Why I AM a Democrat

by D.J. McGuire

In reading Bruce Bartlett’s compressed autobiography-turned-advice column, I couldn’t help but feel the old supply-side economist had, for the most part, been just a few steps ahead of me. My dissolution with President Bush the Younger came a few years after his 2005 broadside against same (although I dimly recall even then considering his critique having merit), and of course, I left the Republican Party in the last year of the Obama Administration, rather than its beginning. I’ve even felt the liberation of sloughing off the political orthodoxy that comes with partisan tribalism.

Yet somehow, I was taken up short by how Bartlett chose to…well come up short of switching to the Democrats. Despite his clear antipathy to the Republican Party, he cannot bring himself to go to its opposition. He states his reasons in the Huffington Post (well after Bill Moyers).

I’ve grown to hate my former party. You’d think this would make me a prime candidate for recruitment by the Democrats. But I’m not. First, no Democrat has ever reached out to me. I am not insulted by this, only surprised. And my efforts to suggest ideas to Democrats have been uniformly rebuffed. Like the Republicans, Democrats are wary of apostates and are only receptive to those born into their church, it seems.

Of much more importance in terms of my reluctance to join the Democratic Party is that the party doesn’t really seem to stand for anything other than opposition to the GOP. Admittedly, just about everything the Republicans are doing deserves to be opposed. But the Democrats also need a positive agenda of their own.

Anyway, for the time being, I will remain an independent who is waiting for a tough, muscular Democrat with the courage of their convictions and no fear of Republicans to arise, as French President Emmanuel Macron did. He showed that being a moderate does not mean being weak, and that fear of the right is the right’s greatest strength, but one that is easily punctured.

I share Bartlett’s wishes for a “tough, muscular Democrat” who knows “that being a moderate does not mean being weak,” and lead the party to present “a positive agenda of their own.” Yet having trailed Bartlett for much of this journey, I have now passed him, and declared myself a Democrat. While Bartlett has his reasons for remaining an independent, I feel compelled to present mine for fully crossing party lines.

My decision after last year’s election, when I felt the Democrats needed some changes (particularly on economic policies). I concluded, on the morning of November 9, that Democrats would be more willing to hear advice from one of their own. While Bartlett can certainly opine from the outside, my experience with the Republican Party showed me that outsiders don’t get the attention that members do.

Unlike Bartlett, who began as an economist who got pulled into politics, I began as a political activist when I was 15 – and only decided to pursue economics as a discipline a few years later. My time in the Republican Party spanned 25 years, and included actually being a candidate for office. As such, I’m guessing I’ve been to far more party meetings and election night watch parties than Bartlett. We had a bond, my fellow Republican activists and I, one that allowed for discussions about what the party was doing and should be doing…discussions that were always discounted when an outsider was involved.

I presumed it would be the same with the Democrats. So, I made sure there was enough not to make being a Democrat too incongruous – LGBTQIA rights, immigration policy, and Syria were more than enough – and set about helping them become a party that, in my opinion, can not only defeat Trump in 2020, but govern after him.

Thus, on the first Tuesday in December, did I attend the local Democratic committee meeting for the first time in my life. Contrary to Bartlett’s observations, those “born to the church” welcomed the newcomer with open arms, and my “efforts to suggest ideas” led to a request that I join the platform committee.

Granted, being a conservative Democrat is not exactly easy (well, except when attention goes to the Republicans’ efforts to pass a health care bill) but I found that, having taken the first step, my new(-ish) party is a better fit than I’d hoped, and its longer serving members are more receptive to suggestions than Bartlett’s experiences have told him…

…which is why, unlike he, I am a Democrat.

The Solar Wall


This episode of The More Perfect Union podcast looks at President Trump’s idea for a solar-powered border wall, what it will mean for the country if Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy retires, and what it will mean for Democrats if Jane Sanders’ legal troubles take Bernie down with her.

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And if you like talking politics, join us in our Facebook political debate group, OPEN FIRE, where you can discuss news and politics with Kevin, D.J., Greg, Rebekah, Cliff, Helena, Molly, and lots of other smart, fun people.

