Two days ago at The Carpetbagger Report, Steve Benen published a post re: the implosion of the Republican Party, writing:

… I often wonder how, exactly, someone looks at the Republican Party of 2007 — its leaders, its decisions, its priorities, its conduct — and says, ‘You know, that’s the party for me.’

When I read that line, I responded with an audible “ouch.”  You see, earlier this year, after many months of wondering around in the political desert, toying with status as an Independent or possibly a Democrat, I finally decided to stick with the GOP, fighting for its reform; fighting to reclaim it; to take it back from the mean-spirited theocrats and their enablers who now rule it; and return it to its roots as the party of personal liberty and anti-government intrusion.

Although my confidence is regularly shaken when I read comments like Benen’s and others’, I quickly remind myself that I’m not doing this to save the status quo. I’m doing it to regain the magic and meaning of the Party of 1860 and Lincoln, 1904 and Roosevelt, 1952 and Eisenhower, 1980 and Reagan. In other words, I’m not doing this to save the party of 2007 but refurbish and relaunch the party of 2010 and 2012.  I’m doing it because I believe our government is strongest and most effective when there are at least two, vibrant political parties that can check-and-balance each other, much as the various branches of government were designed to do.

What’s amazing is that, on my journey to this end, I’ve discovered something I didn’t expect: I’m not alone.   Take Dennis Sanders, for instance. Dennis is gay, black, Republican (how’s that for cognitive dissonance?), and one of the smartest, most decent, most reasonable people I’ve met since I’ve become active in the ‘sphere.

Dennis is also the person who encouraged me (a) to reach out to and get active in one of the major moderate Republican groups (I chose the Republican Leadership Council) and (b) to understand that there are indeed moderate Republicans in major offices.  Unfortunately, they often fear public displays of moderation because Karl Rove and Crew have convinced them that “the base” is entirely made up of intolerant theocrats.

Dennis’ opinion: The GOP will change when its leaders realize that “the base” includes more moderate, reasonable, tolerant, diverse voters than it does voters who mirror the caricature painted by Rove, et. al.

For that reason, I’ve started a grassroots movement to raise and focus the voices of moderate Republicans (and Independents, too) — to make our voices unmistakably heard in Washington and state capitols across the country. One step among others in this process is a letter we’ve drafted and for which we are now gathering signatures. Due to summer vacations, the Congressional recess, and my inability to devote energy to the project full-time, I found this effort slow going at first; but lately, it has gained momentum, and as of today, our campaign is at 20-plus names and counting.

So … if you’re either a moderate Republican or Independent voter who believes, like we believe, that the party should and can be saved, please take a moment this holiday weekend to read the letter and, if you’re so inclined, join the rest of us in signaling to GOP leaders that we are here and we demand to be counted.

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