Saturday, December 29, 2007

Denver GOP drives pro-lifer to Democrats

John Wren is one of the most civic-minded men I've ever met. A devotee of Ben Franklin, he has endeavored to recreate Franklin's circles for networking and idea-sharing across the Denver metro area. He is a booster of the Socrates Cafe, which tries to bring philosophical discussions out of the academy and into the lives of ordinary laymen. Wren's support for the party caucus system is second-to-none, and he helped spearhead a campaign to keep it running. His enthusiasm has filled my e-mail box with the numerous bulletins he sends out to his considerable mailing list as he constantly recruits his contacts to become involved in their community.

Wren was also one of the nicest local Republicans I know. A former president of the state College Republicans, he has been quite active in the party for three decades. He played the sacrificial lamb in a state legislature race for a Democrat-dominated Denver district only a few years ago.

So Wren's announcement that he has become a Democrat was quite a surprise to me. In his own words:
The final blows were: 1) A note I got from a Denver Republican volunteer telling me that if I was prolife, they wouldn’t help me as a precinct committee person, making concrete the underlying current in the Denver GOP; 2) I was sensitive to this issue ever since I’d had no cooperation from a former Republican district captain because of the same issue; and 3) Finally, when Denver GOP leaders were so forceful about their support of pro-death candidate Rudi Giuliani. It became clear it was time for me to leave.

The incongruity between the opinions of local party leaders and the policies of their state and national parties very easily goes unnoticed, especially if one only reads partisan periodicals. Wren's impressions of the city GOP remind me of similar tensions I've seen within the Jeffco GOP even after only minimal attention, as when a local Republican, on pro-choice grounds, endorsed in a television commercial a Democratic U.S. Representative candidate.

John Wren says "what makes the most sense politically is to join the majority party in your county if you are interested in helping improve local government." That kind of localism is admirable, and it usually is overshadowed by state or national disputes. I wish him the best of luck in his new party.


William Luse said...

I wish him the best of luck in his new party.

Sounds like he'll need a lot of it. What kind of home does a pro-lifer expect to find in the Democratic party? Or is the local version pro-life?

John S. Wren, MBA said...

Thanks for the kind words, Kevin.

I'll be making an announcement about what's planned to advance the pro-life cause with Denver Democrats at the Denver Grassroots Rally next Friday, Jan 4. Can you join us? RSVP at

Kevin Jones said...

"What kind of home does a pro-lifer expect to find in the Democratic party? Or is the local version pro-life?"

There are still a few pro-lifers, though they certainly have little chance at higher office. My cousin, and Wren's friend, is Denver City Auditor and has made a good career as a Denver politician. Despite never getting traction in his 1980s race for city mayor because of his pro-life views, he has done good work in the city council and the state legislature.

The Denver DA was also a pro-life Democrat, but his (successful) run for governor shut him up.

love the girls said...

The Republican party in Colorado has never been pro-life, nor welcome to pro-lifers, although it has always been glad to use them while tossing them sops.

But there's nothing unusual there, National is no different, and has always been what it was conceived for, an engine for democratic capitalism with all that that entails in principle.

Reagan's kitchen cabinet told him to throw bones to the pro-lifers while doing nothing of substance, and he obeyed. And so it goes.


"John Wren says "what makes the most sense politically is to join the majority party in your county if you are interested in helping improve local government.""

While I greatly appreciate that localism is even recognized as a good, localism at the county level is still casting far too wide a net. Just as abortion is not a political problem, but finally a spiritual one because it is finally a denial of the natural law, so likewise are most errors even at the county level finally not political but more intrinsic to an understanding the nature of man which can only be grasped at fundamental level.

For instance how do you combat the evils of capitalism and materialism and their concomitant evil of destruction of society unless it is first grasped what is authentic human society? And it is further understood how to bring about organically that same natural society.

As example, asking a paleo-libertarian for a solution is not possible because they hold in principle that man is not by nature a political animal, and thus the concept of duty becomes social contract which in turn leads to the evils we have today which are grounded in the concept of the social contract.

Or asking those who accept in principle the concepts of Hobbes for a solution is likewise not possible because for them the solution is contrary to the nature of man according to scale and according to the nature of the society as existing for the good of man with final good being the final good of man.