Any Moderates Left?

Moderate Republicans, we're all counting on you. I know you're out there living your daily life, working your job, paying your taxes, loving your family. You're conservative on social issues and mo

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Moderate Republicans, we're all counting on you. I know you're out there living your daily life, working your job, paying your taxes, loving your family. You're conservative on social issues and money issues. You like to live your life without government assistance or intervention, and you're happy to let others live their own lives as well.

But while you're living your life, you've let your political party get hijacked by religious zealots. They started out innocently enough promoting "family values" and fighting child pornography, but as they picked up power their true agenda has begun to crystallize.

They dominate the Republican Party and now, with your assistance, the country. Where have you been? Why aren't you more concerned?

When you voted, perhaps reluctantly, for President Bush last fall, did you know you'd now be backing Social Security overhaul that seeks to destroy the entire system in order to "save" it?

Are you comfortable with privatizing the savings plan instead of simply asking those with incomes above $90,000 to pay their fair share in taxes?

By backing Ohio Issue 1 last fall to defeat gay marriage, did you realize you'd be empowering the Ohio Restoration Project to gut our public schools and limit citizens' rights to sue corporations? Do you support their plan to engage Christian churches to register 600,000 new voters to elect Ken Blackwell governor and throw out Sen. Mike DeWine in 2006?

(For more on the Ohio Restoration Project, Citizens for Community Values and Blackwell, see my editorial "Ohio's Religious Right Says, 'Welcome to Our World,' " issue of April 6-12.)

Are you proud of your party when Sen. George Voinovich gets blasted by the right wing for voicing his concerns about President Bush's nominee to represent our country at the United Nations?

Are you gung ho about your party's leaders getting ready to callously shred the U.S. Senate's rules in order to push through a handful of Bush's judicial nominees? Aren't you confused, as I am, that this same group continuously bashes judges every chance it gets — especially those it calls "activist judges" — and yet wants to break time-honored rules to appoint more?

Aren't you embarrassed when sleazy politicians such as Rep. Tom DeLay, your party's leader in the House of Representatives, reduce complex issues like end-of-life decisions to simplistic "God wants Terri Schiavo to live" pandering? Aren't you bothered that your "small government" party threw the full weight of the U.S. Congress into the Schiavo situation?

Do you agree with Hamilton County Sheriff Simon Leis Jr. that "as concerned citizens and Christians, we need to display and read in our classrooms once again, and with pride, the Ten Commandments, the Judeo-Christian foundation of our entire constitutional system of law?" (See more of his comments in Porkopolis on page 15.) Is this your idea of proper law enforcement priorities?

Do you support Sam Malone, who represents your party on Cincinnati City Council, even though he thinks "family values" means he has the right to use a belt to raise visible welts on his 14-year-old son's back, chest, arms and buttocks?

Do these people really represent the party of Lincoln? Or do you?

Make no mistake, I'm no fan of the Republican Party. I disagree with just about every social, economic and foreign policy position the GOP pushes.

But I have friends and family members who are moderate Republicans, and I respect their points of view because I respect them. They're good people, and I know it because they show it, not because they make speeches about morality.

There are too many snake charmers and moneychangers leading the Republican Party, and there are too many ordinary folks letting those fools use Jesus' name to justify hatred, dishonesty and greed. When my staunch Republican father votes for Sen. John Kerry — the first Democrat he backed for president since John F. Kennedy — I know eyes are opening to what's going on.

Frank Rich wrote an excellent column in the May 15 New York Times ("Just How Gay Is the Right?") in which he wondered about the right wing's obsession with gay-baiting while so many of them — the latest being the mayor of Spokane, Wash. — get exposed as latent gays. It can't be coincidence.

Like Rich, I'm now convinced that right-wing ideologues are actually the opposite of how they present themselves. And the more they foam at the mouth, the more in denial they are about their true selves.

A "family values" zealot? They beat their children.

A defender of "traditional marriage?" They're divorced and/or have committed adultery.

An anti-homosexual crusader? They're gay.

A "devout follower" of the Lord Jesus Christ? On any given day they break more commandments than you or me.

Moderate Republicans, take back your party. We'll all be eternally grateful.

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