The GOP 'Stalinists' and Dede Scozzafava
A worldview like Frank Rich's is currently affected by the absolute lock the Democrats have on the White House, the House, and the Senate. That means that they can pass any legislation they want and the Republicans can't do a thing to stop them. They've convinced themselves that they're the future and the GOP is the past.
Therefore, the conventional wisdom on the left (and among many RINOS) is that the Republicans are nothing but a tiny "rump party," consisting of a few die-hard wackos who are guaranteed to go the way of the dinosaur. The "old America"? Ronald Reagan's America? Flag-waving America? The America where you pull yourself up by the bootstraps? That's as extinct as the dinosaur because liberals have won the argument. What Americans really want is a huge, overweening, socialistic government telling everyone how to live. And Republicans? Their only hope is to get on board, move to the middle, or be run over by an electoral steamroller that they can't hope to stop.
Enticing though this vision may be to liberals, there's a big problem with it. It's called reality.
Democrats didn't get into power because the country was hungry for liberalism. They got into power because politics tends to be cyclical in this country and Americans were sick and tired of the corruption, incompetence, and arrogance of the Republican Party.
By the time the 2008 election rolled around, George W. Bush had an approval rating in the neighborhood of 25%. The Republican candidate, John McCain? He was too old, too soft, too unpopular with his base, and, surprisingly, given his military background, he lacked the political courage to go after Obama.
Still, even with a Republican president who polled like Nixon, a weak nominee, and a disgusted base, the GOP managed to pull 46% of the vote. Moreover, since then, the American people have had an extremely negative reaction to the liberal agenda that has been championed by the Democratic Party. According to Rasmussen polling, Republicans are now more trusted than Democrats on every key issue.
Is this the beginning of a Stalinesque purge? Well, only if you consider a more successful repeat of the challenge that cost Joe Lieberman a primary election to be a trip to the political gulag. Moderates are welcome in the Republican Party -- but, as long as conservatives are paying the piper, they are also going to call the tune.
In the wake of the Scozzafava debacle, conservatives are not going to insist on perfect ideological purity in the GOP, but they are going to insist that Republican candidates act more like Republicans than Democrats. They are also not going to stand for conservative candidates being shoved aside in the name of "party loyalty."
In 2010, liberals like Frank Rich, Republican moderates who claim that conservatism is dead, and the Democratic talking heads are all going to get a rude surprise when the GOP starts its comeback at the ballot box because it moved back to the right.
The job of conservatives is not just to put Republicans in office; it's to make sure that the politicians we send to D.C. are doing the job they were sent there to do. We conservatives failed on that count during the Bush era. After the disaster that the Obama administration is turning into, we can't afford to let our next opportunity pass slip away.