Written by Don Feder
Now we know what the mainstream media mean by "moderate Republican."
A moderate Republican supports gay marriage, which would savage the family - the foundation of society. This puts him at odds with an overwhelming majority of voters. On Tuesday, Maine became the 31st state to reject marriage substitutes via the ballot. On marriage referenda, the score is 31-0 for the home team.
A moderate Republican is so dogmatically pro-abortion that she gets awards from Planned Parenthood.
As a state legislator, a moderate Republican votes to raise taxes more than the average Democrat. A moderate Republican supports Card Check, which would drive millions of workers into the ranks of organized labor.
When a moderate Republican pulls out of the race, she endorses the other Democrat. (Scozzafava's endorsement of Democrat Bill Owens was the push he needed to defeat conservative Doug Hoffman in the special election for Congress in New York's 23rd District. ) A moderate Republican is cozy with ACORN.
A November 1 New York Times news story on Scozzafava's withdrawal from the race was headlined "G.O.P Moderate, Pressed by Right, Abandons Race."
This is classic Times-speak - Rabid right-wingers drive poor, moderate little Dede from the race. In-fighting in the Republican Party! No place for dissent or diversity in GOP ranks! Republicans self-destructing! Footage at 11:00.
In reality, the Republican Party is in the process of finding its soul. All that stands in the way of a GOP resurgence next year is the party's insiders playing their political games. If Michael Steele and company had their way, the chameleon would replace the elephant as the Republican mascot.
After the Republican National Campaign Committee and Republican National Committee pumped almost $1 million into Scozzafava's campaign, in a valiant effort to send this doctrinaire leftist to Congress - after Newton Gingrich boosted her and heaped scorn on principled conservatives - within a day of withdrawing from the race, the ersatz Republican endorsed the remaining Democrat.
Republican leaders were shocked - shocked! What did they expect: That something that looked like a duck, walked like a duck and quacked at 15-second intervals was in fact a bald eagle? The Party of Plunder has always been Dede's ideological home. Now she can drop the pretense.
The great project that lies before conservatives is to purify the Republican Party - to eliminate the enemy within. Therein lies the path to victory in 2010 and 2012.
The big tent has always been a media con game. Do we really want a tent so large as to accommodate those who look more like Mother Blood than Ronald Reagan? Picture the Republican Party of 1860 nominating pro-slavery candidates.
When the Republican Party stands for everything, it stands for nothing. When that happens, conservatives - 40% of voters, versus 21% self-identified liberals - become apathetic and sit out elections.
In reporting on Dede's withdrawal, the Associated Press editorialized: "Some have called the race a test of the GOP's future: whether traditional conservative ideology would lead the way forward or if a more inclusive approach would draw more people back to the party." Inclusive is here defined as running candidates one could easily imagine performing a partial-birth abortion with one hand and a same-sex marriage ceremony with the other.
The media have been pushing this line since time immemorial: The future of the GOP lies in becoming (in the lyrics of the song from "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum") "something for everyone - and comedy tonight!"
Why didn't I think of that?
The reason Ronald Reagan lost in 1980 was because he wasn't inclusive enough. (Exactly what the media warned would happen at the time.)
The reason John McCain won in 2008 was because he made a career of compromise, reaching across the isle and championing un-Republican causes, like amnesty, business bailouts and assaults on the First Amendment in the guise of campaign finance reform. Prior to his nomination last year, The New York Times venerated McCain, bestowing on him its highest accolade for a Republican - "maverick" (better even than "moderate").
The media's big tent is for Republicans only. The Democrats are never chided for not welcoming right-to-lifers, gun owners, free-market proponents and marriage activists to their sodomy, socialism and surrender pavilion.
Pennsylvania Governor Bob Casey was the last of the old Democrats - a welfarist, pro-life Catholic. The party the media adores is so open to diversity that it wouldn't even let Casey, then-governor of one of the 10 largest industrial states, speak at the 1992 Democratic nominating convention.
Did the media complain about Casey's exclusion, did they squawk that the Democrats were self-destructing - that the party's base was too narrow to win elections? These are rhetorical questions.
Scozzafava was a Republican moderate in the slimy tradition of Nelson Rockefeller. Since Goldwater days, the GOP left has demanded party loyalty when convenient, then gone out of their way to stick it to conservatives when the chance arose.
Rockefeller, George Romney and Governor Bill Scranton refused to endorse Barry Goldwater in 1964, and added to Republican woes by parroting the Democratic charge that the Arizonan was a trigger-happy racist who wanted to nuke Social Security recipients.
Accidental President Gerald Ford did his best to sabotage Reagan's 1980 campaign, out of ideology as much as spite.
