I want to congratulate you on what can only be described as a stunning victory on Super Tuesday. You won nine out of thirteen states (Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma) and have, according to my figures, almost certainly clinched the nomination of the Republican Party for the office of President. You have 598 delegates, and your closest opponent has 259. I think we can all say with some assurance that the campaign’s over. I also want to thank you for the service and sacrifice you made for your country. Few of us can claim that honor, and it is to your eternal credit that, as a young man, you felt so strongly about defending your country.
That said, however, I cannot support your nomination and I cannot vote for you in November. Allow me to explain why.
Since I was a young man I have loved politics. Growing up in a Cuban-American family propelled that avocation, staunchly anti-communist and pro-America. I was proud of who I was and where I was. My first political act, at the tender age of sixteen (in 1972), was to support Richard Nixon. He was a candidate, I thought, who could turn the country around and maybe achieve a real victory over the Communists in Vietnam. I was wrong. Richard Nixon turned out to be a polarizing figure, a flawed man who basically spoke like a conservative, but governed with all the doubt, angst and paranoia of a liberal. He was a walking inferiority complex running the country, and all we got for it was Watergate and a “just peace.” Instead of ending the Vietnam War with the unquestioned victory I had hoped for, he gave us the Paris Peace Talks. He gave us helicopters scrambling off the roof of our embassy in Saigon. He gave us wage and price controls. He took us off the gold standard. He gave us the Environmental Protection Agency.
In 1976, thoroughly disappointed by Nixon and Watergate, and already jaded with politics, I heard a man speak at the Republican Convention that changed my mind about whether politicians could really mean what they said. That man was Ronald Reagan. When he spoke, I saw a man of conviction and I saw a man of loyalty. Loyalty to the values of the Republican Party that, as Frederick Douglass once wrote, made it the “party of freedom and progress.” I became a US citizen in large part because I wanted to vote for this man. Seven years later, when I swore my oath of allegiance to this country, I registered as a Republican. And the next year I cast my ballot for Ronald Wilson Reagan. Reagan was not a perfect candidate and he disappointed me on some issues. But I trusted him. I knew that he was a man that, even when I disagreed with him, held lofty goals and high principles.
You sir, are no Ronald Reagan.
For many years now I have seen you take sides against core conservative principles. You voted against tax cuts; you favored (another) immigration amnesty program; you favored increasing taxes on gasoline consumption; you limited the right of Americans to freely exercise their political speech. Your opposition became a disease. At every turn you went against the best interest of the country to oppose the core values that I deeply believe in and that Ronald Reagan espoused. You voted out of political expediency and opportunism. You became buddies with Russ Feingold, Ted Kennedy, Hillary Clinton, Joe Lieberman.
You, sir, are not a conservative. You, sir, do not know the meaning of the word.
I’ve been criticized by some for “not seeing the big picture,” for ignoring the real threat of Hillary and/or Obama, real threats indeed for our nation. But I am unwilling to give in and compromise any further. I am unwilling to overlook behavior and words that smack of hypocrisy and opportunism. I am unwilling to hear any more talk about how big government can help us. I am unwilling to see the United States Government, thanks to you and your liberal allies, turn into a mommy, readily giving a teat to a country that is always hungrier for entitlements.
In truth, we have no one to blame for this predicament other than ourselves. We, the conservative core that made up Ronald Reagan’s constituency, dropped the ball and allowed the successes of 1994, 2000, and 2004 to spoil us and weaken us. We did not act when the word “compassionate” was added to “conservatism,” implying as it did that we were some kind of robber barons that wanted to plunder the people. We did not act when President Bush asked Ted Kennedy — Ted Kennedy! — to co-author an education bill. We did not act when you and your colleagues in the Senate and House of Representatives spent money like a sailor on leave. We did not act when the Senate refused to convict a perjurer. We did not act when we saw limp policies in the Middle East and Latin America that endanger us. We did not act when you and thirteen Senators conspired to block the Republican leadership from ending the arcane Senate filibuster, allowing Bush’s nominees to the Federal bench to get a fair hearing. We did not act when you co-authored and helped pass an evil bill with Russ Feingold, a bill that was the first successful assault on freedom of speech since the country’s founding. When we did act, when we had had just about as much as we could stomach, we killed an ill-conceived, wholesale immigration amnesty plan that you co-authored with Ted Kennedy that would have legalized millions of illegal aliens, and slapped in the face those immigrants who had followed our laws to their pathway to citizenship. (Thank God for a small victory.)
With as liberal a voting record as that over the last few years, how can any conservative with principles even consider voting for you? Let’s face it, the alternative is… well, the alternative is only a different shade of pink.
I cannot vote for you, sir, and I cannot support you. I am saddened that, for the second (and last) time in my life, I am seriously considering resigning from my party, the Republican Party I supported because of Ronald Reagan and its bedrock conservative principles. I’m leaving for good this time, John. I mean it. There’s no coming back, John. There will be no reconciliations, no explanations, no justifications.
Scratch that. My party left me a long time ago.