Liberal Republicans: a reader responds

Frequent journal reader Ed Raper responded with an excellent reply to “What is a liberal Republican?” and I asked his permission to quote:

“Liberal Republican is used to describe those of us who are socially liberal, but fiscally conservative. I can’t speak for folks involved in the conversation you overheard, but typically liberal republicans agree with the republican principles of less government is better; less government programs, grants, social security reform, lower taxes, more fair taxation (regardless of income bracket). Liberal Republicans believe in the American Dream, and don’t think there should be a penalty that comes with it.

Liberal Republicans differ from the Republican agenda on issues like abortion, stem cell research, prayer in schools, display of 10 commandments in government buildings, gay marriage, & the war on drugs.

Noticeably missing from this list is military action. I’m not sure where that should fall.”

Okay, that makes a lot of sense. You know, since I’ve been listening to Air America maybe I’ve forgotten a little bit that most Republicans are really good people who do want to see others, and their community, do well. There are quite a few Republicans I know personally here in Memphis who I would vote for if they ran for office.

I consider myself a liberal who generally leans Democrat. But, if a liberal Republican actually ran for office, I’d seriously consider voting for him. For example, if John McCain runs for president in ’08. Trouble is, it doesn’t seem possible for a Republican to get elected without pandering to the far right and to big corporations, so if I support a Republican who has a plan for Social Security reform, I’m likely also supporting someone who is pro-life, anti-gay-marriage, pro-bombing-whoever-the-hell-we-want whether the rest of the world likes it or not, etc. and I have a lot of trouble doing that.

A couple of months ago, I was drinking wine with one of my neighbors (who, incidentally, was the one who had on the green tube top Sunday night, as mentioned in my last entry) and we were discussing this very issue. I’m wondering if the elected-representative system that has been in place for 200+ years in America is getting a bit out of date. People are considerably better informed than they were in 1776. There’s near-universal access to TV, radio, the Internet. I’d like to see us move more toward a true democracy like they had in ancient Athens, where every citizen voted on the issues, and making an informed vote was considered one of a citizen’s highest duties. Then I could vote yes to Social Security reform, no to attempts to ban gay marriage, no to attempts to limit or reverse Roe v. Wade, yes to give more funding to education, yes to get our troops out of Iraq, etc. rather than having to settle for a candidate whose slate of positions I feel is somewhat close to mine.

Whaddya think? Would that work? Would it be possible to set up some kind of Internet-based voting that is secure enough to keep people from voting more than once? Would doing it on the Internet disenfranchise the poor? Would that reduce the influence of big money in politics, or would vote-buying reach a whole new level?