Chad and I are from the same small town in North Dakota. He recently sent me this email:
"I finally read this thing [ed. note: the Real L-Word] you wrote for Clark Schpiell. I just wanted to bring up a point about the stigma surrounding the word Liberal. Republicans are [...] ruled by their purse strings. [...] And, I think, they've used the word Liberal to indicate liberal spending, which a lot of lower middle class people don't appreciate (not to mention a bunch of old rich white guys). Probably the only reason my dad's a Republican is that he doesn't like the way Democrats spend his money. He explained to me once that the reason [North Dakota] has Republican governors and Democratic congressmen is that we want Congress to send money our way, and we want the governor to keep it in the state. So, again, it's all about money."
Chad's right. "Moderate Republicans" or "Eisenhower Republicans," who I (and many others) believe are the vast majority of the Republican Party, are not religious wackos or war-mongers. They are regular folks who work hard to make their money, and want their tax dollars spent responsibly -- not an unreasonable request. That's why one of the primary pillars of every Republican campaign is a tax cut, or a spending cut, a dig at the NEA (despite its infinitessimal budget), or an accusation that the "Liberal" opponent wants to fund "expensive," "unnecessary" social programs, will likely raise your taxes, and increase the budget defecit. In short, Republicans will save you money, Democrats will steal it from you.
It's an argument that's decades old. And, even if it ever was true (I'm not convinced it was), it's blatantly false now. Sure, Bush Jr. has cut taxes (by the way, you get a $300 tax break, while he and his ridiculously rich friends get a $60,000+ one), but spending has skyrocketed even as those "expensive, unecessary" social programs have been cut, the deficit has balooned to a size unheard of, and state and local tax increases (to make up for budget shortfalls caused in no small part by under-funded federal mandates) negate most, if not all, of the federal tax breaks for low and middle-income Americans. In short, Mr. Bush and team have not fulfilled the classic Republican promise of more money in your pocket. Unless, of course, you were very, very rich to begin with.
This second group of links deals with economic issues. More will come, dealing with Iraq, 9/11, social issues, the Bush legacy and more.
*A note. All of these articles are availible to read for free. Salon.com articles require you sit through a 15 second advertsiement in order to receive a "Day Pass" to Salon content. Other sites may do the same. It's painless, I assure you, and worth it.