Republicans Divided: "Moderates" or Conservatives To Blame?

By Martin A. Knight Posted in | Comments (237) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

I didn't start writing my last blog post with the intention to segue into the relationship between the "moderate" and socially conservative wings of the Republican Party.

I think it's something that needs to be discussed. Especially by someone like Liz A Mair and other Republicans like her, whom I hope will comment here.

I come down quite squarely on one side; I think the "moderates" as typified by the Republicans featured on these websites here; The Republican Main Street Partnership, The Real Republican Majority, GOP Progress, etc. are largely to blame for the split in the Republican coalition between the so-called "moderates" and social conservatives.

Read on . . .

Let's take a look at Liz Mair's post on GOPProgress here;

It's the wrong strategy, being pursued and driven by all the usual suspects: social conservatives; immigration fanatics; ethically-challenged pork addicts who the former two groups are now calling "moderates" in a fatuous and cynical attempt to portray themselves as the party's real standard bearers, which they are not (please remind me just when Barry Goldwater or Ronald Reagan proposed amending the Constitution to deal with a social concern, or when either claimed that there was simply no more fat to trim from the federal budget).

As Silver suggests in his post, too many moderate and libertarian-leaning Republicans are staying silent on this subject, instead of standing up and pointing the finger for our loss squarely where it belongs: not with the Arnold Schwarzeneggers, John McCains, Rudy Giulianis, Susan Collinses, Jim Kolbes or Mary Bonos of this world, but rather with the Tom DeLays, Rick Santorums, Marilyn Musgraves, John Kyls, Jim Inhofes and Conrad Burnses - a.k.a., the loss-makers.

How about this press release from the Real Republican Majority - shooting Rick Santorum in the back even as he was giving his concession speech;

The pro-active extreme agenda of Senator Rick Santorum and his fellow extreme right cohorts such as Falwell and Robertson were responsible for the loss of this key Senate seat, among others.

And finally, this press release from the Republican Main Street Partnership, which actually has members of Congress forming a caucus in the House and Senate;

Far Right Soley[sic] Responsible for Democratic Gains

Take a look through all these websites and I can guarantee you that you would search in vain for even one positive mention made of traditional conservative Republicans. The attitude towards decent people like Jon Kyl, Todd Tiarht, Jeb Hensarling, etc. ranges strictly from hatred to contempt.

It is remarkable to say the least to see people who claim to be Republicans and yet have such a visceral dislike of their fellow members of the Big Tent even as they preach "inclusion" and praise Reagan's Eleventh Commandment to not speak ill of another Republican.

This doesn't happen with Democrats. I have never seen any Blue Dog, even the most conservative among them, go on the national stage and attack any of his far more liberal Democrat colleagues as "extremists" and/or captives of the "Far Left."

I mean, how come Democrats can so easily find quotes by Republicans castigating other Republicans as being "Far Right extremists?"

Heck, right now, I'd crawl through broken glass to vote for a "moderate" Republican who would go on television and even as he expresses disagreement with the conservative position taken by the more Conservative members of his party, defends their honor and reputation.

I doubt any Conservative would have anything but the deepest respect and a great deal of affection for a "moderate" who eschews the label because of what it implies about other Republicans.

As it is, I think most of us here would faint with shock if a "moderate" Republican were to do so little as to protest on national television against his fellow Republicans being characterized as "out of the mainstream" even when he disagrees with that position.

Televised interviews of many of these "moderate" Republicans often leave one with the impression that these folks are ashamed to share the same party with the vast majority of their fellow Republicans.

Let's not even go into the fact that not a single member of the Main Street Partnership is in any way near as good on a fiscal front than any standard member of the Republican Study Committee led by social conservatives like Mike Pence and John Shadegg.

I mean, if they idolized unapologetically fiscally Conservative, defensively hawkish, even if very socially liberal Republicans like William Weld, I'd understand. But these are people who proudly held up Lincoln Chafee(!) as their idea of the ideal Republican!

We should be clear here; I am happy that Jerry Weller, Mark Kirk, Fred Upton, Kay Granger, Tom Davis, etc. are Republicans. They very definitely belong in the Big Tent.

But is it really necessary for them to act in public as if folks like Tom Cole, Paul Ryan, Marylin Musgrave, Tom Feeney, etc. are disease infested cockroaches?


I think the worst damage was done by those who call themselves conservative but voted for pork and excessive spending for many years. They put earmarks in legislation and they were hypocritical for doing so. Thus I dub them "conservative."

That being said, I agree that the "moderate" wing seems to think they can insult a large swath of the party and then wonder why they aren't listened to afterwards. But I believe behind the insults is something important. Sen. Santorum was to the right of his state on social issues and it hurt him. More importantly, he was seen as focusing on social issues when many Philly suburb voters wanted politicians focusing on other things.

Futhermore, incidents like Schiavo and Bush using his only veto on a social issue make it look like the GOP is willing to stand up and fight only on social issues. There has been nothing like that for small government advocates since Gingrich.

Social Security Choice - Club For Growth

And I note that for every "far right" accusation, I can find quite a few "RINO" or "amnesty" cries hurled at pretty reliable Republicans. The best example being the treatment McCain takes.

Social Security Choice - Club For Growth

A politician who puts the screws to members of his own party (mostly of the social conservative wing) and seems to poke his finger in the eye of the administration either for rather spurious reasons (campaign finance reform) or for well-intentioned reasons but with a poor remedy (his torture ban, for instance). If the man would put half that vigor into publicly fighting government waste and excess, which is what he used to be known for, I think more Republicans would be willing to line up behind him. However, with the current course he's charting, he seems more to be "independent" than "Republican", or, for that matter, "conservative". We'll see what happens prior to his impending Presidential run, but right now he is rubbing me and many other people the wrong way with his rhetoric.

"I could explain, but that would be very long, very convoluted, and make you look very stupid. Nobody wants that... except maybe me."

I blame myself, in a way and on the micro-micro level: I never made it clear on this site just how offensive "RiNO" is to people like myself. I suppose that I didn't want to fight the tide on that, which is of course precisely why it needed to be done. Still does, really.

That doesn't mean that I disagree with the complaints on either side of this particular dispute. Everybody gets a bite of the sh*t sandwich that was the November election, folks. Everybody.

The Fuzzy Puppy of the VRWC.

Although, were it not for the two-party system, this wouldn't be such a big deal. I mean, I've had people call me a RINO before, and I would consider myself politically to the right of many elected Republicans (except on a couple of social issues, which are typically ultra-low priority for me). However, I don't get offended, mainly because I don't think of myself as a Republican, but rather as a conservative, capitalist, even quasi-libertarian, political thinker.

All this is fine and good, other than the thorny issue of that, if you're in elected office, you have no place to go, typically. Lamentable, but true; unless you're well established, a la Lieberman, you can't just turn your back on your party (or have your party turn its back on you) and expect to survive too long in the outside world.

What this means for the political process, I have no idea, though. The Democrats seem to visibly struggle with the issue every so often, and maybe it's best to get our own grievances within the party aired out so that we can get back on a solid footing for 2008, rather than let these divisions fester even further. I'm not saying that there should be any make-or-break issues to determine party membership, but rather that to be a member of the Republican Party means you have certain expectations for the direction of this country, and have a framework by which to accomplish those goals. We can disagree on details within the framework all we want, just it does us no good to run counter to at least basic ideals.

"I could explain, but that would be very long, very convoluted, and make you look very stupid. Nobody wants that... except maybe me."

"I blame myself"
Thanks for a wise comment that all of us conservatives should share. We are to blame for the election debacle, both for not working hard enough on our values and for not holding our people in Washington to them. To paraphrase Mick Jagger:
"You ask, who killed the GOP,
When after all, it was you and me."

Than I'm a ballerina. The guy voted against the Bush Tax Cuts, favors the Kyoto Protocol, and sent through legislation legislation that violates the Constitution. I don't use the RINO label much, but I can understand why some people use it on McCain.

Adam's Blog
The Adam Graham Program

McCain is great for the holidays ..... he's a fruitcake.

80+% of the time. Chafee was a Republican in Name Only which he more or less admitted to after the election. No one else really fits that title. They are moderate or they disagree on some issues, but they are not about to jump ship. And calling a pro-life, anti-porker like McCain a RINO is the flip side of Mair calling Santorum "far-right" and just as insulting.

Social Security Choice - Club For Growth

and I think he likes the "maverick" reputation, and plays to that.

The "maverick" factor is probably a major factor in some controversies, such as the G14, but the real problem is that the stuff he is most passionate about just happens to be the stuff he is also most wrong about.

He isn't a RINO though, and most would not categorize him as such, even among those who really don't like the guy (and their ranks are numerous).
Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself. - Milton Friedman

If "pro" is the opposite of "con", what is the opposite of "progress"?

And I'd go to the mat for the guy because he never badmouths other Republicans to make himself look good.

Furthermore, he's quite a reliable vote when his party needs him.

For that, I think he may have a lot of trouble keeping hold of that "moderate" label if the Oregon Press decides to work to get him replaced by Oregon voters for a Democrat.

and Gordon has done a great job for Oregon without sacrificing too much in the way of Republican ideals. Hard to do in Oregon politics.

I’m not particularly found of the Republican Mainstreet Partnership’s take on the election (since when is raising the minimum wage a sign of “fiscal conservatism”?) and their attempt to blame midterm elections on the “far right” (whoever they are) can be rebutted in two words:

Mark Foley

truly conservative? Maybe we should coin a new term for them: CINO - conservative in name only.
Bipartisanship = give + take. Republicans give. Democrats take.

If people want to quote "moderate" then I think it's about time to start quoting "conservative" to point out that it may not mean what they think it means.

Social Security Choice - Club For Growth

but that didn't do enough for Burns in Montana.

This is the problem, not the overblown war between moderates and conservtives. Rather, the problem is that Bush appears more than willing to "fight for principle" on social conservative issues, but doesn't even care to throw a bone to those of us who are strong fiscal conservatives.

Where's my second tax cut you promised me Mr. Bush?

Eric Dondero

is that no real social legislation passed in all that time when we controlled both houses of congress. Plenty of tax cuts for big business and a few small bones thrown to the rest of us, but where were the true conservative pieces of legislation?

It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones. -- Calvin Coolidge

My contributions come in spurts. I've only had three serious diaries since the election. Such is life in the coming minority.

But at least one of my hobbyhorses is the fact that Republican factions need to recognize and respect each other, instead of being a Democratic troublemaker here to lie about the President to turn a faction against itself.
It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones. -- Calvin Coolidge

It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones. -- Calvin Coolidge

compared to midterm abortions (not talking about the elections here) and how they made no real effort to tackle that. I find it ironic that the most real successes we've had on social issues have been through ballot measures. It is like elected officials are afraid of confronting evil.

You said if I pointed you to the legislation you'd pipe down.
It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones. -- Calvin Coolidge

Neil, he's been piped.

Half-life of Californium-252 = 52 days
RedState life of wrrshiper = 9 days

Thanks for answering my question.

You guys are very, very patient.

a moby or an idiot. Every post is calculated to incite. Be gone!

In Vino Veritas

and maybe correct the downward spiral we are in. Labeling me a moby or idiot you manage to paint yourself as rabble.

Achance is exactly right in his comment below. Generally, neither mobyhood nor idiocy are fixable problems, but we're supposed to give out warnings, so here's yours.

"We could find a speck of dust and scribble down our life stories..." - The Refreshments

then I must be a Democrat or an idiot (same thing to me). It is attitudes like that that cost us this election.

You must not have noticed, for instance, any of the very, very numerous front page posts around here (some penned by me) that have been critical of "leadership." Whatever your problem is, that ain't it.

Your problem is that you're going around poking Pointy Sticks™ in the eyes of everyone, trying to fire up people's sore spots after the loss. This is your one chance to stop that behavior, if you can.

"We could find a speck of dust and scribble down our life stories..." - The Refreshments

I am much more interested in fixing the leaky boat the likes of you seem intent on ignoring. I think we are heading toward a catastrophic loss in 2008 unless traditional conservative issues are brought to the forefront before than.

Take Pennsylvania and Santorum... Casey was nearly as social conservative as Santorum but won the middle ground by not being a big spender - and he's a democrat. What does that say about the party but that it is going in the wrong direction!

Since the way I see it matters. Especially since you were poking Neil upthread with the fact that our leaders wre not socially conservative, then you come back here, when talking to me, and say that the problem is that they're big spenders. You're not interested in "fixing" anything, you're interested in being the commenter equivalent of diaper rash.


"We could find a speck of dust and scribble down our life stories..." - The Refreshments

there's plenty of that to go around here. I just don't believe that your criticisms are made in good faith. Rather, they are to stake out an often extreme position and incite a response, and I rather suspect you'd prefer an intemperate response. And with that, I feel no further need to discus this with you.

In Vino Veritas

in the states. Malpractice and class action lawsuit reforms. NCLB. Our main duty is to fix the courts which we have done a lot of and preventing liberal social legislation by keeping democrats from passing their agenda.

Moby longevity probably due to Holidays...
"One man with courage makes a majority." - Andrew Jackson

but who knows. I just remember being excited about the end of Clintonism in 2000 and was hoping for an end to abortion and the welfare state.

Perhaps the most idiotic social conservative move made by the Republican Party in over a decade.

If I had to point to one single reason why we Republicans lost this election, it's the last minute internet gaming ban passed by Congress. David Broder of the WP this morning blames the ban on causing Republican Jim Leach of losing his reelection bid in Iowa; a friggin' 30-year incumbent. (I link to his column at my Mainstream libertarian site.)

This one single piece of legislation struck a stake right through the heart of the mostly male Blue collar libertarian voters in 2006. You took away their poker game and they responded with a big 'F' You to the Republican Party.

Eric Dondero

If we're going to try to rally the mob against the social conservatives, can we at least be accurate about what bills were passed to please that evil, evil cabal?
It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones. -- Calvin Coolidge

And as I've pointed out elsewhere: 1) there is not a huge mass of "libertarian" blue collar voters existing out there, 2) this was not a gambling ban 3) It was a non-factor in the election and 4) maybe the fact that he was a "friggin' 30 year incumbent" at a time when people are really tired of incumbents has more to do with his loss. I can't say there's ANYBODY whose been in office for 30 years that needs a few more trips to DC. 30 years is way past time to get out.
Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself. - Milton Friedman

Those cuts would have come sooner or later if we all stuck together.

I think the worst damage was done by those who call themselves conservative but voted for pork and excessive spending for many years. They put earmarks in legislation and they were hypocritical for doing so. Thus I dub them "conservative."

You're aware that the "moderates" are supposed to be budget hawks who are socially liberal or moderate, right? How many of them voted for budget cuts? How many proposed budget cuts? How many voted against any spending, anywhere? (For purposes of this discussion, you may now change your tune and call St. John the McCain a moderate. I give you that freebie.)

The only thing they voted against is tax cuts, and those are the only reason God made Republicans.

Sorry, Adam. The moderates carry their share of the blame.

Even those who learn from history are surrounded by those doomed to repeat it.

If they ran as fiscal conservatives then I agree, but again that is because they ran as conservatives. If they ran as "Bloomberg Republicans" for convenience then no one should have been expecting anything better.

As I said below talking about the CfG, the only stars in the R camp right now are a few conservatives. The porking of "moderates" and "conservatives" hurt but hypocrisy makes it worse.

Social Security Choice - Club For Growth

... praises these "moderates" for being more fiscally conservative than the average social conservative. She even went so far as to compare Jon Kyl's fiscal record with Susan Collins and rated him negatively.

Does that make sense?

Our sine qua non since Goldwater, or Reagan at the latest, has at least been the promise of fighting spending. Their election not to do so made them hypocrites, whether conservative, moderate, or liberal.

I'm all about handing out blame, but let's do so honestly, for a change, hm?

Even those who learn from history are surrounded by those doomed to repeat it.

... but I'm talking about the damage to Republican unity.

Well put, many self-proclaimed “conservatives” undermined Republican credibility on fiscal issues with their profligate spending. It wasn’t that they were too “far right” but rather that on one of the most important issues, they opted for taking the easy route rather than making the tough calls and gave Democrats and opening with the voters.

Mair’s and the GOPMSP’s take on the election is insulting and not close to accurate (with the possible exception of ethics reform). I don’t take their views as representative of the “moderates” within the GOP (Mayor Giuliani and Governor Schwarzenegger would never write crap like that) but rather of the same a**holes that we see who define “Rino” as “anyone who disagrees with me on my pet issue.”

And the fact that our GOP Congress was able to have a special weekend session of Congress for Teri Schiavo (but got NOTHING done on entitlement reform) and that Bush who has promised vetoes many times (but never delivered before) on Congress’ overspending only used it for an embryonic stem cell research bill did send a message to voters – Republicans aren’t serious about fiscal issues but they will bend over backwards to accommodate their fringe on social issues.

