This morning I was listening to Dennis Prager as I drove from the gym to the church. As you might expect, he was talking with callers about the Palin speech last night.
He made an observation about the major philosophical differences between the parties, particularly as they regard the role of government in relationship to the individual. I don't think I've ever heard it put quite as succinctly. In effect, according to Prager, there are two driving forces at work. Among Democrats, it's the need for security. (Not national security, but the security of the individual. Government taking care of all our personal needs.) Among Republicans, it's the need for liberty. The freedom of the individual to make grown-up choices, the opportunity--based upon disciplined hard work--to become whatever he/she can become, etc.
I'm sure it's a bit of an over-simplification, but I think you can follow the tributaries of many platform issues from either party and they'll make their way to one of those philosophical rivers. In my opinion, however, both "rivers" tend to overflow their banks. The security-seekers can only receive their care-giving at the expense of others. The liberty-seekers tend to label many with legitimate needs as "lazy" and "unproductive" and "opportunistic." Thus the need for balance and "truth-seeking" like I wrote about the other day.
I'd love to see balance between security and liberty personally, if such a thing can be achieved. For instance, something HAS to be done about health care in this country. Perhaps not, "universal" in the socialistic ideal of the word, but certainly something effective that will positively affect everyone.