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Why I'm a Republican

| Saturday, Sept. 1, 2012, 8:57 p.m.

In these partisan, highly divided times, people ask me why I'm a Republican.

Here's why: I like parting my hair on the side and wearing penny loafers without socks, with real pennies in them. I like showing up for meetings on time, balancing my checking account and retiring for the night before 11.

But part of me longs to be a Democrat.

I love buying rounds for the whole pub — to heck with fiscal sanity on the weekend! I love making grandiose promises, particularly to women, that I know I can never keep.

I have had my struggles as a Republican.

Sometimes, I've been proud, such as during the Ronald Reagan era, when real reforms simplified our tax system and unleashed American ingenuity and economic miracles.

I was proud when Republicans took over Congress in 1995 and brought discipline to Washington. With the economy firing on all cylinders and spending restrained, our government soon began producing a surplus.

But I've often been disappointed.

In the early 2000s, a Republican Congress spent carelessly and basked shamelessly in the perks of power and corruption. A Republican president got us into an aggressive war with Iraq that would divide the country, give Democrats control of Congress and eventually help put a novice, Barack Obama, into the presidency.

Democrats have their flaws, too.

Democrat politicians are like Santa Claus. They love to give “free” things to people, then bask in the resulting praise.

Thanks to Democrats, college kids, even those from high-income homes, are qualifying for — and happy to accept — food stamps.

Democrat politicians thought health-care reform would win them praise. Their plan, essentially, gives people the goodies we all want — care for all, no more pre-existing condition concerns and so on — without worrying about how we will pay for it.

I love to be generous, too — but, being a Republican, I have never figured out how to do so using other people's money.

The truth is that both parties have good and bad sides. How can they not? We have, essentially, two parties to represent almost every interest, good and ill, in a country of 300 million people.

Radical Democrat wing nuts occupy Wall Street and poop on police cars. They chain themselves to trees and curse at lumberjacks.

Some Republicans have their own nutty ideas. A few think a woman can't get pregnant if she's raped. Others say federal funds should be used to provide marriage counseling — as though the institution of marriage is not in enough trouble already.

By and large, though, most Republicans and Democrats are good people who go to work every day, pay their bills on time and want what is best for their country.

Most Republicans are not the unsympathetic rich, white caricatures that some people, particularly “objective” journalists who work for big-city media outlets, wish they were.

In any event, at this point, as America is about to go over a fiscal cliff, it is good to be a Republican.

Look, Democrats, have shown regrettably little aptitude for — or interest in — getting our fiscal mess in order. Our debt is soaring under President Obama. Is anyone confident that he can fix this problem?

Republicans, though, are finally doing some good work again. Republican governors have been bringing fiscal sanity and order to state governments — the very thing we must do at the federal level.

I hope the Republicans win the presidency, get our affairs in order and pave the way for another era of robust economic growth.

That's why I'm a Republican — and also because I like tucking my Oxford shirts into my pants, even though nobody does that anymore.

Tom Purcell, a freelance writer, lives in Library. Visit him on the web at E-mail him at:

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