This is in response to gsy987 here, complaining that the GOP needs to adjust itself to make “moderates” more comfortable. Of course, his advice, like that of David Frum, Rick Moran, David Brooks, etc. is that we jettison social conservatives and demand less loyalty of “moderates” toward the party.
My father here is exhibit A right now in everything that is wrong with the Republican party right now. [He’s] a classic, northern Virginia moderate Republican, who felt isolated from the GOP through the continued emphasis on loyalty and social issues, and actually in the end voted for Obama.
I have to agree with the man – it sure does sound like gsy987’s Dad is exactly the type of “moderate” Republican that is everything wrong with the GOP right now. As Specter, Jeffords, Chafee, Schwarz, Leach, Gilchrest, etc. have proven – it is now too much to expect the very basic expectation of partisan loyalty from “moderates”. That would require them to take a side and stick to it, something we all know “moderates” are congenitally incapable of. Let me be blunt; I am yet to see any of the media’s designated “moderates” in the GOP stand strong on an issue the instant it is labeled “divisive” or “controversial”.
So far what I’ve found out is that the bulk of so-called Republican “moderates” are remarkably shallow thinkers with practically no original or worthwhile idea beyond splitting the difference on any of the issues that matter. They outsource their thinking to the liberal Press, to polls, to Beltway Conventional Wisdom, and are forever trying to please Democrats so they can get what they think is “respect.”
If people really want to know why moderates in the GOP get such a bum rap, it is not because of their positions on social issues, but the enervating jumble of cowardice, self-loathing, masochism and Quisling impulse towards capitulating collaboration with the other side when they’re needed most. Add that to the constant whining self-righteousness that they’re not getting the respect they’ll never earn thanks to a manifest lack of principle and conviction, and it’s not that difficult to see why the typical Republican would seriously consider sitting out an election if a “moderate” is on the ballot.
The fact is that when we look at the Democrat’s own “moderates”, we notice a few things. Whenever they’re on print and broadcast, they’re not bashing their own party. They do not call their fellow party members “extremists.” They do not sabotage their own leadership. They do not place Bipartisanship™ above achieving their party’s legislative goals. They do not repeat the other side’s talking points. They do not go on talk radio to agree with Conservative hosts that other Democrats are intolerant knuckle-draggers. They do not proclaim to one and all that the mainstream of their party as “too liberal” or “too far to the Left.” In other words, when it counts, and even when it doesn’t, they’re loyal, they’re Democrats.
But “moderate” Republicans are an entirely different kettle of fish. Now, all indications are that not only do they want to vote with the other side with regards to policy, they want to go along with Democrats on procedural votes (e.g. “Gang of 14″) as well.
Before on RedState, defenders of “moderates” tried to pass off the fantasy that moderates were “staunch fiscal conservatives” even while being social liberals when, to be honest, the only living breathing example of such a creature was Rudy Giuliani and Bill Weld (back when he was a Republican). The “fiscally conservative socially liberal” shibboleth was held on to quite strongly though, that is; until Snowe, Collins, Specter (with able support by “moderate” Govs like Crist and Schwarzenegger) sacrificed the nation’s financial health – not because they thought it would work, they never even read the bill – on the altar of Bipartisanship™ and getting invitations to talk to liberal news hosts on TV. Now, every one of the defenders is silent.
Thanks to their constant badmouthing of their own party, most of the “loyalty is too much to ask of us” “moderates” in Congress (the ones that would have voted with Obama on the ‘Stimulus’) were voted out in 2006 and 2008 by Independents convinced by their own words echoing (as usual) the Democrats that the GOP is full of extremists, “theocrats,” racists, sexists, homophobes, anti-environmental neanderthals. Apparently, according to what passes for “strategy” in “moderate” circles, this “Republicans Suck! Except Me!” message was supposed to prime listeners to troop to the polls on Election Day and pull the lever for the Republican on the ballot.
Which highlights another thing about “moderates” – without the advantage of incumbency or the success of a conservative predecessor to conveniently associate themselves with, they can’t win elections without help from the very same people they spend their time on TV denouncing, including the base they need to carry them over the finish line. Many of the so-called “moderates” that were booted by their district’s voters in 2006 and 2008 only got elected in the first place by riding Reagan’s coat-tails in the 1980s and Gingrich’s coat-tails in 1994.
So here’s my advice to gsy987’s “Republican”-for-Obama Dad, and this is with all due respect; he should switch his registration to Democrat and be done with it. Like Meghan McCain (proving that the apple seldom falls far from the tree) he sounds like someone who sees no redeeming value in the party he claims to be a member of and everything to admire in the Democrat Party – the fact that we nominated John ‘Maverick Moderate’ McCain, the man who for eight years exemplified the capitulating Bipartisanship™ that “moderates” have been clamoring for, the man the New York Times endorsed for us, and yet he voted for Barack Obama anyway, says this more convincingly than any words he (or gsy987) can say to the contrary.
At this point, unless they get over their aversion to loyalty and paralyzing fear of journalist disapproval, “moderates” like gsy987’s Dad are no different from Fifth Columnists – it’s far more harmful to have them within the Tent than without it.