I'd rather let my kids watch a gay marriage ceremony than a Jim Norman real estate closing
Some of my more narrow-minded Republican friends have suggested I am not a Republican -- at least a not very good one.
By their definition being a "good Republican" means drinking the Kool-aid, following the party's ridiculous "loyalty oath" (pledging to vote for and support any and all Republicans -- even if Charles Manson is on the ballot so long as his name is followed by an "R"), and subscribing to Ronald Reagan's "11th Commandment" -- though shall not speak ill of a fellow Republican.
I guess I am not a "good Republican" by their definition for a number of reasons. First, I hate Kool-aid. Secondly, I believe the blind loyalty oath would make Hitler and Stalin proud and I have no intention of honoring it. And finally, to me, the "11th Commandment" is a guiding principle, not some rule that can't be broken. Do you people actually think Ronald Reagan was suggesting we ignore the truth and keep our mouths shut when one of our own goes wrong? That kind of blind loyalty will only give us tyrants.
I have been an advocate of conservative and Republican-leaning principles my whole life, though my beliefs actually probably are more in line with the Libertarian party's ideology which is more consistent about the role of government than the GOP's. But alas, I remain a Republican because it is more credible than the Libertarians -- at least for now.
To me the GOP is about limited government, equal opportunity, personal responsibility, and free enterprise. These are the values Ronald Reagan promoted when I was an impressionable teenager in the 1980s. They remain values of importance to me to this day.
Unfortunately, under President George W. Bush and the GOP Congress, in the last decade the GOP looked as though a bunch of drunken Kennedys got hold of the its playbook and switched our focus from tax cuts and reduced government spending to pandering, more entitlement spending as a means to justify re-election, huge budget deficits, and the ethical challenges voters have come to expect from Democrats.
In short, we looked just like the Democrats -- only we lied about our motives and objectives and the Democrats didn't.
Here in Florida, I was an early critic of former RINO (Republican in Name Only) Charlie Crist. At the time, most Kool-aid drinkers shamed and chastised me for "speaking ill of a fellow Republican." Today, those same short-sighted fruit-punch-loving conservatives vilify the now-former Republican Crist and embrace GOP Senate nominee Marco "Amex-o" Rubio.
They talk of Rubio as some sort of savior of the GOP and suggest he is presidential material. Puh-lease! This guy has a shameless sense of entitlement to use other people's money for his own personal benefit and more excuses about it than a pregnant nun. I'm sorry; my values of personal responsibility combined with fiscal conservatism just don't lead me to believe that a man with such a reckless disregard for spending other people's money is fit to really spend other people's money as a member of the U.S. Senate. If that makes me a bad Republican, so be it. But mark my words: Marco Rubio is not the man of fiscal conservatism he professes to be.
In my hometown of Tampa, we've got this dud of a Republican named Jim Norman who ran for the state senate.
Last week Norman got booted off the General Election ballot by a judge because he didn't accurately report his assets/liabilities on his candidate financial statement. Minor oversight? Sure. If you think receiving $500,000 from a local man with lots of construction interests before the county commission (which Norman is on) is a minor oversight. Norman used the coin to buy a big house on a lake in Arkansas (a fitting place for a man of Norman's intellect). Norman says his old lady bought the house and he knew nothing about it. Sure Jim. And pigs fly.
Earlier this week an influential "family values" conservative from Tampa spoke to me about Jim. He argued that Jim is a "nice guy" who promotes our values - basically dismissing his alleged illegal activities because in the end, "Norman votes the way we want him to on issues of importance to us." Sorry Captain Conservative, while Norman may share your "family values," I think he's a disgrace and should be exposed for what he did and prosecuted if he violated the law. Apparently so too does the FBI. Norman may be spending some time in the big house--just not the one he bought in Arkansas.
As for "family values" what kind of a message are you sending our kids when you defend a man who (at minimum) hid $500,000 from voters? As good values go, I'd rather my kids watch a gay marriage ceremony than a Jim Norman real estate closing.
Over the years, I have taken on these and others within the party including: former party boss and class 1-A thug Jim Greer; the most shameless, self-promoting member of the Florida legislature -- State Senator Mike Fasano; the most disingenuous Republican in Florida -- period -- CFO candidate Jeff Atwater; and Pasco County bully Bill Bunting, among others. They're all fair game when they fool voters or the sheep within the party with their politics as usual antics that are not in the interest of Florida.
So what about the Democrats?
I am frequently asked the question, "Chris, why don't you write more about the Democrats and the undesirable policies of their party and unethical politicians?
Well, first and foremost I have. I've written about Obama and the Congressional Democrats' "stimulus" plan, Obama-care, and other budget-busting spending proposals which add to our staggering naitonal debt. Locally I've also written about the disgraceful actions of soon-to-be-former County Commissioner Kevin White (a Democrat) whose actions in office are so disgraceful you have to think if he had even an ounce of shame in his body he couldn't ever walk past a mirror again in his life.
But usually my response is more like this. I don't care about the Democrats. They are so far gone and to the left on policy matters that they aren't worth trying to fix. I'm a Republican. Have been my whole life. I think the GOP is worth trying to fix, and I do my part by trying to expose the hypocrisy, and self-serving special interests from within its ranks. Sure it ruffles some feathers. Yes, I've lost a friend or two and some business because of it, but ultimately it's worth it. Real change within the GOP won't come from quitting; it will come by people speaking out and saying, "Stop acting like a Democrat."
Even if it means you have to vote for one from time-to-time.
Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of Irreverent View. Ingram is a frequent pundit on Fox News and CNN, and has written opinion columns for the Washington Times, UPI, and National Review online. He is the Republican political analyst for Bay News 9, the only 24 hour all news channel in Florida's largest media market. The opinions expressed here are those of author and do not represent the views of Bay News 9. E-mail him at: Chris@IrreverentView.com.