Confessions of a Republican

By their definition being a “good Republican” means drinking the Kool-aid, following the party’s ridiculous “loyalty oath” (pledging to vote for and support any and all Republicans – even if Charles Manson is on the ballot so long as his name is followed by an “R”), and subscribing to Ronald Reagan’s “11th Commandment” – though shall not speak ill of a fellow Republican.

I’d rather let my kids watch a gay marriage ceremony than a Jim Norman real estate closing

By Chris Ingram

Some of my more narrow-minded Republican friends have suggested I am not a Republican – at least a not very good one.

By their definition being a “good Republican” means drinking the Kool-aid, following the party’s ridiculous “loyalty oath” (pledging to vote for and support any and all Republicans – even if Charles Manson is on the ballot so long as his name is followed by an “R”), and subscribing to Ronald Reagan’s “11th Commandment” – though shall not speak ill of a fellow Republican.

I guess I am not a “good Republican” by their definition for a number of reasons. First, I hate Kool-aid. Secondly, I believe the blind loyalty oath would make Hitler and Stalin proud and I have no intention of honoring it. And finally, to me, the “11th Commandment” is a guiding principle, not some rule that can’t be broken. Do you people actually think Ronald Reagan was suggesting we ignore the truth and keep our mouths shut when one of our own goes wrong? That kind of blind loyalty will only give us tyrants.

I have been an advocate of conservative and Republican-leaning principles my whole life, though my beliefs actually probably are more in line with the Libertarian party’s ideology which is more consistent about the role of government than the GOP’s. But alas, I remain a Republican because it is more credible than the Libertarians – at least for now.

To me the GOP is about limited government, equal opportunity, personal responsibility, and free enterprise. These are the values Ronald Reagan promoted when I was an impressionable teen-ager in the 1980s. They remain values of importance to me to this day.

Unfortunately, under President George W. Bush and the GOP Congress, in the last decade the GOP looked as though a bunch of drunken Kennedys got hold of the GOP’s playbook and switched our focus from tax cuts and reduced government spending to pandering, more entitlement spending as a means to justify re-election, huge budget deficits, and the ethical challenges voters have come to expect from Democrats.

In short, we looked just like the Democrats – only we lied about our motives and objectives and the Democrats didn’t.

Here in Florida, I was an early critic of former RINO (Republican in Name Only) Charlie Crist. At the time, most Kool-aid drinkers shamed and chastised me for “speaking ill of a fellow Republican.” Today, those same short-sighted fruit-punch-loving conservatives vilify the now-former Republican Crist and embrace GOP Senate nominee Marco “Amex-o” Rubio.

They talk of Rubio as some sort of savior of the GOP and suggest he is presidential material. Puh-lease! This guy has a shameless sense of entitlement to use other people’s money for his own personal benefit and more excuses about it than a pregnant nun. I’m sorry; my values of personal responsibility combined with fiscal conservatism just don’t lead me to believe that a man with such a reckless disregard for spending other people’s money is fit to really spend other people’s money as a member of the U.S. Senate. If that makes me a bad Republican, so be it. But mark my words: Marco Rubio is not the man of fiscal conservatism he professes to be.

In my hometown of Tampa, we’ve got this dud of a Republican named Jim Norman who ran for the state Senate.

Last week Norman got booted off the General Election ballot by a judge because he didn’t accurately report his assets/liabilities on his candidate financial statement. Minor oversight? Sure. If you think receiving $500,000 from a local man with lots of construction interests before the county commission (which Norman is on) is a minor oversight. Norman used the coin to buy a big house on a lake in Arkansas (a fitting place for a man of Norman’s intellect). Norman says his old lady bought the house and he knew nothing about it. Sure Jim. And pigs fly.

Earlier this week an influential “family values” conservative from Tampa spoke to me about Jim. He argued that Jim is a “nice guy” who promotes our values – basically dismissing his alleged illegal activities because in the end, “Norman votes the way we want him to on issues of importance to us.” Sorry Captain Conservative, while Norman may share your “family values,” I think he’s a disgrace and should be exposed for what he did and prosecuted if he violated the law. Apparently so too does the FBI. Norman may be spending some time in the big house—just not the one he bought in Arkansas.