They gave the Democrats their opening and they took it and control of Congress.

And the fact that our GOP Congress was able to have a special weekend session of Congress for Teri Schiavo (but got NOTHING done on entitlement reform) and that Bush who has promised vetoes many times (but never delivered before) on Congress’ overspending only used it for an embryonic stem cell research bill did send a message to voters – Republicans aren’t serious about fiscal issues but they will bend over backwards to accommodate their fringe on social issues.

Oh, yes. They'll pass meaningless legislation on Schiavo, they'll put the President's back (and that of the conservatives who emphasize social issues) up against the wall on embryonic stem cells, and they'll burn alive before they pass an FMA, but rest assured! They'll bend over backward to accomodate their fringe on social issues.

I mean, they won't do anything once they bend, but symbolism! It's important!

Grow up.

Even those who learn from history are surrounded by those doomed to repeat it.

My harp is turned to mourning, and my organ shall speak with the voice of them that weep. Spare me, O Lord, for my days are truly as nothing.

I have lurked aver at the GOP Progress web site, and it amazes me how much hate and vitriol there is toward the Club for Growth. Club for Growth has been about the only success story for Republicans in the 2006 elections. They successfully recruited good candidates who won, and these new GOP reps are elected by their peers to be the leadership of this freshman class. You would not know how successful Club for Growth has been if you only got your information from the GOP Progress web site.

You’re a persistent cuss, pilgrim.
John Wayne to Jimmy Stewart in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

RMSP has not done so well finding moderate Rs in the Northeast to win. Although I believe '06 WA-SEN nominee McGavick and '06 NJ-SEN nominee were RMSP guys.

CfG has been very successful in recruiting leaders. Sens. Coburn and DeMint come to mind. They just lead as renegade mavericks against pork spending in the lame duck term saving American taxpayers $18 billion. If RMSP wants more emphasis on fiscal issues, where are Snowe and Collins on issues like this?

Social Security Choice - Club For Growth

I would have no problem with the Club for Growth were it not for it's habit of targeting GOP moderates. They should have saved Lafey for 2008 against Reed and Toomy for the 06 Gov race. I have no use for them at all.

the Club for Growth has successfully recruited and supported good conservative candidates now elected to the Congress. IMO
the Club for Growth is part of the solution and not part of the problem with the Republican party.

You’re a persistent cuss, pilgrim.
John Wayne to Jimmy Stewart in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

... and I believe the GOP is stronger without him in it. It's groups like Club for Growth that remind us of why we're Republicans in the first place.

The Club for Growth reminds me about what I don't like about the right wing of the GOP. I started out right wing and became more libertarian in my late 20's, but I don't at all care for their tactics. I can see in no way how running against Chaffe helped the GOP - even if he had been elected as the swing and switched (something I don't think he would have done) how would we now be worse off? If they are so good at recruiting candidates, I wish they would have found decent ones in Nebraska, Florida and North Dakota.
I didn't stay home on election day and never would, but I have become increasinly angry at the level of attacks on my candidate of choice for 2008 (McCain). I don't see why I need to hold back on people like Sam Brownback when everyone in his corner is attacking him. Why do people insist on using words like RINO when other Republicans find it so offensive?

CfG by Adam C

CfG's success is in recruiting strong leaders for fiscal conservatism in open Republican seats such as ID-01 and NE-03. I avoid the primary efforts which get the press but aren't the main thrust of the organization. It is making sure "deep red" districts get people like Sen. Coburn and Sen. DeMint.

Social Security Choice - Club For Growth

I'm not one to be an exclusionist, not at all, but you say you are "more libertarian now" yet you criticize Club for Growth. CFG was founded by a libertarian -- Stephen Moore of the Cato Institute.

Yes, they occasionally back Economic libertarians who are also Social conservatives, like Tim Wahlberg up in Michigan, but still, it's a trade off that's worth it in the end, when one considers that 90% of all legislation is on economics.

Eric Dondero

That's the lesson from the Club for Growth's success.

I find it interesting this post pits social conservatives against moderates, rather than conservatives against moderates. That must mean anyone who is not a social conservative falls in the category of moderate. I’m not sure where the economic and national security conservatives fit in this dichotomy. Perhaps they don’t by design. I believe it's exactly this mindset that is leading to the split between libertarian Republicans (who are conservatives) and social conservative Republicans, and in the party.

I consider myself and economic, national security and social conservative, which I believe is the definition of a conservative. I don't believe you get to cherry pick which of the three you prefer and then define that as conservative, as many social conservatives do. That's the Harriet Myers wing of the Republican Party. No need to understand the Federalist arguments behind the Constitution just show up and "vote" social conservative on the court. The right’s version of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The three legs of conservatism are intertwined, with checks and balances between them. This is why Ronald Reagan believed economic conservatism leads to socially conservative behavior, protecting economic liberty as the first liberty with force when necessary. The party is better off putting the economic message front and center, as the Club for Growth has successfully done. It’s not that it’s the more important of the three, it’s just that strategically it delivers a positive message of hope and what’s possible which is better politically. It’s the message of Reagan, Kemp, DuPont, Gingrich and now the Club for Growth that has lead to economic and social conservative success for Republicans. But as long as the social conservatives keep isolating economic and national security conservatives as moderates, or election woes will continue.

Perhaps they can join Germany’s Christian Democrat Party, pursue the social market economy and kid themselves that they’re conservatives.

I just think people like Liz A Mair should stop publicly launching missiles at fellow Republicans just because they're social conservatives.

It's disrespectful and quite frankly, counter-productive.

Nicely written, however, you are dead wrong.

Many of us who describe ourselves as "libertarian Republicans" are two out of three:

We are hardcore Free Market/Fiscal Conservatives

We are hardcore Pro-Defense, particularly in fighting Islamo-Fascism which we see as an extreme threat to our civil liberties. (Islamo-Fascists want to outlaw prostitution, marijuana, sexual freedom and stone our Gay friends in town squares.)

But we vehemently disagree with our Social conservative friends on a host of civil liberties matters; gambling!, prostitution, tolerance of gays, swinger's rights, camera's in downtown city centers, seat belt laws, drug legalization, repeal of smoking bans, and such.

In essense, we support the right to "vice." Social conservatives most certainly DO NOT!

And oddly, this also makes us some of the most hardcore anti-Islamo-Fascists, for we see Muslim Sharia Law as far more detestable than the worst of Christian Right fanaticism.

Eric Dondero

Social Conservatives are for seat belt laws, cameras in downtown city centers and smoking bans?! I thought all the mayors pressing for these things were liberal Democrats (or liberal Republicans)?

Now, I do not doubt that some social conservatives may be for these things, but I honestly don't think they're that many. I didn't even know there was an "anti-swingers' rights" faction in the social conservative population.

PS: Opposition to same-sex marriage is not the same as intolerance of gays. Just saying.

As a member of the third wing of the GOP; the libertarians, let me gently and constructively chastise both my good friend Liz Mair of the Mods and the Conservative wing members on this List.

Liz, that list you recently ran of "hated Republicans" was just downright offensive. Yeah, there were some social conservatives on there who needed a bit of chiding, but John Cornyn!! Since when has Cornyn been a religious right conservative? I live here in Texas. He's considered mainstream, almost moderate here. His voting record is actually quite libertarian.

And why the vitriol aimed at Mike Pence. Yeah, he's a bit religious, but we libertarians love the guy for his strong fiscal conservatism.

Social conservatives: Liz has a point. Y'all seem to be obsessed with minor issues like Terry Schiavo, and don't give a hoot about a strong fiscal conservative agenda that includes not only tax cuts but DEEP spendng cuts, as well.

And y'all wonder why Libertarians abandoned the GOP in Montana and Missouri giving those seats over to the Dems.

And what was this absolutely idiotic ban on internet gaming all about? Can't y'all see how many Blue collar male swing voters you lost with just that one stupid proposal by Frist?

It's not at all hyperbole to suggest that Republicans lost this election because of this idiotic internet gaming ban.

The clear solution going into 2008 is to chart a course of fiscal conservatism, and play down the social issues, which will appeal to ALL THREE WINGS; libertarians, moderates and conservatives.

Eric Dondero

Come on Eric, the election's over. Show us all those districts where the year-on-year growth in Libertarian votes is greater than the Democratic margin of victory in their pickups, that you were so sure would happen.

Let's see the proof you were so sure would be here.
It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones. -- Calvin Coolidge

2004 Montana Governor: Schweitzer (D) 225,016, Brown (R) 205,313, Jones (L) 7,424

2006 Montana Senate: Tester (D) 198,302, Burns (R) 195,455, Jones (L) 10,324

So Jones gained 2,900 votes exactly (according to CNN for all of this), but Burns lost by 2,847. So as close as that is, actually Eric's hypothesis is not validated even by that race.
It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones. -- Calvin Coolidge

Er, it is, sorry. Got crossed up there. By 53 votes, Eric got one. Very well. I wonder if he has any more though, since he was claiming pre-election that there was some huge mass of blue-collar men ready to defect all at once.
It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones. -- Calvin Coolidge

Two States:

Montana - Libertarian Stan Jones (who even mainstream libertaians consider to be a "fringe candidate), got 3.6% of the vote. Conrad Burns lost by less than 2% statewide.

Missouri - the Libertarian candidate for US Senate got over 2% of the vote, larger than the margin of victory for Clair McCaskill over Jim Talent.

There were a number of House seats nationwide where the exact same situation occured; Libertarian scored more than the margin of victory of the Democrat over the Republican.

Studies have shown that over 90% of Libertarian vote would have otherwise gone Republican. You do the math.

Eric Dondero

I didn't ask if the Libertarian TOTALED more than the margin. I asked if the year-on-year GAIN the Libertarian got, was more than the margin of victory.

One is a measure of discontentment, and one isn't. Do you see the difference?
It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones. -- Calvin Coolidge

In all fairness, Neil, this isn't necessarily an accurate measure either. Take, for example, a hypothetical race in which the Libertarian candidate gets 3500 votes, up from 3100 the previous election. His gain was clearly 400 votes, but that doesn't necessarily mean that 400 voters became disillusioned with Republicans and voted Libertarian.

What is more likely (particularly in this past election), is that some percentage of the original 3100 Libertarian voters voted Democrat (something that anecdotal evidence suggests happened during this last election, though data will likely not be available on it for a while) and some number of Republican voters (greater than the number of voters who switched to the Dems) switched to the Libertarians.

So while the Libertarians only gained 400 votes, its entirely possible that this represents 1000 people who voted Republican the previous election, but switched to Libertarian this time around. And that doesn't even take into account the net loss of voters supporting the Dems.

Obviously, we run into the same problem: we simply don't know how many voters were disillusioned and switched. But to conclude from the Libertarian gain numbers that no races were decided by libertarian swing voters is mathematically inaccurate.

I am a fiscally conservative libertarian with moderate feeling on social issues. The internet gambling ban was just trying to protect American gambling instead of letting the market handle it. "Feel good" tax cuts without spending cuts are very irresponsible. A lot of "independents" felt this way.

And don't get me started on all the corruption.

"Feel good" tax cuts without spending cuts are very irresponsible.

That's the answer of a fiscal conservative who doesn't believe tax cuts grow the economy, increasing the size of the pie and overall tax receipts. If the Treasury wasn't bringing in record tax receipts, you may have a point.

An economic conservative considers the dynamics of taxation, believing that tax cuts grow the economy, increasing overall revenue. This is why the Treasury is bringing in record tax receipts and why the tax cuts weren't irresponsible.

It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones. -- Calvin Coolidge

Revenues are shrinking the deficit which remains within historical % of GDP. The opponents of the tax rate cuts predicted otherwise. There is no evidence that raising tax rates would increase revenue.

Its Laffer...
"One man with courage makes a majority." - Andrew Jackson

……………………US External Debt…………Change from
…………………………(millions $$)………………Prior Year


Sloppy langauge leaves you open for lefty gotchas, heh.
It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones. -- Calvin Coolidge

the deficit has been getting smaller. See his numbers

"One man with courage makes a majority." - Andrew Jackson

I just mean to caution you against sloppy language. Revenue went down significantly when the tax cuts went into effect. That is the point after all of cutting taxes: not letting the money get into the hands of the bureaucrats.

Tax cuts don't usually increase revenue unless you're actually at a peak. The rest of the time they just don't decrease revenue as much as a naive calculation would predict. That's Laffer too. The declining deficits are just as much vindication. The curve isn't linear.
It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones. -- Calvin Coolidge

......and after asking on 4 different occasions for Congress to raise the debt seems a little absurd to be patting one's self on the back that the deficit as a percentage of GDP is falling..

That there is a deficit at all is the point...


Why celebrate a surplus? For crying out loud...
It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones. -- Calvin Coolidge

is that they are clear evidence that the tax rates are too high.

Ethnic humor is part of human nature. The Dutch tell Belgian jokes. The Belgians tell French jokes. The French tell English jokes. The English tell Irish jokes. The Irish tell Irish jokes. that by running one...we are at least planning in some manner to pay the future and as yet unfunded costs of programs like Medicare....which fall under the category of intra-government debt...which has increased by $1.4 trillion in the past 5 years...and that is in addition to the $1.4 trillion increase in the external debt of the know...the money we keep borrowing from China..


IF by jsteele

IF surpluses were committed to paying down debt they could at least serve some useful prupose. But they are not, they are just that much more taxpayer money going into the coffers for politicans to treat as if it were their own.

Surpluses mean that the government is taking more taxpayer money than it needs to operate, even at its current bloated spending levels, and ought to adjust tax rates down to zero the surplus. It's your money, its my money, it is not Senator Bullwinkle's or Congressman Bolweevil's to do with as they see fit.

Important Message Follows: There is no such thing as "Federal Dollars". They are YOUR Dollars and MY Dollars confiscated from you and me and the government ought not to be taking more than they absolutely need. Hence, surpluses mean that the tax rates are too high.

Ethnic humor is part of human nature. The Dutch tell Belgian jokes. The Belgians tell French jokes. The French tell English jokes. The English tell Irish jokes. The Irish tell Irish jokes.

According to Pew Research America is a socially conservative country. Assuming their polling/analysis is correct, even a large % of democrats are socially conservative as well as a majority of independents. Social issues are the main issue of contention within the democratic party, and social conservatism seems like the primary way Repulicans can win democratic votes.

Where is the data to suggest Republicans should move to the left on social issues? Or that social conservatives aren't a large majority of the party?

On the major social issues involving abortion and homosexuality, the country is split pretty evenly (in several different directions, not just two). Abortion opinions have not significantly budged one way or the other since the 70s, while the public has grown continually more supportive of most gay rights issues with the sole exception of gay marriage where you can legitimately claim a social conservative majority.
On a number of somewhat lesser issues (internet gambling, end of life issues etc.) the public is decidedly libertarian, not socially conservative.
Of course if you word the polls right, dealing in platitudes and generalities ("Do you favor Mom, the flag and apple pie?") you can get a majority of people to sign onto anything; liberals do the same asking things like "Do you favor justice, fairness and healthcare for the sick?" to which you'd have trouble finding five sane people say No.
So here's the secret: the public likes social (but strictly non-sectarian) conservative rhetoric, but does not like most social conservative policy proposals. Keep it general, but don't use the government (especially at the federal level) to butt into people's private lives a la the Schiavo faisco.

One of the things that Republicans had going for us on the War was Bush’s willingness to stand up and say (paraphrase) “this is a tough struggle but I’m willing to make the tough decisions and see them through” whereas Democrats were tagged (rightfully) as the “cut and run” party. It’s one of the things which has given us an edge on national security issues but we threw it away on fiscal ones.

Even though the Democrats are demonstrably worse on the issue of spending (look at how often they voted against even modest spending cuts or proposed higher levels of spending), it hurt the GOP because they lost credibility as being the “serious party” when it came to the issue of spending.

The fact is that it’s tough to propose spending cuts particularly to popular programs (and if you want any sort of meaningful spending cuts you need to deal with the most popular programs like Medicare and Social Security) just as it was tough to go to voters and say that “Iraq may look bad but it’s important that we finish the job.” People might disagree with you but your supporters will stand by you and a lot of independent voters will vote for someone they disagree with but who they think is acting honorably.

By not being willing to make the tough decisions on spending, the GOP not only lost its limited government based but lost credibility with voters who might have been willing to support tough but necessary calls. By blowing the budget with record levels of spending – particularly on earmarks (which while a small part of the budget were an insult to fiscal conservatives) the GOP made it easier for voters to convince themselves to try the Kool-Aid of “divided government” for at least two years.

