal torture, and bring suspected terrorists to trial, stop prosecuting medical marijuana users and dispensaries, and insure equality for same-sex couples, I was so excited that there was a candidate who represented my beliefs. Unfortunately, these promises have been broken and ignored. So you know what they say: Fool me once, shame on me…

    So I would encourage everyone to take a look at the other candidates. I noticed you didn’t mention Ron Paul, probably because your criticisms of Republicans for the most part do not apply to him. He is not the fringe candidate the media is making him out to be. He has won most of the delegates in the caucus states and has a real shot at the nomination. And there is no other candidate who has consistently proven his dedication to the constitution like Ron Paul.

    I would also encourage you to take a closer look at Gary Johnson, who is running for the Libertarian nomination. I know a lot of people think that a Libertarian can’t win in the general election and therefore a vote for that party is wasted, but that is only true so long as people believe it.

    Sorry to rant. I know this is not a political blog. But nothing will change as long as people continue to think they only have two choices. This is what both parties want us to believe, and it is how they maintain their duopoly.


    Comment by Jessica — March 12, 2012 @ 4:20 pm | Reply

  7. Well thought out and reasoned. One of my dark secrets is that I voted for George W. Bush on his first go-around. When he launched us into the Iraq War on trumped-up claims of weapons of mass destruction (claims that the on-the-site team of UN inspectors had proven were false), I told my wife I’d never vote Republican again. Of course their shift toward religious demogaugery and, let’s face it, racism, is also despicable. Appealing to our nation’s worst instincts may win elections but it remains disgusting. I’ll consider Democrats, Libertarians, Independents, just about anyone but Republicans have closed the door for me.


    Comment by Rob Preece — March 13, 2012 @ 11:21 am | Reply

  8. You honestly consider yourself a centerist? You have re-hashed liberal talking points as your premise against voting anything republican. I am not a republican, I am a Constitutionalist, so I would agree that many of their actions are indefensible; however at this point in our nations history the liberal-progressive point of view is “fundamentally changing” (sound fammiliar?) the dynamic of this country, changing what makes America unique and special. The true treasure of this country is it’s constitution. The liberal-progressive mindset does not understand that. I will be voting against Obama rather than voting for Romney. As a person who has dedicated my life and my health (disabled vet) I need to cast my vote in a direction that brings us back into becoming the Republic the founding fathers intended for us to have. Liberalisim is a form of evil, the kind that seeps in like a cancer, causing people to give up on themselves and stoop to begging and prostituting their individual freedoms away.


    Comment by Scott — June 3, 2012 @ 5:55 pm | Reply

  9. Cheney convinced Bush of mass destruction so that his involvement in making war materials to fight that war was the way Cheney could become a billionaire. George Bush also got flack during Katrina while he was searching for a way to remove the victims from the dome. Eventually, the solution came from his Houston friends who provided 28 busses to go there and take them to Houston where the people lined up to adopt them. Later, beautiful stories from Houston appeared on line to prove how wise that president was. And he has been so humble about it. he hasn’t mentioned it since. I am an independent who would vote for George again and never for Dick Cheney again.


    Comment by marvin purser — December 11, 2017 @ 9:33 am | Reply

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