Some of my fellow lefties think the Republicans have gone so crazily right wing they are bound to lose the presidential election and maybe the House to boot.
These lefties predict that when the electoral train wreck happens on November 6, the Republican “establishment” will finally rise up, exile the tea party “fringe” and steer the GOP back toward the political center.
This union-card-carrying Hubert Humphrey Democrat begs to disagree.
By “establishment” Republicans, I assume lefties mean the likes of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner. Check out their voting records. They’re uber-conservatives, too.
Genuine moderate Republicans are long gone. Only in the modern GOP can a conservative like retiring Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe get tagged a moderate by the mainstream media. Look up her voting record, too. She's tacked decidedly to the right, opposing the Employee Free Choice Act, for instance. "Less rabidly right wing than most other Republicans" is a more accurate description of her current politics.
Meanwhile, the Republican food fight for the presidential nomination has proved “moderate” is as dirty a word as “liberal” in the tea party-tilting GOP. Mitt Romney is falling all over himself to disavow the “ Massachusetts moderate” label his opponents are pinning on him.
Anyway, I fervently hope the Republicans' extremism has indeed doomed them to defeat.
I'd love to see the emergence of a new bunch of moderate, even liberal, Republicans. I'm old enough to remember Senators Ed Brooke, Jake Javits, Mac Mathias, and John Sherman Cooper and Governors Nelson Rockefeller and George Romney.
The old liberal and moderate Republicans didn't consider politics a holy war or equate compromise with the Democrats' surrender. They saw my party as the loyal opposition (and Democrats saw them the same way).
Liberal and moderate Republicans were even known to make common cause with liberal and moderate Democrats. Indeed, a number of liberal and moderate Northern and Western Republicans -- in the great tradition of the party of "Lincoln and Liberty" -- joined LBJ and liberal and moderate Northern and Western Democrats is support of the civil rights bills and many of the Great Society programs of the 1960s.
Cooper, a Kentuckian, voted for the civil rights legislation -- Medicare, too. A combat veteran of World War II, he became an outspoken critic of the Vietnam War. Early in his career, he was one of the first senators to denounce Sen. Joseph McCarthy's shameless red baiting.
Cooper couldn't win a handful of votes in a Republican primary in the Bluegrass State these days. He probably couldn't get elected dog catcher in his native Pulaski County either.
Anyway, if today's Republicans trimmed the "fringe," there wouldn’t be a GOP. I’d bet the farm there are as many Rush Limbaugh fans at the country club as there are at a NASCAR track (There are a few of us NASCAR Dads who pack union cards and vote for liberal, pro-union Democrats.)
Oh, the more zealous of the tea partiers might embarrass country club Republicans from time to time. I’m thinking of those “OBAMA’S PLAN WHITE SLAVERY” signs.
Such bigotry, and a hefty helping of conspiratorial fantasies about the "Islamo-socialist-who-hates-white-people" in the White House, are the looney tunes stuff of tea party rallies and Rush Limbaugh’s radio rants. But more than a few bluebloods blab the same bunk on the links at the country club or back in the clubhouse over a single malt Scotch and an Arturo Fuentes.
So I don't see the GOP moderating even if they get clobbered on November 6.