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View Diary: Why this lifelong Republican left the GOP (229 comments)

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  •  When you originally choose sides, it's tough ... (0+ / 0-)

    to change sides.  I have a similar story as I was an early Gen-X Reaganite (although I had a problem with the deficit spending he pushed through.)  I began to think of myself as a moderate that could switch sides in 1988, as I supported Gephardt's plan for tax rates going from 10-40% in lieu of Reagan's 28% floor.

    It may come as shock, but a big issue for me back then was affirmative action.  As a white male, I just didn't see how discriminating against me was valid - just as it wasn't valid when practiced against minorities or women in years past.  I wasn't too happy working and paying taxes to support women who couldn't keep themselves from being impregnated by men and getting welfare payments.  Couple that with the way that I hated how the USA supported the Zionist aggression against the Palestinians, and I think you can come to the conclusion of which Louisiana Republican I voted for in the early 90's. :-)

    Bill Clinton, however, made me see that Democrats could be responsible.  Although at the time, I couldn't understand why folks just couldn't go out and get a private health insurance policy, I did see that the private health care system was not as good as it could be - so in general I liked the idea that Bill & Hillary were trying to fix the system.  What I didn't like was the way that my party (at the time) was so hell bent against it.  I definitely liked the way that Clinton put forward a balanced welfare reform program that got folks to work if they could, while still being compassionate.

    However, the one election that got me going was Landrieu vs. Jenkins for Senator in '96.  I had one side of me liking Landrieu, but another side of me saying, "you're a Republican, and Landrieu is too liberal."  (I know - it's hilarious to think like that, but that's the way I was.)  Too make it even worse, I have always hated the Religious Right, so voting for Jenkins was a tough one (like a lot of responsible Louisianians "shaking their hands" as they pulled the lever for "Fast Eddie" Edwards over Duke for governor in '91.)  I hated it so much that when the election result was super tight, I switched sides and hoped for Landrieu to win.

    At that time, I definitely considered myself a cautious independent - willing to swing one way or another.  Then in early '97, right after quitting my regular defense contractor job and becoming a independent hired gun software developer, I got diagnosed with cancer (testicular).  I had already responsibly signed up for COBRA coverage, so it was not an issue for the first 16 months of my treatment (which since it was stage I, only consisted of surveillance.)  However, trying to get coverage after that is when I realized what a sham the health care system was.  I even tried to do the responsible, now Republican idea of getting my tests done at the best cost - realizing at the end that it is totally impossible.  After getting a big 4 month check up (on the last working day of my COBRA coverage), I ended up going to the Charity Hospital system that Huey Long had set up (which I got for free as I could claim to have no income if I had not worked that week.)  Of course, at that time I realized that Democratic Party is truly the part that helps all, and haven't looked back since.

    I knew W was stupid, but I had no idea just how bad a stupid POTUS could be.  I often wonder if I had remained cancer free (and continued to be successful as a software develop - something that I was not after about 2003) - would I have eventually decided to become Democrat?  I'd like to think that somewhere in W's first term, that that would have happened.  It's incredibly ironic, but now as an early middle aged obsolete, unemployable engineer (thinks to outsourcing & the H1B visa), and seeing how even folks like me could be unemployable at a decent wage, I now consider myself a Marxist to some degree.

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