Oddly enough, I am a Republican. I say "oddly enough" because I've never really felt like I belong with them. They care about things like abortion and capital gains taxes which I know a little about but don't have strong feelings on. (Is there a reason to treat capital gains as different from ordinary income? If so, what is it?) In contrast, I care mainly about the National Question, a sheaf of questions most Republicans don't think much about, and a term most Republicans haven't even heard of.
Recently I became a Republican anyway. It amuses me to hear people patting the Tea Party on the head and telling them it's way past their bedtime, as if anyone has done more to shake up the leftist establishment in as little time as the Tea Party has been around. But anyway, I acknowledge that the Tea Party may get nothing done, in which case the zero dollars and ten minutes I have invested in their movement will all go to waste.
I make the following offer to the Tea-flavored Republican Party to which I currently belong:
I will continue to be a Republican through the end of 2011. If the Republicans have met my conditions at that time, I will give them another year. Since most of what the Republicans can do can be vetoed by President Obama, my requirements are only for serious attempts to do the right thing, defined as two thirds of Republicans in each house voting my way (whether or not their attempts succeed). They must vote:
- For a complete pullout of all US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, to begin when the law is passed and be complete, under several estimates, no more than 12 months after that time
- For construction of a real (non-virtual), San Diego-to-Brownsville border fence, and sufficient funding for it
- For all statutory provisions underlying affirmative action to be repealed (this is admittedly vague; most of the pillars underlying affirmative action were put their either by executive fiat or judicial fiat; another Riggs Amendment would suffice)
- To repeal the Patriot Act
Action to roll back gun control, secure prisons, or officialize English would help but is not required. Note that I am not demanding that the Republicans privatize Social Security, abolish the income tax, or anything radical (and economic). The Tea is not yet strong enough for that.
The criteria under which I will judge the Grand Old Party at the end of 2012 will be determined in a year's time.
I encourage other Republicans to publish similar pledges. Let's get the show on the road.