As for “family values” what kind of a message are you sending our kids when you defend a man who (at minimum) hid $500,000 from voters? As good values go, I’d rather my kids watch a gay marriage ceremony than a Jim Norman real estate closing.

Over the years, I have taken on these and others within the party including: former party boss and class 1-A thug Jim Greer; the most shameless, self-promoting member of the Florida legislature — State Senator Mike Fasano; the most disingenuous Republican in Florida – period— CFO candidate Jeff Atwater; and Pasco County bully Bill Bunting, among others. They’re all fair game when they fool voters or the sheep within the party with their politics as usual antics that are not in the interest of Florida.

So what about the Democrats?

I am frequently asked the question, “Chris, why don’t you write more about the Democrats and the undesirable policies of their party and unethical politicians?

Well, first and foremost I have. I’ve written about Obama and the Congressional Democrats’ “stimulus” plan, Obama-care, and other budget-busting spending proposals which add to our staggering naitonal debt. Locally I’ve also written about the disgraceful actions of soon-to-be-former County Commissioner Kevin White (a Democrat) whose actions in office are so disgraceful you have to think if he had even an ounce of shame in his body he couldn’t ever walk past a mirror again in his life.

But usually my response is more like this. I don’t care about the Democrats. They are so far gone and to the left on policy matters that they aren’t worth trying to fix. I’m a Republican. Have been my whole life. I think the GOP is worth trying to fix, and I do my part by trying to expose the hypocrisy, and self-serving special interests from within its ranks. Sure it ruffles some feathers. Yes, I’ve lost a friend or two and some business because of it, but ultimately it’s worth it. Real change within the GOP won’t come from quitting; it will come by people speaking out and saying, “Stop acting like a Democrat.”

Even if it means you have to vote for one from time-to-time.

Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of Irreverent View. Ingram is a frequent pundit on Fox News and CNN, and has written opinion columns for the Washington Times, UPI, and National Review online. He is the Republican political analyst for Bay News 9, the only 24 hour all news channel in Florida’s largest media market. The opinions expressed here are those of author and do not represent the views of Bay News 9. E-mail him at:

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27 thoughts on “Confessions of a Republican”

  1. Like your attitude, even if you are a Republican. I’d drink with you and, at the end of the day, bet we might agree on a few things.

    As a Democrat, I occasionally see some merit in certain Republican views and don’t think all Republicans are bad people. Are you so far to the right that you cannot see an occasional good idea or good elected Democrat?

    Or is it just bad business to ever admit it (I know my side wouldn’t like to hear it, and we have the same loyalty oaths, too).

    I guess I’m just wondering out loud where the line is when we can quit being Republicans and Democrats, and agree that we’re Americans with more common interests than differences.


  2. You must be as welcome in Republican circles as I am now in Democratic ones! But that’s all right. I gave up on the parties long ago. I think we should keep them around for entertainment, but we ought to hire some adults to actually run our government for us.


  3. Oh great….now you just lost your gay readers. Seriously though Chris, do you honestly believe that Scott never misused other people’s money?


  4. You seem like a reasonable person right up until you get to the universal parrot reference to Democrats being “far left”.

    Far left people are anarchists, people violently opposed to the existence of economic classes, original-theory communists and the like. The very policies you cited as areas of disagreement with Democrats are proof positive that they don’t fall under “far left”.

    Someone on the far left would have purposely destroyed the enormous corporations that Democrats helped bail out. Someone on the far left would have demanded absolutely free health care for all, regardless of citizenship. Someone on the far left would have had a stimulus package, but without a single red cent going to any company, corporation, or even individuals making more than (give or take) 100k a year.

    We don’t have to agree on policy or the best way to do things, but we really should agree that terms have definitions. Part of personal responsibility is knowing the meanings of the words you say, and being intellectually honest about them.


  5. Your “Confessions of a Republican” was another exceptional example of your thought provoking articles.

    I appreciate your candor in your articles – whether I agree with them or not.


  6. Reply to Mr. Olmos:

    Thanks for your comments. I guess it is a matter of semantics what “far left” means — or “far right” for that matter. I also loath the “far right” but it means different things to different people.