Re: The fact is that it’s tough to propose spending cuts particularly to popular programs (and if you want any sort of meaningful spending cuts you need to deal with the most popular programs like Medicare and Social Security)

Then why not propose cuts to unpopular programs, like the old mohair subsidy? Granted, you can only save small amounts of money that way, but it's not the amount of money saved that matters politically, it's the amount of pork that's cut. Even if it's little tiny baby pork, the voters will see you cutting and think better of you.

.....getting so upset and apparently politically involved after this internet gambling ban was passed.

Also illustrated in a story in today's Washington Post about Jim Leach:


"The Poker Players Alliance, which had fought the measure banning banks and credit card companies from servicing Internet gambling firms, targeted Leach and other sponsors with e-mails to its members and publicity in poker magazines. A post-election survey paid for by the gambling group found a net 5-point swing against Leach attributable to that issue."


And even more surprisingly---the US looks like it might get slapped by the WTO because of the internet gambling ban:

My sense had been that this internet gambling ban was not a big issue in this election.

Now I am not so sure...


I'm all in favor of finding out exactly what the stance is of each and every potential Republican candidate for President on this issue. I will not lend support to any of them who do not support a repeal of this idiotic gaming ban.

Eric Dondero

stance I've ever heard of...
If "pro" is the opposite of "con", what is the opposite of "progress"?

My view is that most politicians are in the wind and fly from popular position to popular position instead of standing on principle. The most active wind lately has been generated by the social conservatives. I'm a libertarian-leaning Republican and have not been happy about the things this nation has been choosing to spend its time debating. I view gay marriage and calling a Christmas tree a Christmas tree as very minor issues compared with other challenges we face as a country.

Many of the issues I care about, fiscal responsibility, small government, etc. appeared to be dead to the leadership of the party so I was happy to have a chance to replace them. (I would have been happy to replace them with Pence, even though he is a social conservative that is stronger fiscally, so this is not all Socials vs. Fiscals)

I'm not the biggest fan of Reagan's 11th commandment because I think people do need to be held responsible for their actions, but I do agree that the tone is bad for Republicans in general. However, that tone has gone bad in both directions. I think the leadership of the party, and the leadership in Washington, got big heads and took their "You're with us or you're against us" mantra a bit too far and bullied a lot of other Republicans along the way. Frankly, I view what they're getting in return as karma.

My goal at this point is not to debate and change the minds of the politicians directly, but to change the direction of the wind in this country. Newt did a great job of that in 1994, and the fiscal, small-government conservatives can do it again. And it is a much more palatable path to change than a death match between the factions in the party.

Liz-A-Mair and other moderates, have a point. I post pretty regularly on Free Republic, and I could probably count 500 or so times in this last election season where some jerk claimed to be a "Real Conservative" who couldn't bring themself to vote for "Jorge Arbusto" who was too soft on immigration for their tastes.

On other issues, people like Lincoln Chaffee, who represent the moderates have done more than just claim not to vote for George W. Bush, while they ran under the GOP banner. I, like the author of this post, would love to hear these moderates talk us through the sound, loyal reasoning behing the "Kerry-Specter" signs that were seen around Philadelphia during election 2004.

The bottom line here is that we've all forgotten Ronald Reagan's 11th Commandmant. We need to get back to it. We get back to it fast, unless we want more Senators like this brain child deciding significant aspects of our future.

2006 is done, 2008 is another day and another fight

I live in Philly, and I saw those signs. Specter is a former Philly DA and knows how to play the WAM (walking-around money) game that goes on in Philly on election day. The fact that he's a social Lib helped him a lot in the city as well.

Believe it or not, I did see a few "Rendell-Santorum" signs in the neighborhood around my polling place...which, obviously, did Rick no good.

"It is remarkable to say the least to see people who claim to be Republicans and yet have such a visceral dislike of their fellow members of the Big Tent even as they preach "inclusion" and praise Reagan's Eleventh Commandment to not speak ill of another Republican."

As a person who has worked on, managed and consulted to Republican campaigns, the above para is the key one in the story.

Having grown up in a home considered "country club" Republican, I worked with my father (as a very young man) to elect Barry Goldwater. I can still feel the disdain and looks of horror from the Rockefeller republicans towards our family.

In the last few cycles I have seen the resurfacing of this group as a more powerful group. They have replaced "country club" with "main street", but their disgust of the religious, libertarian, social conservatives, etc., is disturbing.

Their path leads directly back to 1964.

... were much of the problem Republicans in general and conservatives in particular faced in the 2006 elections.
If we were to draw up a list, not of the top 2 or 3 things that damaged conservatism, but extend it to 20 or 30, the "Free Republic" mindset would have to be included. Conservatism as an ever-narrower circle of people who think alike, smearing, attacking and kicking out an ever-expanding group who don't meet "orthodoxy" tests, does not build a conservative base. Rather it alienates the majority who should be your allies, and leaves you with a tiny, irrelevent lynch mob of bullying mouth breathers (i.e., Free Republic today).
BTW, anyone know who Freeper "SJackson" is -- the one who spams all the Israel propaganda? Whose payroll is he on?

Republicans lost the congress because they did not remain true to their principles. The main one being government spending and the size of government. All the pork failed to save them, didn't it? Another was electing a President who governed as a liberal while at the same time mismanaging a war in Iraq. Many of us were outraged that a disabled woman, Terri Schiavo, was starved to death by the government, but sadly that had no effect on the election one way or the other. (The real shame there was another part of the republican problem. They spoke up, then lacked the courage to do anything about it. I'd say they blew it with everyone.)

Another big reason was their running away from those principles when they had the opportunity to defend and argue their points. Too often they apologized for them, which I guess put them in the same camp as the so called "moderates".

Its that simple. If republicans listen to mean spirited people like Liz Mair, they are toast.

...that the same thing will happen if they listen to your faction.

You probably don't want to hear this, Bob, but we don't really need smug 'nothing to do with me' deflections right now. I'm sure that you'd like to believe that the Schiavo tragedy had nothing to do with things - or, for that matter, hardliner anti-immigration* stances, which I notice that you do not mention - but guess what? Conservative principles do win, but only when the Center agrees that the Conservatives are right. And they didn't.

So sit down and eat your sandwich right alongside the rest of us. You can contribute, but be dam*ed if we're going to pretend that your compass is any less broken.


The Fuzzy Puppy of the VRWC.

*One of the few bright spots of next year is that I can say with some confidence that birthright citizenship is not going to be on the agenda. Its proponents have been knocked back all the way to defending the concept of a border fence and fighting what they call amnesty programs. Yeah, staying home worked really well for all y'all.

I’d add too that what also matters is what the center (by which I mean the majority of people who don’t have a party or ideological persuasion) sees as your priorities.

In the last election Democrats were seen as talking about things like health care, income security, and balancing the federal budget. Republicans were seen as talking about things like “same sex marriage,” opposing embryonic stem cell research, and building a fence along our Southern border.

I happen to be one of those Republicans who is more interested in things like health care, growing the economy, and reducing spending and I know Republicans were talking about those things (and our ideas for how to do it are generally a lot more preferable to what I’ve seen from the folks on the other side of the Ditch) but the oxygen was being sucked away by the other issues and that was what a lot of people thought were the key priorities of the GOP.

It isn’t necessarily that the center disagrees with Republicans on those issues (“same sex marriage” amendments passed quite handily even in States were Republicans lost) but they question the priorities of a party that seemed to be focused on those sorts of issues (which have a pretty small effect on most people’s lives) whereas it looks like only one party was talking seriously about the bread and butter issues that most people saw as affect their lives and their family’s lives.

More open border republicans went down in the election than immigration "hard-liners" as you call them. So does this send a message to us? Look at the other results in AZ. Those issues supporting secure borders won big.

I am old enough to remember the sixties and seventies when Liz and co. ran the party. It wasn't until Reagan ignited the Conservative revolution that Republicans became a majority party.

I strongly disagree about the so called "center". Conservatism works every time its tried. You convince the "center" to come along with you. You don't cater to it. What is missing for conservatives right now is leadership. I suppose the same could be said for other factions in the republican party right now.

Hey, I voted in the last election. Didn't stay home. But I live in Ohio, so it didn't do much good.

...will be a profound comfort to them when our newly Democratic Congress guts the border fence program. Which they're already talking about doing, not to mention passing the comprehensive immigration reform bill that the House was logrolling. Still is, technically, although that'll change abruptly in January. From where I'm sitting the "secure borders" people lost this election, just like the rest of the GOP. Unless they have 218+ locked-in votes in the House that they ain't sharing with the rest of us.

Although I can emphasize with your last paragraph; I was happy and proud to vote the Party ticket in Maryland, but, well... it was Maryland. No chance in heck.


The Fuzzy Puppy of the VRWC.

Both are wrong.

Republicans in general, no matter what the flavor, have been plain old hypocritical. Being typically liberal, the only thing I like about the Republican platform is that they are supposed to cut back on government power, spending, and be fiscally responsible. Lately, all I see from Republican control is extrememly high spending, more government power, and ever increasing deficits.

If I can't cast a vote for republicans to tone back government, they are not worth ever considering in November. Republicans in general have become a party of social issue manuevering (when they don't even agree themselves on the issues). There is no longer a singular (positive) principle that Republicans stand for. At least not one that differs from Democrats.

The only common (IMO) with R's is that they are going to spend, and go into great deficits to do so. The problem is that they say they are at their core against massive spending. At the very least, dems will tell you they intend to spend, and tend to do a better job paying for it when they do.

To say that this is because of one wing of the party is simply false. I don't see anyone actually fighting it, though many will talk about it.

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so. - Douglas Adams

It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones. -- Calvin Coolidge

You're right in that the small government is what has in many ways held the GOP together and what was got people behind Reagan.

There are very few Republicans out in the real world who are for a larger fiscal government. I do have to admit that I have a few friends who are Moderate Dems who are very socially conservative, but are for larger action in taking care of the poor.

I'm a Liberal Democrat, to a point. There are times when I think Dems go to far. In those cases, I'd like to have an alternative to cut back government. But neither will cut back. Rather they add to different areas.

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so. - Douglas Adams

If you took a good look at how the "small-government" issue is handled by parties (in this and other countries), it is quite clear that all too often a party is for limiting the government's growth and domestic powers only when that party is not in power. The past 6 years are a quick example of this and many that had claimed to be for small and limited government ended up showing their true colors.

Take a look at the internet gambling bill, for example. I personally do not plan to vote for ANY politician currently in office that feels the need and more importantly, thinks they have the RIGHT to tell me that I cannot play poker online. Forget all the social issues, even many of the fiscal and economic issues, which are still important to me; But the issue if personal freedom is far, far more important and is at the core of the very foundation of this country. I just cannot comprehend how it is possible that only 8.5% republicans in the house voted for personal freedom. And yes, I realize that most (if not all) democrats who voted against this, did so not out of principle but out of opposition to the Rs. Go ahead and accuse me of poking sticks in whoever's eyes, or whatnot, but please, can someone please tell me how could you possibly go on and support someone (whether Republican or Democrat) that thinks they have a mandate to tell YOU that you cannot use your bank account to play poker online. How?

As far as I'm concerned my own state's representatives and senators who had anything to do with the passage of this bill are not getting anything from me. Not one cent, not one vote. I don't care if I agree with them on 90% of the issues. I don't care if I have to sit out an election or vote third party (in case a libertarian is runung in my districut). If they think they have the right to regulate where I can spend my money on otherwise legal acitivites, then they must be complete fools to expect me to support them in way shape or form.

to be a "good" Republican.

For all of us frustrated with DeWine and his stand in the Gang of Fourteen, we'd love to have him back now.

I still tend to think in terms of the states and districts people represent:

Deep blue state -- I'll take anything I can get

Purple state -- I'll back the incumbant, cheer more for the conservatives, and back whovever is more electable.

Red State -- go for the conservative unless he's so far to the right that he makes me uncomfortable (and I'm a right winger)

I shed no tears over DeWine's loss, nor Chafee's. I'm disappointed to see Santorum and Talent go, though.

And you know what? Using mainstream press-style labels for districts tends to be a self-fulfilling proposition. With that kind of thinking, we'd never have HAD a Senator Santorum to begin with, let alone push Pennsylvania so far over that the Democrats had to nominate an anti-abortion candidate.
It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones. -- Calvin Coolidge

DeWine was definitely worth fighting for and it is a shame that he lost. He had an 80% ACU life rating, somewhat higher than Lugar who is an asset to the Party. I think he could have been brought around on the issues he messed up on.

Chafee on the other hand ... the less said the better.

I think that part of what got Santorum was being to conservative.

But I also think that the issue that really sunk him (by that margin) was the whole remote school / pay thing. That's something that the average guy could understand and it just didn't seem right to a lot of Pennsylvanians that here was a congressman who was working in DC and the state was having to foot the bill for his kids to learn remotely.

Both sides took the eye off of the ball.

Out, of fairness to him, that Zell Miller castigated liberals for taking over his party, quite frequently.

In a world full of twists and turns, the ultimate a straight line.

I agree wholeheartedly that every single wing, except for the small Caucus of real Fiscal Conservatives - I direct my bows to Coburn, DeMint, Shadegg, Kyl, Sessions, Flake etc. (strangely enough, social conservatives every one) - messed up and owns a share of this rotten pie.

But I did not see any of these folks get up and point the finger at the so-called "moderates" who often played a key part in helping Democrats derail fiscally conservative amendments and legislation. I especially did not see them or any official group of elected Republican officials up and label Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins or even Lincoln Chafee RiNOs or level insults at them the way Resnick did on Blue Tuesday.

Social Conservative though I am, I do understand and support the fact that the GOP's primary raison d'etre is controlling spending, keeping taxes low, spurring economic growth, strong defense policies, reducing the size of government and making certain that Government is as effective as possible where it should play a role.

I'm a guy who's a fan of William Weld and Rudy Guiliani, and they're way to the Left of me on social issues. And you know what? I don't consider them "moderate" Republicans.

I just call them Republicans.

I wish Chris Shays, Mike Turner, etc. would simply call themselves Republicans too, no modifiers, and show about the same concern over the reputations of their more socially conservative Republican brethren.

If a defection (by your party leaders) on one issue, any issue, makes you sit at home and not vote, then look for the Republicans' biggest problem in the mirror. I don't care if that issue is abortion. You can be single issue on abortion, and be a very good Christian, but in the purely secular world of politics it doesn't help to be pure. It hurts. Politics can't be made Holy. Same goes for immigration. Be as right as you want, but don't just ASSUME that the public at large is on your side, just because they don't speak up against you. The issue is always, going to where the public is, and guiding them a little bit this way, or a little bit that way. Sit at home on election day, and you guide them not a bit. You're AWOL. The World--this World--belongs to those who SHOW UP!

And politicians* recognize that most voters, including those who really do try to follow politics, don’t have the time and resources to devote to understand all of the issues which make wedge issues a useful device for manipulating voters.

Most people I’d wager have never read any of the major immigration bills before Congress (McCain’s or Cornyn’s) but all that was needed was for someone to refer to McCain’s as “McAmnesty” and repeat it enough time for people to be convinced that we were going to allow 11 million illegal aliens to vote in the 2008 elections. It might be a good bill, it might be a bad bill, or it might be a mixture of good and bad provisions (which I think tends to be the case with most major pieces of legislation) but simply throwing out the charge of “amnesty” ends any serious consideration of what was in the legislation or any meaningful attempt to get our elected officials to try to improve a bill or give us straight answers on the pros and cons. The result: we have politicians who promise us that they’re against “amnesty” (which is only in the other guy’s bill) without really leveling with us what their legislation will lead to.

Same thing with health care reform (one of my favorite issues) or global climate change. How often have you seen someone throw out the pejorative “Hillarycare” to demonize an attempt to improve or reform our health care system? Or any attempt to deal with global climate change is referred to as “Kyoto”? It doesn’t matter if what was actually proposed may have been market-based and had no substantive resemblance to the 1993 Clinton Health Care reform or the Kyoto Accords. The invective is often enough to shut down any meaningful debate on the issue because you’re arguing with people who either don’t think seriously about these issues or don’t feel comfortable doing the work and asking the questions necessary to gain an understanding of them and retreat into the comfort of the familiar Clinton-hatred that so many on our side of the Ditch had in the 1990’s.

* By whom I mean candidates for office, elected and appointed officials, people who work for campaigns, parties and/or various advocacy groups, and pundits for both the traditional and “new” media.

I have had many debates with people on this forum and I can say that there is an impression in the public that the Republican Party is only about Abortion, Gays, Going to War, and Cutting Taxes.

Now why many of you might say that isn't a bad idea the first 2 doesn't win you independent voters because most independent voters don't vote on the social issues. The War is Iraq isn't helping the Republican Party obviously so that is another negative. So what you have is taxes and no offense but after 6 years of talking about cutting taxes people want more.

