I count myself among the Liberals today, even if that term is ill-defined and used more as an insult than anything else. Some people have brought back the old term ‘progressive’, which is not much different in today’s political universe. I have listened to tortured arguments on Cspan2 as to why one set of personalities are ‘good’ progressives and others are bad ‘liberals’ but the distinctions between the elude me. Since both operate within the Democratic party, it just doesn’t make a difference.
In 1964 I was a teenage fan of Barry and Bill in 1964, and sometime later my twin brother and I subscribed to National Review. In the Catholic world I lived in virtually all the people I knew would have been counted among the conservatives. Most of my friends read Ayn Rand and thought of her approach as eminently correct. I despised the anti-war movement, even if I never supported the war with any fervor. My first vote for president was for Richard Nixon, so I considered myself a Republican and a conservative.
Adulthood changed my point of view. In 1977 I started to work for the US Census Bureau and began to see how life was lived in places like Newark and Jersey City. I began to see how government worked. For example, I saw that our highway programs favored new developments in the suburbs, when the urban areas were the ones that needed sensible redevelopment not just highways that cut them apart.
I stopped thinking of myself as a Republican when Reagan ran for president. He was Hollywood actor who was good at saying soothing things; I felt he was a phony. Still politicians are always a bit phony. It was Reagan’s response to environmental issues the sealed the deal for me. The Republican party was always the party most interested in conservation (how many tenement dwellers expected to visit Yellowstone in the 1920s?) starting with the first national parks not soon after the Civil War and going on through the administration of Teddy Roosevelt. Even though Western interests opposed some of it, the Eastern money was always behind conservation. Reagan’s people changed the center of gravity in the party and the old conservation movement was out and the modern environmental movement was to be blocked in any manner possible.
Since Reagan the only measure of what is important for the GOP is whether or not it is good for business, with no consideration of whether what is good for business is good for the American people. Our most best know companies, such as Apple, are great a creating jobs, in China, but we don’t live in China.