Moral Contradictions

Thursday, June 16, 2005

GOP: Recipe for losing power

Essentially every side is claiming a victory after Tuesday's primary, no matter if they won or lost the election. The anti-taxers have received the most attention since they claimed this primary to be a referendum on the 2004 tax-hike. The Virginia Conservative Action PAC was formed to unseat the 17 Republican "mavericks" yet could only field 6 candidates. VCAP was the largest contributer to campaigns besides the Democratic National Committee. Given that one high profile target, Preston Bryant of Lynchburg, won his seat 3 to 1 and $136,274 was spent on losing campaigns (34% success rate discounting the Attorney General's race), I'd say they largely failed. There's always silver-linings and many have taken the long view that this is merely another step towards a greater goal, yet the politics of mud-slinging and division in the GOP have been squelched for now.

I grew up Republican and started this blog as I became disillusioned with the direction the party is going. I believe in some Republican principles and some Democratic principles, yet the GOP is the party I'm more familiar with. However, I call myself a "moderate" or independent because I'll vote against a fanatical conservative candidate every time they run. I believe the truth is somewhere in the middle of the propaganda served by both sides. I believe the current "grass-roots" hard-right GOP'ers are the biggest threat to the party.

Del. Bobby Orrock expressed my reservations with Shaun Kenney's campaign and similar races best in today's Free Lance-Star:

To me, that's potentially the single greatest danger from that group, in that it brings a narrowing of the focus of the party and establishes certain litmus test measures that no matter whether you agree 90 percent of the time, if you're not 100 percent then you don't fit. I see a viable Republican Party as one that is broader than that.

I've been saying this all along. This group is very similar to the folks who took over the Southern Baptist Convention. It's "you're either all for us or against us". I don't buy that one bit. I've also observed that as the party continually focuses on its "base" and continues calling out "RINOs" (Republicans In Name Only), they serve to weaken the party by disinviting long-time Republicans who disagree with their hardcore and "anti-everything" message.

Orrock eloquently observes that:

"What I think could be more telling would be in November where there are no-tax incumbents facing Democrat challengers," Orrock said. "I fear that we may lose a few seats where this primary has given the Democrats the moderate message, to essentially unseat some of the most conservative/no-tax Republicans. If that happens, it would be tremendously ironic given that VCAP was formed to go after open seats and increase the Republican majority."

The longer the GOP allows itself to be held hostage by the far-right wingers, the more they'll watch power slip through their fingers as folks like me get fed up with the constant litmus tests, non-compromises, and dirty politics. Already the national party has been met with strong disapproval for its knee-jerk reaction with Terri Schiavo. President Bush's strong election "mandate" has now quickly reversed itself to all-time low approval ratings.

For folks like Shaun Kenney, Grover Norquist, James Dobson, etc: the more you condemn and the more you judge, the less credible you become. Ideological purity and party loyalty isn't above finding solutions and compromises for large-scale and immediate problems.


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