A commenter asked a while back how I’ll be voting this fall. It might seem surprising after reading a few recent posts, but I’ll be working enthusiastically to get Republicans elected in November. Why?
Mostly because I don’t live in Texas anymore. The GOP as it exists today in my once and forever homeland gives me the horrors. Illinois Republicans are a pretty reasonable, pragmatic bunch. The Party here is a reminder of what it was like to be a Republican under Reagan.
The Confederate Libertarianism that dominates conservative politics these days in the South – libertarian on matters of infrastructure and capital development, fundamentalist/authoritarian regarding everything else – is almost completely unknown here. It’s not every day that you hear Republicans here railing against progressive taxation, public transportation, the gay agenda, or Muslims. The whack-job politics just doesn’t sell.
Where I live (Henry Hyde’s old district) our local government has been dominated by responsible Republicans for generations. They have given us fantastic schools, tons of parks and other public spaces, libraries like nothing I had ever seen before, and excellent roads and trains. All for a total tax burden considerably less than I paid in Houston. An income tax works wonders. It’s amazing what government can deliver when it isn’t funded primarily on the blood and sweat of middle-class homeowners.
But control of state government here has swung solidly back to the Democrats in recent years and they have made a spectacular mess of things. Like many Northern states, Illinois suffers from a poor business climate due to persistent, bi-partisan public corruption, a stagnant bureaucracy, incredibly powerful public employee unions, and needless regulatory burdens. Oh, and we are facing a budget deficit comparable to the one Texas is experiencing as a result of our failure to fund our pension system over the years.
Republicans here are in position to make significant gains this year and along the way, potentially begin correcting some of these long-term problems. Once in office will they really tackle those problems, or will they sink into pointless squabbles about prayer in schools and creationism?
Our Republican Gubernatorial candidate who is personally a hard-core social conservative (at least by Yankee standards) has, at least so far, promised to keep those beliefs from grinding the state to a halt. Like other Illinois Republicans he has distanced himself from the Tea Party and promised sensible government. He is even promising not to overturn a potential move by the upcoming lame-duck assembly to legalize same-sex civil unions.
So, yes Virginia, there are still some sane, competent Republicans out there and I’m pleased to have an opportunity to support them this fall and beyond.
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