Republicans have a wide range of excellent issues to use against President Obama and liberal Democrats this year. The GOP election outlook is excellent and the only way to lose is by extremism which would drive up the GOP’s negative ratings. That is not going to happen, but we are disappointed when Republican activists go too far. We did not like it when George Bush was the victim of this comparison, and President Obama should also not be equated with Adolph Hitler.
The Hitler photo is not our only conflict with Melissa Jenkins, and our disagreement is reflective of a significant debate in GOP ranks. Melissa is a conservative, but we definitely have a different outlook. Melissa lives in Massachusetts and claims she worked diligently for Sen. Scott Brown’s (R-MA) victory in the special election. Unfortunately, she is now furious at the Massachusetts Senator because he did not vote with the GOP the first time the financial reform bill was considered.
We were also disappointed, but as we told her, Massachusetts is not Utah. There is no other Republican in the Bay State delegation. Not one Republican represents the six New England states in the House of Representatives. We believe it is far better to have a Republican who supports you 80% of the time rather than a liberal Democrat who never supports you. Melissa does not agree.
She now regrets supporting Brown and says her efforts should have been focused on the isolationist libertarian candidate. We told her a strong third party candidate could have led to the election of another liberal Democratic Senator. Her response is that it is far better to have a liberal Democrat rather than a liberal Republican. Scott Brown is a moderate conservative but Melissa now places the Senator in the same category as John Kerry and Michael Dukakis.
The Iowa Republican Civil War
We are not sorry to see Melissa go, but our exchange is worth mentioning because this debate is happening in numerous GOP circles. There are a number of Republicans who will not compromise.
We had a similar exchange this past week with Steve Rathje, a successful businessman and congressional candidate who was defeated in the recent GOP primary. In 2008, he was a candidate for the U.S. Senate, and says a moderate Republican is not better than a liberal Democrat.
We disagree and moderate conservatives are a real boost to the GOP. We told Steve that on Thursday night the House of Representatives approved “$20 billion in domestic spending add-ons”, including $10 billion in grants to school districts to avoid teacher layoffs:
It really doesn’t matter because the election of Scott Brown changed everything. The GOP is now able to filibuster, and the new spending will never pass the Senate. Speaker Pelosi’s charge card is maxed out, and after November the rollback begins. The moderate Republicans are helpful in the GOP’s deficit reduction efforts, and they are far preferable to liberal Democrats.
Steve quoted Ronald Reagan who said we needed candidates of bold colors rather than pale pastels. We should nominate conservative Republicans in Red States, but hard core conservatives have proven to be unelectable in Blue America.
Many conservatives were enthusiastic about Alan Keyes’ 2004 U.S. Senate campaign, but State Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) received 70% of the vote and the landslide helped to establish him as a national figure. We responded to Steve Rathje’s comments by saying:
Who are these terrible liberal Republicans who are forfeiting our Constitution and values? We have no idea if former Gov. Terry Branstad (R-IA) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) are bold colors or pale pastels. They both describe themselves as conservatives. They are the choice of Iowa Republicans and they are far better than liberal Gov. Chet Culver (D-IA) and ultra-liberal Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA).
We do not always agree with Branstad and Grassley, but you are wrong to claim GOP moderates are destroying life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We have no problem being in the same party as them, and Iowa Republicans were wise in selecting electable candidates who are a distinct contrast to the liberal Democrats.
The Iowa gubernatorial primary was held last month, and it was a reminder that GOP infighting has resulted in 12 years of Democratic governors and a Democratic legislature. What was especially ironic, is that both Republican candidates were solid conservatives.
They had no disagreement on major issues. The area in which they were divergent is that one side claimed their candidate was “biblically based,” while the other conservative (Gov. Branstad) said he was going to focus on jobs, the economy and taxes rather than social issues.
What About the RINO’s?
There are many Republicans similar to Melissa Jenkins and Steve Rathje. Their crusade is to rid the Republican Party of RINO’s (Republicans in Name Only). In the 1960s and ’70s they would have had a point.
Those were the days of Senators Jacob Javits (NY), Clifford Case (NJ), Lowell Weicker (CT), John Chafee (RI), Ed Brooke (MA), Richard Schweicker (PA), Charles McC Mathias (MD), Charles Percy (IL) and Mark Hatfield (OR). There are few liberal Republicans left today, and the moderates almost always vote with the party when they are really needed. That did not happen when the GOP encountered three defectors on the stimulus (Arlen Specter is now a Democrat), but on other close votes the moderates did not bolt.
Melissa will not acknowledge the difference between Scott Brown and John Kerry. She sees them as two peas in a pod and says: “So far voting Brown has had ZERO benefit for the Republicans. He will vote with the Democrats, he is a fool and a tool! He is completely clueless and way in over his head.” We wrote an article explaining how Brown’s election ended the Democrats 60 seat super majority and changed so many things on Capitol Hill.
Our final observation is to admire Melissa and Steve’s self proclaimed devotion to the Republican Platform. We understand why they are upset about the financial reform bill, but we are surprised Melissa assigns little importance to foreign policy, national security and international economic issues. She has no problem supporting libertarian Republicans who oppose the Patriot Act and the U.S. role in Afghanistan and Iraq. We believe the libertarians, Ron Paul and Pat Buchanan are the real RINO’s.