********** Thanks for that clarification. I'm a "liberal-by-default" now because I'm going to be voting Democrat for a while, since it seems to me that the parties are switching ideologies. The modern Republicans seem to be only truly conservative socially - in essence, wanting to rule by Biblical laws. In areas such as race and homosexual marriage, I'm fairly liberal. I think race is not a determining factor for anything - all races are equal and should be treated as such. And if gays want to marry, why not? They're as good as anyone else. Government should have as little to do with regulating people's lives as possible... so, I am opposed to the current conservative stance on issues like gay marriage or abortion (and I understand that many Bush supporters are, too - it's not all-or-nothing). I am conservative in areas such as fiscal responsibility, personal responsibility, advocating a smaller federal government and stronger states, gun ownership, death penalty, etc. I am also very non-socialist and anti-communist, so if Democrats were actually as socialist as the Freepers claim, I wouldn't be one of them. I wouldn't be voting for Bush, either, because he's completely and utterly incompetent in my eyes, so I'm not sure what I'd do. Couldn't go Green 'cuz they're way too tree-huggy for me, and I couldn't go Libertarian because they're against labor unions and I can't support anyone who's against the right of the people to organize. They have too much trust in corporations, and that's not a good idea.
Also, despite the fact that Communists may support it, I am an athiest. I've been raised in the Bible belt, and 38 years of observation has proven to me that religion is NOT a good thing overall. It's well-meaning, and some people do get a lot of good out of it, but if you look at its overall track record it's a complete failure, and is the biggest plague on mankind. Morals are great and very-necessary things, and philosophically all religions have a lot of good ideas to offer, but once combined with the godhead (an idea so patently false it amazes me that any grown-ups believe in it), it results in far more damage than it does help. So, I can't support its furtherance. Religion has killed far more people than cancer does, and we try to cure cancer.
Anyway, I'm digressing. The point is, in the past several years, the current crop of Republicans seem to have abandoned their principles such as fiscal conservativism and smaller federal government, in favor of religious-right issues such as abortion and no-gay-marriage. If this election had been held on non-social conservative issues, Bush would have been marched out the door by his ear. But those things don't seem to matter anymore, at least not as much as they should. The Republicans need to change their focus back to their original core principles and shake themselves loose from the grip of the religious right before I can really get behind them with any enthusiasm.
Anyway, I don't agree with all you said, but I thought you stated it well, reasonably, and it was an interesting read.
Another good example of disagreement that Yama posted should also be pointed out and commended:
This is a valid criticism of the left. I'm on another board that's all-Democrat, and we do debate about positions... so, it is happening. But, among the DNC, there does seem to be far more emphasis on the appearance they're wanting to project, rather than what positions they hold, and they should work on that. You've made a valid criticism, and even if someone disagrees with it, they should definitely take it into consideration.
Anyway, since I'm complaining about how some posting here is basically slander, I just wanted to make sure I gave some props where they're deserved, too.