By Harry Welty
I didn't switch political parties after 35 years of being a Republican just
because I think our Commander-and-Chief is the least competent president since
Warren Harding or the most disastrous president since Andrew Johnson botched
Reconstruction. No, I quit the party because the people who now control it still
think George W. Bush is one of our best presidents ever.
After 35 years of attending Republican precinct caucuses I attended my first
Democratic caucus last week. I felt a little like
disappearing through the Looking Glass. It was a different world on the other
side. Oh, I still found myself casting lone votes but the subjects were so
As a Republican I had to cast lone votes against folks who, like
's legislators, want to protect the ovums that rapists have fertilized while
jailing abortion providers. As a Democrat I had to cast lone votes against folks
who wanted to impeach George Bush, not because of his incompetence but because
he'd committed high crimes and misdemeanors. (The Democrats still haven't
learned that you can only commit those particular offenses by misusing tobacco
I really like the folks at both caucuses. They are good people. They care. They
are trying to make
a better place. It's just that mild mannered folks like me who think compromise
is a virtue have shied away from political parties. That's not very surprising
when our political parties treat compromise like a mutant life form that has
escaped from a port-o-potty. As a result we middle-of-the-roaders have a limited
selection of candidates to choose from. Voting for President is often like
trying to decide whether to buy a lollipop that tastes like vinegar or baking
I have a few friends who've suggested that there ought to be an Independent
Party but there just isn't one. Too often independent parties rely on the
charisma of a lone ranger and when the ranger takes his mask off the party
fizzles. The Reform Party died after Ross Perot started railing against the
black helicopters which he said had invaded his daughter's wedding. I saw the
puffed up Jesse Ventura allow his Independence Party to become irrelevant. And
who can forget the sight of Pat Buchanan feasting on the bones of Perot's party.
Like it or not
has two political parties. They are almost as permanent as Jupiter's Great Red
Spot, a hurricane that has been blowing on the planet for the last six hundred
years. Besides, the historian in me sees much to be admired in the Democratic
Although Republicans have managed to turn the word "liberal," a word
synonymous with Democrats, into a four-letter word it has an honorable history.
Liberal is a kissing cousin to the words liberty, meaning freedom; liberality,
meaning generosity; and libertarian, meaning a person determined to be free from
government interference. Ironically that last word was once prized by
Republicans too. It helps explain their love affair with the idea
of small government although the 9 trillion dollar debt that they've saddled our
children with completely betrays that principle.
People driving past my home in
may have seen my snow sculpture of Honest Abe. I titled it: "Farewell to
the GOP." I think
would have understood. When his beloved Whig Party withered away he too was a
man without a party. His
was divided too; not by red and blue but by blue and gray. He also had his
hands full dealing with extremists in both political parties.
ran for reelection he chose a Democrat to be his running mate to emphasize his
determination to bind the nation together. He even dispensed with the label
"Republican" and ran on the "Union" ticket.
Abe's example of being an unRepublican Republican has been imitated by other
notable Republicans. Teddy Roosevelt bolted the party completely and became the
Progressive Party's presidential candidate. Eisenhower was courted by both
parties but after settling on the Republicans he drove them to distraction by
setting a nonpartisan example.
In his Second Inaugural Address, shortly before his assassination,
said, "with malice toward none and charity for all.” That's the kind of
Democrat I intend to be - a Lincoln Democrat. I may have left the Republican
Party but I'm taking
See for yourself. Pay us a visit at my new blog: www.lincolndemocrat.com.
You'll know you've found me when you see Abe.
Welty is a small time politician who lets
it all hang out at: www.lincolndemocrat.com