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Why I am a Republican

When I was 10 years old, Ronald Reagan was elected President of the United States. This affable man, with the easy manner and captivating way of speaking, reminded me of my Grandpa. In a strange coincidence, they share the same birthday: February 6th. For these reasons - the birthday, the way they both spoke, with quiet common sense, humor, and hope for the future - my formative years were spent admiring both my Grandpa and President Reagan. My Grandpa was named Ray Martin, and he died in 1988, at the end of President Reagan's second term. I miss them both, for they both taught me much about life, and formed part of who I am. They both made this a better country in their own way.

In Oklahoma, there are three choices for most people when it comes to political parties: Democrat, Republican, and Independent. The Democrats ran Oklahoma from statehood until very recently. When I was growing up, the vast majority of voters were Democrats here. Some people didn't like political parties, and they became Independents. They also didn't get to vote very often, just in the General Election, so most people picked a "side". Being a Republican was a small rebellion, and I was the first to become one in my family.

The influence of Reagan was a prime motivator of my decision. His ideas about the role of government and nations, the place of God and Faith in public policy, and the duty and responsibilities of individuals to make America into the "shining city on a hill" all appealed to me. Young men like their own authority, so small government appealed to me. As a Sunday morning, Sunday evening, Wednesday evening church goer, God and Faith had a major role in my life, and the GOP stood firm for those of us who liked the Moral Majority. The Reagan vision of America's better days being ahead pulled at my own ambitions for the future, so my fate was sealed, and I was a Republican!

There are those who advocate either being an Independent or joining a "third" party, such as the Libertarians. While I can appreciate the attraction to not being in a political party (and have read President Washington's warning), it is not possible in this time to effect change outside the party system. There are many things to like about the Libertarian Party - and indeed, Reagan said "If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism" (Reason Magazine, 1975). I see the Libertarian Party as our long lost GOP brothers who just need to be welcomed home properly. They are a part of us. We should reach out to them and prepare a place for them, not fight with them. We need each other to defeat the combined forces arrayed against us. Our differences are minor and agreements major. The right leadership can heal this divide, and I believe unity here is coming.

As time went on, my conviction deepened, with reasoned logic replacing youthful emotion. My passion for the cause of Liberty has never changed, only my understanding of the totality of it. By totality I mean how Liberty will seep into all aspects of not just government but life itself, and you begin to view things in a different way. I see the Republican Party as the best vehicle to bring about the Founding Father's vision of limited government ruled by Law, a strong national defense, individual rights, and free and fair markets. The Democratic Party has sadly been captured by socialists, Marxists, communists, and various leeches at the big government trough. This is not to say that the GOP has not lost it's way at times, because we have. I share in the blame myself, for I have not been as involved as I should be for long periods of time. That is a mistake I won't repeat.

We have made great gains in Oklahoma, and I am proud of my small part in helping my Party. I have been a Teen-Age Republican Vice Chair, a College Republican Chair, a volunteer, staffer, and/or paid consultant at the city, county, state, and federal levels, including time as a Congressional aide, a Finance Director for a winning Congressional campaign and Campaign Manager for a losing one. I have donated time and money I couldn't afford for causes I can't afford not to support. Most important of all, I am raising four little Republicans, who will carry on the fight for Freedom into the far future. That is the most important reason of all. And now you know why I am a Republican.

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Very Big Differences!

"Our differences are minor and agreements major." Ron Paul has spelled out the differences quite well and Republicans have made it clear the "place for them" is gone.

I live in Washington where Republicans are selling one slate of delegates who represent Romney, Santorum and Gingrich as one vs. Ron Paul. What could be more clear than that?

Fake Unity

In 2008, the "Establishment" in Colorado shut us out of the National delegation (we eventually got two) by means of a "Unity Slate" composed of McCain supporters, who were chosen by Party Officials in violation of bylaws. Other states outright shut down their state conventions.

The result of all that chicanery was that the Republicans were clobbered everywhere, and no Ron Paul candidates got local offices that year. We got several in 2010, including Rand Paul.

We need REAL unity this year--slates must include BOTH Ron Paul supporters AND establishment candidates. Carping about the evils of the RINOs won't put Paul into the Presidency, nor his supporters into Congressional seats.

