I was on political easy street as a Democrat.
President Obama, the party head, is a political rock star in America and a near-god in Amsterdam and Cairo.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is portrayed as grown too big to fail, and he’s convinced everyone who’s anyone in my home city of Las Vegas to join him on the Obama freight train to socialism. Next stop: Rationed health care, union card check and $10-a-gallon gasoline. All aboard!
Democrats own Washington, D.C., as well as the Nevada Legislature.
Meanwhile, Nevada’s Republican “Luv Guv,” Jim Gibbons, couldn’t be on a more prolonged hard-luck streak. He’s in the divorce from hell with the first lady, who for a time holed herself up in the Governor’s Mansion; his staff regularly jumps ship; and rumor has it that the governor’s dog has obtained a restraining order.
And, lest we forget, Nevada’s most popular Republican, Sen. John Ensign, shook the party faithful by admitting to a nine-month roll in the hay with the wife of his good friend.
Nope, I don’t think I could have picked a worse time to go Republican. However, because KXNT-AM radio’s Alan Stock revealed my party switch last week, I feel the need to explain.
First, I’m not trying to time anything. Enough was enough. Could stand no more. So, when it came time to renew my driver’s license on June 9, I also gave the Democratic Party the pink slip.
I pushed the DMV clerk the paperwork. She shoved it back and said I didn’t have to fill out that form if my address remained the same.
“No, I want to change party affiliation.”
“Oh,” she said. “Had enough of the president, have we?”
“Up to here. I quit.”
Republicans offer our only hope in slowing the Obama “change” juggernaut before the America of unbridled optimism and opportunity goes the way of the buffalo. I don’t want my great-grandchildren growing up in cradle-to-grave government care, where only the privileged few may afford a car, or own a home, or get non-rationed health care.
The only institution positioned to stop the progression of the Obama welfare state is the Republican Party, coupled with independent-minded Americans like me.
Second, the popular myth that the Democratic Party is the party of tolerance and big-tent ideas is spectacularly false.
A fiscal conservative such as myself is treated by Obamaniacs like a ringing cell phone in church. “Shhhh!” they say. The only debate among Democrats is how fast and how deeply to run up the national debt. Any Democrat who questions deficit spending or a limit to federal power is simply not invited to the party.
And finally, I have reservations about abortion. Now, I know that there are many Democrats who call themselves “pro life.”
But being a “pro life” Democrat doesn’t mean you’re “anti-abortion.” It means that you are “abortion tolerant.” The rationalization goes like this: “Abortion is the law of the land. Abortion is wrong. But abortion must be supported and expanded.”
It’s hardly an intellectually honest position, but all “pro life” Democratic office holders must toe that line. The moral dilemma is further compounded by the Democratic Party ethic that taxpayer money must be used to fund abortion, here and abroad.
For those reasons and many more, I switched. Democrats are probably happy as hell to see me go. And for all I know, Republicans may be equally unhappy to see me coming.
But at least as a Republican, I’m respectfully part of the discussion.
Sherman Frederick (firstname.lastname@example.org) is publisher of the Las Vegas Review-Journal and president of Stephens Media.