Tuesday, May 12, 2009

You Gotta Fight for Your Right to Party

Candace Straight and Susan Bevan, the Co-Chairs of Republican Majority for Choice wrote a strong op-ed at the Huffington Post calling for the GOP to be more tolerant to moderates. In it, they call on party leaders to take a look at who won in elections last November:

The Republican leadership must look to see who in their Party is winning -- both elections and new voters. Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine both won their last elections with 61% and 72% of the voter respectively. Representatives Lynn Jenkins of Kansas and Leonard Lance of New Jersey are two freshman members of Congress -- people who won in one of the most dismal election cycles for the GOP. Though they may not agree with every moderate voter, or even each other on every issue, these leaders govern with the big-tent, limited-government ideals in mind. And they win.

Straight and Bevan also think that the new group led by Eric Cantor, National Council for a New America is not going to bring the needed change the Republicans need:

Earlier this month, the GOP leadership announced the National Council for a New America -- a softer, gentler GOP that wants to hear new ideas and bring in coalitions of voters. However, the group's leading spokespeople are all white, socially conservative men. These are not the faces of "new ideas" that will help draw in a more diverse voting base.

A day earlier, Jim DePeso, the policy director for Republicans for Environmental Protection wrote in the environmental site, the Daily Green, that the GOP must either consider welcoming all who want to be part of the GOP or wither and die:

Remember the Whigs? No? The what-me-worry Republicans who value division over inclusion ought to read up on what happened to America's previous conservative party. Don't think that what happened to the Whigs couldn't happen again.

You might also want to read a post by Patrick Ruffini of the Next Right where he sees a place for moderates in the GOP.

Both op-eds are saying what many have said for quite a while: that the GOP needs to be more inclusive of folks like myself, who are socially liberal, but tend to be conservative on fiscal and national security issues.

But that said, moderates also need to be more willing to demand their place in the Big Tent and not wait for an invite.

Last March, I went to my local GOP caucus (here in Minnesota we use the caucus instead of the primary for the Presidential candidates). What was interesting was the amount of Ron Paul supporters who were there. In many places throughout the state, those Ron Paul people came out in force. I remember seeing a young guy and his wife looking over the state GOP platform and were surprised at what they saw. They immediately started writing changes to the platform. Many have started to show up on local committees of the GOP. Now, there is a lot that I don't agree with when it comes to Mr. Paul and his supporters, but I have to hand it to them, they understood what politics was all about. They had their agenda and they stuck to it. This is of course, how the far right took over the party years ago.

What would happen in moderate conservatives started showing up in force at county conventions, getting elected to local GOP committees and the platform committee? It would show that this party was truly their party and they were going to fight for it.

Scott Payne, over at League of Ordinary Gentlemen, wondered a loud in a post recently, why moderate conservatives tend to pick flight over fight. It's a good question, of which I have no answer. But I can say, that we can't afford to wait until the GOP leadership gets a clue and stops getting advice from Rush Limbuagh.

I would like to see more disgruntled Republicans get off the sidelines and get into the battle. It time for moderates to claim their place in the party and fight for your right to party.

1 comment:

Mike at The Big Stick said...

Not to pre-empt my response post to our 'moderate Republican' discussion, but I thinkthis statement is key:

...the GOP needs to be more inclusive of folks like myself, who are socially liberal, but tend to be conservative on fiscal and national security issues.If that is the case, why not just call yourself a 'socially liberal' Republican or even a New England Republican? When you say 'moderate' the implication is that everyone to the right of you on one of those issues is an extremist wack-job. Quite frankly socially conservative positions like being pro-life are pretty mainstream and not radical.