A friend of mine told me that Santa Monicans do not trust Republicans. I think it's because of George W. Bush. Some liberals think that he wanted to impose some a right-wing religious theocracy. Others are still mad, very mad, about Iraq and Afghanistan. Aside from tax cuts (which Obama has made permanent) and judicial appointments (one who supported Obama-WaxmanCare), President Bush soured a lot of Republicans, too.
In 2004, I was reluctant to vote for Bush. I was not happy with "No Child Left Behind." I did not like the spending spree spilling out of the Beltway. I was particularly distressed that the wars in the Middle East were not turning out as well as the President and his staff had pitched. Only a website entitled "Bush is a d--che bag, but I'm voting for him anyway" helped sway my vote.
I believed that there were weapons of mass destruction. So did five separate intelligence agencies, including the British and the French. Like liberal Democratic Congressmen Brad Sherman and Howard Berman, I supported the invasion into Iraq in order to deter President Saddam Hussein from perpetrating more war crimes against his people and throughout the Middle East.
Bush's foreign policy intimidated Libyan dictator Moammar Ghadhafi to withdraw his nuclear weapons program, and Syria withdrew their forces from Lebanon, following President Bush's muscular foray into the Middle East. Revolutions popped out all over the world, including Kyrgyzstan, Georgia, and the Ukraine. Azerbaijan demanded military intervention from President Bush to save them from their own tyranny. A rise of freedom seemed imminent.
Then a vocal Bush supporter sounded his concerns about the Bush policy: refusnik Russian Jewish refugee Natan Sharansky. In his book The Case for Democracy, Sharansky made his pitch for free societies based on the free speech, freedom of association, and freedom of religions. These values must be firmly in place before governments open up elections. Without proper respect for all citizens in the public square, no free or just society can emerge out of regime change.
Despite the Purple Revolution in Iraq, in which Iraqis dipped their fingers in purple ink to prove that they had voted, the sectarian violence and chronic instability in the region exploded. The ethnic tribal rivalries festering in the region for decades all burst forth following the removal of Saddam Hussein. Regime change cannot be undertaken lightly, after all. Conservative commentators like William F. Buckley, John McLaughlin, and George Will opposed the invasions. Later on, Bill O'Reilly admitted that going to war in Iraq was a mistake.
I admit the same, but not because I wanted war-mongering. Like many Americans, Republicans and Democrats, including the house and Senate majorities who refused to cut the funding in 2007, I believed that there were weapons of mass destruction.
I remember talking about Bush and his foreign policies with a resident from Rancho Palos Verdes. He was so angry, he could barely speak about the Iraqi wars. I understood for the first time how Democrats felt in 2004, when their candidate John Kerry lost, despite the growing unrest and resentment about Bush's wars. I met another Democrat from Palos Verdes, a Jewish Democrat who supported the wars in Iraq, who believes that the weapons of mass destruction were all hustled off to Syria. Recent WikiLeak cables indicate that American forces did find weapons of mass destruction throughout Iraq, too. Bush was not as wrong as people believed.
Still, the high cost of Wilsonian nation-building, coupled with domestic overspending on transportation and Medicare entitlements, ruined the Republican Party brand. Only the 2010 Tea Party caucus forced Establishment GOP types to stand up for their platform, but the lingering aftertaste still dampens opinion about the Republican Party.
Under the rule of a spendthrift Democratic Supermajority in Sacramento, Santa Monica residents should ignore Democratic Party insiders who spend their money, as well as yours and your children's, and fail to care for the older and younger generations. Their wacky proposals like Cap and Trade are putting a cap on trade without easing energy prices. Gas is higher than ever, Governor Jerry Brown has done nothing about it. Obama claims to care about young people, yet he prevents everyone else from enrolling their children in any school that they want, whilke he supports enrolling his own children in private schools. To this day, Democrats have done nothing about re-enfranchising felons, nor have they advanced any policies which will end the failed War on Drugs, which has become a war on minorities.
Republicans and libertarian leaning conservatives are leading on these positive policies. Republicans who endorse individual liberty, not Wall Street elitism, remain in great and growing supply in Southern California. To the citizens of the "People's Republic of Santa Monica", do not heed the empty rhetoric of statist status quo elements who have done nothing to alleviate the economic malaise in the state of California, and do not let them depict Republicans for you. Meet them for yourself, hear them out, and you may discover that you have more in common with the GOP than you realized.