Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Fate of the Lonely GOP Moderates

GOP moderates are facing up to the likely loss of some colleagues, and what little influence they have left, to in next week's election. Harold Meyerson in the Washington Post offers little sympathy for those centrist Republicans who perversely blame Democrats for their loss of power within their party:
"There is no one who has voted more often with the Democrats than Linc Chafee," Susan Collins, the Republican senator from Maine, told the New York Times of her Rhode Island colleague, who is trailing Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse in the polls. "Yet that didn't stop them from going after him with everything they had."
And we all remember how moderate Republicans stopped the conservatives who control their party from going after moderate Democrats in previous elections, right? How they pleaded with Tom DeLay not to push through his mid-decade reapportionment of Texas, which led to the ousting of such veteran conservative Democrats as Rep. Charles Stenholm? How they deplored the campaign that Republican Saxby Chambliss waged against Georgia Democratic Sen. Max Cleland, who'd lost both legs and an arm in Vietnam, for being soft on national security?
Indeed, it was precisely the Republicans' success at defeating the centrist and center-right Democrats in the South over the past two decades that has driven the GOP steadily rightward. And for all their protestations of moderation, the northern Republicans -- from Susan Collins to Lincoln Chafee to Rep. Chris Shays -- abetted that transformation.
Delaware's Mike Castle will likely be returned to Congress, where he will gather with a shrunken cadre of his middle of the road colleagues. Do I feel sorry for this remnant of old-school centrists? I do not.
The Republican Party has relentlessly moved to the right while villifying those who disagree with the misadventure in Iraq as rooting for the terrorists. And in the face of a public repudiation of their government, they have unleashed the most appalling onslaught of last minute attack ads I can remember.
The GOP's leaders chose this course for their party and their country, and now they are facing the consequences of their decisions. Karl Rove was labeled a boy genius for his strategy of ruling the country from a narrow conservative base, but his strategy is unravelling. Our president, who proclaimed himself "a uniter not a divider" in the 2000 campaign, is finding that his fear tactics have lost their fearful sting.
As a Democrat, I am heartened by the prospect of enlarging our base and becoming more of a national party. The GOP is on its way to becoming a more regional party, and its leaders must accept the responsibility for the decisions that have them to this moment.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mike Castle may be a great guy, he may be a good Delawarean, he may be a moderate Republican. But he is, a Republican This brings up the question of whether there can be such a thing as a good Republican who deserves to win office in November.

Any other time I would have said sure. Any other time I would have said voting a straight ticket was pure partisanship. But this year is different.

This year we have seen the unfettered Republican machine in action. Just as our ancestors plowed through the idiocies proffered across the Atlantic by King George and his parliament, so have we, in this day and age, suffered at the hands of a King George and his parliament. Whereas those colonists had to make a choice between Royalists and Patriots, we too are at a decisive point in this country. We are at a point that to vote for any Republican in this off-year election, is to condone the actions of the isolated, insular, inept core of the Republican leadership. Ladies and Gentlemen! The only way to redirect this country is to send a signal, strong and loud, that Americans do not appreciate their country’s Constitution, usurped by a king and his court. And the only signal they will understand is if a Republican, campaign chests overflowing, unexpectedly does not return to his seat next January.

If even good , honest, decent men who have given much to their country, are defeated solely because of the actions of a few in their top leadership, then those few have no choice to acquiesce to the will of a majority of American people. Some say this is too harsh a sentence to condemn on a good man. They say loyalty is needed when one’s friend is in trouble. Any other time, I might agree. But not now.

Some who studied history, particularly the early 30’s in Germany, see ominous parallels between those times and these. (Doesn’t Cheney remind you of the dentist in “Marathon Man”) We are seeing the destruction of democracy, piece by piece, little by little. Did any of you vote for this eradication of the principles of our founding fathers? Probably not, you’re all Democrats. Did any Republicans realize they were voting for the end of our Republic? No, none of this was a campaign issue. The internal core has simply created their own system of rules with no input or oversight of the American people.

