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Republicans (and conservatives) in international development

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mortuus, ESO, and AH wanted to know about Republicans in international development. (Warning: cheap shot ahead) Are there any? No, I'm just kidding. I'm sure there are, but I suspect they are vastly outnumbered by self-identified liberals and moderates.

I imagine one reason is that Peace Corps, the conduit for most international development professionals, still has a reputation for attracting primarily hippie crunchy granola do-gooder types. Not to say that there aren't conservatives who join PC. There was one young lady in my training group, for example, who considered her Peace Corps service as a Christian missionary activity. There's also an essay in the Peace Corps 25th anniversary book written by a Republican member of Congress whose child was a PCV, who argued that PC was actually a conservative institution because of the emphasis on exporting American values like capitalism. I thought it was a bit of a stretch myself, but I definitely agree that PC is all about America, not about the host country. Regardless, PC is probably the only foreign assistance initiative that enjoys bi-partisan support.

I also think that conservatives who have do-gooder impulses tend to channel them in other ways, like joining the military or the State Dept, or going on a mission. I'm sure that a number of faith-based organizations also tend toward more the conservative than liberal end. I worked for one that represented the Catholic Church in America, so no condoms in HIV/AIDS programs.

That said, the only NGO I can think of that's outwardly Republican is the International Republican Institute which seems to do similar work as the National Democratic Institute. I know more about NDI than I do IRI because of their field presence; the first time I heard of IRI was when the Peace Corps director under the Bush administration visited Morocco, and I was invited to the welcome dinner at the Ambassador's house. One of his staff worked with IRI, which, unlike NDI, didn't have a field office in Morocco.

So I'd say that Republicans/conservatives in international development are kind of like Republicans/conservatives in Hollywood: there, but under the radar compared to their Democratic/liberal counterparts.
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On May 13th, 2010 11:15 pm (UTC), ext_172444 commented:
We had a handful of vocal Republicans in PCKenya when I served. There may have been a few more who were quieter about it. I think one thing that may keep young conservatives out of PC could be the idea of working with/socializing with all those liberals. Perhaps that is not accurate, it is just my impression.

People always complain about my field (education) being overwhelmed with liberals. It is a fairly common criticism on conservative talk radio, certainly. My response to that is: why don't YOU (complaining conservative) teach? I think most Republicans with the necessary education, quite frankly, go into better-paying fields. Is that to crass? To think they won't teach for the money. I hear people say that about volunteer experiences like PC, too. They wanted to earn money.
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On May 13th, 2010 11:32 pm (UTC), mortuus commented:
Crazy liberals....
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On May 14th, 2010 02:33 am (UTC), ticklethepear replied:
I tell ya.
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