Sunday, May 03, 2009

"Dirty" Moderates

McCains call for space for moderates within GOP

When Arlen Specter left the Republican party for the Democrats, Rush Limbaugh had one request for him:

"Well, Specter, take McCain with you. And his daughter."

Limbaugh's words underscore what has become an increasingly-hostile environment toward moderate conservatives in the Republican party -- a trend that began in the 1990s as the Republican party increasingly courted the religious right. Demagogues more interested in ideological purity than the pragmatic nuts-and-bolts of politics have increasingly led the Republican party astray.

John and Meghan McCain want to lead it back to the centre -- a task increasingly difficult with individuals like Limbaugh and Ann Coulter trying to drag the party even further to the right, and insisting that anyone unwilling to collaborate to that end be cast out of the party.

"I just wish that moderates like myself — more moderate Republicans and more socially liberal Republicans — weren’t looked at as, ‘Get rid of the dirty moderates. Get rid of them,’" Meghan recently complained, pointing to the Democrats' success in moderating itself.

“We need to be an inclusive party," she continued. "We need to be an umbrella party. We need to inspire 20-somethings, which is something the Obama campaign did very well.”

“And it’s not that I think that our message is neither good nor bad — I just think it’s that the Democrats package their message better, and I think if we could be able to communicate with my generation, the Republican Party can really rebuild itself,” she concluded.

The elder McCain, who seems to have accepted that his time to lead the Republican party is passing, impressed upon the need to embrace both youth and newer technologies. “By Twitter, by Internet, by all the things that frankly, the Obama campaign did a very good job at," he added. "That’s why we need lots of young people involved. If you are young, give us a call.”

McCain continued on the importance of mixing older conservative principles with these newer technological communication means. “I think we go back to old principles — and that’s less government, lower taxes, national security, etc, but we have to also have a new set of ideas and policies to implement and bring our principles into the 21st century.”

In order to find those ideas and principles the Republican party desperately needs to embrace moderate conservatives.

The Republican party's inability to accomodate moderates within its ranks have already cost it dearly. Once Al Franken is seated in the Senate -- and as the inconsistencies surrounding the Minnesota Senate election are cleared up it appears that he very much will win -- the Republicans will be seated across from a filibuster-proof Senate.

While all of this takes place, fools like Rush Limbaugh continue to sneer in the face of political reality. Faced with the fact that the world refuses to conform to their fantasies of ideological purity, individuals like Limbaugh have been revealed for the dinosaurs they really are.

Unfortunately they seem intent on leading the Republican party into extinction alongside them. Fortuantely, individuals like the McCains refuse to let them.

1 comment:

  1. Patrick,

    Don't always agree with your analysis - but on this one you have hit the proverbial nail with a precision hammer. In many ways it reminds of the (now) reflective David Brooks at the NYT's. Good writing.


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