Conservatives are, unbelievably, blaming Scott Brown for losing the health-care vote. Once again, they are calling him a RINO – as in, “we elected a RINO and we still got this lousy health-care bill.” Never mind that the critical vote took place in that other chamber, the House of Representatives. Never mind that America faces an epic financial crisis. These people continue to believe that all Republicans must be anti-gay and anti-abortion.
The mighty conservative movement has dwindled to just two issues. Jeremiah would like them to consider a third – Scott Brown is pro-gun. He has an “A” rating from the NRA and he has worked steadily to liberalize gun laws in Massachusetts. This is a red-meat Republican issue, and it also shows Senator Brown to be a hardworking and competent legislator.
The story of Senator Brown should inspire all gun owners, particularly those who live in states where attacks on our rights are common. – Chris Cox, NRA Director
RINO hunters should consider this sequence of events – we demand a “true conservative,” as Sarah Palin did in NY-23, and we lose. The Democrats then take away our guns, as well as our money.
Surveys show that Tea Party supporters do not want to split the Republican vote. But purging moderates like Scott Brown, Charlie Crist and John McCain will have the same effect – more Democrats in Congress.
See also: Scott Brown is Pro-Choice
The grassroots anti-tax movement known as the Tea Party is meeting this week in Nashville. Jeremiah has written before on the need for a third party, and about the schism in the Republican Party. The question is which side of the divide the Tea Party will represent.
The movement takes its name from the anti-tax rebellion which led, ultimately, to the American Revolution. It aims to rein in government spending, and to curb what it sees as socialist leanings in the Obama administration. This lucid purpose, unfortunately, is clouded by some other motives which are distractions at best – and easy targets for the movement’s detractors.
The appeal of the movement was poignantly depicted by a middle-aged woman at a rally last summer, tearfully wondering where “her country” had gone. Many people agree that America is on the wrong track, but nostalgia is a poor guide to policy. We cannot, at a stroke, bring back America’s dominance of the world economy. Nor would we want to bring back other souvenirs from the Fifties, like racism, sexism and social conformity.
The Tea Party could become a powerful voting bloc, or even a third party, if it sticks to its message of fiscal responsibility. To judge by its aspiring leaders, people like Tom Tancredo and Sarah Palin, it looks more likely to become a lunatic fringe.
The Republican Party has recently been moving toward sensible “big tent” positions that could bring huge gains in November. If the Palinistas manage to subvert the Tea Party movement, or otherwise to associate the GOP with their far-right agenda, they will only succeed in handing victory to the Democrats.
Take this simple quiz. If you agree with eight (8) or more of the following statements, then you qualify as a righteous Republican.
- I want smaller government, smaller national debt, and lower taxes.
- I want market-based health care reform, not a government program.
- I want market-based energy reforms, not the “cap and trade” tax.
- I want workers to unionize only by secret ballot.
- I oppose amnesty for illegal immigrants.
- I support the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- I want strong action against nuclear weapons in Iran and North Korea.
- I oppose gay marriage.
- I oppose abortion.
- I support the right to bear arms.
As silly as the “purity pledge” sounds, these are exactly the issues the Republican Party needs to answer. Following the Scozzafava debacle, the party must decide if abortion and gay rights are really its defining issues.
The Republicans should romp in 2010, given the other side’s dismal performance on economic and defence issues – but not if the GOP remains shackled to the religious right. The Democrats will not miss an opportunity to paint them as the party of bible-thumping rednecks.
A Republican candidate might be electable with seven of these items, maximum – and only in conjunction with a positive message and some constructive proposals. When they named the pledge after Ronald Reagan, it seems they forgot the part about getting elected.
See also: A GOP Purity Test?
Dede Scozzafava might have beaten Bill Owens in the NY-23 election. She was seven points ahead on October 1. But rightist Republicans, led by Sarah Palin, defected for Conservative candidate Doug Hoffman. This split the Republican vote, handing victory to the Democrat. Here is how the Washington Post described Scozzafava:
Like some other northeastern Republicans, she is generally conservative on fiscal issues but favors abortion rights and gay rights. She is, her supporters say, the kind of Republican who can win a race in a district like New York’s 23rd.
Clearly, not a “true” Republican by national-party standards. On the other hand, Mr. Hoffman turned out to be uninformed on key local issues, like road and water projects. He lost. You have to hand it to the Palinistas. They would rather lose an election than give up their litmus test.
The Republican Party used to stand for things like small government, low taxes, and fiscal conservatism. Now, it is just anti-gay and anti-abortion. Next to be sabotaged: Olympia Snowe.