by Susan Eisenhower
I have decided I can no longer be a registered Republican. For the first time in my life I announced my support for a Democratic candidate for the presidency, in February of this year. This was not an endorsement of the Democratic platform, nor was it a slap in the face to the Republican Party. It was an expression of support specifically for Senator Barack Obama. I had always intended to go back to party ranks after the election and work with my many dedicated friends and colleagues to help reshape the GOP, especially in the foreign-policy arena. But I now know I will be more effective focusing on our national and international problems than I will be in trying to reinvigorate a political organization that has already consumed nearly all of its moderate “seed corn.” And now, as the party threatens to trivialize what promised to be a serious debate on our future direction, it will alienate many young people who might have come into party ranks.
My decision came at the end of last week when it was demonstrated to the nation that McCain and this Bush White House have learned little in the last five years. They mishandled what became a crisis in the Caucusus, and this has undermined U.S. national security. At the same time, the McCain camp appears to be comfortable with running an unworthy Karl Rove–style political campaign. Will the McCain operation, and its sponsors, do anything to win?
This week, I changed my registration from Republican to independent. The two political parties as they exist today, and the partisanship that they foster, reflect the many fights of the cold war, the Vietnam era, the post–cold war and the 9/11 periods. Today we are in a different place altogether, where our security as a nation is challenged not just from abroad but also close to home. The energy, health-care and financial crises threaten our national prosperity and well-being, just as surely as any confrontation overseas or an attack by radical terrorists.