The phrase “Moderation in all things” is a common extrapolation of Aristotle’s Doctrine of the Mean. It is based upon finding the mean, or middle ground, between excess and deficiency. Today, however, particularly in the world of politics, seeking moderation in any way, shape, or form is considered to be a cardinal sin by Republicans and conservatives.
This past November, the Republican National Committee (RNC) outlined ten key conservative principles that it wanted potential Republican candidates to abide by. Essentially, it was a conservative “purity pledge” for Republican candidates. In case you’re unfamiliar with these Republican tenets, they are:
(1) Smaller government, smaller national debt, lower deficits, and lower taxes by opposing bills like Obama’s “stimulus” bill
(2) Market-based health care reform by opposing Obama-style government run healthcare;
(3) Market-based energy reforms by opposing cap and trade legislation;
(4) Workers’ right to secret ballot by opposing card check
(5) Legal immigration and assimilation into American society by opposing amnesty for illegal immigrants;
(6) Victory in Iraq and Afghanistan by supporting military-recommended troop surges;
(7) Containment of Iran and North Korea, particularly effective action to eliminate their nuclear weapons threat
(8) Retention of the Defense of Marriage Act;
(9) Protecting the lives of vulnerable persons by opposing health care rationing and denial of health care and government funding of abortion; and
(10) The right to keep and bear arms by opposing government restrictions on gun ownership.
The RNC’s position was that any candidate who disagreed with three or more of these public policy positions would not be eligible for financial support and endorsement by the RNC. Why? Because if you can’t endorse at least eight of the ten principles, then you’re not a “real” Republican, you’re not conservatively “pure.” Sheesh!
What I find interesting is that in all but three of the principles, the word “opposing” appears. As I see it, the Republican party is positioning itself as the party that opposes anything and everything Obama, no questions asked.
But there is yet some hope. There must still be some moderate sensibilities somewhere within the Republican party power structure, since a few months later, in January of this year, the party rejected the purity test. Instead of approving a plan that would have required GOP candidates to meet at least eight of ten policy questions to receive national support and funding, the RNC approved a rule that only urges party leaders to support nominees who back the party’s platform.
I’m not sure how things got to be this way, how seeking to find a middle ground on virtually any matter whatsoever has become such a contemptuous act to those on the right. But these days any Republican, no matter how conservative, is in the crosshairs of Tea Partiers and ultra conservative right-wing activists if he or she in any way engages in discussions with “the other side” or seeks compromise in the interest of getting something accomplished. Such actions are apparently considered to be disloyal at best and treasonous at worst.
As a result, for the upcoming mid-term elections in November, a number of moderate Republicans are in deep do-do. Three-term Republican Senator Bob Bennett of Utah lost his bid for the Republican nomination when Tea Party activists prevailed at a state convention. Bennett apparently sometimes cavorted with the enemy (Senate Democrats) in his misguided efforts to solve problems. He was found guilty of reasonable behavior and political compromise.
Even the venerable John McCain, who, during his run for the presidency claimed with pride to be a “maverick” and now denies ever having so claimed, is in jeopardy of losing his Senate seat. McCain is clinging to a very narrow lead for the Republican Senate nomination in Arizona against Tea Party fav J.D. Hayworth, who, before serving in Congress for 12 years, was a TV sportscaster and conservative radio talk show host
Praise Allah, pass the ammunition
Is it any wonder that the Republican party is so screwed up? Texas governor Rick Perry, a Republican, blames God for the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. “From time to time,” Perry is quoted as saying, “there are going to be things that occur that are acts of God that cannot be prevented.” Okay, to believers in God, Hurricane Katrina could be considered an act of God. So is that erupting volcano in Iceland (I’m not even going to attempt to spell its name) an act of God. But this oil spill, Governor Perry, is an act of man...and a preventable act of man. Duh!
And in something that I find totally Bizarro, Republicans, who oppose the notion of reading suspected terrorists their Miranda rights, letting them talk to lawyers, or pretty much giving them any human rights whatsoever, believe that their right to buy firearms must be protected!
Kowtowing to the NRA position that limits of any kind on gun ownership should be opposed, Republicans rejected a proposal that would have restricted suspected terrorists from buying guns...any kind of guns...even assault rifles. So Republicans feel that, while the laws prevent convicted felons from buying guns, Islamic extremists, even those on the FBI’s watch list, should not be prevented from exercising their “God-given right” to buy and own firearms. Or is that their “Allah-given right”?
Yes indeed, the inmates are running the asylum.