I'm in agreement with Nick's suggestion, and perhaps should have been a bit more explicit in my original post. It wasn't intended to be a blanket condemnation of republicans in general, it was specifically in reference to the racism that seems to be embedded in the very vocal segment of the party that I realize is not a completely fair picture of all republicans.
I have conservative leanings, in the traditional sense. I'm fully in favor of fiscally conservative values - I want evidence to back up proposals before throwing boatloads of money at them, I support limits to entitlement programs, and firmly believe that the country works best when the majority of it's citizens are actively involved in improving their own quality of life. I'm a big believer in personal responsibility. I'm a lifelong non-party voter. I have voted for both republicans and third party candidates in the past, and expect to do so in the future as well. That said, I do tend to vote a bit more democrat than not, and probably by a smaller margin than one might suppose, given what I've shared in these posts.
I would be delighted to see the republican party of my youth active today - sadly, that party appears to be long gone. I'm just barely old enough to remember who they were, and can recall the days before they got in bed with the far-right religious groups. That, in my opinion, is the flaw in the current republican party. I don't think the most extreme positions are favored by the majority of republican voters - in fact, I would argue that quite a few of them aren't all that aware of them - but those positions are inextricably linked to the party as a whole, whether that's fair or not.
We barely have a functional two-party system as it is. We need both side working for the best interest of the country, not having pissing contests with each other.
Edited to correct an irritating grammar error. Yes, I grammar-nazi myself.