Friday, August 30, 2013

Party Switchers

John Montford, former district attorney and senator from Lubbock, ran throughout his career as a Democrat in spite of being urged repeatedly to switch parties because of the district which he represented.  Montford once said he considered switching parties sort of like a sex change would mess up one’s reputation for consistency.

I’ve always considered joining a political party akin to joining a church.  Once a person commits themselves to a church, they also embrace the religious tenants or beliefs of that church.  Likewise, it appears to me those switching parties and becoming Republicans now embrace the core beliefs of the Republican leadership as espoused by Rick Perry, Ted Cruz and Dick Cheney.

Those core beliefs, which have been well publicized, include abolition of social security, voting against equal pay for women, endorsing anti-union rhetoric and policies, believing government has no role in delivering health care to the citizens of this country, and believing that health care should be left to private enterprise such as insurance companies and giant pharmaceutical corporations.  

Republicans also obviously believe the Republican majority sitting in Austin can best tell what an injured citizen is entitled to rather than a jury of 12 of the injured person’s peers.  Were we to leave the trust of caring for the water we drink, the air we breathe, and the soil that produces our foodstuffs to the Koch brothers and Rush Limbaugh, that care-taking job would be left to the tender mercies of British Petroleum, Exxon and Chevron.

I strongly suspect, if you have the opportunity to meet one of these party switchers face-to-face, and ask which of these core tenets they truly believe in, they will quickly back peddle from most of them.

In plain English, these folks would rather switch than fight.  Harry Truman once said a person who would lead this country should have strong core values and beliefs.  By strong, he meant those beliefs you are willing to fight for rather than compromise.  Those folks suddenly realized they had always been Republican when it appears they will face some difficulty being re-elected as Democrats.  Had William Travis and his fellow Texans in the Alamo had the same attitude about rushing to join the majority, we would probably all be citizens of Mexico today and speaking Spanish.

My only consolation in all of this--seeing these folks suddenly realize they have been conservative Republicans all along and switch parties--was summed up by a friend of mine whom I chastised for doing the same thing in the Legislature.  He grinned a wry grin, looked at me and said, “Don’t worry, I’m not going to be any better Republican than I was a Democrat.”

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