I think I need to make a more sustained effort to think like a Republican. Despite a good two years exposure to their arguments, most of it gets filed in my head somewhere between the prejudicial (no gay marriage) the crazy (no gun control) and the ethically abhorrent (yay torture!). It's difficult to convey just how thoroughly alien most of the Republican platform seems to someone from outside the continental united states. Someone like Sarah Palin strikes me as an ignorant wackjob who can't keep her own lies straight. When I catch Fox news, I feel like I've stumbled upon a scientific experiment designed to show how angry you can make someone by bombarding them with insane drivel 24 hours a day. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, I didn't do well when I took the Republican 'purity' test.
(1) We support smaller government, smaller national debt, lower deficits and lower taxes by opposing bills like Obama’s “stimulus” bill;
(2) We support market-based health care reform and oppose Obama-style government run healthcare;
(3) We support market-based energy reforms by opposing cap and trade legislation;
(4) We support workers’ right to secret ballot by opposing card check;
(5) We support legal immigration and assimilation into American society by opposing amnesty for illegal immigrants;
(6) We support victory in Iraq and Afghanistan by supporting military-recommended troop surges;
(7) We support containment of Iran and North Korea, particularly effective action to eliminate their nuclear weapons threat;
(8) We support retention of the Defense of Marriage Act;
(9) We support protecting the lives of vulnerable persons by opposing health care rationing and denial of health care and government funding of abortion; and
(10) We support the right to keep and bear arms by opposing government restrictions on gun ownership.
I might agree with 4) but don't know enough. I agree with 7). I agree with bits of 1). That's 1 and a half out of ten. That means I am at least 15% Republican.
It's not bad, but it's not good, not if I really want to understand this country. It bothers me that the US right now feels more like two countries than, say, England and France. Seriously: there is more enmity between North and South than there is between the two countries that fought the Napoleonic wars. Also, as a European, I am a little perturbed by the cliche that all Europeans are Democrats. There are plenty of reasons why this might be so — Republicans have been behind the more belligerent foreign policy decisions of the last decade, America is a centre right country, Europe centre left etc etc — but it bothers me because if someone came to my country and said 'we only like half of you' that would annoy me.
Therefore, as one of my New Year's resolutions, and in keeping with the idea that bipartisanship begins at home, and in order to spend less time getting angry at my TV set, I am going to try to think more like a Republican. It's not a total non-starter. I already like country and western music. For a brief few seconds, I was excited about the Iraq war. I can do a very good Sam Eliott impression. I get Reagan. I think Keith Olbermann is a pompous gas bag. Hollywood liberals annoy me. In fact culturally, I'm pretty hawkish: I like guns and violence and helicopters and T S Eliot and John Milius and good guys beating the crap out of bad guys. It's not much — but it's a start.