May 31, 2020

Ten Things…and Ten More things: How To Turn Me Into A Democrat

billr.jpgI was raised a Democrat. FDR was the fourth member of the Trinity. No…..really, he was the third because I heard a lot more about him than I did about the Holy Spirit. FDR and the Democrats kept my dad’s family from starving to death….or at least that’s what I was told. They led the country to victory in war. The rescued us from the Great Depression. They started Social Security. They gave us the minimum wage. They invented coffee. They created Apple Pie. They walked on water. Something like that anyway.

I voted for Jesse Jackson in a primary. I voted for Jimmy Carter. Twice. I voted for Mike Dukakis. I voted for Walter Mondale. I ridiculed Republicans as evil, greedy, racist throwbacks, just like Bill Clinton does in his autobiography. I would have loved Michael Moore.

Of course, I changed. I became a Republican, and a conservative. I voted against Clinton twice. I voted for Bush twice. But I’m not beyond hope. I could change back. I could be a Democrat again. With conservatives pushing me out, and Democrats working to pull me in, I could find myself back in the bosum of FDR.

Here’s the plan.

Ten Ways Political Conservatives Can Help Me Become a Democrat…Again

1. Keep letting James Dobson represent all Christians in the Republican Party.
2. Keep ignoring fiscal responsibility and spending like drunken lottery winners.
3. Keep pumping out the pork to your districts. It’s disgusting.
4. Keep acting like you’ve never heard of the Balanced Budget Amendment, Term Limits or The Flat Tax.
5. Keep underpaying and otherwise fiscally mistreating our military.
6. Keep ignoring school vouchers.
7. Keep ignoring immigration reform or reasonable border controls.
8. Keep acting like religious conservatives have no interests beyond gay marriage and abortion.
9. Keep doing stunts like running Alan Keyes for Senate.
10. Assume I have nowhere else to go, and you can take my support for granted.

Ten Things Democrats Can Do To Bring Me Back to the Party of my Father

1. Make Zell Miller part of your party. A real part. A real voice. Show you aren’t afraid of conservative Democrats. Heck, make him assistant DNC chair or something.
2. Lose the angry, conspiracy minded fear mongers. This crowd is insulting to the intelligent people of this country. They are America haters. Jack Kennedy would loathe them.
3. Promote Southern/Western Democrats with moderate agendas and actual values the average person can recognize as the face of your party. Harry Reid isn’t it. Hillary isn’t on the planet.
4. Learn from Tony Blair that progressive, faith-related politics isn’t exclusively the domain of Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson or the misery mongering race-baiters. Find the burgeoning numbers of uncomfortable-in-Dobson’s-GOP evangelical moderates and let them be part of your party.
5. Leave Gay marriage alone. What is it getting you?
6. Demonstrate real diversity on the issue of abortion. Make room for someone other than Kate Michelman. At least show us there is a discussion.
7. Become the party of fiscal discipline. Clinton knew how to do this. I admit it. His policies (in tandem with a more responsible GOP congress) makes the current gang of Republicans look like they are printing money in the basement.
8. Embrace school vouchers and school choice as a way of empowering the poor and despairing who are the victims of the public school monopoly in the inner cities and rural areas. You can do it. If you did, it would rock the political world.
9. Become the champions of things conservatives believe in, but the party has abandoned: Advocacy for adoption. A balanced budget. A Well resourced military. Aggressive welfare reform. Choice in education. Real Homeland Security.
10. Nominate a moderate, Southern/Western, Christmas loving, patriotic, fiscally conservative, non-trial lawyer, non-Massachusetts, LBJ type Democrat for President. Can anyone say Bill Richardson?

I can hear the snickers now. And I may be laughing with you. I’m simply saying what many conservatives of my generation feel. Our party isn’t taking us or our principles seriously. There is a vacuum. Why can’t the Democratic party find the courage to embrace that agenda AND invite conservatives to embrace it? Rather than treat us as the enemy, how about buying us lunch and treating us as the potential customer?


