Political dialogue lately has become nauseating. Now that the economy has been solved (what?!?) we are pivoting into a discussion of “religious freedom”. I put that in quotes because the argument has nothing to do with religious freedom and everything to do with bringing up social issues that have no business being part of the modern discourse.

In 2012, why are we still arguing over basic social rights that one of the most advanced countries in the Western world should have put to bed long ago? Why is the GOP so determined on insulting and estranging the same voters they desperately need to survive?

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Jeb Bush recently said the Republican Party needs to carefully survey the ground which they now tread. He stated the GOP is in great danger of becoming an inward looking party having a conversation with itself. Many others have echoed this alarm while we watch the party devolve into one led by activists and talk show hosts. Jeb Bush has always been one of the smartest in the ranks of the conservatives and the party needs to heed his call.  Democrats are unorganized and feckless but at least the “9/11 Truthers” never got a seat at the table.

I believe in small government but have long been turned off by the “social” side of the Republican Party. How the cries for small government can intersect with the long-standing mission of the GOP to “stamp out immorality” is a mystery to me. How can a candidate uphold religious freedom while at the same time forcing their values on the general populace in a way that balloons the size of government in order to enforce?

It’s a serious problem for those of us who actually want small government. Who is left that the Republican Party has not alienated? First, they told union members to hit the bricks and I can’t understand why. Unions are completely autonomous and are of no government. In fact, teachers unions, firefighters, and cops are all entities that consistently argue AGAINST the government. With the Democrats having done nothing to help unions in years, isn’t this an ignored part of the electorate the GOP should be actively courting?  Of course, but they won’t because there hasn’t been any rational thought in the GOP for years.

Next, the GOP said they wanted to round up illegal Hispanics and send them back to Mexico. Never mind that Karl Rove and George W Bush both recognized that Hispanics are a predominately conservative group who champion family values and fiscal responsibility. The GOP has decided that it’s much easier to demonize them, practically daring them to take their consistent voter turnout records to the Left. Their reply? Challenge accepted.

I would be remiss not to mention gay marriage. I never understood why the GOP lashed themselves to this wagon. Again, I believe in small government, so why would I think the constitution needs to be changed to accept one definition of marriage. Considering it’s a document that has no original MENTION of marriage in any form? I understand that the strategy worked to get evangelicals to the polls in 2004 but isn’t it horribly short-sighted to think this will continue to bring in additional votes?

One would think that this tactic has plateaued and moving on would be more logical. But logic not being their strong suit, the GOP has added the homosexuals to its ever growing list of voters it turns away at the door. Remember the Log Cabin Republicans? They are all gone. Only Mike Gin, Mayor of Redondo Beach, California remains and he’s getting tired of always having to bring the snacks to the meeting.

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Then they moved on to the seniors. In 2011, the Republicans decided to make sweeping changes to Medicare in the Paul Ryan budget, learning nothing about when George W tried to privatize social security.  The GOP is now desperately attempting to pack this issue back into the box because it turns out (surprise, surprise) seniors are a pretty violent voting demographic. The GOP more or less won the house in 2010 by throttling Obamacare, telling seniors their Medicare would be affected. Hilarious signs like “Keep the Government out of my Medicare” popped up. Then the GOP stiff-armed the girl they brought to the dance. Eh, par for the course.

So now in 2012 who does the GOP demonization axe fall on next? Apparently it’s women. In the space of a week: 1. The GOP has said it is “Religious Freedom” for employers to cover men more completely than women employees. 2. The Virginia legislature sent a bill to the Governor’s desk that outlaws birth control and forces a woman to obtain a medically unnecessary invasive ultrasound if she seeks to obtain a perfectly legal abortion.

The legislature has since backed off, but they basic premise is still being championed.  3. Rick Santorum has become the national front runner espousing such views as women working are “misguided”.  It doesn’t really matter what side of the abortion issue you fall on, it’s the appalling assault on civil liberties at issue here. No one has been able to rationally explain to me how you can want small government but also say that a woman does not have final say over what she does with her body, ultimately giving the government unlimited control to take inventory.

In the world of limited access to contraception and prenatal care a man is truly free while women are born with a cost burden. Santorum is denying the fact that he is trying to ban contraception outright but by making women have to pay out of pocket for basic reproductive health, he is essentially achieving that goal. The costs will simply be too high for some and going without will be the only option; unless of course the black market once again steps in to serve the needs of those locked out of fundamental health options. The long term results of this on society as a whole can be disastrous. That isn’t right and I don’t know how a small government party advocates that.

There are plenty of liberals that call the GOP the party “of the 1%” but I would submit we are becoming the party of the 20 percent. This is the same party that welcomed Arnold Swartzenegger. He spoke at the last convention. Rudy Gulianni has liberal social views and we loved him. Reagan was NEVER a social conservative. This cancer started with Pat Robertson and it has grown to take over the party. You cannot be a party that tells people what to do in the bedroom and also be small government.

Okay GOP. So come on and let me know. After all of this, what is the plan here? Why are we doing this? Is this going to be a party of small government or not? Ron Paul is a nutcase but his message of freedom and fiscal responsibility has had the effect of attracting young voters. Maybe the Republican party can take a page from Ron Paul’s playbook and one from the tobacco industry…”hook ‘em while their young”. Learn to side step social issues in an effort to quit turning off voters en masse. Find a way to electrify the young electorate without proclaiming that they or everyone they know are morally deficient and needs government to set them straight.

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Can we at least agree to try to make the first 40 years of 21st century different than the 20th?