Attacking fellow party members isn't the way any party should go. "RINOs" will keep the Republicans in a majority when they return. Republicans will regain the majority but when is the question. The North East is not the South and neither is the Mid West. Even in Indiana the Republican Luger is very respected (and I proudly voted for him) because he seems to avoid the wedge issues and talk about the issues that matter to every Hoosier. He was also voted by the National Journal as one of the most moderate Republicans. If Republican Party keeps trying to focus only on the wedge issues they will continue to lose moderate Republicans and Independents.

The Yankee Republican is on its death bed. You have 1 congressional Republican left in the New England area and 4 Senators. Be happy that 2 of them are popular because it is not a good time to be a Republican in the North East

A 79% Lifetime ACU rating ... I could live with "moderates" like that.

Heck, I'm on record as saying we need more Welds and Guilianis - especially in the North East. If we can't have them as fiscal and social conservatives, then we should be ecstatic to have them as just fiscal conservatives.

That should not be negotiable.

If you happen to share the same social views as Hillary Clinton but have the same views on fiscal issues and reducing the size of government as Tom Coburn; then welcome to the GOP.

We'll be lucky to have you.

I think one of the problems Republicans are suffering from is a serious dilution of their message because of fragmentation into these disparate groups, all operating on parallel tracks independently of each other and taking potshots at each other's people. I specifically decided not to contribute to Liz Mair's "GOProgress" for two main reasons:

1) She took some very vituperative shots at Pence and Tancredo. We don't need Liz Mair to demonize those people: Newsweek magazine already does that for us (Newsweek has called Tancredo "a crank" in print on a number of occasions.)

2) Sites like GOProgress remind me too much of the efforts of groups like AHSA, the American Hunters and Shooters Association which fashions itself as a "moderate" alternative to the NRA in its attempts to bring "a centrist viewpoint to a long-polarized debate." Well, the fact is that AHSA is run and staffed by several prominent anti-gun activists. Their basic institutional mission is to peel off NRA supporters and get media cred. to weaken the NRA in Washington and elsewhere.

I think we need a culling of these organizations. I really believe that the Republican Party is in danger of losing its focus and message discipline because frankly it is being infiltrated by groups who are working in the long run to undermine its message. I consider Liz Mair's website to be a front group for Common Dreams.

In my new blogging venture over at the Minority Report, you can be assured that although I'll be covering some things that don't get front-page space here at RedState, I'll be taking my cues from my principles and from the people on this website and I won't be working to run intereference against the GOP.

kicks social conservatives to the curb (which is what much of this is sounding like)we will not win another national election again. Reagan won with them and they carried us in 94. Many of them were of the "Zell Miller" mode who felt as if the Dem. party left them. They will be more than happy to go back to the other side if they feel the dems are offering them viable people to vote for. And it does not matter if the dems have no intention of changing it's platform as long as there is an appierence of some sort of conservativeness a portion of them will split with the GOP
Say what you want about Fallwell and Robertson, but they fought hard for the GOP in the 80s and 90s and swung the vote our way and without them we will not win another elcetion.

"I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harm's way."
John Paul Jones (letter to M. Le Ray de Chaumont,16 Nov.1778)

And focus on winning elections again based on a core group of principles we can all agree on. We also need to get back to a balanced view of the fact that people in this Party are going to have slightly different interpretations of Conservatism because of 1) The localities they're running in and 2) Their own personal and philosophical differences.

Calling people names and demonizing them for their views is not going to help us cohere. Politics is a system of shifting opportunities and timing. There are instances in which all of us will have to "take one for the team" in order to advance the general cause, and as long as we can all expect reciprocity and good will in that, the team can stay together. Liz Mair seems to like Republicans as long as they don't mention enforcing our immigration laws or talking about social issues. Well, she can't have that, because concern and opinion over those issues is deeply rooted in Conservativism itself. She wants to "boutique shop" Republicans and kick the rest of them to the curb, or so it seems.

we had a set of "Core Principles" that was the Republican platform. Now it seems there are those who want to change the platform. For what reason? So the liberals will like us more? We have never on a national level as a party because we shifted as a party to the left and never will.

"I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harm's way."
John Paul Jones (letter to M. Le Ray de Chaumont,16 Nov.1778)

Yes, and criticizing people doesn't mean that they're persona non grata either. I've criticized Limbaugh here recently, I've also criticized Gingrich. I think I did both for good, defensible reasons, but in general I value everything Rush Limbaugh does and I think Gingrich has a tremendous role to play in the party. I may not believe he's electable as President, and I'm ticked that he's joined the retroactive pile-on against Rumsfeld (why??? Rumsfeld did NOT lose this election in any of the meaningful districts as far as I can tell.)

We need to do a better job at persuading people who disagree with our viewpoints, instead of relying on ad-hominem attacks and trash talk. When I came to RedState, I was a RINO. Since that time I've been "educated" -- and I mean that sincerely -- and my point of view (especially on immigration) has changed. We need to engage people and explain ourselves, not pander to them or worse, dismiss them out of hand.

Why is Liz Mair demonizing Tancredo? Because he's the only guy in Congress who had the cojones to speak his mind on Immigration and risk the wrath of the MSM?

and as people who engage thier brains and give thought to what we are saying we all will disagree on many points. What I am afraid of is when we hit a bit of a storm we start to toss people over board and call for the purging of the of GOP rather than a change of stratagy.
And I am very much with you that no one sect of our party should be allowed to over shadow the others but we have to be careful that no sect of the party forget it took all of us working in the same direction for us to have success and when we started to work against each other is when the dems were able to sneak in. I also know we as a whole have the positve message and we can win back what was lost if just preach what we preached in the 90s and in the early part of this decade. Oh yea, and practice what we preach and hold those accountable who's words and actions do not match.

"I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harm's way."
John Paul Jones (letter to M. Le Ray de Chaumont,16 Nov.1778)

Are you implying that some districts are not meaningful? I'm tired of all this talk from both sides about the election and the voters -- the goal of government is neither to be elected nor to serve the voters; it's to serve the American People, even those of us who don't or can't vote or who vote in places that are not swing states.

There's a reason that hot-button social politics was left out of the Contract With America.

stayed true with the CWA I do not think we would be haveing this talk.

"I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harm's way."
John Paul Jones (letter to M. Le Ray de Chaumont,16 Nov.1778)

I'm on the libertarian side and do not want to kick socials to the curb even though we will disagree on some issues. I think what you're seeing from the libertarian faction is that we don't feel like our issues have had been a priority for years. The Republican party has felt much more like a social conservative party than a conservative party, and frankly has made me question my continued involvement.

What I, and I think many, would like to see is a better balance of the issues across the three legs of the party.

I know it's tough sometimes being in the "3rd wing of the GOP" the libertarian Republicans. We're treated almost like the bastard step-child mushed between the huge Conservative and Moderate wings. But we MUST persevere.

Look at all the wonderful victories we had this year. Yes, OUR LIBERTARIAN WING OF THE GOP!!! Not the Conservatives. Not the Moderates. But us libertarians!!

The largest State in the Nation how has a libertarian Governor: Sarah Palin in Alaska.

Butch Otter, a longtime libertarian hero, was elected Governor of Idaho.

Charlie Crist, a libertarian-leaner, and his hardcore libertarian running mate Jeff Kottkamp, now Govern the Great State of Florida.

And Mark Sandford, accused of being a "libertarian" easily won reelection in SC.

Plus Ron Paul easily won reelection, as did Tom Feeney, Rohrabacher, and most especially Jeff Flake to Congress.

There's much to cheer about from 2006 for us libertarian Republicans.

Eric Dondero

Ms. Palin ran and was elected as a Republican. No Libertarian qua Libertarian has been elected in Alaska since the early Eighties.

In Vino Veritas

Perhaps you missed this news item:

Libertarian Party elects Sara Chambers to the Juneau Assembly (County Commission). Sara won by some 200 votes. This is a very important office in Alaska, and in the State Capitol no less.

In addition, the Libertarian Party has elected about 10 other members to public office across Alaska in the last decade or so including a District Attorney in Kodiak.

For a complete list of elected Libertarians and libertarian Republicans in Alaska and across the United States please visit Elected libertarians Page.

Eric Dondero

Those voters still sided with Rs in 2006 as well as in the 80s and 90s. But Rs lost other voters. That is how 2006 is the first time in 50+ years that a party has the majority of the South without a majority of the House.

No one is talking about abandoning them. But social conservative voters are not a majority in the country. The coalition needs other voters and specifically small government fiscally conservative voters have little reason to trust Rs right now.

Social Security Choice - Club For Growth

Considering our spending is right online with Democratic spending, for you to say that the so-called fiscal conservatives were the deciding factor, is to say that those same voters are ignorant, stupid, or both.

CAN we win voters that ignorant in any sensible way?
It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones. -- Calvin Coolidge

Even those who learn from history are surrounded by those doomed to repeat it.

and have been the key to the GOP's rise since 1980. They are more fiscally conservative than neo-cons and many of the big government conservatives. What fiscal conservatives need to do is sell their pet issue better. There is no inherent conflict between desiring that courts deny one the right to say a prayer at a football game, display nativity scenes, protect traditional marriage etc, and reforming medicare and soc sec, ie fiscal conservatism. Fiscal conservatives are trying to sell an amorphous concept with no actual plan, so they are vulnerable to having the issue usurped by pork stories the MSM can manipulate. Fiscal Con's need to sell a program of fiscal conservatism and show concretely how it solves problems, not just that it is good in and of itself.

If the GOP were to insult social cons, they will be relegated to permanent minority status again. But when one looks at non-war year gridlock, that may be good enough for the Rockefeller wing.

But we are at war with a deadly enemy abroad and a godless, secularist appeasement enemy at home, both of whom must be beat before we have the luxury of kicking 1/3 of the party to the curb so we can block 3% fed spending increaes and bargain for 2% increases and have an orgy over it as we play golf with the dem majority leader.
"One man with courage makes a majority." - Andrew Jackson

Yes, there are some Social Conservatives who are excellent Economic Conservatives, as well.

Oklahoma Senator Dr. Tom Coburn is outstanding!

But there are many who are not:

Look at big tax and spenders like Alabama Gov. Bob Riley, and even Mike Huckabee of Arkansas. Both received very low grades from the Cato Institute recently for being big government advoctes.

Eric Dondero

You don't seem to acknowledge the possibility that maybe there are some Republicans who just aren't conservative at all. Huckabee has a lot of questionable stances outside of the traditional FiCon areas... immigration for instance. Can't say I know a thing about Riley. I'm surprised you didn't mention Pataki as yet another social conservative with a lousy Cato rating.
Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself. - Milton Friedman

You’re either a social conservative or a moderate now in the Republican Party. Many conservatives lead with economic conservatism, knowing socially conservative behavior follows and a positive message of hope and what is possible sells better than the negative message of what people shouldn’t be allowed to do.

It’s the social conservatives that look more like German Social Democrats than Republicans that are splitting the party, turning it into a socially conservative, big government, mixed economy, left of center party. Those fighting against that are not moderates. They are right of center fighting to prevent their party from drifting any further left of center.

You said:

"It’s the social conservatives that look more like German Social Democrats than Republicans that are splitting the party, turning it into a socially conservative, big government, mixed economy, left of center party.

That is simply not true of any social conservative except maybe George W. Bush, who I would argue is not a conservative at all. If anyone is tying to pull the party left, its those of libertarian leanings.

We libertarians want less government in all areas. If anything we're trying to move the GOP in a more rightward -- Goldeaterite directin.

Plus, we want to destroy Islamo-Fascism and are big supporters of the War on Terror precisely because we see the Islamo-Fascists as the ultimate big government advocates.

How is that "pulling the Party left"?

Eric Dondero

"It’s the social conservatives that look more like German Social Democrats " I cannot believe anyone would liken a social coservative in this country of anything like a German anything. I am not only fiscally conservative I am as well socially conservative, and that was not by happenstance it was because of the bs I was fed being brought up in a liberal leftist family. I truly believe once you see the other side of liberalism you are healthier mentally then one can imagine. I also am curious where neo-cons fit in the Republican party as I am also pro-war as well.
Peace through superior fire power:)

(For full disclosure, I'm a liberal, Democrat-supporting immigrant. Anyway.)

There's quite a bit of bashing going on in the Democrat side, too, most notably with James Carville, who very analogously supports centrist Harold Ford over "far left" Howard Dean at the DNC. And everyone hates Rep. William Jefferson over in Louisiana.

I won't go into a discussion of morals and "far right extremism" -- not on this conservative blog, which I respect, but find any of my comments or diaries at Daily Kos and we can have a conversation on the topic -- but what's more important, the American People or a political party? Parties are only a means to do what we think is best for the American People. As important as loyalty is, sometimes it MUST be trumped by ideology! This country is not and should not be Republican, regardless of whom we elect to serve us. It should not be Democratic, either. It is and should always be American, and the interests of the People are sometimes better served by rooting out bad government even within one's party.

The Democrats of Connecticut, as an example of both the good and bad of serving country over party, voted to root out Lieberman, whom they considered part of bad government. Did this hurt the Democrats? Yes, because now the Democrats in the Senate have to worry about him switching parties. I see the issue -- Senate Democrats can't kick him out now because his vote is crucial for the party, putting party over ideology exactly against what I'm advocating -- but as of next Congress, he won't be a Democrat anymore, anyway.

I respect anyone who is brave enough to speak against members of his own party. To outsiders, Republicans speaking against Democrats (and vice-versa) are just people speaking against their own countrymen. We have one country, two major political parties, and three hundred million different opinions about how our one country should be run. Let's not sacrifice ourselves.

First, I am independent and have left my pointy stick at home. So please put yours down.

I think the intra-party recriminations miss at least part of the point. As pointed out in an excellent piece on the damage to the Republican brand that was featured yesterday, many independent voters have decided that the Republican brand just doesn't mean what it used to mean - that after all of these years in office, the Republicans had become the problem and not the solution.

But one thing that the article didn't cover (and neither does this one) is the tenor of debate in the country, which I think damaged the Republican chances as much as any single issue did. At the height of Republican power, we were treated not to respectful debate on substantive issues but name-calling to an extent I have never witnessed before (and I'm in my fifties). In a complex multiple-variable world, we were treated to simplistic descriptions of serious multi-faceted problems - and then were told that if we didn't agree with the stated opinion, we were either (multiple choice) stupid, dishonest, a communist, a traitor, or (you fill in the blank).

I think it is disingenuous at least to disparage the intellect of the unaligned community and then ask for their vote, especially when anyone paying attention could see a huge disconnect between what Republicans had once been and what they had become, between what they said and what they did.

As far as Redstate goes, I understand that it is a place where right-wingers (no offense intended) go to discuss things, and I think it does a credible job to the point that I read it daily because I really want to know what this community thinks. And I am always encouraged when I find myself agreeing with points made (it happens sometimes). I especially appreciate the intellectual depth of the discussion and the obvious care taken to write good diaries with excellent references. I also appreciate that Moe, Leon, Streiff and the others work at keeping the discussion civil.

I just think that if Republicans want to analyze what went wrong, they should include in that analysis the alienation of independent voters by the Republican rhetoric. I have a pretty thick skin, but it's not a good idea to call someone unpatriotic and then ask for their vote. In my humble opinion, that's really why the Republicans lost the election.

OK, you may pick up your pointy sticks now. I'm going to lunch.

I read Redstate because even though I'm on the other side of the big ditch, I like seeing what the other side has to say. And there's definitely a level of discourse here that's worth reading, even when I disagree with it. Also my boyfriend is Republican, I like to use RS as a way of trying to understand where he's coming from, so to speak. (We're like watching bipartisanship in action. I know, it's very lame.)

And honestly, I would give anything to raise the level of political discourse in this country. On and amongst both sides. Of course nothing happens, gets done, or changes. We're all so busy screaming at each other (both between each other and among our own sides) that I think we've all forgotten what common ground looks like. The bf and I had an honest, screaming in the street fight once recently over a political issue - and it's like a tiny microcosm of politics, generally, we've all forgotten how to talk to each other, because we're so busy talking past each other, so convinced that we're right, and so convinced that the other person is The Enemy/A RiNO/a DiNO simply because they disagree. And this works intra-party as well, I've never in my life managed to be branded stupid/dishonest/traitor by factions of both political parties before the past few years, and I think it's only getting worse.

I have no idea how to change that, but it remains utterly depressing and we all remain basically nowhere.

Politics has always been bruising. Personally, I'm a policy type of guy. But I realized a few years ago that policy doesn't win just because it's right. For example, I'm a big supporter of reforming the bankrupt Social Security system to allow people of my generation (under 30s) to have an actual legally guaranteed personal account rather than a governmental promise. I'm aware several Democrats, including ex-President Clinton, have supported or considered supporting modernizing the system to allow personal accounts. But when the idea was brought up by President Bush and his hand was reaching out to the Democrats, Sen. Reid and Rep. Pelosi threatened harsh retribution to any Dem who even considered negotiating with the President. It was a harsh wake-up call. The President was trying to work on a major issue of national significance (as opposed to say the FMA) and he wanted a bipartisan effort on it and Democrats say it as an opportunity to "just say no." Well, their strategy worked and they won even if SS is still heading toward bankruptcy.

