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June 25, 2007

Presidential Campaign: The Real Diversity Is In the Republican Camp


The Democrats have apparently proven yet again that they are the party of diversity and open-mindedness just because their leading presidential candidates are a woman and a moderately black man. This logic is parallel to that of elite college administrations nowadays: It is irrelevant that all of our professors teach from the exact same point of view. What matters is that they are a healthy mix of men and women, straights and homosexuals, and most importantly, that they create a pretty collection of skin colors for students to look at.


But are the Democratic presidential candidates really that diverse? Hillary Clinton’s gender helps her stand out from the pack, as does Barack Obama’s race and John Edwards’s adorable southern accent. But how do these characteristics matter when all three enthusiastically defend abortion? When each seeks to harm the economy through higher taxes and minimum wages, combined with hostility toward business and rejection of Social Security privatization? How about the Democratic candidates’ refusal to give our troops in Iraq the moral support they deserve in times they need it the most, particularly in light of the fact that some of these candidates voted for the war?


The fact of the matter is that these candidates’ superficial distinguishing characteristics don’t really matter. The focus on skin color and gender, however, is quite extensive. In the recent Fox News-sponsored GOP debate, one of the moderators asked about the Republican Party’s inclusiveness considering that its presidential candidates did not include any women, blacks or Hispanics. Well, who cares?


Such a question is totally irrelevant. Are we looking for a president who will add a different cultural atmosphere to the next administration? Or perhaps we are looking for a president with a novel feminine touch just to shake things up at the White House? The answer is neither. We are asking for a president who will win wars, boost the economy and strengthen our nation. Adding skin color or gender as a factor in the equation significantly undermines the importance of real national goals.


The only diversity that matters, therefore, is diversity of ideas and principles. And the Republican candidates are offering far more of it than their superficially diverse Democratic counterparts. The fact that leading Republican contenders are doing well in polls despite often significant conflicts with their base demonstrates the absence of a litmus test on a variety of issues that Democrats hypocritically accuse Republicans of maintaining.


The issues and beliefs on which Republican candidates offer diversity are not insignificant. They encompass some of the most important topics to Americans. Take, for instance, religion. Republicans have gone beyond the traditional alternatives of Protestants and Catholics. One of their leading candidates, Mitt Romney, is a Mormon – and by and large, the voters don’t count this fact against him, despite overwhelmingly disagreeing with his religious beliefs.


The tolerance also extends to policy issues. See Rudy Giuliani, who has consistently ranked at the top of polls in the primary race. His pro-choice position on abortion, one abhorred by many Republicans, does not preclude him from being one of the leading contenders for the nomination. On the other hand, a pro-life Democratic nominee would never see the light of day – or more accurately, he would only upon conversion to the pro-choice position (see Al Gore, Dick Gephardt, and so on).


The Grand Old Party even has room for anti-war candidates such as Ron Paul. Seeing that the Iraq War has unfortunately turned into one of the biggest political issues of the day, it is not insignificant that one of the Republican nominees is running on such a platform. Whether a pro-war Democrat would even be invited to the party’s presidential debates is highly doubtful. Their recent primary battle against their own recent vice-presidential candidate, purely because of his pro-war stance, is a good indication of their treatment of any Democrat who dares believe in the troops’ ability to succeed in Iraq.


Another top Republican candidate is John McCain, the same man who voted against the Bush tax cuts, the same man who pushed for the controversial McCain-Feingold campaign finance law – and the very same man who strongly supports what could reasonably be perceived as an amnesty bill for illegal immigrants. Despite what many Republicans consider to be a series of severe faux pas, McCain is indeed one of the most serious candidates in the race. Can one credibly imagine his Democratic equivalent doing so well today on that side of the spectrum?


Democrats claim to be the party of diversity, and hold up pictures of Hillary and Obama to prove it. Superficiality, however, does not suffice. When a pro-life candidate leads Democratic polls, when a pro-war contender makes his entry into the Democratic race, or when a moderate with a history of compromising with the right is widely respected in the Democratic Party, then they can label themselves as open-minded. Until then, real diversity – diversity of beliefs – remains limited to the Republican camp.

© 2007 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


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