Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Newt the RINO

It's amazing how things change in politics. Newt Gingrich (R-GA), the architect of the 1994 Republican Revolution and the first Republican Speaker of the House to serve since Joseph Martin (R-MA) in 1955, is now a moderate, unworthy of being called a true conservative. He is too liberal to run for president. This is according to red meat eating firebrands such as Michelle Malkin.

Are we living in an alternative universe? Newt Gingrich is not a conservative? No wonder real moderate Republicans have fled the ship or should I say been chased out of the increasingly small tent. In the search for ideological purity, the Republican base is shrinking and the tent is near collapse. Just witness the carnage of the special election for New York's 23rd Congressional District where the Republican candidate, Dede Scozzafava, is being gored from the right by the Conservative Party candidate, Doug Hoffman.

Writes Dan Balz of WaPo:

"The Republican nominee, backed by local party leaders, is Dede Scozzafava, a state assemblywoman. Like some other northeastern Republicans, she is generally conservative on many fiscal issues but favors both abortion rights and gay rights. She is, say her supporters, the kind of Republican who can win a race in a district like New York's 23rd.

But Scozzafava hardly represents what the base of the Republican Party believes. She is out of step on core issues and, as a result, has drawn opposition from the right. Doug Hoffman, running on the Conservative Party ballot, is challenging the GOP nominee and his growing strength makes it possible that Democrat Bill Owens could grab the seat away from the Republicans.

The race has badly divided the national Republican hierarchy. The contest has become an early example of the fights likely to play out in the future as Republicans argue among themselves about how best to rebuild their party after two devastating defeats in 2006 and 2008.

Scozzafava enjoys the support of former House speaker Newt Gingrich, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and the National Rifle Association. Hoffman has won the backing of two prospective 2012 presidential candidates -- former Alaska governor Sarah Palin and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and a host of other prominent conservative Republicans."

To me it's self-defeating behavior. Upstate New York is not Mississippi. If moderate Republicans are not allowed to compete for offices by forces in their own party, it will be a long time until the GOP sniffs majority status. A deep southern party does not a majority party make.

Democrats have their own issues with tears in the tent. Just witness the infighting between liberals and Blue Dogs over health care reform. But none of these minor skirmishes approach the Civil War brewing on the Right. Newt Gingrich not conservative enough? It truly is a new era we live in.

Hat Tip: Political Wire


msteven said...

Good to read your postings.

Do you hate the ‘INO’ (In Name Only) as much as I? In other words, there is now a litmus test for the labels ‘Republican/Conservative’ and ‘Democrat/Liberal’. It’s one of the reasons I would at least like to see a dent in the two-party system as it is now. I recall when Joe Lieberman lost the Democratic Primary in CT then won re-election as an Independent and some people were upset that he took an end around the system to keep his seat. I’ll agree he did but am glad. He seems to put country ahead of political party and doesn’t fit in with the current fraternity-like culture in Washington. And now anyone who does not meet 100% of the litmus test is unworthy of the label. You have to be like Joe Wilson or Alan Grayson to be worthy. As far as pundits, it’s Glenn Beck or Keith Olbermann, Michelle Malkin or Maureen Dowd.

Bill Clinton was often called a DINO by liberals. I’ve even read some Dems/Liberals complain that Obama is a DINO – he hasn’t pulled out all our foreign troops, he didn’t name Dennis Kucinich Sec of Defense, etc. And now, you are not allowed to run as a Republican unless you meet all the criteria on social policy and support ‘the right people’.

And the voters nod in agreement.

How unfortunate (an understatement)

Casey said...

I find it interesting when voters expect representatives and senators to vote solely along party line, and if they don’t, they are simply a RINO or DINO. I personally remember growing up in an era which considered political ideology as either liberal or conservative based on spending and government programs but with the infiltration of the conservative and liberal moral standard, the divide will not be cleaned up in the foreseeable future.

I wish more reps and senators would vote independently and not just follow leadership blindly. I mean are we paying them to simply follow the crowd, or are we paying them to try and find consensus and some middle-ground?

msteven said...

You make an excellent point about what we – the taxpayers – are paying for. I too grew up in an era pre-CNN (or any 24 hrs new channel) where short sound bites didn’t rule. Everything wasn’t so black & white on either side.

I think the problem is 1) there is more ‘direct’ money and power to be gained by supporting special interests (and by special interests, unfortunately that now includes political parties) and 2) the current polarized environment encourages simplistic labeling of people based on a few issues and the saddest thing is that this wide brush-way of labeling by association WORKS in gaining votes.

I share your wish but don’t see it getting better either.

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