  1. Here’s an excellent link on how the Democrats just ditched the Pro life Catholics in their party.

  2. I would be an FDR-style emocrat or a Pro-Life Libertarian before I would be a modern Democrat. I dislike the republicans for the same reasons that you do, but the abortion issue is too big to ignore, and right now, they are the only ones that are willing to take any kind of stand against that issue. If it were up to me, you could marry your boyfriend, girlfriend or pet goat if we could just have Roe v. Wade overturned and adoption legislation rewritten once and for all.

  3. Why look for the democrats to change in order to accomodate what you are looking for, rather than seeking change in your own party? Neither are really all that likely to change, so why hope the other changes to your liking instead of what you’re in?

  4. Very good political article. I was raised by Democrats and socialists, and could return to that system, should the party broaden its tentpegs. As it is, the right is going more right, and the left is going more left. There’s little left in the middle for those of us who consistantly care about people and take a long term view of that care. I find myself voting more out of protest than anything else. I rarely vote for someone, it is mostly an “against” vote on my ballot.

  5. It’s just a column ya’ll 🙂 Something for the Dems to think about. I’m not losing sleep over it.

  6. Ryan McKeever says

    “how about buying us lunch and treating us as the potential customer?” You’re joking right? Ha, Ha. Ha,Ha…..uh, ha, ha. Consumer politics don’t work, just ask the ancient Greeks. Hmmm…maybe that’s why we’re having such a bother here in America. I think the best idea has already been provided i.e. prophetic challenge must first come from within the system(if the community rejects it, God is just). Ask not what your political party can do for you, but what sacrifice can one make on behalf of one’s community. Otherwise, I think you have sufficiently distilled the political stye, and why it is so tired. There is no longer dialogue, but diatribe. A two party system was supposed to engender discussion, helping better solutions come from confusing situations. However, in our western american self-centered individualism, we have stifled the needs of others for our own concerns and justification. Oh why, oh why don’t we study the old testament prophets more?

  7. One Salient Oversight says

    “The link between conservative Christian faith and market economics has been around ever since the Cold War, where the “Atheist commies” supposedly sought to destroy freedom around the world.”

    “It is due to this link that Evangelicals have generally embraced Neoliberal economic thinking. As a result, while many Evangelicals vote for political parties that fit their ethical framework, they are also voting for parties that promote smaller government spending and more personal freedom.”

    “Pro-choice advocates argue that while evangelicals oppose abortion, they do not support any state-sponsored welfare spending either. This is important, because there appears to be evidence to show that nations which have permissive abortion laws as well as generous welfare spending actually have less abortions per capita.”

    “In practice, while evangelicals may argue that a woman who is pregnant due to rape should not terminate the foetus but be supported to look after the child, the fact is that many evangelicals support a political and economic system that prevents this support from taking place.”

    “Many evangelicals assume that neoliberal economic policies are actually part of the Christian faith. Raising taxes and spending them on sex education and supporting single mothers could ensure that a “safety net” exists that helps prevent women from having abortions in the first place.”

    “It could be argued that evangelicals, by aligning themselves with political parties that espouse neoliberal economics, actually cause more abortions to occur simply because of the lack of state support that many argue women need.”

    “The Apostle Paul commanded the church to pay taxes and be submissive to the authorities (Romans 13:1-7), even though the authorities he was referring to was the corrupt militaristic, pagan dictatorship of the Roman Empire.”


  8. Jack Heald says

    Oh Puh-leeze.

    So if they’ll just dress nice and say the right words, you’ll hop into bed with the Democrats? Uh-huh. You’re smarter than that.

    Do you really think the best way to tell the Elephants to pull their collective heads out of their collective hind-parts is to threaten to join the other party? Hey, maybe it’ll work.

    Here’s a different thought:

    The whole “Left-Right Dichotomy” is completely bogus. Both the Donkeys and the Elephants believe in the over-arching authority of the State above all else. Both are committed to the increase of State power at the expense of individual liberty. I refuse to support ANY political organization that actively works to enslave me. That is EXACTLY the path that both Donkeys and Republicans are pursuing. Count me out.

    BTW – the Republicans are not merely ACTING like they are printing money in the basement, they are ACTUALLY printing money in the basement.

  9. >Oh Puh-leeze. So if they’ll just dress nice and say the right words, you’ll hop into bed with the Democrats? Uh-huh. You’re smarter than that.

