For four years, a list of alleged Republican positions -- "What You Have To Believe To Be a Republican Today" -- has been circulating on the Internet and forwarded in countless e-mails. In this presidential election year, it is important to respond to these charges. If people want to vote for a Democratic president, they should not do so based on falsehoods about Republicans.
Given space limitations, I cannot respond to all of them. I have decided to respond to the 13 most significant.
"What you have to believe to be a Republican today":
1. "Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad guy when Bush's daddy made war on him, a good guy when Cheney did business with him and a bad guy when Bush needed a 'we can't find Bin Laden.'"
Response: Saddam Hussein was always considered a bad guy by anyone with a working moral compass, and that included Democratic President Bill Clinton and his administration. The main reason that President Ronald Reagan armed Saddam Hussein was so as to enable Saddam to fight against Iran so that Iran would not be the dominant power in the Muslim Middle East. Arming an evil man to fight another evil man does not make the former less of an evil man. America aided Stalin's genocidal Communist Soviet Union in order for him to better fight against Hitler. And after World War II, America aided some former Nazis in order to be able to fight Stalin. That is moral wisdom, not hypocrisy.
2. "Trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is communist, but trade with China and Vietnam is vital to a spirit of international harmony."
Response: For the left, the desire to normalize relations with Communist regimes has been a constant. Liberals who were not on the far left and conservatives alike fought some Communist regimes -- militarily as in Vietnam and Korea, and economically as in Cuba -- and normalized relations with some others. Mature people know that they have to pick and choose which evils can be fought and which cannot. Having said that, there are good arguments on both sides about whether to lift the embargo on Cuba since the fall of the Soviet Union.
3. "The United States should get out of the United Nations..."
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