Monday, December 07, 2009

The Purity Tests and the Moderate Republican

As I've been reading all the blog posts about the so-called "purity test" resolution for future GOP candidates, one question has been going around and around in my brain:

Why do we care?

I mean, why should moderate Republicans, who this resolution is aimed at be concerned? And if we are concerned, then what do we do?

There has been a lot of hand-wringing about how this will shut moderates out of the party once and for all. I believe that is all true. But, so what? If all we are going to do is worry about it and otherwise do nothing else, why do we care? If we don't fight back, aren't we just allowing the far right to walk all over us?

During the campaign by some conservatives to derail Dede Scozzafava's campaign in the fall, the far right blogosphere was busy trying to bring the New York Republican down. But it was interesting to see so few moderates take up arms and try to defend Dede.

One answer to my earlier "so what?" question was provided by blogger James Wolfer. He says:
So this is what we need: Red Dog Republicans. Where the far-left Democrats were choking the fiscal conservative Democrats, the far-right is choking the social progressives within the Republican party. You want proof? The more the GOP swings to the right, going back to "Reagan", the more the party shrinks. The Conservative Bloggers keep talking about the party becoming more conservative, yet every time that has happened recently the party has grown smaller and loses more points. Could they be wrong? Could swinging to the right actually be the reason the GOP is shrinking?

In an earlier post, he talks of the need for well known moderates like Colin Powell, to get off their duffs and create moderate GOP institutions as a counterweight to conservative groups:

...if Powell wants to actually succeed in helping the Republican Party become more "big tent" and moderate, he needs to take a page from the Democratic Party's handbook. No, I'm not talking about becoming more liberal. I'm talking about the DLC: The Democratic Leadership Committee, an independent entity responsible for the "New Democrats," namely the Clintons. Bill Clinton came from the DLC's leadership, which worked to counteract the negative image associated with Jesse Jackson Sr's Presidential run in '84 and '88. They feared the extreme left continuing their takeover of the Democratic Party.

What Powell needs, and I personally believe we need in the GOP, is our own DLC to balance the far-right. If Powell really believes that the Republican Party needs to start bringing in the moderates and social liberals (but fiscal conservatives), he needs to be part of the leadership of said committee. In other words, he needs to back up his words with actions.

I totally agree with James. But the sad fact is that there already are groups out there that were supposed to do that. The Republican Leadership Council was formed with the intent to support moderates in the party. But if it is doing anything to bolster moderates, I haven't heard. To be fair, it has raised money for moderate candidates, but other than an occasional post by its leader, for New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman about the need to be more inclusive, there has not been much fight in the group. At a time when we need to hear from them, I have not heard a peep about the purity resolution.

The reason that right wing idealogues have put forth such crazy resolutions like this, is partly because moderates don't do anything. We sit there and whine, but don't fight back. The GOP leadership is not going to fight for us because they are too scared of the far right, so we should not expect them to see reason.

It's time for us to speak up and say "no more." I we can't do that, than we deserve to kicked out of the party for being cowards.

No comments: