Sunday, November 25, 2007

Why party affiliation can matter

Representative Ron Paul hedged recently when asked whether he'd support the Republican nominee, regardless of who it might be (and it's a safe bet it won't be him).

In essence, Dr. Paul replied that his support would wholly depend upon the candidate's willingness to end the war and other positions about which Dr. Paul feels strongly.  OK, but I'm not clear why Dr. Paul remains a Republican except perhaps out of political expediency.  Many of his views are out of touch with the party mainstream which begs the question -- does party affiliation matter much anymore?
Shirley Chisholm: Wikipedia

Growing up in fiercely independent Wisconsin, I recall hearing a familiar line from adults -- "I vote for the man, not the party." (And in those days, with few exceptions, like Shirley Chisholm, it was all men).

As an impressionable lad, I respected adults who publicly affirmed beliefs in something higher than party politics. A sincere allegiance to core principles will always trump those screaming people wearing funny hats at the party convention, I believed.

Now, in my late forties, I'm often skeptical of the I-vote-for-the-person-not-the-party person. Why?  Unless one has a record of voting for both Republicans and Democrats, or one has a history of supporting third party candidates, the party-less advocate is often making a politically "safe" proclamation.