It is a major challenge to make friends with the other Republicans. Do so anyway--it is the only way we will win.

They NEED our youth and enthusiasm. We need their cooperation and increase in understanding.

Photina Cook

Steve Dickson's picture

How awesome that it takes the

How awesome that it takes the other three campaigns combined to challenge the Ron Paul supporters! Do you not see that WE are the true GOP, and WE are the majority, and WE are exercising our numbers now. This year holds great promise for those of us who would restore Liberty. We need a vehicle to achieve our goals, and that vehicle is the GOP. I will never forget what happened in 1992 (I supported Buchanan for the record) when Ross Perot, who should have challenged Bush, instead went Independent, split the anti-Clinton vote, and gave us that scumbag. Take back the GOP from the neocons, don't abandon it and start over, we don't have that much time left.

I don't believe in your premise...

I don't believe in your premise that the only way to inject traditional values back into the political arena is by altering the GOP platform itself.

Your entire explanation of why you are Republican seems like it could be paraphased like this: "...Republicans used to stand for something good, Reagan had great libertarian rhetoric, (but didn't exactly walk the walk when it came to being fiscally responsible or limiting the size of government) but I truly believed in the party at one time and just can't face the reality that the GOP has betrayed nearly every single one of my values over the past 20 years, and since they still have so much power, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em."

I think your four little children would be much better off if you independantly tought them the stand alone importance of liberty, freedom, limited government, fiscal responsiblity, and the rule of law in accordance with the Constituion. Instead you inform everyone that you will proudly be raising "4 little republicans" ...whatever that means. Despite your long explanation of why you are republican, in the end you sound like little more than a stubborn GOP loyalist living in complete denial and grasping onto a naive 25-year old hope that Reagan's Rhetoric will someday be fulfilled by a poltical party that has proven itself over and over again to be nothing but a bunch of deceptive liars and panderers telling the people what they want to hear in order to cling to power.

For true lovers of liberty, the GOP means absolutely nothing to most of us now. You should have entitled this thread, "Why I'm STILL a Republican... despite getting screwed over and over again by the people I vote for" That would have been a much more fitting title but you'd have to arrive at a better conclusion other than "I liked Ronald Reagan and I've been invovled in GOP politics for a really long time so I just can't abandon the party despite watching the country go hell for the last 20 years" lol....

Sorry for the paraphrasing but that is how your story came accross to me.

Priniciple over Party!

Steve Dickson's picture

We have it in our power to

We have it in our power to take the GOP over. This is the option I choose. There are those who have perverted MY party, and I mean to challenge that.


You put that in the future tense.

YOUR party ...

... was perverted before you were born. So ...

Ron Paul spent the Reagan years lambasting him. So ...

I do share the belief that the Republican party is ours for the taking, because much of what we (the new Republicans) believe whole-heartedly and ACT on matches much of the rhetoric from the old Republicans ... minus the blood-lust. Most of the rhetoric in the Democratic party is anathema to libertarianism ... minus the anti-militarism.

It's like ... 70% of what the Republicans TALK about suits us and about 30% of what the Democrats TALK about suits us.

The problem is: it's all *TALK and that doesn't suit us AT ALL.

* has been for longer than you've been alive so I'm not sure where all your party loyalty comes from ... I'm a Republican because I think it'll be easier/faster to take them over ... period.

Work for pay, pay for freedom
Fuck 'em all, we don't need 'em

Steve Dickson's picture

You are correct. Ron Paul is

You are correct. Ron Paul is actually the fulfillment of most of the platform, and that scares the hell out of the establishment. I find that pretty funny. I am also putting my money where my mouth is, and working from within to save, restore, or fix - pick your description - the GOP. On Saturday I will be running for National Delegate in the 5th Congressional District in Oklahoma. I have emailed this column to several hundred delegates. I'll let you know how things go some time next week (i.e., whether I win or lose as an open supporter of Ron Paul).


Unfortunately I think the party is run by neocons. I joined because it was the only way I could vote for Ron Paul. I strongly object to the party's foreign policy, suppression of civil liberties, war on drugs, support of the Fed, etc. I can't get too excited about a party that produced George W. Bush and Newt Gingrich.

