Friday, April 22, 2005

The Jerry Seinfled Theory of Voting Republican

The players change, the manager changes, the ballpark changes. About the only thing that stays the same is the uniform. When you get down to it, what you're really rooting for is the shirt." --Jerry Seinfeld

Jerry Seinfeld's observations on baseball remind me a lot of current politics. While many long-time Republicans supported John Kerry in 2004, realizing his views are more in accordance with their underlying values than the extremist views of the neoconservatives currently in control of the Republican party, many people continued to vote Republican. Obviously the players have changed. The "ballpark" has also changed--in this case the underlying viewpoints. While there are no uniforms, what they were really rooting for was just the party name.

On foreign policy, imagine if a Democrat had taken office receiving specific warnings from the previous administration about a foreign threat and ignored it, and then continued to ignore continuing warnings about an impending attack. In the old days, Republicans would have been all over such incompetence, not voting to reelect the administration based upon national security concerns.

True Republicans would respect the military service of John Kerry, not attack it in order to make the record of someone such as George Bush who avoided his responsibilities appear less objectionable.

The modern conservative movement often refers to the Goldwater take-over of the GOP in 1964 as their start, forgetting how Barry Goldwater was a major opponent of their new allies on the religious right. Republicans who in the past promised to get government off our backs now support a government which has become more intrusive in individual's lives.

Republicans warned about deficits and big government in the past, Bill Clinton announced that the era of big government is over, and left office with a surplus. George Bush brought back both deficits and big government. Corporate welfare has replaced their support for free enterprise.

Republicans oppose the current judges, forgetting most were appointed by Republicans. For example, according to the Los Angeles Times, "Ninety-four of the 162 active judges now on the U.S. Court of Appeals were chosen by Republican presidents. On 10 of the 13 circuit courts, Republican appointees have a clear majority. And, since 1976, at least seven of the nine seats on the U.S. Supreme Court have been filled by Republican appointees." Similarly Republicans have forgotten their old support for Federalism on issues ranging from the Terri Schiavo case to tort reform.

If Republicans had cool uniforms, maybe Jerry Seinfeld's ideas on baseball would apply to voting Republican. Unfortunately, not only have they abandoned their values, they don't even have uniforms. Observing the Bush administration, a better analogy would be to say that the emperor wears no clothes.