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My Turn: The new/old Republican

Posted: February 10, 2013 - 1:06am

Today all the extreme far-right, tea party and religious fanatic Republicans are preaching that if you are not a Christian, support the right to carry a semi-automatic weapon, refuse women’s right to a medically safe abortion, that rape isn’t really rape and deny gays equal protection under the law, then you are not a true American and most definitely not a Republican.

Over the last few years, I have had to defend my Republican Party affiliation. In light of the recent Alaska Republican party activities, I have once again been asked, “how can I call myself a Republican?” Well, in order to fight for what you believe, you have to know what you stand for.

I grew up in a bipartisan house, my mother a staunch Democrat and my father a strong Republican. Debates were always interesting and enlightening. With both sides adamant about their position. I learned skills like debating, negotiating, compromising and that sometimes it is best to agree to disagree.

Overtime, I formed my own opinions. I learned I wasn’t really a Democrat or a Republican. After researching and reading many books on political views and parties I stumbled across “Rockefeller Republican”

Rockefeller Republicans (RR) are Republicans who hold similar liberal views on some issues as those of Nelson Rockefeller, hence the name Rockefeller Republican. RRs typically are center-right. They reject far-right policies, and are often culturally liberal. Many support private and government investments in the environment, healthcare and higher education as necessary for our Nation’s growth. Like former RRs, I support some regulation of business and federal social programs in matters pertaining to the public good.

RRs oppose socialism and the redistribution of wealth; however reject laws that create exclusive classes of citizens. Today’s RRs don’t believe in 99 percent of Americans working, paying taxes and dying so the 1 percent can amass wealth on the backs of everyone else. We believe in separation of church and state, that your religious beliefs cannot and should not infringe on others and that all Americans deserve equal protection under the law.

RRs have included Nelson Rockefeller, Alexander Hamilton, Theodore Roosevelt and Richard Nixon. In 1971, Nixon announced he was a Keynesian. The theories forming the basis of Keynesian economics were first presented by Keynes in his book, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, published in 1936.

Keynesian economics advocates a mixed economy, predominantly private sector, but with a role for government intervention during recessions (like President Obama did) and in the developed nations served as the standard economic model during the later part of the Great Depression, World War II, and the post-war economic expansion (1945–1973) The advent of the global financial crisis in 2008 has caused a resurgence in Keynesian thought.

I agree it is time for the Republican Party to redefine itself. What its goals are, what it stands for, what it will fight for. If Republicans want to get have a viable run for the president’s seat in 2016, I believe it has to. I also believe the majority of Republicans think like I do. I believe we all want the American dream of success and prosperity. However that cannot happen with a stacked deck.

Oil companies receive favorable tax breaks while reaping profits. In 2012, BP raked in $11.6 billion in profit. Yet, small business in America fights for a break even though they make up 99.7 percent of U.S. employers.

Climbing the success ladder on the backs of others isn’t progress, it’s abuse. Spewing hateful, disrespectful words at our president is not American, it’s obtuse. It teaches our children that we don’t have to respect the Office of the President of the United States because we don’t like his color or his party affiliation.

Should the Republican Party redefine itself? Absolutely. Should the Republican Party re-evaluate its mission and values? Absolutely. Will I continue to refer to myself as a Republican, yes but with a new/old definition; Rockefeller Republican.

• Gardner is a Juneau resident.

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