I am hopeful that the divided nature of the government now will lead to bipartisan immigration and social security reforms. But I'm afraid Dems will use their new power to pick fights with the President unnecessarily. (See Sen. Webb for example).

All in all, just wanted to say thanks for your respectful observations. Hope you enjoy our site and perhaps see an issue or two from a new perspective.

Social Security Choice - Club For Growth

find out if the Democrats in Congress really ARE the enemy of the state.
If "pro" is the opposite of "con", what is the opposite of "progress"?

I will make this short as my response is meant to be more of an intellectual observation than ad nauseam cite.

The level of political discourse has been taken to new guttural lows by many of the comments made by Democrat’s and their liege against the President and Republican policies. That’s not an unfounded criticism or attempt to place blame; it is a factual observation that can be verified by any person having the time. Is it appropriate to be offended by such treatment, yet the response to these attacks have been muted and often respectful. As you may see by reading RS, this is a conservative principal generally followed by a bulk of the contributors.

Conversely, I can find very few instances where this tactic has been employed by Republican’s. What I do find are specious and unsupported allegations about Republican motives, primarily with social issues (exempli gratia: Abortion and (sic) gay marriage). The inference being that conservatives are overtaken by the religious right, homophobic, religious zealots, etcetera. This seems to have traction with independents, other unaffiliated voters and as witnessed by this thread, some within the own party.

Therefore, I will not completely disagree the level of political discourse needs to become more civil. However, forgive me if I conclusively say much of that is dependant upon the other side. For many conservatives, it is about creating the right message and priorities which better articulate what we already believe (not to mention better fiscal discipline and stronger leadership). The mistake is leaving our beliefs for others to define within the public perception. That is a tremendous gap in our overall current voter communication that has been filled in the past by people such as Ronald Reagan and documents such as the Contract with America. I believe this represents most of what we need to accomplish in order to not be standing here post 2008 having the same discussion.

It is also important to read the Congressional Record, White House and DOS information directly. It helps one disconnect from characterizations that come from politics, irrespective of party affiliation. That is a revealing and liberating exercise which uncovers the truth absent parochial intent.

"Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori"

"Conversely, I can find very few instances where this tactic has been employed by Republican’s"

Republican Mudslinging On An Industrial Scale
The NRCC attack-ad factory grinds out some smears we find to be misleading or false.

October 27, 2006


Both political parties are functioning in the 2006 House races as factories for attack ads, but the National Republican Campaign Committee's work stands out this year for the sheer volume of assaults on the personal character of Democratic House challengers.


Glad to see you can use and limit the searching to the 2007 campaign.

However, that is a paltry examination of the political dialogue issue. Try going back to the beginning of the Republican Congresses term, include all the insults about this administration and don’t forget the vitriol from those outside government supporting the Democrat Party cause.

You will find that to be a voluminous compendium of specious, caustic diatribes that would take a month to catalogue. You also completely missed the holistic point of the post, but that happens when you’re apathetic to a parochial cause.

"Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori"

I have provided one relevant example in response to your statement that you could find “very few instances where this tactic has been employed by Republican’s. "Industrial scale" versus "few instances" indicates a rather huge gulf.

For you to suggest that the polarization that exists today is pretty much all the fault of the Democrats---in your words ----“a factual observation that can be verified by any person having the time”----well----as you said--it only took a cursory look on the web to see that Republicans are a good deal more involved in this kind of stuff than you are wiling to admit.

Another discovery in my admittedly cursory search on this topic are comments from former Republican Senator John Danforth in which Danforth states that much of the polarization that exists in politics in this country today can be traced back to the rise of the religious right within the Republican party..

And Danforth is not some left wing radical that you can just dismiss out of hand....


When did Mair become the Gold Standard by which all others should be judged? Folks such as her are the first to throw rocks at others because of an opposing viewpoint. Then when the election is lost they blame it on nameless political extremists under the guise of holistic cognomen like “social conservatives’, “fanatics” and anything else that fits their rant.

This gives ignominious credibility to fallacious accusations from outside the party and feeds stereotypes which negatively impact perception of the party from independents. Can someone please point out this large fanatical ultra conservative group that is driving party policy? I am sure they are right next to Elvis at the local Shell station wearing signs written in big red marker that say “Christian Right” and look similar to the crowd in those Verizon commercials. By the way, I missed the post election polls that blamed social conservatives and the Christian right for voting patterns. Where was that printed; on Mars?

Get real, this cannibalism is sophomoric sophism of the highest order and is exactly what is wrong with the party. All launched by people that fancy themselves pseudo intellectuals and some type of Republican Party Knights Templar. They roll their eyes every time abortion and gay marriage come up as if some petulant child was opining about Barney.

Have we lost allegiance to conservative ideals such as fiscal restraint, real social responsibility and fidelity to eachother? Absolutely. Has there been a grand disconnect within the party members driven by weak leadership and a lack of guidance on tangible important issues? Yes. Can we progress together, regain public confidence and continue to attract folks to the party? Yes, but only if we dispense with the false characterizations, work together and stop trying to claim the party mantle like it was some Rosetta Stone for future success that requires parochial hoarding.

"Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori"

And I haven't read every single comment above, I will state at the outset.

Here are the points that I would make, and I will reproduce them at my site as well.

First, as to my knowledge, no moderates have gone as far out of their way to beat up more socially conservative Republicans as social cons have done to moderates. If you can find me an example of a moderate trying to take down a conservative incumbent in a primary, please tell me, since as to my knowledge, that isn't happening.

Second, there are plenty of positive comments that you get from me out of conservatives-- just a specific set of them. My site frequently praises Jeff Flake, who is one of my favorite Republican leaders. I also supported John Shadegg in his bid for Minority Whip. I have praised Tom Coburn. All of these guys have one thing in common-- they always, always put fiscal conservative concerns ahead of social conservative concerns, even though they are social conservatives. I'm comfortable with them because of that.

What I'm not comfortable with is members like those who you cited from one of my posts-- for example, Marilyn Musgrave (sorry, but her specific agenda is reviled by independents and moderates, and she is the kind of spokesperson for the GOP that contributes to electoral defeat, not electoral success). That being said, I have never said, unlike some in the conservative wing of the party with regard to moderates or even libertarians, that all social cons should be forced out of the GOP and that moderates and libertarians should engage in the kind of party cleansing all too regularly advocated by certain social conservatives. So, I consider it a sligtly absurd suggestion that people like me are principally responsible for the fracture that has occurred within the party-- if anything, we are simply responding to an effort to oust us from the GOP led by some in the social conservative camp.

Third, you state that "not a single member of the Main Street Partnership is in any way near as good on a fiscal front than any standard member of the Republican Study Committee led by social conservatives like Mike Pence and John Shadegg." This is not true. Let's compare some fiscal group ratings (these are the ratings posted for the most recent ratings period at the websites of the relevant organizations).

Let's use Jack Kingston (a favorite here at RedState) and Jim Kolbe (a favorite at my site, and a Main Streeter) for starters

Kingston gets these ratings:

- Americans for Tax Reform (77%)
- National Taxpayers Union (61%/B)
- Citizens Against Government Waste (78%)

Now Kolbe:

- ATR (91%)
- NTU (59%/B)
- CAGW (79%)

How about another comparison to disprove the point that all "moderates" are fiscal liberals and all "conservatives" are fiscal conservatives?

Let's compare Darrell Issa (RSC) and Jim McCrery (Main Street)


- ATR (95%)
- NTU (59%/B-)
- CAGW (73%)


- ATR (95%)
- NTU (57%/B-)
- CAGW (74%)

Still not believing that moderates can be as fiscally conservative as social cons? Let's do a final RSC/Main Street pair up. Let's go with Bob Aderholt (RSC) vs. Greg Walden (Main Street).


- ATR (82%)
- NTU (57%/B-)
- CAGW (74%)


- ATR (91%)
- NTU (57%/B-)
- CAGW (68%)

Still not feeling that it's possible that moderates are just as fiscally conservative as social cons? Let's do some comparisons between Senators:

Rick Santorum (obvious social con):

- ATR (90%)
- NTU (69%/B)
- CAGW (68%)

Johnny Isakson (Main Street):

- ATR (90%)
- NTU (77%/A)
- CAGW (75%)

How about another, just to really prove that the point about moderates being fiscal liberals, and only social cons being fiscal conservatives, is fallacious. Let's go for Tom Coburn himself vs. that big bad Liberal Republican, John McCain.


- ATR (85%)
- NTU (83%/A)
- CAGW (96%)


- ATR (80%)
- NTU (78%/A)
- CAGW (91%)

(OK, Coburn scores a little better, but he's a fricking fiscal conservative superstar-- and still, he doesn't beat McCain by that much!)

Now, a couple of final points. First, I don't idolize Linc Chafee, and almot none of my readers do, either. We just happen to believe that Steve Laffey was incapable of winning in Rhode Island-- partly due to a bad personal reputation he has within the state (go up there and talk to people-- seriously) and partly due to the fact that Rhode Island is a pretty blue state where a conservative isn't going to fly. Of course, neither did Chafee in the end, but I would submit that there are several reasons for this that are more credible than "even liberals would rather vote for a conservative who they think is extreme than they would someone who more or less reflects their ideals but doesn't seem to adhere to a particular ideology." Here are some. First, people on the ground in Rhode Island thought that Congress was changing hands. Therefore, being interested in electing someone who could bring home the bacon (literally), they opted to go for Whitehouse. Second, Whitehouse's campaign actually did some pretty bad if not illegal stuff to, in essence, steal the election. Third, Chafee spent so much money and energy trying to stave off a primary challenge from Laffey, that he was not in the best position to fight Whitehouse when it came time to fight the Democrat. I'm not boo-hooing-- this was a bad year, and Main Street lost 1/6 of its membership on election night. That being said, the RSC lost around 10% running in infinitely safer seats than those occupied by Main Streeters, so frankly, I think we all have to accept that the GOP as a whole got thumped, realize this is how the cookie crumbles, quit crying and move on.

However, the point about Chafee's loss being, perhaps, partly to blame for him having been primaried earlier this year is instructive. Whereas I turned out on weekends and worked my tail off to re-elect George Allen (someone with whom I do not agreeon social issues, in particular) because he was our best hope of keeping a Senate seat, conservatives from across the country descended on Rhode Island to work against the Republican incumbent, and the best hope of keeping a technical GOP seat in that state-- and may I mention that in Rhode Island, there were plenty of rumors of Laffey supporters aiding Whitehouse's camp in the run-up to the general election, simply to get rid of Chafee. The attempt to kill the last remaining Rockefeller Republican was not restricted to the primary.

The former,i.e., the example of what I, a social moderate, did in Virginia, is an example of big tent behavior-- something we should all engage in. The latter, however, is not.

I personally recognize the value of the big tent. We don't win without keeping social conservatives, and fiscal conservatives (the latter being the vast majority of Americans, the former being a relatively small minority) on side. The trouble is, too many social conservatives want to eject people like me, who are very fiscally conservative, but socially moderate, from the party. And they want to push their own agenda (which encompasses items like Constitutional bans on gay marriage and doing anything and everything to stop embryonic stem cell research, even when it does not result in the destruction of the embryo) ahead of a common Republican agenda (which encompasses cutting spending, keeping taxes low, and maintaining a strong national defense). Too much of the former occurred in the last few years for my taste, and the taste of voters, apparently. And too little of the latter happened.

We do need to keep the big tent, for sure, and we definitely need to return to our core Republican values in order to win again. All I, Main Street, and any other moderate or fiscal conservative individual or organization is doing at this stage is fighting for a right to remain in the big tent, and to occupy more than 10% of its space. And, unfortunately, a lot of social conservatives who want me and my ilk to leave and withdraw from politics altogether don't like it. Apparently, instead of working to keep the GOP an inclusive party, grounded in the principles of fiscal conservatism, good governance, and the pursuit of a strong national defense, they would prefer for it to be grounded in what appears to many in the public to be the pursuit of intolerant policies aimed at placating special interest groups ahead of everything else. Apparently, those who advocate for such an agenda like losing.

I do not. And that, together with the increasing evidence that so many within the party want me and my philosophical kin out of the party, is why I'm kicking up a fuss about where the domination of social conservatives, and their efforts to push their agenda with no regard for how it looks to the majority of voters, has led us.

Let's get back to basics, everyone. The Contract With America, which worked for moderates and conservatives because it was drafted off the back of genuine Republican party-wide principles and focused almost exclusively on advancing initiatives in line with the fiscal conservative, small government philosophy that binds us, brought us victory. If social conservatives want to win, like I do, they would do well to look to create a 21st century version of it, together with us, the moderates and libertarian-leaners.

Liz Mair is the editor of WWW.GOPPROGRESS.COM, a RedState-style blog for libertarian, mainstream and moderate Republicans

When are you going to admit that you're effectively a shill for the Donks on social issues? Your statements against Tancredo and Pence are right there for anyone to read and then you come up with this as an olive branch?

The trouble is, too many social conservatives want to eject people like me, who are very fiscally conservative, but socially moderate, from the party. And they want to push their own agenda (which encompasses items like Constitutional bans on gay marriage and doing anything and everything to stop embryonic stem cell research, even when it does not result in the destruction of the embryo)


Nevermind that what you wrote in the last sentence is completely false (there have been a number of articles and opinions expressed here on RedState talking about the use of cord cells for example) -- and what's wrong with a constitutional ban on gay marriage? Most people in most of the states around the country support that ban. I support it and I think most of the people here at RedState and across the country do also.

And Liz, your excoriation of Tancredo just reeks, frankly. Despite your attempts to whitewash your disdain for "hardline conservatives" everyone in the known universe can read your views on the Ten Conservatives the Party Could Do Without.

Here's what you had to say about Pence:

To be fair, Pence has been good on preaching fiscal discipline. However, he has been less good at actually practicing it himself, pushing farm subsidies for Indiana tomato-growers, and earmarks to build things like ponds in his home state. Of course, the real issue with Pence is his willingness to fall in line with the likes of Tom Tancredo on the immigration issue to get and keep power, and his persistent and barking backing for a gay marriage amendment-- which, after yet more Republican Senators shot it down this year, he described as "a successful failure." Pence also rabidly opposes embryonic stem cell research (as well as funding for it), and has decribed the fact that it is legal as "sad." Thank goodness he lost his bid to become Minority Leader last week.

People can also read your savage attacks on Brownback, Cornyn and Inhofe. I encourage them to do so. You sound like the outreach chairwoman of Daily Kos, my dear.

Re; and what's wrong with a constitutional ban on gay marriage?

It has no chance of passing, everyone knows it doesn't, and therefore it distracts from matters where the GOP might get something useful accomplished. Were you on RedState last time the Senate brought up the FMA this year? The general attitude even here was not favorable to that effort; most folks (even some social conservative stalwarts) dismissed it as naked pandering and preferred that more substantive matters (immigration, the estate tax, whatever) should have been dealt with instead.

When you can't get anything decent through the Senate, maybe it is better if they are distracted with stuff that isn't going anywhere. It keeps them out of trouble. If they aren't working on the FMA, they might be busy conducting hearings on video games or steroids in baseball. And frankly, we didn't want or need a comprehensive immigration bill out of the Senate. The list of "worthwhile things we could get through the 2004-2006 Senate" was pretty short indeed.
Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself. - Milton Friedman

"Most people in most of the states around the country support that ban. I support it and I think most of the people here at RedState and across the country do also."

Maybe at RedState---but not across the country...

"But while a majority opposes gay marriage, opponents are divided on whether it would be a good idea to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban it. The result is that just three-in-ten Americans (30%) currently oppose gay marriage and think a constitutional amendment would be a good idea. Even among groups most strongly opposed to gay marriage (white evangelicals, Republicans, conservatives and senior citizens), less than a majority favor an amendment."


The Fuzzy Puppy of the VRWC.

You will have to do better than selective analysis and political platitudes. The body of you work speaks for itself. Any chance to attack social conservatives is hardly ever passed up. Is that your version of getting along?

Your closing comment on the Contract with America characterizes it as a fiscal writ. However, it also included social issues, which you once again fail to mention.

I am not some social issue prelate and believe in a comprehensive, simplistic policy. But your pretentious approach won’t result in a more cohesive party that would win anything more than a golden spittoon award

"Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori"

Marcus said:

"Your closing comment on the Contract with America characterizes it as a fiscal writ. However, it also included social issues, which you once again fail to mention."

