Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Obdurate, Not Moderate

Right Wing News points out that it wasn't "moderates" who put the Republican Party where it is today.

Whitman was a bit more strident in her comments,

"The main focus of Whitman's book "It's My Party Too: The Battle for the Heart of the GOP and the Future of America," is on her desire for moderate Republicans to regain control of the party. The more conservative wing of the party has claimed much credit for Bush's re-election.

"A clear and present danger Republicans face today is that the party will now move so far to the right that it ends up alienating centrist voters and marginalizing itself," Whitman writes in the book, obtained Friday by The Associated Press. The book is to be released by The Penguin Press in late January.

Whitman says fellow moderates, such as former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, were instrumental in Bush's re-election win, often campaigning with him in battleground states.

The role of moderates is to bring the party back to its center, she says.

"It is time for Republican moderates to assert forcefully and plainly that this is our party, too, that we not only have a place but a voice, and not just a voice but a vision that is true to the historic principles of our party and our nation, not one tied to an extremist agenda," she says."

Before I respond to Arnold & Whitman, let me make it clear that moderates certainly play an important role in the GOP. Arnold, Rudy, and to a much lesser extent, John McCain, were assets during the 2004 election cycle. Moderates help keep the GOP competitive in more liberal states, and of course, neither the GOP nor the Dems could win national elections without moderates putting them over the top. So moderates do certainly have a role in the GOP.

That being said, moderates are not the driving force in the Republican Party; to the contrary, they played a relatively minor role in the success of the Party compared to conservatives. Let me break it down for you like this: in my view, there are three men who have been most responsible for the GOP's success: Reagan, Gingrich, & Limbaugh.

Reagan was an enormously successful, popular President. He rebuilt the military, got the economy rolling, broke the Soviet Union, and really helped turn the GOP and the country around after Vietnam and Watergate. Of course, Reagan was a conservative, not a moderate.

Next up, there's Newt Gingrich who helped engineer the GOP takeover of the House that we've managed to maintain to this day. Gingrich is a conservative, not a moderate.

Then there's Rush Limbaugh, who was the real pioneer of the "new media". By proving that there was a huge market out there for an alternative to the mainsteam media, he helped make talk radio, Fox, and the right side of blogosphere possible. Sure, it would have probably happened without him, but it may have taken a lot longer. Rush Limbaugh is a conservative, not a moderate.

Name a moderate in the last 25 years who's made half as much of a positive impact for the GOP as any of those three men...go ahead, I'm can't do it, can you?

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