Sunday, April 22, 2012

Politics and a Survey

Last week, I received a survey in the mail. This very official looking document was published & sent out by the Republican National Commission. Why did I get it? Well, 17 years or so ago, I registered as a Republican and have never changed it. After reading it through, I'm glad I got to do the survey, but first a little background.

See, as a kid, my exposure to politics was fairly limited. But, I did know that my mom was on one team & my dad was on the other. When it came time for me to register to vote, I let my mother influence my choice. She was a Republican & explained why they she was one (I no longer remember what she said); however the main thing she stressed was that it was better to vote one's conscience than to vote party lines.

Now, back to that survey. I've heard it said over & over again that many view points espoused by the Right are fringe views, just vocal outsiders, it's not the party line. Some of the questions on this survey have caused me to believe otherwise... either that or the RNC is totally pandering. After collecting some basic data, the first question is: "Do you believe Barack Obama has used the presidency and the powers of his office to look out for concerns and interests of Americans like you?" Ok, that's fairly reasonable. Later in the survey, which is divided into sections, we encounter some questionable items such as:

  •   "Would you support a phased-in increase in the retirement/eligiblity age for Social Security benefits that would not affect anyone over the age of 50?"
  •   "Do you believe Obama's strategey of treating all countries as equals to the United States has strengthened our security and weakened the resolve of our enemies?"
  •   "Do you support the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe vs. Wade to allow states to regulate/restrict abortion as they see fit?"
  •   "Do you believe life begins at conception?"
  •   "Do you support immediate and total repeal of ObamaCare health care legislation?"
  •   "Do you believe the Republican Party needs to do a better job of exposing the Obama record and his radical liberal agenda?"
  •   "Are you committed to helping ensure that in 2012, the Obama-era of radical liberalism, reckless spending and embarrassing foreign policy comes to an end?" (That's the last question before the section that requests donations)

(There's also a section at the beginning of 'bullet points,' so to speak that are considered as "How important are these issues...": Repeal ObamaCare, Exposing Obama's radical left-wing policies, Expanding domestic exploration for oil & gas.) 

It's those questions/items that cause me to question what the hell the Republican party is actually up to. Many of the items above are things I've heard discussed by people who are generally considered to be on the edge of things, not the mainstream, not the party line. Are they all a bunch of nutjobs? Is the RNC pandering to the far right? Is this survey simply for the RNC to gauge what it's members are up to/believe since there seem to be fractures within the party? 

To be fair, there are items on the survey that are pretty reasonable questions and reasonable bullet points as well. Such as asking if respondents are worried about inflation impacting their finances. Are we worried about border security? Do you agree it's time to leave Afghanistan? Should retirees be exempt from property tax increases on their residence? There are many others.

I don't really have any plans right now to change my registration. Partly due to laziness, partly because I might get to screw with their status quo by answering surveys such as this. Frankly, I'm not sure it really matters at this point which party one's voter registration card states. At this stage in the game, it seems to me that both Republican & Democratic lawmakers are really just two sides of the same coin & they're all in it for themselves. To be sure, one generally shouldn't paint with broad strokes as it's details that are always important. However, when something like this comes around, it really causes me to wonder if the broad strokes that are often used to paint the Republican party are a little more suitable than originally thought. I don't know, I don't pretend to. I just know that I listened to my mom & still vote my conscience.