Sen. Arlen Specter was grateful for support from George W. Bush and Sen. Rick Santorum, when he faced a tough primary challenge from a real Republican in 2006, then switched parties in 2009, when the majority Democrats had more to offer. RINO Vermont Senator Jim Jeffords became an independent in 2001, caucusing with the Democrats and giving them control of the Senate.
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham (who still calls himself a Republican) tried to sink Samuel Alito's Supreme Court nomination, by asking Alito "Are you a closet bigot?" in the course of confirmation hearings.
Graham's definition of bigot includes Americans who want secure borders. Addressing the Hispano-Marxist National Council of La Raza in 2007, Graham said passing that year's amnesty bill (Rush Limbaugh took to calling it "Graham-nesty") would "tell the bigots to shut up." Apparently, Graham doesn't think the Republican tent should cover the 78% of voters who oppose any future amnesty (according to an August 2009 Public Opinion Research poll).
Sen. George Voinovich, alleged Republican from Ohio, strongly opposed John Bolton's nomination as United Nations Ambassador, saying he "just did not feel comfortable" with an articulate advocate of American interests and a trenchant critic of totalitarian regimes.
In July, Voinovich added a new dimension to inclusiveness, when he attacked his conservative colleagues, telling the Columbus Dispatch: "We got too many Jim DeMints and Tom Coburns ... The party's being taken over by southerners!" (Memo to Voino: Coburn is from Oklahoma) Help, help: The Republican Party is being taken over by Republicans. Apparently, there's no place for southern conservatives under Voinovich's big top.
The history of moderately leftist Republicans is one of deceit, treachery and hypocrisy. No wonder the media is so keen on promoting them - besides the heads-we-win, tails-you-lose thing.
Even the usually sensible Wall Street Journal (which opposed Scozzafava) has bought into the big-tent mythology. In a November 1 editorial on her withdrawal, The Journal warned:
"But the lesson (don't run a commie as a Republican?) will be for naught if conservatives conclude that their victory is reason to challenge any candidate who doesn't agree with them on every issue. The truth is that some conservatives are as bloody-minded and intolerant of all dissent as the hard left is at the Daily Kos. A majority political party requires a far more diverse coalition than the audience for the average right-wing blogger or talk show host."
Perhaps the spokesmen for Wall Street Republicanism could enlighten us on which deviations from Republican core values are acceptable and which are not. How about a Republican Party that embraces Cap-And-Trade supporters, proponents of nationalized health care, fans of deficit spending and those who think the rich aren't paying their "fair share" of taxes?
That's where The Journal draws the line. Its editorialists weren't overly concerned about Scozzafava's stands on abortion and gay marriage. After all, these issues don't adversely impact the market - which is all that matters to the portfolio-minded. It was her fiscal philosophy that drove them nuts.
In reality, it's consistency, not diversity, that leads to electoral victories. The wise and just do not repair to a banner emblazoned with a question mark ("pro-life and pro-death," "pro-family and pro-marriage substitutes," "pro-science and pro-global warming").
Here's an action plan for conservatives who want to win on principles:
1. Demand the immediate resignation of RNC Chairman Michael Steele, RNCC Chairman Pete Sessions and House Minority Leader John Boehner. Their judgement is severely impaired. If this was 1912, they'd be charting a course for the Titanic during happy hour. Tell Newt to stick to writing historical fiction and alternative history. The former House Speaker should do an alternative history of the 2008 election, where the Republican Party nominates a Republican for president.
2. Never, never contribute to groups like the National Republican Campaign Committee, unless you're in a masochistic mood and want to see your money promoting the election of Scozzafavas. Donate directly to the campaigns of conservative candidates, or to conservative interest groups doing independent expenditures.
3. Never, never, never vote for a RINO. If the choice is between a Democrat and a leftwing Republican, vote for the Democrat. It'll be easier to get him out in the next election. He won't help drag the GOP to the left. And he won't lead to general confusion - the idea that the Republican label can be affixed to any product, no matter how defective.
4. If a leftwing Republican throws his hat in the ring, squash it. In Marco Rubio, Sunshine state conservatives have an alternative to Charlie Crist for the Republican Senate nomination in 2010. Now the right in Illinois needs to knock out Congressman Mark Kirk, who wants to run for Obama's old Senate seat next year. Kirk has a 100% rating from the National Abortion Rights Action League, and an 82% rating from the League of Conservation Voters.
5. Understand that the key to winning isn't elevating winning over every other consideration. Those who put pragmatism above principles deserve to lose, and usually do. Or, to paraphrase the late novelist/philosopher Ayn Rand, in the final analysis, pragmatism isn't very pragmatic. (Rand also noted that "the lesser of two evils is still evil.")
A purge is an ugly thing. And in the Republican Party, it's long overdue.
Don Feder is a former Boston Herald writer who is now a political/communications consultant. He also maintains his own website, DonFeder.com.