I understand politics is a lot of verbal banter and most of it washes over me. But when you degrade the Constitution, I take things more seriously. Those of you who study history know that almost all democracies dissolve eventually into dictatorships. Our founders, well versed in the classics, knew this to be true as well, The Constitution they created, was, if followed , intended to prevent that from happening. When you ignore the limits imposed by the Constitution and take law into your own hands, you have done no less than King George and his parliament did in the 1770’s. And we fought back to punish them being so inconsiderate.

Today, with what’s left of the Constitution, we do not have to take arms against a sea of troubles. We can push a button instead, and pull the lever. (provided the machine is not a Diebold). Today voting is as patriotic as grabbing the gun, kissing the wife, and trudging off to war.

Enough said about war two hundred years ago. Why Castle?

Mike Castle has always been there for Delaware. He has, and deserves, many friends. Those who know him understand his actions. They remember when he first went to Congress, vowing to be independent, not following the warped will of the Republican leadership, and the next morning, all funding for Delaware had been stripped overnight from the appropriations bills up for a vote. He had to crawl, on his knees, hat in hand, and beg for restitution of funds earmarked for Delaware. That Delaware should be so humiliated, should make every citizen of this great state livid. Every vote for any Republican condones this behavior. But the lesson was learned by Mr. Castle.

This election we will hear much about the stem cell bill vetoed last month. But at what cost was such a bill passed? Here is just a few: College loans and student lunches scuttled to make way for a tax break costing billions. Medicaid and food stamps trimmed while supporting billions in tax breaks. Castle voted against protecting health coverage for breast cancer treatment (HR 4281 – vote 173); Castle voted for the confusing GOP Medicare Prescription Drug Bill (HR 1 – vote 669); Castle voted against lower drug prices, against allowing drug re-importation, and against more coverage for low income seniors (HR1 – vote 668); Castle voted to weaken state health insurance protections (HR 660 – vote 296). (Yawn, aren‘t details boring?) Castle voted to deny extra monies for our first responders to a terrorist attack. He voted against extra monies to shore up levees in New Orleans, he voted for HCR 376; vote 158 ; which raised our debt limit while cutting funds for port security, national guard, protection of nuclear material from terrorists, and homeland security.

The Castle we know and love, would never have done this. This is what had to be done to buy votes to pass the stem cell bill. If a Democrat was in, we would not have to suffer 10 times over, to get one iota of relief. Imagine a loving St. Bernard, chained to hands of a cruel despotic master. Harsh jerks of the collar soon turn a lovable beast into a mean junkyard dog. Delaware deservers more than someone forced to crawl up and lick the feet of his master for a little tidbit. A Democrat, not beholden to Republican kingpins, can fully represent this great patriotic state. Any Democrat. Any Democrat can outdo Mike Castle in the current Congress. And, this time we have an outstanding human being, contesting Mr. Castle. Dennis Spivak cannot fail to improve Delaware’s stature in Congress. Especially if no one is expecting him to be there.

This is not an easy issue to resolve. It has the same balancing of loyalty over time, verses being treated as second class citizens, that our ancestors had to struggle with against Great Britain. It consists of balancing our hearts against our heads. Divorce is never easy. But sometimes necessary for a better future.

For those of you still wavering. I ask you what happens when your teenage daughter comes home at 3:00 am when you set a curfew of 12:00? More than likely, she is punished. When your young toddler, punches another and takes his train, what do you do? More than likely, you punish him. When a young student, looks over the shoulder and copies answers from a another’s test, when caught, more than likely, will be punished. When man does not take no as no and pushes on, more than likely, he is punished. So, tell me now, what do you think should happen to a government that pursues an agenda, that a huge majority of Americans find offensive, incompetent, and immoral?

Should they, should they be punished?

Which is why every American who loves his country and this State of Delaware, and willing to fight for the Constitution of this great country, must push the button at the top of the Democratic ticket and pull the lever. This and only this will restore us a government for the people, of the people, and by the people. (It will also give us some damn good candidates)

2:21 AM, November 02, 2006  
Blogger Ryan said...

It is a damn shame that Lincoln Chafee, one of the few senators who votes with his mind not with his party. But its necessary for Dems to win the majority. If Susan Collins is lamenting the democratic assault on moderates she might want to look at her own party.

10:08 PM, November 02, 2006  

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