Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Join Us or Die

When Michael Steele was chosen as the Chair of the Republican National Committee, I was pleased to see someone who had said they wanted to reach out and include moderates at the GOP table.

And then you hear something like this:
This one passed unnoticed last night, but it’s definitely noteworthy — yet another measure of the degree to which the Republican Party has bet all its chips on opposing the stimulus package.

On Fox News, Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele said he was open to withholding RNC funds from the three GOP Senators who backed President Obama’s stimulus package...

Speaking of Senators Arlen Specter, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, Steele said that the Senators were likely to face primaries as a result of their vote for the stimulus bill.

Then Steele was asked by Fox’s Neil Cavuto: “Will you, as RNC head, recommend no RNC funds being provided to help them?”

Steele confirmed that he would “talk to the state parties about.” When pressed on whether he was open to it, Steele said: “Oh, yes, I`m always open to everything, baby, absolutely.”

So, I guess that inclusion of moderates only matters if they vote the right way all the time.

I find this maddening. I didn't agree with the stimulus bill, but I also don't think that the three Senators should be punished simply because they decided to work with the Democrats. As usual, the GOP risks eating their own because of a representative didn't toe the line and giving seats over to the Democrats.

And the GOP "death spiral" continues...


Paul Wartenberg said...

You would think Steele would remember what happened to his fellow Maryland Republican, Wayne Gilchrest. Gilchrest was a moderate by all measures, was challenged and defeated in the 2008 primary to a more conservative Republican, Andy Harris. Harris btw was backed by the Club For Growth. Harris promptly lost to the Democrat Frank Kratovil. Point of fact, nearly every candidate the Club for Growth supports in primary upsets tend to lose to Democrats, so it's a lose-lose for the Republicans nearly every time. Are the Republicans SURE the Club for Greed, uh Growth is on their side...?

But this is how the modern GOP is: no big tent, but an ever-shrinking coral island sinking into the Pacific Ocean. They'd rather lose as extremists than win and stay in the game as moderates. Someone needs to teach them cooperative game theory.

Philip H. said...

A large number of Marylanders, myself included, have always wondered if Mr. Steele had anything to do with the plan to unseat Mr. Gilchrest. You have to wonder about the long term prospects of a party that sacrifices a sure relection at in the name of idealogical purity. Almost reminds one of the old Soviet tradition of purges.