I'm filling out my vote by mail ballot this evening and I am once again reminded how far afield from contemporary mores I am. Every race, every candidate requires me to pick the lesser of two evils—the choice that will inch toward my ideals more, or rather, the choice that will recede away from my ideals less. I don't know if most people have that dread, that lack of identification with any candidate or issue, that I do. How I wish I could find candidates that I wanted to get elected!
The thing I noticed right off the bat in researching candidates was that they all denounce illegal immigration. Every last one of them, though the Republican canidates tend to be more strident about it. Where are the voices defending immigration and attacking the seal-our-borders mentality as un-American? Am I the only one who thinks that we should open our borders to all-comers (providing they're not criminals, of course)? You'd think that the whole of Mexico was poised at our southern border, just waiting for the border patrol to go on break so they could come here and steal every last one of our jobs, to read some of the "issues" pages on the Web sites.
The other thing I noticed is that the social conservatives have completely usurped the fiscal conservatives' previous hold on the party platform. Calls for anti-abortion legislation and "definition of marriage" laws abound. Limited government is included seemingly as a sop to the party members who might still be under the misapprehension that the party of Goldwater cares about downsizing the government back to its essential functions. They do, of course, care about paring down government but disagree entirely about what "essential functions" means: the welfare state as it stands is the bar now. The fact that it keeps expanding isn't troubling, so long as it keeps expanding under the GOP's wise rule.
If you're at all interested in how this shift took place, you should read this essay by C. Bradley Thompson immediately. It is very long but very much worth it. In it, Thompson describes the sad state of American conservatism and shows how the slide was inexorable. By conceding the moral upper-hand to the liberals, Goldwater et al. effectively forfeited the fight and were reduced to implementing the liberals' ends but in a conservative fashion—an utterly deplorable situation, to my mind. I will cover that essay in more detail sometime soon, as I have given it a lot of thought and consideration.