I'm looking hard for social issues in the "Contract with America", maybe I'm not looking hard enough, can you help me? Can you point them out, can you point to which of the following eight points of the Contract are related to social issues?

"On the first day of the 104th Congress, the new Republican majority will immediately pass the following major reforms, aimed at restoring the faith and trust of the American people in their government:
• FIRST, require all laws that apply to the rest of the country also apply equally to the Congress;
• SECOND, select a major, independent auditing firm to conduct a comprehensive audit of Congress for waste, fraud or abuse;
• THIRD, cut the number of House committees, and cut committee staff by one-third;
• FOURTH, limit the terms of all committee chairs;
• FIFTH, ban the casting of proxy votes in committee;
• SIXTH, require committee meetings to be open to the public;
• SEVENTH, require a three-fifths majority vote to pass a tax increase;
• EIGHTH, guarantee an honest accounting of our Federal Budget by implementing zero base-line budgeting. "

Seems to me to be a good governance, fiscal conservative approach to government. Nothing about Gay Marriage, abortion, stem cell research or any of the other issues which seem to be important today to the party.

A point Liz does not make well in my view, and the dialog Republicans should be having right now is where is the "Contract with America Mark II" coming from? B

Another South Park Republican spouting off !

It helps to have context when trying to confute a point.

Nowhere does my post speak about any of those issues. It states that social issues are included. In order to determine this you need to read beyond the first 100 days and into other details including the bills.

Characterizing those issues as paramount conservative concerns is generally left to liberals who like to use them as talking points. If you look at the actually history of said issues, it is fairly evident their conservative political Genesis emanated from a response to other factors (exempli gratia, judicial ruling). This desire to change societal mores outside the legislative process and horribly inept adjudicated cases required a response. That’s just good government at work.

However, I would cede the party spent too much time on these resulting in a variety of bad misconceptions from the general public. In my opinion the remedies were also taken too far (exempli gratia; Constitutional Amendments). Agreeing somewhat with the Federalist view on this, some are probably states rights issues.

I would also agree Contract with America part II, and a return to those principals is long overdue.

"Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori"


I'm still waiting for you to point out where any of the issues which seem to be driving the Republican party today, were issues which were part of the Contract with America in 1994, which by the way Republicans ran on and WON on.

Please don't misinterpret that I don't think the social issues which have been front and center lately are unimportant, they are very important, just that it takes more than one wing to fly a party on.

As to Contract with America, Mark II.

First point

We will pass and defend in court a Line Item Veto for the President of the United States.

Second point

We will introduce a Balanced Budget Constitutional amendment.

Beyond that, I don't have a clue and will be in contentious territory for sure trying to figure it out, but as a Party, there has to be consensus that Republicans can run on to win office in '08.

Another South Park Republican spouting off !

Let's look at this carefully:

I also supported John Shadegg in his bid for Minority Whip. I have praised Tom Coburn. All of these guys have one thing in common-- they always, always put fiscal conservative concerns ahead of social conservative concerns, even though they are social conservatives.

I thank you for your candor. To me, this is the meat of your post right here, since flat percentage ratings from various special-interest acronyms mean next to nothing to me (yes, even if it were the beloved CfG or NRA).

I wonder, Liz: Since you openly admit that you are at odds with the religous right-oriented voters (whom Ronald Reagan dragged into the fold, laying the groundwork for the 1994 realignment that took us out of perpetual-minority status), will you acknowledge that you are behind the times for the party, and out of today's Republican mainstream?

It seems to me that even if some have declared fusionism to be a philosophical failure, the party today does very well with a fusionist agenda, pulling the conservatives and the religous right into the coalition.

Does that mean we're gradually squeezing out the Rockefeller Republicans like the Chafees? Yes, yes, it does, but we can't be all things to all people. I think we can work with people outside of the party mainstream on one issue or another, but htose people who want to join us must also be willing to bend.

So are you willing to bend?
It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones. -- Calvin Coolidge

Liz by Adam C

As the editor who is probably closest to you politically, I first want to say I appreciate this a lot:

Whereas I turned out on weekends and worked my tail off to re-elect George Allen (someone with whom I do not agreeon social issues, in particular) because he was our best hope of keeping a Senate seat

I do, however, concur with others here that using terms like "far right" or "right wing" to describe mainstream Republicans does not help make your case. Specifically it upsets the people you want to take you more seriously. It's the difference between how Chafee acted (incredulous and anti-Republican including not voting for the President) and how Gordon Smith acts (pushing for moderation without calling people names).

I'm glad your site and your viewpoint exist. We need it expressed here and at GOPProgress. However, everytime you call someone "far right," I would suggest instead listing an issue or vote that you disliked. For example, Rep. Tancredo, who advocated nuking Mecca, is a bad representative for the Republican Party is a bit more effective than "crazy nutjob" Tancredo etc. etc.

Finally, I think you could be more successful if you push for fiscal issues and winning over people rather than pushing against social conservatives. People like Santorum were also strong supporters of a pro-market reform to Social Security. Casey is unlikely to be as pro-market. On this point, it would be really helpful if you could identify proud Republicans in northeastern districts who may disagree on social issues but are willing to be part of the team. Maybe we can help get some new Welds and Guilianis elected.

Social Security Choice - Club For Growth

"No compromise with the main purpose, no peace till victory, no pact with unrepentant wrong." - Winston Churchill

It is I, the evil "theocrat," "Far Right," "extremist," "out of the mainstream," non-moderate icky social conservative Martin A. Knight!

{cue evil laughter, thunder, lightning, etc ...}

Adam C is the Director most sympathetic to your viewpoint at Redstate and he makes an excellent point; is it really necessary for you folks to use terms like "Hard Right", "Extremist Right", "Far Right", "Religious Right", "out of the mainstream", etc to describe people like Marsha Blackburn and Mike Pence? Is a little respect too much to ask?

Honestly? No.

And if you read my posts and comments, you'd notice that I'm full bore with praise for socially Leftish but strongly fiscally conservative and national security hawk Republicans like Weld and Guiliani. I want them in the Party - I believe they are quite simply Republicans - no "moderate" or any other qualification necessary.

In other words, we're on the same side. That doesn't mean we must be in lockstep. But it does mean that you should shield my back from the other side because we wear the same jersey. Don't assist the other side in hurting me, because that also hurts you.

PS: Leave the libertarians out of this. I doubt there really is that much beef between them and social conservatives. They're an irascible bunch in the first place and we like them that way because they remind us that outside a few issues, we really just want to be left alone by the Government. Heck, I just love former Governor Gary Johnson of New Mexico - this guy issued 750 vetoes during his tenure on fiscal grounds alone; what's not to like about a guy like that?

Anyway, in a more direct reponse to your reply ... I see a few things I should specifically address;

[1] Social Conservatives publicly attack "moderates" more than "moderates" attack Social Conservatives: Cites please of any elected or otherwise prominent Conservative Republican attacking a "moderate" simply for being more socially Leftish. I don't see these "attacks" on CNN or the Washington Post.
   Furthermore, I'd like a cite of any elected or otherwise prominent Republican publicly advocating for the booting of socially Leftish Republicans from the GOP.
   Look at just this press release from the so-called "moderate" Republican Main Street Partnership - a group that contains elected Republican officials. Did the RSC issue anything like this pounding on Nancy Johnson or Rob Simmons?

[2] Social Conservatives unfairly try to take out "moderates" in Primaries: Forgive me but Primaries do exist for a reason - no one has a right to an elected office and when a more conservative Republican challenges a "moderate" for the Republican nomination for an open seat, that's not an attack.
    is right; if someone is not Republican in any discernible way other than an organizational vote at the beginning of a Congress then he's not worth having - what real use was Joe Schwarz or Lincoln Chafee to the Republican Party? Was there anything they shared with Ronald Reagan beyond the R on their backs?
   And despite your citing of certain organizations' ratings - the details of which are not apparent -
EzOnTheEyez is correct; with the exception of McCain, all of the people listed on here are horrifically weak on fiscal issues - the true stars on fiscal conservatism happen to be stars on social conservatism too. Resnick's wails about the minimum wage should be embarassing to any Republican who believes in fiscal conservatism.

[3] You have always said we all were at fault: That's not true. I agree we all got hit - go read the post I wrote up immediately before the one we're talking about now. What I disagree with is your implicit assertion that you and your fellow "moderates" have always said we (Social Conservatives and "moderates") all played a role in the thumpin'.
   No. On the 7th, the RMSP rushed out a press release saying titled "'Far Right' Soley[sic] Responsible for Democrat Gains". You, Liz Mair, you, pointed the finger of blame squarely and exclusively at social conservatives.

[4] You don't idolize Lincoln Chafee: That's false. You did to the very end. I have never seen you even criticize his truly awful fiscal voting record when you have let loose shrieks at Rick Santorum much much fewer transgressions against fiscal conservatism. If not idolizing, what do you call this?
   Again, I ask, what use was Chafee? He wasn't with us when it came to fiscal issues, national security issues, the judges issue, etc. In what way was he a Republican? A Senate seat by itself is not valuable unless it can be used to do the right thing. Chafee is/was a guaranteed Democrat vote on every possible issue barring procedural votes. Good riddance.

[5] On "Mainstream", "Independents" and/or "moderates": This is a question ... what makes you think that your views are moderate while mine or anyone else's, are not? It's kinda subjective, isn't it? To be honest, I think one of the major reasons so many Republicans get so easily tarred with the "extremist" brush, even when they are clearly in line with majority opinion, is that people like you are always ready to pronounce them as out of the "mainstream." There is room for more than just you in the mainstream, y'know?
   For example, supporters of the gay marriage bans in the states are always labelled "extremists" ... but these propositions win with overwhelming majorities. The Michigan Civil Rights Initiative was labelled "extremist" by every major institution in Michigan ... but it won. The vast majority of Americans feel there should be some restrictions on abortions even though the New York Times would call that being "out of the mainstream".
   Are you getting what I'm saying here? You don't have a monopoly on deciding what is "mainstream" and "moderate" or not. The terms are way too subjective, vary from place to place, and defy a coherent objective determination of meaning. And by the way, Musgrave won her race.

[6] McCain is a moderate: No. He isn't. He's actually pretty socially conservative as well as fiscally conservative. The problem is that he's a media hound. And the fact is that one cannot cater both to the New York Times and the Republican Party base at the same time. At some point, McCain would have to split from Bill Keller on a fiscal issue; I don't doubt that he would go the fiscally conservative route - I just don't like the fact that he gives me the impression that he would hesitate.

[7] We need to attract the middle: You don't need to tell me that. I was one of the few people here at Redstate fretting about our low poll numbers among Independents in the last weeks to election day when a larger mass was just shrieking "Turnout! Turnout! Turnout!"
    Take a look at my blog here at Redstate and tell me that I do not know the value of having Independents on our side. Just to give you a hint of what I wrote in them, here are the titles of a few of my posts;
   How Can We Turn This Around?
   Never Time To Panic ... But Some Alarm MAY Be In Order.
   Question: Are We Foolishly Putting All Our Eggs In The GOTV Basket? What About The Middle?
   Kerry Is Not The Silver Bullet That Would Save The GOP On 11/07
   The Base Will Turn Out ... But We Need More Swingers & Independents.
   I even put up this post suggesting we try to get the RNC to run ads specifically to appeal to Independents (and rally the base) highlighting the achievements of the GOP majority - they were not completely useless - in the following areas, the economy, homeland security and ensuring a victory in Iraq. Note that I made no mention of social issues.

[8] I like having you in the Party: I do. I really do. And I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your working to get George Allen re-elected despite his pratfalls. But I think, more than anything, you're really more of a GOP loyalist, rather than a Fiscal Conservative - though I do agree you hold fiscal conservatism near and dear to your heart. How else can you explain your peans to Lincoln Chafee?
    Once again, I would also like to point out that I am an unabashed admirer of William Weld and Rudy Guiliani precisely because they have managed to straddle that great divide by keeping the fiscal and economic conservatism pristine even as they held pretty Leftish social views. So cut that nonsense about me wanting you out of the party out.
    What I want from you is a little respect. Emulate Guiliani. I'm a full bore social conservative, but I love Guiliani for the simple fact that he stands up for his fellow Republicans without reservation. You would not find Guiliani allowing any interviewer to get away with calling Rick Santorum an "extremist."
   In other words, Guiliani is much farther to the Left than Jim DeMint and Tom Coburn. But he is right there to say that even while he disagrees with these guys on abortion and things like gay marriage, he respects their opinion on these issues, he respects the fact that there are millions upon millions of people who share these views, these views are not "extreme" or "out of the mainstream", and people who hold these views have just as much right to agitate for them as anybody else including people on the other side.
   And then what does Guiliani do? He praises these guys to the skies for their decency and their service and lauds them for the views that he and they do share with each other or fiscal/economic matters and national security. I have never gotten the impression that Guiliani feels he has anything to be ashamed of because he shares the same party with Sam Brownback.
   Can you say the same of yourself, Liz?

So you want to know what I and 98% of social Conservatives want from you and other "moderates?" Not for you to shut up or get out of the GOP. In fact, my post here talks about all the wings of the GOP getting together to formulate a unifying agenda for all Republicans to run on in 2008. I even explicitly made it clear that at the core of it should be fiscal/economic conservatism and national security.

Give us more Welds and Guilianis instead of Lincoln Chafees and only the truly lunatic fringe would call you RiNOs. If Weld was Rhode Island's Senator I would stand four-square against anybody challenging him in the Primaries. Redstate would not tolerate it either - heck, the Directors still urged people to vote for useless Lincoln Chafee even after rumors came out before the election that he was planning to bolt if the balance of power depended on him.

And ... oh yeah ...

Could you guys please STOP calling us "Hard Right", "extremists", "Far Right", "Religious Right", "out of the mainstream", "homophobes", "racists", "theocrats", "nutjobs", and all them other Kossack terms?!!

Just stop.


An incredible comment.

Yes, there's many areas of agreement that we libertarian Republicans have with our Social conservative friends, most especially Home schooling and Tax cuts for Married couples.

But... We are fuming right now with our Social conservative friends over their idiotic Internet Gaming Ban!!!

Why did you all do that to us??? It's almost like you all just gave all libertarians in the Nation the Middle Finger and said, "Hey libertarians, we don't need your vote. We're ramming through this gross violation of civil liberties through Congress whether you like it or not."

I'm quite serious. You cannot believe how many libertarians, particularly Libertarian Party folks out there who might have been persuaded to vote Republican this year, abandoned the GOP in the last couple weeks over that ONE SINGLE ISSUE ALONE!!!

You Social conservatives royally screwed the pooch on that one, and we libertarians are not going to let you forget it for a long, long time.

Eric Dondero

But it was not a ban. If you want to be ticked about this "gross violation of civil liberties," get in a time machine and go back to 1961 when the wire act was passed. If the law is going to be on the books, we should certainly implement a common sense and minimally invasive method of enforcing it. It is not a good thing to have unenforced laws sitting on the books that the general populace totally ignores while the government looks the other way. That does not foster any kind of respect for the law.
Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself. - Milton Friedman

Liz, I luv ya, but the individuals you describe above are "libertarians" not "moderates."

A libertarian is defined as an individual who is Fiscally conservative yet Socially moderate.

A Moderate is someone who is both Fiscally moderate and Socially moderate.

I'm curious to see where you put Ron Paul in your political lexicon. He's, along with Flake, the Number One NTU scorer. As you know Ron is the former Libertarian Presidential candidate now a Republican Congressman from Texas.

Eric Dondero

to the accusations made about your web site in this diary. Well, what about this one;sid=2006/11/15/151714/44

You spout all kinds of hate and vitriol about Pat Toomey and the Club for Growth. Yet most of the candidates that were recruited by the Club for Growth won on Nov. 7th. Not being fair and balanced of course this fact is never mentioned. I will believe your statements that you are fair and considerate and balanced when I see it.

You’re a persistent cuss, pilgrim.
John Wayne to Jimmy Stewart in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

The Club for Growth is fiscal conservatism. They have no stand on social issues. It is completely illogical to blame the loss on social issues and then fault the Club for Growth. Part of the problem is that there are no fiscal conservatives who are socially liberal in office. Chaffee, Snowe, Collins, Specter, and Schwarzenegger are simply not fiscally conservative. I had hope for Schwarzenegger but he has gone off the fiscal deep end. Not that all social conservatives are fiscally conservatives, but the majority are. If these "moderate" GOP groups would run some true fiscal conservatives maybe they would have something to brag about.

The bottom line is the GOP went down, as it is*, because of the unpopular George W. Bush and his unpopular war. I see considerable insight above but very little acknowledgement that the president and the neo-conservatives around him lost the public and consequently lost the war because they felt they didn't need to explain their endgame. Bush will be gone in 2008, as will the few neo-cons who are left in positions of power (most will return to think tanks or the latest shiny new party that catches their eye).

