The 2012 presidential election demonstrated once again that Florida may be the most purple state in the Union. Northwest Florida, however, remains staunchly Republican.
Barbara Olschner believes in her party's founding principles: lower taxes, less regulation, limited government, and individual accountability. But she also believes in governing through compromise, in respectfully listening to opponents' viewpoints, and in the possibility that a Republican can be fiscally but not socially conservative. In hindsight, it isn't surprising that when she ran for Congress at the height of the Tea Party's influence she was branded an elitist and a RINO (Republican in Name Only) - and finished dead last.
The Reluctant Republican traces her campaign and her realization that the current leadership of her party demands strict adherence to its ideology. Not only are different viewpoints not tolerated, but those who espouse them are vilified for their disloyalty.
Olschner is reluctant to remain in the party but more reluctant to leave. She refuses to accept the current dogma but also refuses to abandon her conservatism. Her fight for civility and her refusal to kowtow to the lowest common denominator reveal much about what passes for politics in the Sunshine State - and in America.
Barbara F. Olschner is a native of North Carolina who moved to Birmingham, Alabama, to practice law. After 30 years, she moved to Walton County, in the Florida Panhandle. Download and start listening now!