Moderate Republicans: An Endangered Species

I find that quite fascinating. I’d heard about this before, but it made me happy to see it being brought up in the media. When I criticize right-wingers, I’m not criticizing all Republicans and all conservatives.

There are moderate conservatives, many who now identify as Independents or even Democrats. My criticism is directed at the radicalization of the conservative movement. I don’t want conservatives or the Republican party to stop existing. I just want them to return to the table of rational and respectful discussion.

Besides, it’s not just liberals like me who feel this way. Many moderate conservatives also would like to be a part of the Republican party again (see: Conservative Critics of Conservatism).

Here is an excerpt from the article written by the person interviewed:

Considering an Endangered Species: Moderate Republicans
By John Nichols

Growing up in Middle West in the latter half of the 20th century, I was surrounded by moderate Republicans of the old “Main Street” school—former Ilowa Congressman Jim Leach, former Minnesota Governor Arne Carlson, former Illinois Senator Chuck Percy and former Illinois Congressman John Anderson, former Wisconsin Governor Warren Knowles and former Wisconsin Congressman Bill Steiger—all of whom embraced environmental, civil rights and clean government principles that made them worthy competitors with the Democrats at election time and worthy governing partners when the voting was done.

The suggestion that Leach, Steiger, Percy or Anderson might find a place in today’s Republican Party would provoke laughter in anyone familiar with the contemporary definition of the term “tea party.” Like the great modern Republicans of the recent past: former President Dwight Eisenhower, former Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, former New York City Mayor John Lindsay, former Massachusetts Senator Ed Brooke, former Connecticut Senator Lowell Weicker and dozens of other national leaders, the Midwest’s moderate Republicans would be about as likely to secure a Republican nomination these days as Barack Obama. (In point of fact, Obama’s governing style, with its emphasis on compromise and seeking private-sector solutions rather than classic governmental fixes, owes more to the moderate Republican tradition than to the liberal Democratic model of a Franklin Roosevelt.)

Social and corporate conservative Democrats maintain enough of a congressional critical mass to extract dramatic compromises from their party’s leadership, as was all too evident during the recent health care debate. But the Grand Old Party is folding the big tent. Today’s Republicans fancy themselves as hunters ofRINOs (Republicans in name only), tracking down and defeating the last of the party’s moderate outliers—an easy task as, outside the endangered species preserve of Maine (where Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins cling to their seats and their dignity), the breed has been hunted nearly to extinction.

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