A Liberal Republican...what's that?
Oct 21, 2013
***Editor’s Note: The following comments were received following the Mailbag segment that aired on October 19-20, 2013…we have posted a transcript of John’s comments first, followed by the viewer reaction:
MAILBAG TRANSCRIPT FROM JOHN PHIPPS:
Time now for our weekly look inside the Farm Report Mailbag…a basic question from Harlan Sundblad: "Are you a Democrat or a Republican?" Harlan I’m flattered you can’t tell. As party membership takes on new meaning the label we carry immediately sets up expectations and alters perceptions of what we say and do. That said, I am a life-long Republican. I have been a precinct committeeman and ran for office on the GOP ticket. That said, I am kind of an endangered species – a "liberal" Republican. I used to be a moderate, but the rating system keeps shifting rightward so people like me aren’t real popular with many who feel to be a true Republican means adhering to a catechism of dogmatic conservative positions. I suppose you could label me part of the growing group of independent voters because my vote in not pre-ordained to any party. But out of habit, I guess, I always take the Republican primary ballot. Party affiliation has become one way we bond ourselves to others, perhaps in place of other disappearing forms of community. We like to be around people who share our beliefs. But as we sharpen the lines for those beliefs, we exclude more and more people, and narrow our view of the world and how it should be. I still think there are several dozen of us liberal Republicans in the wild, but it doesn’t really matter how we label ourselves. I’ve learned that depending on a group affiliation to define your views isn’t all that satisfying.
#1: John, I always enjoy your intelligent, articulate commentaries and your willingness to state firmly your point of view. For decades I voted Republican, but the party's fondness for undeclared wars and the "tea party" movement have left me feeling disenchanted. I've become an Independent. As such, primary elections are frequently problematic for me. I live in a small city with a working-class populace that votes Democratic, but in a county and state that are mostly Republican. In what geographic area do I want my single vote to count? Since the winner in the Democratic primary for elections in the city is usually assured to win in the general election if I want my vote to be effective for city government, I must choose between the Democratic candidates. However, if I wish my vote to have an influence in the county or state, that usually dictates voting in the Republican primary. Every election is different. That said, keep your commentaries coming. Thanks - Mike Roth
#2: We have been increasingly aware since before the 2012 election that U.S. Farm Report has become more and more political and views have a liberal bias. Gone are the days that farmers can depend on this program to build and improve their farming operations and not have to hear the rhetoric of how well the present administration is enhancing agriculture. You may go the way of the rest of liberal media and see your audiences fall off. But I guess you do what you have to do to stay on the air. Sad days. Mary Orders
#3: A hearty cheer for Mr. Phipps! Thankfully a reasonable Republican has found a forum to champion what the Republican Party needs to be to exist as a viable entity in this country going forth. The present ultra-conservative/Tea Party holding the party hostage will continue to win increasingly marginal local and state elections while the majority of the changing face of America will vote otherwise. My Party has been left to fuss and throw up road blocks at every turn while the Democratic Party wins the hearts and minds of voters across the urbanized country. Where are the new and innovative solutions? Apparently we Republicans have none! If the Republican Party does not adapt to the "new" reality it will continue to face becoming even more ineffective. The country needs a renewed spirit of "country before party" if we are to remain a world leader. "John Phipps - Condoleezza Rice" has a nice ring to it don't you think John? Ron Olds - Coldwater, MI
#4: Not a farmer, but...EXCELLENT editorial which describes what I see here in central Wisconsin (Wausau). I watched 16 days, e-mailed both my Representative in the House, Sean Duffy, and our state wide Senator Ron Johnson; read Wall Street Journal and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, as well as Wausau Herald. I catch all the cable news networks' shows that keep up with Congress, especially C-Span. The consensus is ...there is no consensus! It is, however, disheartening to me to have found:
a) Duffy clung throughout, to the 'Obamacare' silliness he showed on Morning Joe saying, "the President should have Obamacare if we have to!" He helped shutdown!
b) Johnson thought it was an OK idea to take default 'out for a spin'.... nothing bad would happen!
Both were shockingly ignorant to me (I am "specific issues and specific person qualities" in my thinking and voting). Julie Barribeau - Retired Wisconsin educator
#5: John, your comments about being a Republican reminded me of the story about my great grandfather, Thomas Clark Fort. He was a civil war veteran, and a Lincoln Republican. He moved here in 1865 from Knightstown Indiana. There were several Southern Sympathizers around Kingston that put out the word that the Damn Yankees had better not try and vote. On election day Thomas borrowed a Navy Colt Revolver strapped it on and rode to Kingston and voted. I don't believe he would approve of what's going on today. I guess that is why I am not a Liberal Republican. Thanks, Dale Hartley - Kingston MO