According to FoxNews, Jeff Smith of Columbus, Mississippi has changed his party affiliation to Republican. (http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/06/01/house-speaker-candidate-smith-switches-to-gop/)
Missed the news? Small wonder. Jeff Smith is a member of Mississippi’s STATE legislature. He switched parties in order to make a run for the House Speaker position after he was edged out of contention by a Democrat contender.
Mr. Smith has always been – according to the report – a conservative Democrat. He now calls himself a moderate Republican. In his words: “It’s not a big leap going from a super conservative Democrat to a Republican.”
Thanks – but please go away.
No matter how many superlatives that may be placed before “conservative”, when mixed with the word Democrat all bets are off. If Mr. Smith truly understood the historic roots of the GOP, he would understand that it truly is a “big leap” in switching parties.
Granted, state parties tend to be driven less by ideology and more by history and roots. As I wandered the state of Tennessee working for NFIB(http://nfib.com) – talking to small businesses – I usually found myself in rural counties and town that were predominately Democrat. A “Red State” on national politics, the places that I would visit – off the beaten path – were Democrat and proudly so. But, if you ask them the hot questions – higher taxes, government intervention, national security and immigration, homosexuals in the military – most if not all would come down on the right side of the aisle. These folks are Democrat because “my daddy was a Democrat, and my granddaddy was a Democrat.”
The folksiness of these parties starts breaking down, however, the farther we get from the local communities and governments. It is almost impossible to rectify the “leave me alone and let me create jobs and feed my family” attitude of small business owners who are also Democrat and the increasing government regulation, intervention, and taxation that is putting these folks out of business. The party of Obama is about increasing the role of government in our everyday lives and diminishing individual responsibility and freedom. The historic underpinnings of the GOP are exactly opposite – that government’s role should be minimal, and that individuals should be free to follow their dreams – and reap the benefits or lessons that come.
Which leads me back to Mr. Smith.
We do not need moderate Republicans. We certainly do not need people who switch parties for political gain and power instead of true ideological differences with their initial party. We need politicians who are working hard to put themselves out of business – and leave the rest of us alone. We need Republicans who understand that sticking to ideology is not a bad thing – if the ideology itself is soundly based.
It is obvious that Mr. Smith truly does not understand what being a Republican is about. Let us hope that the folks of Mississippi – or at least the members of the GOP who will cast their votes for the House Speaker – do.