Schizophrenic Republicans

The May 31 resolutions of the Colorado Republican State Convention illustrate the difficulties and tensions of the party.

Included are the pro-liberty:

2. [T]he United States will pay any price, bear any burden… to assure the survival of our republic and freedom.

4. [T]he practice of inserting earmarks into the federal budget [should] be eliminated.

18. …Colorado Republicans support the 2nd Amendment right of individuals to keep and bear arms.

32. …Colorado citizens [should] be free to choose their own health care and health insurance and not be required to participate in any particular health care program.

33. …Colorado Republicans oppose all single-payer health care systems.

35. …Colorado Republicans oppose governmental taking of private property for the benefit of private individuals, private entitites, or for governmental revenue enhancement.

Unfortunately, Colorado Republicans often are wishy-washy in their support of liberty. For example, while they opposed single-payer medicine, and while I’m pleased with their statement about choice, they hardly articulated the need to defend individual rights and free markets in medicine.

The third point pertains to a “balanced federal budget.” That’s great, but the central issue is not budgetary balance, but budgetary control. I’d rather see Congress spend half of what it does today and still run a deficit, than spend even more and confiscate the difference.

Points 11-17 denounce illegal immigrants, except fourteen calls for “a well-regulated guest worker program.” Absent is any call to restore liberty in immigration.

Points 19, 20, 22, and 23 pertain to church/state issues. (Point 21 is omitted; I wonder what it said?) The big one is that Colorado Republicans believe “that life begins at conception.” Of course nobody actually doubts that; conception is the union of two living cells. But this is euphemism for alleging that personhood begins at conception, as Colorado’s Amendment 48 asserts.

Colorado Republicans want to overturn Roe v. Wade, eliminate “public funds for destructive embryonic stem-cell research” (calls for an outright ban are noticeably absent), and restrict “marriage” to a man and woman.

These points show that Colorado Republicans are trying to walk the line. They say that “life” begins at conception, but they don’t say that they want to prohibit all abortions. They say they don’t want tax funding of embryonic stem-cell research, but they’re silent on the issue of bans. They want to overturn the federal court rulings on abortion, but they don’t say whether they want to leave the issue to states or allow federal prohibitions. They define marriage but don’t mention domestic partnerships.

The result is to simultaneously pander to and insult the religious right, while convincing everyone else that Republicans remain the party of the religious right.

Meanwhile, the Democrats endorse the separation of church and state (at least as a rule) as they work to place ever greater portions of the economy under political control.

Wouldn’t it be nice if some major force in either of the parties called for liberty across the board?