    Nonetheless you make a good point about the actions of Democrats, but again, speaking semantically, I would argue, there is “left” “far left” and perhaps, “super far left.”

    I try to be intellectually honest, and agree there should be accepted terms, but the reality is there are not.

    It is not my intention to upset you (or those on the right), but to make people think.

    In the words of our worst president since LBJ: Mission Accomplished.



  7. Chris,

    Couldn’t have said it better. Agree completely.

    The end never really justifies the means — when the means are corrupt, illegal, and just plain wrong. For local Republicans to be so willing to turn a blind eye, to avert the eyes from wrongdoing is just disgusting and SO hypocritical. Some of them can get their panties completely wadded up about strip joints but care nothing about Jim Norman taking half a million from his “benefactor” and hiding it under his wife’s petticoats. What is UP with that???


  8. At the end of the day, you can certainly respect that man you see in your mirror. You speak the truth as you see it after checking out the information available,exploring all sides and aren’t letting labels define you. A better Republican there is not! Right on!


  9. I love the article too Chris. As you know I am NO Kool-Aide drinking drone, that actually has a mind & opinion & willing to wield it. Just as I was chastised for being a Scott supporter from day one and a Paula supporter before that,I find it highly ironic that now the former McCollum supporters somehow forgot all the vitriol they spewed against Scott in the primary and now they think Rick Scott is the nest thing since sliced bread! This proves to me that the vast majority of political activists engage in logical fallacies. As if somehow their points held so much veracity during the primary, are now a thing of the past, in fact some even denied they even believed or said negative things about Scott. HYPOCRITES I tell you!

    But what I find it more egregious that the Rick Scott campaign has hired former McCollum campaign staff and other former supporters, and pushed out some of the loyal and ORIGINAL supporters and staff that were ACTUALLY successful in delivering a win to Scott. I am a business man too, and if I had a product and sales team that was able to deliver record breaking sales, growth and acceptance in the market place, why would I change that formula and hire people that FAILED in the ONE SINGLE task they were charged with, in this case the product was McCollum and the market place again rejected him, and the people he hired FAILED MISERABLY at this task, but yet Rick Scott’s campaign hires him?

    Finally Reagan’s 11th Commandment was probably one of his most RETARDED ideas EVER! Basically it says abrogate yourself from your own freedom of speech so you don’t hurt anyone’s feelings. How egregious for ANYONE to tell someone they should suppress their opinion and voice.


  10. Chris,

    Thanks for clarifying what you mean there.

    I suspected you thought along the lines of a three-tier definition, with “super far left” reserved for the real extremists. But this is what I mean by intellectual honesty. “Super far left” isn’t a commonly known term. No one could possibly know about your three-tier definition unless you explain yourself.

    By using the common term, “far left”, you are categorizing all Democrats not very near the center in a realm that includes the real extremists – like those I mentioned before. Thereby, you’re classifying them as comparable.

    It would be more intellectually honest to use the clock metaphor (or any system you prefer) and say something like “Democrats between 8 and 9”. Very far from a conservative standpoint, but by no means extreme.

    Those 8-9’ers aren’t like the 6-7 people, just as the 3-4’ers aren’t like the 5-6 crowd.

    Making these things clear concerns me greatly, because the opposite effect is becoming more and more prevalent – the extreme elements of both points of view are seen by some as representative of all. Bleeding-heart liberal on one side and hillbilly conservative on the other. Part of this comes from using terminology that belittles the complexity of political thought, and having it repeated enough times that people start to believe that things are that simple.

    Whether either party gets fixed or not, it won’t do any good in a country convinced that everyone on the ‘other side’ is a complete nutball.


  11. I have been a fan of Republican Chris Ingram for more than 15 years. This is the face of the honorable, patriotic GOP that helps make this nation a better place. Not the lockstep, show me the money GOP that exists to exploit its countrymen and women.


  12. Great article, Chris!
    With the far religious right trying to hijack the Republican party on a platform of “family values”, I’m sometimes embarrassed to admit I’m a registered republican.

    Agree completely that the GOP should be pushing for “limited government, equal opportunity, personal responsibility, and free enterprise”.

