Yesterday on Facebook, a friend posted this:
Newt Gingrich has an issue with hypothetical Muslim candidates who would not respect other religions and push Shariah agendas yet Republicans do just that with fundamentalist Christianity and their religious agendas.
Emphasis added. She’s not the first intelligent individual to have made such an observation. Relating my experience having been “welcomed in various Republican circles as both a gay man and a Jew”, I asked her to specify and she civilly replied, asking why I was a Republican. I offered a succinct expression of my support for the GOP:
I’m a Republican because I favor small government and individual freedom and it is the better of the two parties on that score. Better though not perfect.
All too many people, like my friend, have this image of the GOP as the party of fundamentalist Christians. And to be sure, as my friend noted, “the fundamentalist Christian movements in this country find a home under the Republican umbrella.” Perhaps it’s their presence in the GOP which causes some to define the party by their agenda. Or the way our media dwell on that presence.
As small government ideas find increasing favor among the American electorate, the GOP needs to do a better job defining itself as the better of less federal regulation and more personal (and economic) liberty. Over at the National Review, Cato’s Michael Tanner suggests that Republicans would be wise to “to take some of [Ron Paul’s] ideas seriously“, you know those domestic policy issues he talks about on the campaign trail not those he published in his newsletter.