Terri Shiavo, open borders, earmarks, Foley, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, were side issues. Every poll and reasonable analysis I have seen bears this out.

Tragically, because of what I described above, the war already is in its last days and will be a non-issue by then.

Only after these inevitable purges can the actual core of the party be divined, and not one day sooner. In the meantime, there will be total legislative gridlock and I can't say that is bad at all.

*This was a status quo election, in the final analysis. Yes, majorities shifted but the number movements were small and in line with normal six-year cycles. The one exception is the drag Bush was on the local and state races; these will come back to haunt us in years ahead.

...implies that you disapprove, not that you're waiting to join in yourself.

The Fuzzy Puppy of the VRWC.

And guilty of a little hypocrisy even though I meant every word of it.

While I'm a neoconservative myself, we made a drastic mistake in allowing the opposing faction's objections to be just kicked down the road. Something that I have to remind myself constantly, now that we're where they're landing.

My/our part in the overall fiasco, in other words.

The Fuzzy Puppy of the VRWC.

OK, we lost. Yep we made mistakes on all sides and EVERYONE is to blame (me too). There I said it.

We screwed up in the last election. Let's not make the same mistakes in the NEXT one, OK?

One of the BIG mistakes we made in the last election is we didn't stick together. I mean REALLY! Who are you going to vote for?

Are you moderate Republicans going to vote for the Donks because you don't like the social conservative stance on abortion?

Are you fiscal conservatives going to throw your votes away and go Libertarian because the Republican congress couldn't cut up their credit cards?

Are you social conservatives going to stay home because Rudy or Mitt might not oppose abortion strongly enough?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, we're in trouble and might as well quit now.

The truth is we need each other. I don't agree with Liz's positions on everything and I don't expect her to agree with mine. But I recognize that NONE of my ideals will get implemented without her and none of her's will get implemented without me. None of the alternatives are even close to either of us.

I'm going to stick with the 11th commandment for the next few years and I hope others will too. We Republicans need to stick together. Lets have some good ideological debates but there's really no need for the vitriol. We may just convince the others on OUR side (including moderates, fiscal cons and social cons) that one position or another is better. If not, lets leave the issue on the table and find things we CAN agree on so we can win some elections!

I don't mind TOO much if the Dems beat us in an open election (well really I do, but I can deal with it), but I really can't stand by and watch us beat ourselves. It happened in too many races in the last election and should not be allowed to happen again.

Thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican.

Socialism doesn't work. It looks nice on paper, but it's been tried and it's failed miserably every time (usually accompanied by widespread death and suffering).
Proud member of the V.R.W.C.

"I don't know." -- Helen Thomas, when asked by White House spokesman Scott McClellan, "Are we at war, Helen?"

Not us libertarian Republicans who are loyal team players. Though, we're super pissed off with the Frist Internet Gaming Ban, we will not abandon our fellow Republican friends. That's not the GOP's problem.

The problem is the Libertarian Party members who are already skeptical of the Republican Party who we won't be able to convince to join the GOP coalition for 2008 and beyond.

Just go over to some libertarian boards. I suggest maybe Yahoo Libertarian Group or "Knappster" or Third Party Watch. Look at the vitriol spewed by Libertarian Party members at those boards towards George W. Bush and the GOP.

How can we ever hope to expand this coalition of ours if we cannot even win the Libertarian Party folks over to our side?

Eric Dondero

We don't want most of them. Many of them are raving loons who just hate the war and hate any attempts to collect intelligence. Many are total open border types. Many are just single issue "legalize it" voters. There are a lot of crazies in that party, as evidenced by some of the total nutters that run for office under the LP banner. I actually have voted LP in the past, but I hardly even recognize that crowd today.
Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself. - Milton Friedman

Yes, there most certainly are a great many looney tunes in the Libertarian Party.

But then there are just as many rational Libertarians who are for all intents and purposes "Republican" Libertarians who would otherwise vote Republican if we just gave them a reason too.

Eric Dondero

I'm all for making the tent a little bigger. Being a small(er) government conservative myself, I do have sympathies with many of the Libertarian ideals, but I think they tend to take them too far.

As I said above, I think voting Libertarian party is a wasted vote as there's not much chance any L is going to actually get elected (yes I know, one or 2 local offices, but nothing of import). Voting L is taking a vote from a Republican and helping the Dem to get elected (if I were a lefty I'd feel the same about the Greens stealing from the Dems).

I do think they would be more comfortable with Republicans than with Democrats, but I don't know how to convince them of this. I also don't know how to convince them that their party is never going to be successful and to join us instead. Got any suggestions? And no, I'm not going to sacrifice the Evangelicals in order to gain the Libertarians.

Socialism doesn't work. It looks nice on paper, but it's been tried and it's failed miserably every time (usually accompanied by widespread death and suffering).
Proud member of the V.R.W.C.

Just reach out to them. How many RedStaters here ever visit Libertarian Forums?

Just go over to a Libertarian Board, hang out for a while, and invite the Libertarians to join the GOP coalition.

There's almost ZERO Republican outreach efforts directed towards Libertarians. Anything at all would help. Just do something.

Eric Dondero

You missed my pre-2006 election day reachout, see below, and I am working on a more comprehensive essay to continue the effort. I think this is critical to GOP conservative success, and by virtue, America's. I think the keys are that Libertarian's understand that social conservative's main goal is to stop Courts from making law. At the federal level, I see no basis for conflict between the two groups.
"One man with courage makes a majority." - Andrew Jackson

Excellent article. I couldn't agree more.

But I will offer this criticism. You published it on the wrong forum. Such a piece should have been plastered all over Libertarian Boards. Here at RedState you're virtually preaching to the chior with that.

My criticism of my fellow RedStates and my Conservative friends is that they talk a good game at CPAC and at other gatherings about the "need to reach out to Libertarians." But they never friggin' do anything about it. They never, ever attend Libertarian Party meetings. They don't even visit Libertarian sites on the Web to invite Libertarians into the GOP coalition.

Here's a couple suggestions:

Join Yahoo Libertarian Group, Libertarian Republican or my own Mainstream libertarian Group at Yahoo. (Hint: A bunch of GOP critics who are diehard Libertarians hang out at both Yahoo Libertarian and Libertarian Republican.)
Join Boston Tea Party, Knappster, Hammer of Truth, Third Party Watch, or virtually any other Libertarian Discussion Group and start posting away defending the GOP.
Attend a local Libertarian Party meeting.
Ask to speak to an LP event or convention as a Representative of the Republican Party.

Preaching to the chior is okay, but it's not productive. If you want to "snare Libertarians" into the GOP net you must go to their favorite watering holes.

Eric Dondero

Plus, I agree with you on the Internet gaming ban. But, of course I disagree with making it a litmus test!

But I do have a few litmus tests:

For President: Will he defend the country aggressively

If a President won't defend us, we won't be defended

For Congress: Will he support the CINC in defending the country and refuse to raise taxes

You know Eric, I frequently call myself a social conservative here, and that is because (a) I am, and (b) this category appears to be the one category that may (but I don't know) have less overlap and which is the most misunderstood.

Part of the reason I more often identify with this group is my experience as a lawyer and seeing first hand how many of these fellow church goers who used to be dems or non-political were forced into political activism by court decisions and the growing hostility of the dem party to people of faith.

I would agree with you that a higher percentage of this group and of course the neo-cons are less hostile to big government, though they do favor that programs be run according to principles of accountability and incentives. The reason for this is that many were democrats after all; many are Southern, and so more vulnerable over time and retain the memory of what FDR did to bring the South into the mainstream; and are poorer.

But in many respects they simply reflect the fact that America overall has been addicted to government for 60+ years and its going to be an ordeal getting off of it.

That's why I insist that we have to sell fiscal conservatism with specific proposals that solve problems and show the way from here to there.

But, while I self identify with social cons, I am first and foremost a conservative due to its economic philosophy of limited government and free enterprise. Adherence to the judeo-christian values embodied in the Constitution. respect fir the founders.

Plus, I have always been a hawk ON defense.

more later

I will post and converse with libertarians.
"One man with courage makes a majority." - Andrew Jackson

I am upset that I have missed this entire discussion, there are so many comments that I would have made earlier in this debate, but will now just tack on at the end.

Let me say, I am a republican, and a small government conservative. However, I am not a tribalist or a partisan, I am a believer in fact I am a "true believer."

I point the finger at the party hacks who put unity and being republican and being in the majority, above philosophy and above being right. I don't believe in looking the other way.

I will speak ill of other republicans, because frankly I question their beliefs and their motives. We have an opportunity in the minority to lick our wounds, purge our failures and become stronger. We should not use our time in the minority to act like nothing has happened, and act like we are all alike and all believe the same thing. We don't, and I for one plan on working to increase my philosophy's share of the party, and if that means I will be doing battle with moderates (who love government) and social conservatives (who want to use government to install their will) then so be it.

Let the games begin!

- JG

politics the way we think politics. Analytical, strategizing Republicans pretty much cancel out analytical, strategizing Democrats. We may, in recent years, have slightly better numbers, but they have fifty years of unchallenged governing, so they're better at it than we are, cancelling out any numerical advantage.

Real voters don't endlessly analyse the policies and positions of a politician. Some have single interests, but they're as divorced from the dynamic of actually winning elections as are we wonks. That ten to thirty percent in the middle that actually decides elections develops some amorphous gut feeling about a candidate or a party and that determines their vote.

We lost the battle of the gut feeling. I'm confident that Americans embrace Republican policies rather than Democrat policies, but in this election, we lost their embrace of our candidates and our Party because, frankly, we could very easily be branded as hypocrites. We of small government and personal responsibility went on a spending binge and were just as guilty of wedging and finger pointing as the Ds ever were. All the too-cute-by-half wedge issue votes; that stuff works once, then the electorate figures out that you're forcing the emotional issue to keep the base on the reservation so they won't notice the awful stuff you're doing else where. We forgot that when the enemy is in range, so are you. If you're going to pose yourself as a moral paragon, you'd better damn well be one. Well, like any other group of human beings, we have some among us who are not moral paragons.

As Shakespeare taught us, " 'Tis not in our stars, Dear Brutus, but in ourselves that we are underlings."
In Vino Veritas

A lot of voters – myself included – saw the last minute reliance on things like the Fence, a FMA, and embryonic stem cell research as a way of keeping the single-issue voters on the reservation for this next election. The problem is (a) such people will never be satisfied no matter how much they get (and of course ready to scream “betrayal” at the drop of a hat) and (b) there aren’t enough of them to win elections all by themselves. For those who saw these as gimmicks or for whom social issues and immigration aren’t what determines their votes, there wasn’t anything being offered as a reason to vote FOR Republicans other than “Democrats are much worse (they are) and we promise to do better if you give us another chance.”

I’m not sure how many fiscal conservatives and limited government voters stayed home in November (I didn’t although I didn’t vote for my Representative who still won with 60+ percent of the vote) but independent voters favored Democrats heavily this time around and I think this was largely because the GOP was seen as mishandling the budget and the war and not being able to fix its ethical messes. I agree that they’ve mishandled the budget (although Democrats were demonstrably worse as we saw when they briefly controlled the Senate during Bush 43’s first term) but while they did do better with handling their own scandals than Democrats have, they haven’t gone far enough and many voters probably wanted to punish them this time around.

We would have had to make history to hold the House in a Year Six election. That said, I think we could have held it by fighting and selling the war better and awakening that oldie but goodie gut feeling that Democrats are weak on defense cut and running aggression inviting appeaser McGoverernites. Heck, I had that gut feeling when I was a Democrat. Plus we could have sold the economy better and picked bigger fights over judges and controlled the agenda better.

I really see the hypocrite label as filling a vacuum for the usual build up of grievances in a Year 6. I think gut feelings are produced through drawing stark contrasts on big issues, like war, the economy and courts usurping religious speech, etc. To do this, we have to confront the Democrats and call them out for their outrageous behavior during wartime, their failed class envy and appeals to racism that insult blacks and lower income whites and their political correctness.

We need to be seen as fighters, not as nice guys, especially when the other party is calling the President a liar and counseling for our defeat in a war. The GOP acted like it didn't matter that much what the Dems were saying. So why should the voters.
"One man with courage makes a majority." - Andrew Jackson

......there are really not enough "6 year" elections on the books where the president's party also controlled both Houses of Congress going into the election to draw strong statistical correlations about the 2006 election..

But FWIW---

In 1918---in the face of losing 26 seats in the House and 5 seats in the Senate---the Democrats lost control of both the House and the Senate as a result of the 1918 election..

In 1938---in the face of losing 70 seats in the House and 7 seats in the Senate--the Democrats held the House and Senate in the 1938 election.

The other two elections that might be relevant occurred when the president's party maintained control of both the House and Senate in what were quasi 6 year elections-- occurring mid-way through a president's second term after the president had assumed the presidency part way through the previous term of another president:

In 1950---in the face of losing 29 seats in the House and 5 seats in the Senate--the Democrats held the House and Senate in the 1950 election.

In 1966---in the face of losing 49 seats in the House and 4 seats in the Senate--the Democrats held the House and Senate in the 1966 election.


Tsk tsk. Why would you assume that the winner of an election make up a random variable?
It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones. -- Calvin Coolidge is just historical information from which one could glean many conclusions...the applicability of which becomes a matter of opinion more than a matter of fact...

But you lost me with the "If you're going to pose yourself as a moral paragon" bit. That is a Dem/MSM sterotype of Republicans but I have a hard time thinking of many people who fit the bill. Care to suggest some names?

I'd say the Democrats are a good deal worse than we are on the whole hypocrisy angle. They are subject to all the same failings as Republicans plus they also routinely sin against liberal pieties. Consider how wealthy many of them are, the sources of their wealth, and the efforts they exert to shield their wealth from taxes.

The Dem's are if anything a bigger bunch of moralizers than the Republicans. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

as an antidote to Democrat excess. The "live boy or dead girl" rule came about when the Ds had power in perpetuity; they've now proven that they can survive both live boys and dead girls. Whether justified or not we are perceived and some of us have posed ourselves as above diddling the help and reaching in the till. Well, some of us aren't. Democrats can do awful things and it is OK because on policy, they're "good people" in the eyes of the press and the Left. Repubicans have to be Caesar's Wife, and we weren't.

In Vino Veritas

If a single Republican caught diddling the help and reaching in the till serves to discredut the whole party then we should fold our tents and go home. There will always be some bad people in our party. The distinction between us and the other side is what happens when the bad guys are revealed.

But I don't agree with the basic assertion that the public expects better from us because we pose as moral paragons. I don't think the public at large looks at it that way.

Yes, Democrats can get away with the same or much worse because the press favors them. The solution to that is not to expect some absurd level of purity from our side but to level the media playing field. That has been the GOP's Achilles heel for the past fifty years and its long past overdue for it to address the problem.

and I know it isn't fair; but it is the way it is. Republican officeholders and appointees HAVE to be Caesar's Wife, and even then they'll be suspect in the eyes of the press. The Ds and the media took a few relatively insignificant scandals and the Abranoff affair, which was business as usual when the Ds did it, and tarred the whole party in the minds of the electorate. And frankly, the spending frenzy didn't help because it is so easy to characterize earmark spending as funnelling money to contributors.

I don't know what we do about it beyond being beyond reproach. The media isn't changing and reporters aren't getting brain transplants. I hadn't been appointed a week before half the Legislature and God knows who else got an anonymous email labelling me a "racist Southern cracker" among other things on the strenght of the evidence that I was born in Georgia and have a bit of a Southern accent. Just goes with the territory. I have no airspeed, altitude, or ideas.
In Vino Veritas

I do think it nipped the momentum Bush had given the GOP with his war rhetoric in the previous week, but a GOP pollster after the election said the main reason was more Clinton's finger poke at Chris Wallace than Foley.

The GOP does need to match the Dems with Oct surprises!

Year 6 build up of greivances, GOP lack of "fighter" image, war weariness and the fact that our margins were low due to a century of Dem power waning slowly.

We have more GOP in the House now than at anytime under Reagan.
"One man with courage makes a majority." - Andrew Jackson

If the conservatives want to treat the Moderates and Independents as the problem, then fine, but they're going stay in the minority for a long time.

When you have 48% of Americans who consider themselves moderates, simply by going with Hard-core ideology isn't going to win you elections anymore. You win elections by winning the center, the midterm 2006 results bear that out where Independents and Moderates played the Kingmakers in many of these pivotal races.

Come on now, at least read a moderate amount of what he wrote, at least down to this part (emphasis added):

I think the "moderates" as typified by the Republicans featured on these websites here... are largely to blame....

You don't get to change definitions of moderate and then club him with yours.

It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones. -- Calvin Coolidge

...and most of Martin Knight’s post is about him voicing dislike for Moderate Republicans who are voicing their displeasure with the hard-core conservative agenda.

