Poor, Poor, Put-Upon Moderates
I'm tired of Mike Huckabee, John McCain, Mitt Romney, Tom Ridge, and the rest of them. I'm tired of the pontificating. I'm tired of the holier-than-thou bearing. I'm tired of the self-important smugness. Most of all, I'm tired of losing big elections and being lectured by the losers about how to win.
And I'd just like to say this to moderates feelings tweaked in the current Grand Old Party: get over it.
Rick Moran says the following in his latest Pajamas Media colum:
Eh … OK. Everyone can come in and sit down for the feast but if you are pro-choice, or pro-gay marriage, or pro-amnesty, kindly realize that no one is going to listen to you so you might as well keep your mouth shut. Meanwhile, your cousins and other relations can publicly chastise you for your different opinions, actively seek to undermine your re-election by running a primary challenger against you, deny you party support, and will stay at home on election day so a Democrat will probably defeat you anyway.
An exaggeration? Not by much if you listen to many conservatives on talk radio and the internet. For these activists, war has been declared on those they consider “establishment” Republicans or “elitists.” Just what makes these animals dangerous is never articulated to a satisfactory degree. Sometimes, the transgression is as small as praising President Obama for something he’s done. More serious violations include working with Democrats in Congress to solve problems, being pro-choice, or daring to say that the party has become too ideological and even too conservative to win in many states and districts around the country.
Activists and ideologues will tell you that they want candidates to adhere to “first principles” and that anyone who strays from their narrow interpretation of those principles should be shown the door. But is our understanding of these principles an intellectual monolith that brooks no deviation and no independent thought about what they actually mean? Can Republicans from differing parts of the country define these principles in different ways and still be thought of as party members?
There is so much in these three paragraphs that irritate me I don't know where to start.
1. John McCain, moderate to the stars, won the Republican primary.
2. The moderates in the Senate ran things with all their brilliant and self-adoring compromises and Republicans lost. Big. Twice.
3. Moderates in the House and Senate are the most selfish beasts. They don't recognize how their strategies may be a win for them personally, but kill the brand generally.
4. Find me one rational person who expects a Maine Republican to be the same as a Kansas Republican. No one expects that.
5. Is the Republican Party now the party of gay marriage, abortion, anti-law and order (amnesty), and lax national security?
On #5, I just want to do a gut check here. Because those values are very Democratic. A big tent implies that there are common core beliefs but that those with a position straying from the party planks are also included. That is what a big tent means. What are the Republican core beliefs?
- Freedom and personal liberty: As in, "I know what's best for me more than the government knows what's best for me."
- Small government: Small government means small taxes, which also means economic freedom. If a Republican does not believe this tenet, why is he a Republican?
- God, Family, Country: That is, traditional values. The building blocks of society. Patriotism. No apologies for the greatness of America, etc.
- Life. Protecting and promoting it -- from the weakest unborn child and the equality of minorities to the protection of democracies everywhere.
Now, just to stop here for a moment, I'd like to talk about nuance. I am ardently pro-life. I'm also a realist. I know too many women who've had abortions. I know too many men who've encouraged wives and/or girlfriends to abort to believe it will ever be illegal. And in the case of the mother's life being in danger, I don't think abortion should be illegal. So my thinking is that abortion needs to be restricted as much as possible. Morning-after pills seem like a good option. Waiting periods and required ultrasounds -- those sorts of things are fine.