I’ve written before about how traditional conservatives are under attack by the “God Hates Fags” wing of the GOP (Rick Santorum) and the ruthless ‘destroy the opposition’ hardliners like Tom DeLay. Then you have Dubya who has alienated tons of conservatives by outspending every other president, growing the federal government to record size, turning a record surplus into a record deficit, launching an unnecessary war in the middle east with a pre-emptive invasion, wanting to tamper with the U.S. Constitution, ignoring the rules of the Geneva Convention, etc.
None of those things can be called “conservative”. This is driving many Republicans to consider voting for Kerry, in order to dump Bush. Ha ha, some of the “Anybody But Bush” crowd are traditional Republicans:
Iraq last straw for GOP rebels
By Diane Carman
Denver Post Columnist
Republican roots run deep in Colorado, a state that with few exceptions could be counted on to deliver its electoral votes to the Republican ticket. So it’s unusual six weeks before the election for the race here to be a dead heat.
Mary Lou Halliburton thinks she knows why.
Halliburton, a tax lawyer and a lifelong Republican, served on the White House staff during the Nixon administration and was appointed by Reagan-era Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger to the Defense Advisory Committee on Women and the Services.
But now she’s organizing Colorado Republicans who are disenchanted with the party.
“We’re looking for a way to form a group to take back our party,” Halliburton said in between phone calls with prospective members. “We are obviously not going to be supporting Bush.”
Her list includes Harry Lewis, former president of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce; former state Sens. John Donley, Al Meiklejohn and Dottie Wham; Dr. Charles Vail, a Littleton veterinarian; lawyer John Head; retired banker Joe Barrows; civic activist Ruth Hopfenbeck; and others - all of whom worked hard over the years to deliver the state’s vote to the Republican column.
I asked Meiklejohn about the issues that mobilized these insurgents, who say they also lean toward supporting Democrat Ken Salazar in his run for the U.S. Senate.
“Other than the war?” he said, as if I might not think that was reason enough.
“The war is just a misbegotten thing that’s spiraling down,” said the World War II combat veteran. "It’s a matter of conscience for me.
“After 9/11, the whole world was behind us,” he said. "That’s all gone now. That’s been squandered.
“Now we’ve made the entire Muslim world hate us,” he said. "And for what?
Halliburton and Meiklejohn also criticized Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress for policies they consider an outrageous affront to conservatism.
“I can’t imagine the deficits and the debt that this bunch is running up,” said Meiklejohn, comparing them with Lyndon Johnson during Vietnam. "They’re spending more money than Clinton.
“And they’re borrowing it,” he said.
“The way I see it, if the war’s worth fighting, it’s worth paying for.”
The list goes on.
Abortion was “the original wedge issue” that alienated many, Halliburton said. The appointment of “ideological” judges to the federal bench, and Republican support for the anti-gay-marriage amendment drove them further away. And the party’s opposition to stem-cell research finally infuriated them.
“It’s very important to most educated, thinking people who care about medical research and science,” Halliburton said.
Meiklejohn went beyond that.
Not allowing stem-cell research is “a crime they’re going to have to explain to their maker,” he said.
But nothing gets their blood boiling like the war in Iraq. They keep coming back to that.
Halliburton, who describes herself as a great admirer of the U.S. military, said that “many of us feel we were misled into supporting what has turned out to be an ill-advised war.”
Meiklejohn agreed and said that while Saddam Hussein is “an utterly evil terrible person, he was no danger to the U.S.” There was no cause to sacrifice American lives to remove him, he said.
The pre-emptive war was an act of “hubris,” Halliburton said, a mistake that has made us weaker abroad and is destroying our economy.
“My loyalty is to America,” Meiklejohn said. "The Republican Party I joined, well, that’s just gone.
“I don’t mean to be dramatic,” he added. “I’m too old for that. But we have to make the government, the people wake up.”