    Personally, I could care less if gays want to get married – as long as I don’t have to marry one – the government should stop wasting time, money and energy trying to control people’s lives and more time trying to clean their own houses, reduce the deficit, and set up an environment where free enterprise can thrive.

    Tuesday should be interesting – – I’m still holding out hope that Prendergast can surprise Castor (in south Tampa I’m seeing 99 Prendergast signs for every Castor sign – but I know Republican voters are heavily outnumbered in the District – castor has got to go – completely unresponsive to constitutents!


  13. To Eagle and A Carder,
    Are we the only 3 people here that see the hypocracy of condemning Rubio and Norman, but supporting Scott?
    I have commented on this several times here, but Chris seems to have selective reading and never sees fit to reply to the comments.
    Very curious.


  14. I do condemn Scott. I condemn Crist. I condemn Rubio. I really really really condemn Norman. I condemn Sink, I condemn Meek — equal opportunity condemnation.

    Scott lost my vote yesterday when I read that he is agains the DCA. That’s a deal breaker for me. Even apart from his strangeness.


  15. Joe,

    I have firsthand personal knowledge of Rubio’s ethical challenges. Norman has been found by a judge to have violated the law.

    As for Scott, he was not investigated or charged. The fine the co. paid was agreed to after he left the co. I have spoken with three different people in the healthcare insurance field and all of them have lead me to believe that the fine issue of HCA is complicated and that it is well within the realm of reasonable possibilities that Scott had no knowledge of, or any promotion of, wrong-doing. Given prosecutors looked at the HCA issue and chose not to investigate/charge him, I’d say he’s not guilty of any crime. Furthermore, he has acknowledged errors were made and taken ownership of the issue — which is more than what most politicians do.



  16. I always enjoy hearing your point of view. While I don’t agree with your take on the democrats, if the republican party were more aligned with how you describe your ideals, I can tell you I would be more willing to consider their candidates.


  17. “As for Scott, he was not investigated or charged.”

    Yes, and O.J. Simpson was found not guilty.

    “Given prosecutors looked at the HCA issue and chose not to investigate/charge him, I’d say he’s not guilty of any crime.”

    It’s called layers of protection. The Mafia works the same way. If the boss is well enough insulated from the crimes, he’s not able to be charged.

    Point being, where there’s smoke there’s fire. Scott was at the helm of the company at the time of the crimes. What is the saying? Ignorance of the law is no excuse. If you’re the head of a company, you’re responsible to make sure everything is done above board.


  18. Well, Chris, there you go again. But this time, you are oh so smug about your solid ethics, your political foresight, your ability to be judge and jury on your handpicked “criminal” list.

    Let’s see, McCollum was no good because he racked up too many miles in the state plane and made pubic service a career. Besides, he was boring. Guilty. Rubio is a crook because he charged stuff on his GOP credit card but paid for it with his own money. He, like Scott, has never been charged with a crime, yet Scott is innocent in your eys, and Rubio is guilty. I have yet to hear a convincing defense for your point of view – well, perhaps with the exception of Jim Greer.


  19. Jan,

    The difference for me is, I have PERSONAL knowledge of Rubio’s lack of honest, ethics, and sense of right and wrong. I don’t have that same PERSONAL knowledge of Scott’s wrongdoings.

    Chris Ingram


  20. It’s ashame the PERSONAL knowledge is most likely a violation of a confidential issue and having no PERSONAL knowlege of Crispy Christ has allowed you a limited perspective.

    Having only been in the business of politics has left you void of the PERSONAL knowlege area of Scott and HCA. So refreshing to have an outsider come to the table.

    Oh but to be God and have omnipience.



    The person who frequently posts as Denney (above) also posts as Wally/Plant City Observer/Tim Johnson/Mike Randall/Timmy They are all the same person.

    This is a person who is quick to call names, write crude things, base statements that are short on facts, and is such a pathetic coward he/she cannot use his real name when mouthing of his/her opinion.

    We’ll continue to let this loser post because it’s fun to watch pathetic people make fools of themselves, particularly when they write things back and forth about themselves as “Denney” did when talking about “Lisa’s” comments about me on the State Senate D 12 column. Remember, Denney and Lisa are the same loser.

    Get a life whoever you are.

    Chris Ingram


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