I "earned my stripes" as a Democrat. Starting at age 14, I went door-to-door in behalf of my Democratic father, a candidate for Tiffin City Council. After law school in Detroit, I helped organize and run a campaign in the interest of a teacher friend of mine running for state office against the United Auto Workers political machine.
After returning to Tiffin, I was a speechwriter for the Democratic mayor, and was appointed to represent Tiffin in the state Democratic convention. I helped organize a revolt of the smaller communities on behalf of John Glenn, against the large city machines backing Sen. Stephen Young. (This race ended when John Glenn fell and injured himself in the shower, and could not continue). Later, my father, Mayor Gilmore Lange, and I were chairmen of Sen. John Glenn's two campaigns in Seneca County.
I always admired my father's two core beliefs regarding good government - looking out for the "underdog" and keeping government spending within its means, just as you would do with your own family's expenses. My dad was national co-chairman for Mayor Hubert Humphrey - that "Happy Warrior." One of my proudest moments was helping my then-mayor father write a veto message, in which he vetoed pay raises for all the city elected officials (including himself) for the next four years. He said quite simply, "Since we can't afford to give the police, fireman and city workers a pay raise, then the politicians shouldn't get one either." City Council wouldn't overrule him.
Along with the Leahys and the Schultzes, the Langes were proud members of our local Democratic Party.
My wife, Sue, and I, over the years, raised seven children and helped them through college, graduate and professional schools. We did this, as did so many other families, by restraining our spending through the years and saving for our children's future educational needs.
Yet, I saw my Democratic Party give into the demands of government unions with ever-higher wages, special medical coverages and exorbitant retirement plans - all at a rate much higher than the average American worker was allotted. (This is not to excuse certain members of the Republican Party who also cannot deny privileges to their "special interest" groups). However, I feel the Democratic leadership is much more prone to out-of-control spending. No wonder 80 percent of Americans sampled are in favor of federal and state term limits.
For reasons such as this, about 15 years ago I switched political parties. I oppose the government's takeover of the banks and nationalization of General Motors, giving big financial rewards to unsecured special interest groups. I oppose wasting billions of dollars for government-subsidized wind and solar industries such as Solyndra, and the destruction of the coal industry - and its unionized employees. I oppose the actions of a president who acts by executive fiat rather than through our elected legislators. I oppose the theme of a president who continuously blames his predecessor for the poor economy, jobs lost and the housing crisis, even though it was the Democratic majority Congress in 1997 that passed the Community Reinvestment Act which forced banks to make home loans without down payments and even without proof of income, and thus brought about the housing collapse and stock market plunge. I oppose a party that wages class warfare, rather than working within the premises of compromise and mutual respect.
I turn on the television and watch every day the riots and destruction of Greece and now Spain because the people cannot accept the draconian cuts necessitated by massive government overspending for years. And I see the United States headed down the same path with more than $16 trillion in debt, $6 trillion of which has been added within the last four years. In the case of Spain and Greece, the creditor is Germany. In our case, it will be China, Japan and Saudi Arabia.
So, although reluctantly at first, I became a Republican. I still have hope the Republican Party has the character to live within a budget, just as our families do. (The Democratic Senate has not even presented or voted on a budget in the last four years!)
Winston Churchill was once asked why he had switched from being a liberal to a conservative. He said in reply, "If you are young and you are not a liberal, you have no heart. If you are older and you are not a conservative, you have no brain."
Very truly yours,
Michael B. Lange,