In the wake of the Arlene Specter scandal (the switch from R to D) journos have been going goo-goo-gaga trying to put their twist on what this means to the future of the Republican Party.
The New York Times wrote a piece, "GOP Debate: A Broader Party of a Purer One?". In the article they ask: "Should [the GOP] purge moderate voices like Mr. Specter and embrace its conservative roots or seek to broaden its appeal to regain a competitive position against Democrats?"
For too long I have felt that the Republican party was slowing moving down a slippery slope, defining, with much precision, what it meant to be a "Republican." I felt it first hand in the immigration debate. The nativists / enforcement only folks wanted to portray anyone and everyone that didn't agree with them 100% as a RINO (Republican In Name Only.) And then I saw it more and more.
For many the word Republican and conservative is interchangable. But they are not. Conservatives are part of the Republican party. The Republican party is a coaliton of center right organizations.
In the conservative movement there are hundreds of groups. Each one thinks they have the formula to define Conservatism and Republicanism. Each organization will quickly (and most assuredly) call you out the minute they don't like what you are doing. With thousands of score cards, ratings and press releases. These conservative groups let EVERYONE know who has been good and /or bad.
With President Bush's declining numbers and elections on the horizon it felt like there was a "RINO flu epidemic." People got scared and tried to "boost" their conservative credentials. No one wanted to catch the "RINO flu."
While I think these score cards and ratings have value. (and believe me I have done but out a few of them myself!) They sometimes measure a particular issue or subject matter. At times they don't do the elected official justice because its such a small spectrum of focus.
What happened to Specter is quite sad (though COMPLETELY selfish). I am worried some activists in the GOP want the party to become more about purity to conservative idealogy, than representing the voters and providing real ideas/solutions.
Politico reported: "Republican Senators .... blamed the Club for Growth for imposing a right-wing litmus test that chased Arlen Specter out of the Republican Party."
Specter's move was all about self-preservation. Toomey, the former head of Club for Growth, was most likely to win the Republican primary. Yet, most pollsters unanimously agree, Toomey can't win statewide in Pennsylvania. The CLEAR reason is he is not representative of the voters of that state, he is seen as too conservative.
So here goes the question, what is more important in a representative democracy?
In the New York Times piece, Senator Lindsay Graham, Republican of South Carolina, said: “We are not losing blue states and shrinking as a party because we are not conservative enough. If we pursue a party that has no place for someone who agrees with me 70 percent of the time, that is based on an ideological purity test rather than a coalition test, then we are going to keep losing.”
I agree with Senator Graham. You can't have a winning coalition and only allow a small group into the party (pun intended). We do need to stick to our core values of limited government, national security, and personal responsibility. Yet we must realize that in a two party system, in a nation as large as America, there will be differences. You pick the party that has more people you agree with and has less people you'd likely strangle to death.
Yesterday the American Spectator's Doug Bandow put up a post entitled "The Great GOP Debate." Basically the Bandow tries to make make that point that the GOP is not conservative enough.
I think the problem is not that the GOP is not conservative enough. The problem is not only have the Republican strayed away from their principles but they are seen as hypocrites. Even if people agree with us, they don't trust us.
We must stay true to our Republican principles, but more important we must be honest.
If loosing Spector put us on a path to honesty, so be it. But enough with the double speak and the name calling and lets get back to the business and winning back America.
As a conservative sometimes it makes me cringe a little when I hear some of the statements that come from my right leaning colleagues. Case in point, recently a few have revved up their latest attacks on illegal immigration claiming that the sole reason for the U.S. swine flu outbreak is caused by undocumented Mexican immigrant crossing the border. Once again they are calling for a complete shut down of the border, at all levels, and stating that the government must do something about these "dirty" immigrants who they claim are causing this outbreak .....
One word for them, baloney!!
While I agree we need to severely restrict travel to and from Mexico, (Goodness knows I won't be going there anytime soon) and take steps necessary to protect our citizens form a possible epidemic, making this health issue another spring board for xenophobic commentary isn't helping anyone. In fact it will hurt us (GOP) in the long run.
The reality is most cases in the US of the swine flue have been caused by Americans traveling to Mexico for vacation and coming back with the virus. About half of the current cases coming from New York from a group of students who recently returned from a trip to Mexico.
Now if some want to use the death of this toddler as their rallying cry to shut the boarder, I think they may want to reevaluate their principles. I pray for the family of this little boy and the hundreds who are suffering through this virus.
Every once in a while I will tune into NPR or C-Span radio while running errands around the DC beltway. It's my consistent attempt to educate myself on the news of the day and multi-task.
And every time I loose more hope for humanity. The constant stream of conspiracy theorist and disillusion news junkies makes my head spin. I find myself talking to the radio and trying to rationalize with them. (... making me look like a crazy person.)
I don't mind a good debate of ideas but I feel that the callers act more like novice press assistants reading off talking points with no context or facts to back up their statements.
Working on campaigns I found these people often. (way too often.) They would tell me "I am not voting for McCain because he is Bush II and Bush lied and people died." I looked at them with a blank stare upset they had just taken away precious seconds of my life that I would never be able to replace.
Sometimes I would ask them to explain and that I was interested to learn more, usually they had no explanation just repeated the statement or rant about the war but could not tell me anything of substance. It easy to shut these people down when you read two or three actual news article instead of DNC talking points. Sometimes I would just let them be, stupid is as stupid does.
In general I must give it to people who want to learn more and listen to NPR and watch C-Span. Yet I wish they would take the time and read, research and educate themselves. The world can not be understood or explained in a sound bite, nor was it meant to be.
Analyzing the twisted world of American politics through Latin eyes... Trying to figure it all out without having a heart attack-sirimba - in the meantime...
Sirimba : An ailment meaning a temporary attack with tremblings in which the people loses the consciousness or faint….