I have been thinking lately about how we got here. When one thinks of the word "conservative" as it applies to politics, it's sort of confusing. Back in the 70's, and I was very young so, this is speculation, I believe that Republicans were probably considered stodgy old men that counted their money every day and planned wars; and Democrats were freedom loving, anti-war, bleeding hearts anxious to give everyone's money away.
Today, conservative can be applied fiscally or socially. The Republicans screwed up when they decided to be the "Moral" party. Somehow they believed they owned the market on Christian values and they said that if you don't embrace their traditional Christian values then you are not a moral person. Truth be told, this is a very powerful method of controlling someone. No one wants to be perceived as being immoral. And the way the GOP deals with those who disagree is to slam the door in their face in a fit of self-righteous rage leaving the rejected person feeling abandoned and unworthy.
This dismissive behavior alienates people. So all of a sudden the Republican party became the party that hates homo-sexuals, or pro-choicers or anti-warmongers. Perhaps they were banking on their members' need to be considered worthy by the "moral authority" keeping them in the party. I think that people have an inherent need to be liked, to get along with others and to like other people. So, more people, growing tired of accusations regarding their moral standing and their patriotism just for disagreeing walked away and joined the warm, welcoming arms of the Democratic party.
I think this is why the Republican Party is so confused right now. Here we are, facing a financial crisis and they don't know what their principals are anymore. For the last 8 years, Bush's agenda was very much in line with that of the Religious Right and he seemed to think it was his calling in life to make sure that the rest of us lived by his traditional Christian values. And so, many loyal Republicans exited stage left and joined the Democratic Party.
Right now, we need strong, difficult, fiscally conservative decisions that will protect the financial future of our country. Democrats have businesses, women have businesses, the gay members of our societies have businesses, so I'm optimistic that there might be enough financial conservatism in the Democratic party to get us through this problem. I am at least hopeful of this.
This leads me to why I think Obama might actually be able to do the job. This growth in the Democratic party has brought about a vast variety of people. People who are Christian and who are Atheist, people who want gays to be able to marry and others who aren't ready to cross that line, people who are pro-choice and others that are anti-abortion. But I think the significant thing is that these people who are coming over to the Democratic ticket are seeking balance and not an all or nothing approach. Both parties have their extreme visions but I think that the Democrats have always had a more tolerant approach towards their adversaries than the GOP has been toward theirs.
I think perhaps both parties are going go through a very interesting redefinition of their respective platform. And this might be why the races between Bush/Gore and Bush/Kerry were so close. The all or nothing approach of the "moral" Republican party has turned a lot of people away. I am of the opinion that if this is a close race, it will not help this country as much as it will if it is more like a landslide. I can only hope that I am not overestimating Obama's capacity to manage these challenges ahead because I do believe his going to be elected our next President of the United States.