For a variety of reasons, I’ve shied away from writing about politics lately. Both sides are strongly polarized, and so firm in their beliefs, that it’s hard to come up with any compelling new arguments.
So I’m trying a new tack today. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. It seems that it’s not only lefty, liberals who aren’t voting for Bush this year, as evidenced by the large list of powerful and influential Republicans who are not voting for Bush in 2004. If your beliefs in Bush have been shaken, but you really want to do the right thing for our country and aren’t convinced that "regime change begins at home", at least take the time to review the words of some of the strongest Republican leaders who have made a different choice this year. You would be in very good company, indeed, if you followed their lead in this election.
Former Michigan governor William Milliken speaks quite eloquently on why he’s made such a difficult choice. I’ve taken the liberty of quoting his entire statement, beginning below and ending in the extended entry section of this post. Please, if for no other reason than to disagree and confirm your own choices, read what he has to say, and give it some thought. For one thing I know for sure, that despite our apparent differences, at heart we all truly only want one thing, and that’s what’s best for our country, the United States of America.
Statement by William G. Milliken
October 17, 2004
As a lifelong Republican, I have had mounting concern watching this year’s presidential campaign.
I have always been proud to be a Republican. My Republican Party is a
broad-based party, that seeks to bring a wide spectrum of people under
its umbrella and that seeks to protect and provide opportunity for the
most vulnerable among us.
Sadly, that is not the Republican Party that I see at the national level today.
My Republican Party has always been a party that stood for fiscal
responsibility. Today, under George W. Bush, we have the largest
deficit in the history of our country – a deficit that jeopardizes
economic growth that is so desperately needed in a nation that has lost
2.6 million jobs since he took office.
To make matters even worse, this president inherited a surplus, but
squandered it with huge tax cuts structured primarily to benefit the
wealthy and powerful.
My Republican Party is the party of Michigan Sen. Arthur H. Vandenberg
who helped forge a bipartisan foreign policy that served this nation
well and produced strong alliances across the globe. This president
has, in a highly partisan, unilateral way rushed us into a tragic and
unnecessary war that has cost the lives of more than 1,000 of our young
men and women. In this arrogant rush to war, he has alienated this
nation from much of the world.
What’s worse, the basic premises upon which we were taken to war proved
to be false. Now, we find ourselves in the midst of an occupation that
was largely unplanned and has become a disaster from which we cannot
easily extricate ourselves.
My Republican Party is the party of Theodore Roosevelt, who fought to preserve our natural resources and environment. This president has pursued policies that will cause irreparable damage to our environmental laws that protect the air we breathe, the water we drink and the public lands we share with future generations.
My Republican Party is the party of Lincoln, who freed an enslaved people. This president fought in the courts to strike down policies designed to provide opportunity and access to our own University of Michigan for minority students.
My Republican Party is the party of Eisenhower, who warned us to beware of the dangers of a military-industrial complex. This president has pursued policies skewed to favor large corporations in the defense and oil industry and has gone so far as to let those industries help write government policies.
My Republican Party is a party that respects and works with the men and women of the law enforcement community who put their lives on the line for us every day. This president ignored the pleas of law enforcement agencies across America and failed to lift a finger to renew the assault weapons ban that they strongly supported as an essential safeguard for public safety.
My Republican Party is a party that values the pursuit of knowledge. But this president stands in the way of meaningful embryonic stem-cell research that holds so much promise for those who suffer from diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, spinal cord injuries and other conditions.
My Republican Party is the party of Gerald R. Ford, Michigan’s only president, who reached across partisan lines to become a unifying force during a time of great turmoil in our nation’s history. This president has pursued policies pandering to the extreme right wing across a wide variety of issues and has exacerbated the polarization and the strident, uncivil tone of much of what passes for political discourse in this country today.
Women’s rights, civil liberties, the separation of church and state, the funding of family planning efforts world-wide – all have suffered grievously under this president and his administration.
The truth is that President George W. Bush does not speak for me or for many other moderate Republicans on a very broad cross section of issues.
Sen. John Kerry, on the other hand, has put forth a coherent, responsible platform of progressive initiatives that I believe would serve this country well. He wants to balance the budget, step up environmental protection efforts, rebuild our international relationships, support stem-cell research, protect choice and pursue a number of other progressive initiatives that moderates from both parties can support.
As a result, despite my long record of active involvement in the Republican Party, and my intention still to stay in the Republican Party, when I cast my ballot November 2, I will be voting for John Kerry for President.