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The Day I Almost Became Philando Castile

by Kevin Kelton

In the wake of recent news stories about the police shooting death of Philando Castile, More Perfect Union cohost Kevin Kelton shares his own story of being pulled over gunpoint by the LAPD. Luckily, he’s still here to tell it. Which is why it’s valuable.

In 1990, back in my long hair and bearded days, I was driving on a major street in Los Angeles on a sunny Saturday afternoon, when I hear a siren behind me and see flashing police lights. Assuming I’m about to be ticketed, I pull over and keep my hands on the steering wheel as I’d heard you should do. It’s just a traffic stop, right? No big deal.
 
That’s when I hear, over a loud speaker, “Put your hands on your head and don’t move!”
 
So I do, then I look in my mirrors and see not one, but three LAPD cars with six cops all crouched behind their open doors while pointing handguns and shotguns at me. Like I was a bank robber. Of course now I’m scared sh**less because it was the first (and only) time I have ever had guns pointed at me. Naturally I’m going to do whatever they say.

Continue reading The Day I Almost Became Philando Castile

On Health Care Reform (Which is NOT Being Offered by Washington Republicans)

by D.J. McGuire

So, the Senate Republicans have, at long last, graced us with their plans for “health care reform” – quotes used because it isn’t health care reform. At best, it’s an attempt at health insurance reform much like “Obamacare,” which was corporatized health insurance cleverly disguised as socialized medicine. Regarding “Obamacare” – or, as I call it, the Patently Deficient and Unaffordably Careless Act – Congressional Republicans are far closer to Rinse and Repeat than Repeal and Replace.

Regarding actual health care reform, Washington would be best served doing what they could to increase health care supply. In that spirit, I present the following ideas (below the break).

Continue reading On Health Care Reform (Which is NOT Being Offered by Washington Republicans)

Father’s Day

Episode 104 of The More Perfect Union podcast looks at Father’s Day in Trumpland, as the gang reviews a week of unspeakable violence, unexplainable verdicts, chasms in the Democratic party, and potential names for the Beyoncé twins.

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And if you like talking politics, join us in our Facebook political debate group, OPEN FIRE, where you can discuss news and politics with Kevin, D.J., Greg, Rebekah, Cliff, Helena, Molly, and lots of other smart, fun people.

Find us on Twitter at @MPUpodcast

Democrats Can “Save the World” AND Save Tax Reform

by D.J. McGuire

Republican division and incompetence has opened a door for Democrats to have a say on tax reform this year. If they play their cards right, they can move America past the Paris Accord kerfuffle and strike a serious blow for carbon reduction – and even get the GOP to thank them for it! The question is: do the Democrats in Washington even know how to play the hand they’ve been dealt?

Continue reading Democrats Can “Save the World” AND Save Tax Reform

Comey Time

This week’s More Perfect Union podcast looks at the senate testimony of James Comey, the likelihood of impeachment charges, congress’s attempt to defang Dodd-Frank, and a little gossip about Senator Dodd and Princess Leah.

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And if you like talking politics, join us in our Facebook political debate group, OPEN FIRE, where you can discuss news and politics with Kevin, D.J., Greg, Rebekah, Cliff, Helena, Molly, and lots of other smart, fun people.

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Political Satire


In this More Perfect Union podcast, the gang takes sides on the Kathy Griffin and Bill Maher comedy controversies, debates the social etiquette of the N-word, and looks forward to what may be coming in James Comey’s much anticipated congressional testimony.

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And if you like talking politics, join us in our Facebook political debate group, OPEN FIRE, where you can discuss news and politics with Kevin, D.J., Greg, Rebekah, Cliff, Helena, Molly, and lots of other smart, fun people.

International Man

Episode 101 of The More Perfect Union podcast looks at President Trump’s first overseas excursion, trouble brewing for Jared at home, the Trump budget, and the infamous Saudi glowing orb.

Like what you heard? Subscribe on iTunes and don’t miss a podcast! 

And if you like talking politics, join us in our Facebook political debate group, OPEN FIRE, where you can discuss news and politics with Kevin, D.J., Greg, Rebekah, Cliff, Molly, Helena and lots of other smart, fun people.