Friday, October 23, 2009

Moderate Republicanism: Is It Worth Fighting For?

Fellow Republicans United blogger, Bill Golden had this to say earlier today about moderate and/or centrist Republicans:
And for moderates — you need to find some principles quick. Being “moderate” or “centrist” is a mode. If you keep standing in the middle of the road whining that no one is stopping to give you a kiss … then you are just going to get your arse run over. Become a liberal, libertarian or conservative or whatever, but get some principles and go with it. Defend them. Live them. Be “moderate” when it comes to time to work out agreement but please stop standing in the middle of the road.

It made me think a lot about the fate of the so-called moderate Republican, a moniker that I have long used to describe myself. I have been long frustrated with my fellow moderates for some the reasons that Bill has argued, specifically, that we tend to stand in the middle of the road whining that no one will give us a kiss. And because we sit there whining about the state of moderates in the party, we ended up getting our asses handed to us again and again.

I know that I might hurt some feelings here, but I am starting to think that a lot of moderates are some of the most feckless, flighty and downright cowardly people. We do not stand up for our convictions. At times, I wonder if we even have convictions. We whine about the dwindling state of the GOP, about how it is being taken over by extremists, but when it comes down to making a difference, we offer no solutions other than pleading for the Republican leadership to love us.

Friday, October 09, 2009

About That Nobel Prize…

My take on Obama's Nobel is up at Republicans United.
About That Nobel Prize…

The War Against Dede

Politico is running a story about how some groups on the hard right are upset at National Republican Committee for supporting New York Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava, who is running to fill the seat vacated by John McHugh. They see Scozzafava as a "liberal," a "radical" who happens to have an "R" after her name.

Here are a few exerpts from the article:
At a private Washington luncheon attended by activists last week, frustrations spilled over, and several attendees demanded to know why NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions of Texas, who was the featured speaker, was supporting Scozzafava over the more conservative Hoffman.

After Sessions conceded that Scozzafava's record on gay marriage and abortion fell short of where those at the lunch wanted it to be, he sought to defend her record on taxes. At that point, according to two sources who were present, the Texas congressman came under forceful pushback from several conservative leaders who insisted Scozzafava fell far short in that area as well.

"I was flabbergasted that he could come into a meeting of conservatives and be as defiant as he was," said one person who was at the Free Congress Foundation's Paul Weyrich lunch meeting, adding that the Texas congressman "stuck a finger in our eye."

And there's more...
Club for Growth Executive Director David Keating, whose deep-pocketed organization is already flooding New York’s North Country with ads targeting Scozzafava, slammed her as a “flaming liberal” whose politics are to the left of many House Democrats.

“The Republican Party bosses in New York state are not in touch with the Republican primary voting electorate,” said Keating. “She would never win a primary there, if there was one.”

As referenced by Keating, part of the frustration over Scozzafava is the way she claimed the GOP nomination in July — not through the standard primary election process but, rather, on the third vote taken by the 11 Republican county chairmen within the 23rd Congressional District.

Local Republicans tapped Scozzafava as the nominee in July because they believed her centrist views would appeal to a coalition of centrist Republicans, independents and Democrats in a moderate-minded district that Barack Obama won with 52 percent of the vote in 2008. The national party supports her for the same reason: her perceived electability.

This is a case where the wingnuts are...well acting like wingnuts and the national party is acting more pragmatic. The hard right is not concerned about winning as much as they are about being heard, even if it means handing the seat to a Democrat.

As I've said before, if one were to look at Scozzafava's record, one would see that she is not a flaming liberal. But then to those on the hard right, anyone to left of a Ghengis Khan is a commie.

I think that those who believe in a politically diverse party should consider donating to Dede's campaign. Let's not let the crazies torpedo another good Republican.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Why I’m Not a Token

Below is a link to my latest over at Republicans United.

Why I’m Not a Token

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Deficits DO Matter, Continued

James Pethokoukis has a post about how President Obama might just raise taxes by instituting a Value Added Tax or VAT that has been used in European countries. Pethokoukis isn't that crazy about adding a VAT, but would give it some support if some deals were made:

Obama wants a VAT? First, it should be part of broader tax reform, including getting rid of capital gains and corporate taxes. Second, it should accompany an Economic Bill of Rights much like Ronald Reagan used to suggest. Its elements: a) a balanced budget amendment, b) a line-item veto, c) a spending limit such as inflation plus population growth, d) and a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate for any tax increases. (Reagan also wanted a prohibition on wage and price controls. That would likely kill ObamaCare.)

And come to think of it, let’s cut spending and streamline government before cash-strapped, wealth-reduced taxpayers are forced to pony up a penny more, OK?

This is yet another example of how the GOP is not really serious about fiscal policy. I don't want to soak-the-rich-either for many of the same reasons that Pethokoukis does (though I do support letting the Bush tax cuts to expire), but the requirement of a supermajority to pass taxes is just lame.

Why? Well, I'm not an economist, but let's consider a state that DOES have a supermajority rule: California. That state is not the shining example of fiscal stability. Pethokoukis and others on the Right tend to think that if one makes raising taxes harder, then no new government programs (and therefore spending) will come to fore.

However, what Pethokoukis forget is that why it might stymie governments from raising taxes, such a law does nothing to slow spending. As long as the wider public can believe that one can get all the goodies from the government without paying more, then spending will increase. And when spending outpaces revenue, we have a funny little thing called a deficit.

Over the past 8 years, the GOP did not raise taxes, but they spent and spent and spent. There was no ephasis in cutting spending, because as much as people don't want their taxes raised, they do expect the government to cater to their every whim and fancy.

The GOP needs to take part in a "fiscal Lent" where we take stock in our fiscal record and decide to reform. We need to stop with all the silly gimmicks that only fool the people and actually try to find ways to provide good government services efficiently and for little cost.

That's a long way of saying call me when you are serious.