Friday, November 19, 2004

Moderate Republicans

Daily Kos has this on the future of moderate Republicans:
That “civil war” that some predicted if Republicans won the election is obviously something that didn’t just begin November 3. Some of its roots can be traced to Barry Goldwater’s 1964 defeat, and especially, the presidency of Richard Nixon, which, whatever negative can be said about it, ushered in the EPA, OSHA and détente with Bejing, none of these items on the conservative agenda.

It could be argued that the “major combat” phase of that internecine war is over, and all we’re witnessing at present are mopping-up operations as the radical conservatives – both neo and fundi – take over completely. As we discussed here a few days ago, that’s certainly the way Concerned Women for America see it. But there’s still a smidgen of moderation and pragmatism to be found in the Grand Old Party.

Indeed, moderate Republicans still exist. ModerateRepublicans.net shares these qualities of a true moderate Republican:
A passion for civil liberties;
A disdain for conformity and suspicion of authority;
A belief that the Constitution is a living, breathing document with timeless values that must be made relevant in a modern age;
A commitment to protect the environment and not engage in mindless exploitation of the nation's natural beauty. A spirited case must be made for reusable energy sources like solar power. Modern technology provides many options before the earth is harshly, brutally, and needlessly pillaged.
A strong belief that diversity -- gender, racial, social, sexual, ethnic, and religious -- should be celebrated because it gives the United States moral strength. Diversity -- in the long-term, encourages respect, understanding, and a greater sense of community;
A commitment to fiscal prudence and limited government;
A recognition that government does have a basic social responsibility to help those in need;
A belief that the nation does have international responsibilities;
A belief that God and religion have a very important place in America -- at the dinner table and in churches, temples, and mosques. But it should never be used by politicians to advance a narrow moral agenda;
A belief that the national government should be used in a limited manner to advance the common good;
A commitment never to put party above country; and
A responsibility to publicly criticize those who call themselves Republican when the situation merits. Moderate/Progressives have a duty to vote against the party line when it doesn't serve the greater good. Doing so doesn't make them less Republican; it demonstrates that they have the honor, political courage, and intellectual honesty to put nation above party.
Wow! Sounds like something I could sign to! But wait...aren't people who believe in these things called Democrats? Well, a lot of them did vote for Kerry. After all, it's very nice to uphold the Traditions of Ike and Teddy Bear, but why not jump ship before it sinks? It seems clear to me that the Democratic party is much closer to the above beliefs than the current Republican party. Well, this may happen. Michael Cudahy writes:
In Pennsylvania, respected Republican senator Arlen Specter narrowly survived a Club for Growth-financed $2 million primary challenge from conservative congressman Pat Toomey. Moore saw the Pennsylvania effort as “serving notice to Chafee, Snowe, Collins and Voinovich and others who have been problem children that they will be next," referring to moderate Republican senators Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine, and George Voinovich of Ohio.
Note that these are all Blue states (with the exception of Ohio) and all are states in which a right-wing Republican would have a very hard time winning. So my hope is that the Club for Growth will make good on its pledge ["They will learn to conform to our agenda or they will be driven from our party..." -Stephen Moore] to run primary candidates against moderate Republicans. This will either force them to switch parties or give the seat to a Democrat. Throw in Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and these five are enough to get the Senate back to 50-50. (Of course Specter is now prostrating himself before the Party leadership.)

An infusion of moderate conservatism may be exactly what the Democratic party needs to get itself on its feet again.

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