    I am. I also am not saying that I am going to jump in bed with the Dems. But I would vote for the right candidate. I might even vote for a Libertarian Anarchist if he would run at the local level and show he is worthy of consideration for something else. Of course, I can’t ever find any Libertarians except on the internet 🙂

    People people PEOPLE! It’s just a column!! Geeez!!

  10. When I read this, my first thought was that you are saying that this is the way you could be lured to the Democratic Party:

    1. If Republicans keep drifting away from Republican principles.
    2. If Democrats adopt Republican principles.

    Basically, you will become a Democrat when Democrats become true Republicans. I guess I would do the same thing.

  11. Solid stuff. I agree with your grievances, but perhaps reforming our party is better than leaving it…


  12. I think it is in the best interest of all persons and both parties to realize how many people are in the center on many of these issues. It’s not about winning me over- though if Zell chaired the DNC I would sure take notice!! It’s about what is best for the country.

  13. good thoughts. it’s nice to hear someone talking outside the lines of the same old same old. i’d be a much happier democrat if the party had half a brain and a much more willing republican if they practiced what they preached.

  14. Pardon an Aussie comment, but the close association between evangelicals and the Republican Party deeply disturbs evangelicals outside the US [and maybe even one or two in the US].

    However, we think we understand your concerns about the Democrats.

    It is also frightening that evangelicals may have been the deciding factor in re-electing George Bush.

  15. Shannon Walker says

    Great Essay! I do agree about Dr. Dobson…I have heard him say some decent things, but I will say this-the Religious Right becoming so close with the Republican party really makes our faith look bad to those outside it. Many people I have talked to already have reason to dislike or distrust Christians, but Bush and his alignment with the RR does not help matters at all. There have been so many people who think that we are all like Bush or that we are all like the RR and/or Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton and this is not true. They make us all look like a bunch of raving lunatics.

    I have many friends who are non-Christian and some of them are pretty resentful of the Republican party because they feel as though they see Christians who are exactly like them as the only citizens who really matter and, truth be told, I see their point. I have been around quite a few Christians (I dated one) who do seem to think this way. They might not say it in so many words but their actions speak this way. There are a lot more important things to think about than gay marriage and abortion (not to say abortion is not a problem, but there are other issues to deal with).

  16. Why Democrats can’t back down
    Abortion – approving abortion has led to over 43 million abortions in the past 20 years and that is why we now want more immigrants in this country to replace our own children!
    Spending: Republicans are spending on fighting terrorism – and even though I hate fighting the Iraqi’s, I would hate all the terrorist that went there to be here fighting our citizens. It is evil either way we look at it.
    American Prestige: There IS a certain group of world citizens that hate Americans – our success, our power and our patronization – but still they all want to come here and enjoy the fruits of our labor/taxes.
    Taxes – we know we need tax reform
    Freedom – when I was in India, I realized the way they drive they have much more freedom than we do. We have established laws for the greater good but we also live under their enforcement – so we aren’t as free as many others in this world. Who could brandish a rocket-launching machine-type gun openly in Minneapolis? Surely someone would report that to the police.
    World View of freedom – both Democrats and Republicans do need a lot more insight here – not only our world view but why there are so many people resisting our ideals. Aren’t we the greatest? Yes, I think so, but many others aren’t so sure. France, Germany and many other countries do not hold the same values we have – freedom to them may mean something different than freedom to us. I don’t think we’re wrong, only naive – and our leaders need to show more astuteness to the world. Many of us could have written better speeches for Bush and Kerry, but they are the ones who were in debate. As we rethink our loyalties, we must be grateful that both the Democratic and Republican party give some space for debating and discussion, but 3rd and 4th parties should also be heard as well. They can challenge the leaders and even grow if that is allowed. The media, again, has responsibilities here. Maybe a 3rd party would uphold some of the wisdom that is being expounded on this site. The internet has become a powerful instrument for politicians, so the future parties may be able to reach many more people where they are and get responses to bring new leaders.
    Who is Bill Richardson anyway???

  17. Richardson? Yuck. He’s a Clintonista.

  18. I want to apologize to my readers for this post, but I am going to leave it up.