Steve Dickson's picture

You are right, the party has

You are right, the party has been captured by neocons. It is up to us to take it back. In my state of Oklahoma, the Liberty Movement / Ron Paul supporters were half of the county conventions in the 2nd and 3rd largest counties, roughly. The other three campaigns split the other half. The largest county is a similar split, and I suspect we will find out the State Convention will be the same. I am running for National Delegate on Saturday at the 5th District Convention. If I win, it is one more step to returning the GOP to our roots. There is no path to victory as a democrat, an independent, or a libertarian for the issues you mention - and I agree with your position on them. I also wrote a column on Newt -

That was a thoughtful

That was a thoughtful post.

You mentioned that the GOP has lost its way at times. Can you mention a couple of specific things that made you feel that way? How do you feel about it right now? Is there anything about current main stream Republicanism that you think is lacking or needs changing?

What do you think the best way to "welcome home" Libertarians into the Republican party will be? Just a good leader as you mentioned, or should there be actual platform changes?

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Steve Dickson's picture

Thank you for reading my

Thank you for reading my post. You ask some good questions - I'll do my best to answer. The first is the GOP losing it's way at times. I would compare the era of Reagan to the era of Bush. Reagan was a long time champion of smaller government and libertarian ideals within the party. Bush (W., not H.W.) started out that way but went whole-hog into big government "republicanism" right after 9/11. He changed, or seemed to, over night. I would call that losing your way - when you give up your principles during times of great stress, instead of relying on them (trading Liberty for "safety" or even perceived safety).

A second area of drift would be in the embrace of globalism vs. traditional GOP nationalism. Think of the difference between old school Pat Buchanan and new school George H W Bush. Buchanan was true to guys like Taft, and Bush borrowed from the progressives and internationalists. So, trade would be a second.

If I were to look to change something about "mainstream Republicanism" it would be to implement a full-scale caucus system for every office from State Representative up. You want to be a nominee, you must be chosen at a caucus. Anyone else on the general election ballot is either another party or an Independent. This would put accountability back on to the elected official, who would have to answer to a group of dedicated activists in order to stay in office, and would motivate greater involvement at the grassroots. Power would be pushed down to a lower level. A side benefit would be to stand on our principles of limited government by not allowing a state to pay for a private group (the GOP in this case) to select a nominee. It would also cut down on the "democracy" of a primary, in favor of the "republicanism" of a caucus. I don't know how practical this is yet, just something I am kicking around, but I think we need major election reforms to fix things, and I tend to go away from government solutions and towards private ones. This would also minimize the money in the selection of a nominee, because anyone who could get enough people to show up at a caucus could become the GOP nominee. Imagine US Congressmen fighting for their jobs every 2 years in a caucus within their own party. How many guys voted for things like bailouts, or the NDAA, or the Patriot Act, and would get dumped in short order by 500 or so of their neighbors? Think about it...

Finally, to welcome home Libertarians requires people who are Liberty minded to take positions of leadership - elected ones - within the GOP and demonstrate to those who have left we are going to be true to our principles. It is not about a leader, it is about a philosophical homecoming for the GOP, and a sincere effort to be accountable to our platform. It will require us to call "bullshit" on elected officials that pay lip service to Liberty, and defeat them in primaries.

I believe we are at a critical point with the GOP. We will either embrace Liberty, and those who bring it, or the GOP will die out and be replaced. Many bridges have been burned by those who are considered "establishment", especially this year and this presidential election. The crazy thing is that they fear us, when we are the fulfillment of their stated principles. It is one thing to push for change, and quite another when it arrives. Hope that answers you, somewhat.

Thanks for replying, Steve. I

Thanks for replying, Steve.

I am relatively new to the intricacies of caucuses, but I find them fascinating and I think it takes a little while to fully appreciate their power. A simple vote is easier to understand and is what most Americans think of when they think of free and fair elections.

Caucuses rely much more on an informed and motivated portion of the public rather than massive amounts of people who know nothing beyond distorted TV reports and commercials.

I used to think it was ideal if every person in the country voted. Then I realized how dangerous that can be considering the small percentage of people that actually make informed decisions.

I am new to the GOP because of Ron Paul and his principles. The only way I would consider staying is if the changes you mention actually occur. I know I'm not alone.

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