This is how the argument usually goes: Republicans have moved too far to the right. They’ve alienated the center. They’ve allowed Rush Limbaugh to hijack the party. They’ll never win again unless the party becomes more moderate. Republicans need to act more like Olympia Snowe and less like Sean Hannity.
The part that amuses me is that we’re supposed to believe that these Democrats who have never voted for a Republican in their entire lives – and who never will – somehow care enough that they’re giving the opposition a roadmap to victory. Sure!
The part that troubles me is that there’s more than a little truth in what they say.
One faction on the Right – let’s call it the Limbaugh faction – wants ideological purity in the party. I get the impression that Rush would rather lose an election – and not just “an” election, but a whole bunch of elections — rather than say a good word about a moderate Republican, fearing by doing that he’d be betraying his “conservative principles.”
The other faction – let’s call it the Gingrich faction — is more pragmatic. Newt also wants conservatives to win. But he understands how it works in the real world. He doesn’t consider himself a sell-out because he can live with a moderate Republican who may be pro-choice on abortion. He understands that if the moderate Republican loses, there’s a good chance a liberal Democrat will win.
Now, a new voice has weighed in on how Republicans ought to behave, the anchorwoman voice of Katie Couric. As a liberal Democrat – (I’m sure she would identify herself as a moderate; they all do) – she has advice for Republicans on how to win. In her CBS News blog she wrote this:
As Politico reported, there’s growing concern among some GOP leaders that controversial commentators and far-right conservatives have hijacked the message.
People like Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin appeal to the base – and you certainly need that base to win elections. But in an age when 42 percent of Americans call themselves Independents – you can’t win with just the base, either.
Minority Whip Eric Cantor is calling for more voices in the Republican Party. And Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty says the party needs to be all about addition right now – as the number of declared Republicans hits a 26 year low, according to a poll in the Washington Post.
Before the 2010 midterm elections roll around, Republicans need to get the focus back onto the Big Tent where all are welcome and off the sideshows that are popping up along the party’s fringe.”
Yes, I’m afraid Katie is on to something. But, frankly, I can do without the civics lesson, the part where she tells us that Republicans “need to get the focus back on the Big Tent where all are welcome.”
Does Katie Couric really believe that the other team, the Democrats, “welcome” those who oppose abortion? Do they “welcome” Democrats who are against affirmative action? Do they “welcome” small-government types who want lower taxes? How about those who don’t believe global warming is the life-and-death crisis Al Gore says it is? How “welcome” are they? Do they “welcome” those who tell liberals who are constantly yelling racism to either produce some real evidence or “shut the hell up”? And what about those Democrats who think “torture” – a word I’m using merely as a matter of convenience – is a good thing if it saves innocent lives – how “welcome” are they” in the party?
So, Katie, please stop pretending you care about Republicans. We know you don’t. And while we’re at it, here’s a memo to all liberal Democrats worrying about the future of the Republican Party: Find something else to fret about. You still amuse us, but you’re also starting to annoy us.