More on the Republicn Party

My post on libertarians and Republicans, and ones like it on other sites, has generated a lot of response from folks arguing about whether there is a true schism emerging in the Republican Party.  I am not a Republican, so I am not on the inside.  Strong libertarians like me (read this if you want to know what that means) can pretty safely be treated as a fringe, so I haven't really been in a position to argue that the Republicans mights truly be in trouble.

However, yesterday I had the chance to interact with a number of family friends.  Included were a number of men, many in their 60's-80's, who have been lifelong classic Chamber of Commerce Republicans, including two that ran Fortune 100 companies.  These were classic red state Republicans, many of whom had been active in the party at some point in their lives.  And, almost to a man, they were disenchanted with the Republicans.  They cited trade protectionism, profligate spending, and Tom-DeLay-type capture by the system.  These men, all who would call themselves religious, were frustrated at the apparent capture of the Party by religious interests.

Several of these folks pointed me to this editorial by John Danforth as representing what is frustrating them about the Administration and the Party.

    During the 18 years I served in the Senate, Republicans often disagreed with
  each other. But there was much that held us together. We believed in limited
  government, in keeping light the burden of taxation and regulation. We encouraged
  the private sector, so that a free economy might thrive. We believed that judges
  should interpret the law, not legislate. We were internationalists who supported
  an engaged foreign policy, a strong national defense and free trade. These were
  principles shared by virtually all Republicans.

    But in recent times, we Republicans have allowed this shared agenda to become
  secondary to the agenda of Christian conservatives. As a senator, I worried
  every day about the size of the federal deficit. I did not spend a single minute
  worrying about the effect of gays on the institution of marriage. Today it seems
  to be the other way around.

    The historic principles of the Republican Party offer America its best hope
  for a prosperous and secure future. Our current fixation on a religious agenda
  has turned us in the wrong direction. It is time for Republicans to rediscover our roots.

For those of you who don't know and might mistake Mr. Danforth for some rampaging secularist, former Senator Danforth, beyond having gone to the greatest undergraduate institution in the world, is a pro-life .

I encourage you to read it all. 



  1. Max Lybbert:

    Apparently, Danforth is really worried that stem-cell research will pass us by. But because there is a cloud around stem-cell research, let's take this question apart.

    Stem-cell research, by itself, has no moral question. The only moral question for pro-lifers is the source of the stem cells. Stem cells can come from adults, umbilical cords, and (yes) embryos. Of course, the kind of research done on each of these types of stem cells will be different, but simply declaring "stem-cell research" a moral problem is oversimplification.

    I don't know the details about the law Danforth cites, but if the stem cells were to come from embryos, I can understand why other pro-lifers draw the line differently than he. I don't understand why doing so is a bad thing.

    If the law bans research on stem cells from umbilical cords or adults, then there is a problem. And that problem can be adressed through education.

    Do the different stem cells offer different potential cures? From what I gather, we don't really know enough to say (although that hasn't kept people from making unsupported statements or partly-educated guesses). Once upon a time (twenty years ago or so), scientists believed that infantile tissue transplants were a promising research area with miracle cures right around the corner. They weren't lying; they just didn't know enough at the time to make that kind of statement (which, of course, is why they wanted to do the research).

  2. Dave Schuler:

    Minor terminology quibble: Danforth is an Episcopal priest.