Can you really blame them? After the 2006 midterm elections, the results are devastating for the Moderate Republicans, especially in the north-east and in the mid-west. Nearly half of their members were wiped out.

Which would be what exactly? Specifics please.

First of all, I support fiscal conservatism, I’m all for the good government we can actually afford, no more no less.

But I dislike the pandering to the religious right that quite frankly leaves many voters in the center feeling uncomfortable. The GOP leaders in the previous congress tend to reject popular causes that many moderate suburban voters support - such as the minimum wage, embryonic stem cell research and lobbying reforms while ignoring health-care issues that did not involve Terri Schiavo.

The GOP leaders in the previous congress tend to reject popular causes that many moderate suburban voters support - such as the minimum wage, embryonic stem cell research and lobbying reforms while ignoring health-care issues that did not involve Terri Schiavo.

(1) They're Republicans. They don't vote to raise the minimum wage. Most suburban voters don't care about the minimum wage, because they earn more.

(2) You do understand that Congress -- the folks in the neat domey building -- passed a bill funding embryonic stem cell research, right?

(3) Lobbying reforms only came to the fore in the last quarter of the most recent Congress, and honestly, the idea that most suburban voters care about that inside the Beltway nonsense is ludicrous.

(4) They ignored most of the issues involving Terri Schiavo.

Even those who learn from history are surrounded by those doomed to repeat it.

Look, I really have no dog in this fight. All I'm saying is that if the Republicans want to be back in the majority, their going to need to win back the center. Moderate Surbanites have been a fairly dependable voting demographic for the Republicans, but as the mid-term results show, along with the Independents, they've went over to the democrates in droves. Why? Certainly I think it's fair that it's just not about populist issues. Iraq was also a really big issue as well.

Whats also interesting, is the results produced a historic shift in the balance of regional power in Congress. The majority party in the House is now the minority party among Southern states for the first time since the 83rd Congress in 1953-1954.

But when you see Republicans like Olympia Snow or Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, winning in Blue states with 60 or 70 percent of the vote, especially considering the hostile enviroment of 2006. I believe it shows some interesting lessons the GOP could learn and use to win in 2008.

Oh and in regards to the Stem Cell Research bill. Yes, they did manage to pass the bill in both houses (Thanks to the moderates) but the president still vetoed it. And there was still a number of Republicans who were against it, considering the congress couldn't get a 2/3 majority to overide a veto.

Even those who learn from history are surrounded by those doomed to repeat it.

You still haven't shared.

Correct that.

Even those who learn from history are surrounded by those doomed to repeat it.

What is it that you want me to share exactly?

the hard-core conservative agenda

Elaborate. What exactly is the hard-core conservative agenda, and what steps did Congress actually take to implement it? (Keeping in mind that you're now clear on what happened with the infant slaughter and experimentation bill.)

Specifics. Dates. Data.

Even those who learn from history are surrounded by those doomed to repeat it.

When you see a libertarian Republican like Sarah Palin winning as Governor of Alaska with a larger percentage than was anticipated (50% to 39%) against a longtime Democrat former Governor Tony Knowles, maybe, just maybe you ought to pay attention?

When you see a libertarian Republican like Butch Otter easily winning as Governor of Idaho, maybe, just maybe that's a sign?

Or, when you see a libertarian-leaning Republican like Charlie Crist romping in a huge State like Florida, well maybe that's a sign too.

Or, when you see the former Libertrarian Party Presidential candidate Ron Paul, easily winning reelection to Congress with over 65% of the vote in Texas, maybe that says something?

Maybe what the electorate is saying is that

WE WANT MORE LIBERTARIAN REPUBLICANS IN OFFICE!!! Not Moderates, Not Conservatives, but rather LIBERTARIANS, as in

Eric Dondero

You still haven't shared.

Even those who learn from history are surrounded by those doomed to repeat it.

I can blame them for misdirecting their displeasure. I understand many moderate Republicans are unhappy with their losses on Nov. 7th. However if they want to do a post mortem analysis then they should not look to winners on Nov. 7th like Pence, Musgrave, and Tancredo for what went wrong. Nothing went wrong for them. They should look in the mirror. They should ask themselves what is message that we selling, and why didn't the voters buy it?

You’re a persistent cuss, pilgrim.
John Wayne to Jimmy Stewart in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

Because I'm going to echo Thorley here. Kindly share. We'd love to think we're going to enjoy your company for a while.

Even those who learn from history are surrounded by those doomed to repeat it.

Medicare part D Px Bill
Soc Sec "protected" from Big Bad Bush
Deficit shrunk
Medicaid shrinks
Da' Rich paid more in taxes as an absolute number and as % of total taxes paid
No cities firebombed or nuked despite several that deserved to be so vaporized
Bushlied cacophony met with "we disagree"
Shiavo's Polygamist husband still allowed to dehydrate his disabled wife to death

or was it GOP Sen-SC Lindsey Graham making Alito's wife cry
"One man with courage makes a majority." - Andrew Jackson

respond to my post above. This is a discussion I'd like to have.

In Vino Veritas

I am voicing my dislike for "moderate" Republicans who publicly and vituperatively attack, like Sarah Resnick, Jennifer Stockman and Liz Mair, other Republicans solely because they are further to the Right of them on social issues.

Is it really necessary for these folks to use terms like "Hard Right", "Extremist Right", "Far Right", "Religious Right", "out of the mainstream", etc to describe people like Marsha Blackburn and Mike Pence?

Honestly? No.

And if you read my posts and comments, you'd notice that I'm full bore with praise for socially Leftish Republicans like Weld and Guiliani. I want them in the Party - I believe they are quite simply Republicans - not "moderates" or any other qualification necessary.

I love Guiliani for the simple fact that he stands up for his fellow Republicans without reservation. You would not find Guiliani allowing any interviewer to get away with calling Rick Santorum an "extremist."

In other words, Guiliani is much farther to the Left than Jim DeMint and Tom Coburn. But he is right there to say that even while he disagrees with these guys on abortion and things like gay marriage, he respects their opinion on these issues, he respects the fact that there are millions upon millions of people who share these views, these views are not "extreme" or "out of the mainstream", and people who hold these views have just as much right to agitate for them as anybody else including people on the other side.

And then what does Guiliani do? He praises these guys to the skies for their decency and their service and lauds them for the views that he and they do share with each other or fiscal/economic matters and national security. I have never gotten the impression that Guiliani is anything but proud to say he shares the same party with Sam Brownback.

Can you say the same of Liz Mair here?

In other words, we're on the same side. That doesn't mean we must be in lockstep. But it does mean that you should shield my back because we were the same jersey. Don't assist the other side in hurting me.

I think we should discard adjectives like "moderate" and "libertarian" to describe Republicans who attack conservatives. They are simply liberals. Activists for the abortion industry and the gay-rights lobby have adopted the phrase "libertarian" as a cudgel with which to accuse conservative Republicans (unfairly) of ideological inconsistency.

Conservatism is not an ideology; it is a predisposition in defense of tradition. In the American political sense of the word, conservatism means to defend the original and traditional interpretation of the Constitution.

The Founders, and generations of Americans thereafter, did not consider that the federal government created by the Constitution had the authority to meddle in the private economy, or that federal courts had the power to legislate, or that the people were unfit to govern themselves through their state legislatures.

All of these traditional (i.e., conservative) understandings of the meaning of the Constitution began to be shredded in the 20th century, beginning with the New Deal and continuing through the Warren Court, then particularly Roe v. Wade, and so on until culminating in Lawrence v. Texas which reversed a precedent only 17 years previous, and in the process overturned centuries of Anglo-American jurisprudence.

If the people of Texas cannot, through their duly-constituted legislatures, be allowed to define the crime of sodomy, and to prescribe its punishment, then the "consent of the governed" -- a right for which my ancestors risked hanging for treason, in taking up arms against the mightiest empire on earth at the time -- has come to an end.

If the Massachusetts state constitution, which dates to the 18th century, requires that same-sex marriages be recognized (as that state's supreme court has declared) then I'm a monkey's uncle.

And if state laws forbidding abortion are a violation of the 14th Amendment, then we need to repeal the 14th Amendment.

It is liberals, through their control of courts, schools, and media, which have always been the aggressors in the culture war. It is liberals who have forced these divisive issues of homosexuality and abortion into the public square.

And those who are now attacking conservative Republicans are liberals -- not "moderates" or "libertarians." I do not say that conservative Republicans are infallible. But insofar as the attacks upon conservatives are ideological, then the attackers are liberals, and ought to be called what they are, rather than being allowed to further confuse the issue by claiming to be something else.

There is nothing "moderate" about abortion-on-demand, and nothing "libertarian" about the gay agenda.

I guess that's why we are the most hardcore proponents of the War on Islamo-Fascism?

I guess that's why we want to abolish income taxes and cut government spending across the board?

I guess that's why we are the Nation's Number One Advocates of Gun Owner's Rights?

I guess that's why all libertarians are passionately opposed to ANY AND ALL government funding of abortions?

I guess that's why if our Gay friends want to get married we tell them to go to a private lawyer and draw up some papers, instead of going to the local County Courthouse to seek the sanction of the government for their communion?

Yup, we're liberals alright.

Eric Dondero

You use the term "conservative Republican" as if the two are synonymous, though they are anything but.

Republicans have, and continue to, oppose the intrusion of the federal government into what should be affairs regulated by the states. I am a Republican.

Social conservatives have abandoned those principles.

Your post states that the state of Texas should be allowed to regulate against the 'crime of sodomy'. Without entertaining a debate over what makes vaginal intercourse legal, but rectal intercourse a crime, I would simply say I agree with your premise - if Texas feels it is a crime, the state should be free to regulate it consistent with the will of their people.

If Massachusetts, through the popular will of its voters as expressed via the election of representatives, chooses to recognize gay marriage, they should be allowed to do so.

Those are the Republican positions.

You argue the libertarians are liberals in disguise. Technically, we're not in disguise at all. (For a complete history of classical liberalism, you should visit

Social conservatives are neither classical liberals or even Republicans. They have become Democrats, but have not yet switched parties.

Democrats, you see, have traditionally favored the Federal approach to legislation. They have asked for a strong fed with subservient state governments. This is consistent with the modern social conservatism.

Why should abortion be legislated by Congress? If you truly believe that abortion is murder, then you should work to change the law to be consistent with that definition. Since murder is tried in local courts, not federal courts (excepting certain exemptions created by Congress for drug kingpins, etc.)you should work to ensure that all murders are tried locally.

Why should a nursing home in Florida be subjected to the attention of the Supreme Court for carrying out a state court's order to stop feeding Terri Schiavo? Why should that rise to the level of the federal government?

Why should Republicans pursue a constitutional amendment at the federal level to supersede the right of the states to determine who can marry within their jurisdiction?

Social conservatives, not libertarians, have become the faction of big government solutions to personal issues. It is they who should wear the label "Democrats in Disguise".

I say that not based on a desire to call names, but on a simple recognition of their tendency to support a strong federal approach to local issues.

that attempting to amend the constitution was a mistake. And that's from a social conservative. There may be some value in going beyond the political consensus when it works. There's none when you know you'll lose from the start.

However, to be a bit brutal, federalism is not reality. Sure, the states have their local laws. The federal judiciary reserves the right to revoke them whenever it happens to please them. The states have their budgets, but federal taxes are heavy, and getting some money back depends on following mandates.

I agree we should be pushing back on this, just as we should be pushing back on government spending. But expecting the Congress to volutarily reduce its power is rather idealistic. There's a limit to how harsh I can be on Republicans for acting on what exists, instead of what we want to exist.

There is the world we want, and the world we live in, but what ever happened to trying to make the world more like the one we want, and less like the one we don't?

We had the power of congress for 12 years, yet for the last six, we did precious little to either disassemble the nanny state. At the very least, we should have attempted to divest the federal government of some of the power the Democrats had usurped from states over the previous 60 years.

Instead, our Republican Congress did little but try to line their own pockets and further engorge government. By turning to the federal government for solutions, they contributed greatly to the problem rather than fixing it.

And btw, I have prayed and thought a lot about your fears of Romney and while I don't share them, I think I understand you better despite the lack of evidence to substantiate your fears. If you would e-mail me, I would get into detail, as I see your fears as mainly a fear that the Church could be harmed and souls lost, and so I don't think that discussion is appropriate here on RS. I do think I was wrong to try and get you banned and I apologize. I had never done that before and in fact, I have argued for re-instatement of many libs. Again, I apologize.

But as to gay marriage, we could get an amendment banning that eventually, given the opinions and laws in so many states, even some blue ones. Trying and failing to pass it puts the blue state senators on the spot and can help lead to eventually winning that battle.
"One man with courage makes a majority." - Andrew Jackson

I'd be delighted if we actually passed an amendment. But we didn't, and we knew we wouldn't.

Is there value in getting the other side on record? Some. But we also went on record as trying to get the federal government deeply involved in family matters, and furthermore to use its power against a law-abiding minority. Would we tolerate that, if this issue were any less dear to our hearts? I can understand why the more libertarian wing of the party is furious.

Time for a different strategy, IMO. The state referenda have secured marriage where it can be secured. (Even if a federal judge were to try to overturn them, he'd be open to political annihilation.) Let's turn to selling the American people more on true marriage, and adding benefits at the state level and in the tax code. The grand approach will have to wait until there's a greater consensus for the institution.

Oh, and gladly forgiven on the Romney stuff. I expect a little heat on such a heartfelt matter. And it was a discussion worth having - I've become convinced that Romney isn't intentionally trying to carry the LDS's water. I can live with him as a candidate now, if the party can't do better.

And I actually do favor a cut back on some social issues. The main thing evangelicals want is a court that doesn't impose secularism and dent free speech to religious speech, and with one more sup ct justice we will have it. We disagree on the gay marriage issue surprisingly. Glad you are more secure on Romney and thanks for accepting my apology.

In Christ

"One man with courage makes a majority." - Andrew Jackson

Slavery, Life and the nature of Marriage are three I would include in that category. I am a huge advocate for local control on most issues, especially schools and the improper application of the establishment clause to the states, but there are some exceptions.

I would not pursue a federal ban on all abortions given the split in the public and the difficulty in the "health" of the mother area, but as to late term clear murders due to "mental health" I favored the federal law. I do favor an amendment defining marriage nationally as it has been for 5000 years. This institution is responsible for civilization.

And when states wish to refuse food and water to a non-terminal disabled person, they deserve at least the same review as a convicted murderer.
"One man with courage makes a majority." - Andrew Jackson

The vast majority of Americans shudder at the idea, even atheists wind up being against it. For the democrats its one more illustration of how they sell out the people for a small splinter group.

but to Martin's post at my site.

Here goes:

This is a long post, so I'll reply to the specific details later, but for now, suffice it to say that I consider myself to be a libertarian, not a moderate per se, just like most of the people on my site. And yes, there are big differences between our side of the debate, and the social con bit. That's why people like Dick Armey are taking aim at the social cons. That's why Ryan Sager wrote his book.

It appears that you are not familiar enough with what libertarians actually think to understand that there is a rift. Quite a large one, actually.

And a further note that I'll add here: I'm quite sure moderates and libertarian-leaners will happily stop calling social cons "extremists," "homophobes," "nutjobs" and so on, as soon as social cons stop calling us "liberals," "RINOs," "Democrats in Disguise," "idiots," and "murderers." I've been called all of those things by social cons. Frequently, as it happens. In some cases, by people who post at RedState.

Liz Mair is the editor of WWW.GOPPROGRESS.COM, a RedState-style blog for libertarian, mainstream and moderate Republicans

Now was truly not the time to short post.

Since some of those characterizations (I believe) would be against the RS posting rules, I for one would truly be interested in specific cites.

I am also looking for a response to the "Olive Branch" Martin's post (absent having to leave RS).

"Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori"

about a Red State poster that is perceived by moderates for accusing people who do not support his position to be nothing short of a traitor. The poster cited is Paul C Cello. I have been at RS for about 30 weeks. IMO the most contentious and heated discussions at RS have concerned immigration. I do think the moderators here at RS do a very good job of trying to keep everyone civil with the postings.

You’re a persistent cuss, pilgrim.
John Wayne to Jimmy Stewart in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

But I'm not so sure that RiNO != liberals != "Democrats in Disguise". One pretty much covers the rest, I think.

But as for the others, i.e. "murderer" I think I'll echo the poster above me and ask for some proof. And I'll like to see a cite of any elected or otherwise prominent Conservative Republican doing so.

Anyway, you have to admit that some people deserve the RiNO moniker. Once again, I point to "... mild-mannered, independent-minded, and definitively centrist" Lincoln Chafee.

How anyone can heap such praise on Lincoln Chafee and call herself a libertarian is not something I am going to go into for now.

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