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HARD RIGHT TURN: How The GOP Destroyed Its Moderates

Lakhota

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By Jonathan Chait

Rule And Ruin: The Downfall of Moderation and the Destruction of the Republican Party, from Eisenhower to the Tea Party.

MITT ROMNEY HAS BEEN running for president as the Republican nominee, de facto or de jure, for eight months now, and the grand historical joke of it has not yet worn off. A party that has set itself to frantically, fanatically expunge its moderates, quasi-moderates, suspected moderates, and fellow travelers of moderates chose as its standard bearer the lineal heir, biographically and genealogically, to its moderate tradition. It entrusted its holy crusade to repeal Barack Obama’s hated health-care law to the man who had inspired it and run, four years before, promising to do the same for the rest of America. The man and his historical moment could not be more incongruous. It was as if the Mongol tribes of the thirteenth century, setting out to pillage their way across the Asian steppe, had somehow chosen Mahatma Gandhi as their supreme khan.

Romney’s capture of the nomination required an incredible confluence of good fortune. Any one of several Republicans—Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Paul Ryan—could have outflanked Romney in both grassroots enthusiasm and establishment support but chose not to run. The one candidate with the standing and financial reach to challenge him who did grasp for the prize, Rick Perry, performed his duties with such comic, stammering ineptitude that his final oops-de-grace by that point was not even startling. What remained to challenge Romney was a gaggle of third-raters lacking the money or the rudimentary organization even to get their name on the ballot everywhere. Still, running even against the likes of Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum (which is to say, running essentially unopposed), Romney still trudged laboriously to victory after endless weeks.

But there is another way to make at least some sense of the Romney nomination.

IT HAS TO DO WITH the strange and sad fate of Republican moderation. After all, moderates, or at least relative moderates, do continue to exist in the Republican Party. They merely do not exercise power in any meaningful, open way. They provide off-the-record quotations to reporters, expressing unease over whichever radical turn the party has taken at any given moment. They can be found in Washington and elsewhere rolling their eyes at their colleagues. The odd figure with nothing left to lose—say, a senator who has lost a primary challenge—may even deliver a forceful assault on the party’s uncompromising direction.

For the most part, though, Republican moderation is a kind of secret creed, a freemasonry of the right. It lacks institutions that might legitimize it, or even a language to express itself. And since conservatism is the only acceptable ideology, the party has no open arguments with itself. Thus the “debate” in the Republican Party is entirely between genuine ideological warriors and unwilling conscripts, with intraparty skirmishes generally taking the form of hunts for secret heresies.

In this sense, Romney’s capture of the nomination is perfectly emblematic of the state of the party. Conservative activists spent months resisting Romney, sometimes furiously, despite the fact that he was defending no positions that they disagreed with. Across the entire ideological spectrum—in social, economic, and foreign policy—Romney stood shoulder to shoulder with his party’s reactionary wing. When Romney took on his hapless opponents, he assailed them from the right, as soft on immigration or anti-capitalist. The sole point of hesitation centered on conservatives’ suspicion that Romney did not actually believe what he was saying.

FIFTY YEARS AGO, the conservative movement, far from holding a monopoly on acceptable thought within the GOP, was merely one tribe vying for power within it, and not even the largest one. Geoffrey Kabaservice’s fine book tells the story of the slow extinction of the party’s moderate and liberal wings. The conservative movement, he shows in often gruesome detail, took control of the party in large part due to an imbalance of passion. The rightists had strong and clearly defined principles and a willingness to fight for them, while the moderates lacked both. Meeting by meeting, caucus by caucus, the conservative minority wrested control of the party apparatus. Sometimes this happened through physical force or the threat thereof. (Anybody who recalls the “Brooks Brothers riot” during the 2000 election imbroglio in Florida, when a Republican mob shut down a vote recount in Dade County, will find many of Kabaservice’s scenes familiar.) More often, the conservatives won out by packing meetings, staying until everybody else was exhausted, and other classic methods of organized fanatics. The moderates lacked the ideological self-confidence to wage these fights with equal gusto, and battle by battle they lost ground until finally there was nowhere left to stand within the party.

Much More: How The GOP Destroyed Its Moderates | The New Republic
 

Listening

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Good bye and good ridance.

Who won the House in 2010, make it stronger in 2012 and possibly take back the senate ?

Ask Dick Lugar.
 

buckeye45_73

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Lakhota likes em "hard"
 

Annie

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Gee, J. Chait as the 'voice of GOP?' I don't think so. I'm not a far right conservative on many of the social issues. I am one of those 'conservatives' that am voting against 'personal interests' according to the liberals, in fact.

He's got it so wrong, but again, that is his job as a 'journalist' carrying water for the DNC.
 

OKTexas

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Yep, every person elected or appointed official takes an oath to support and defend the Constitution, not the government, not their party. When they start to moderate from that oath their wrong and in violation of the oath. The constitution was meant to restrain the federal government and any man that thinks they are exempt from those restraints does not belong in office, I don't give a crap what their well meaning intentions are, if you don't like the Constitution there are provisions in Article 5 to change it, but I'll be damned if I will endorse ignoring it, because I have taken that same oath.
 
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Listening

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If Obama wins re-election...he's a lame duck from day 1.

That's what we hire our representatives to do and as long as they keep doing it, they will stay hired.

Just ask DICK Lugar about that.
 

buckeye45_73

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Yeah and in the democrat party if you're not buttfucking another guy...they think you're "weird"
 

Erand7899

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The only ones who seem highly concerned about the rise of the right wing in the Republican party are liberal Democrats. Mostly, the hard left wing.

What is really weird, is that most of these left wingers consider themselves moderates. They don't have a clue as to what they really are.

The Republican party has not shifted far to the right, although it has turned right. The Democrat party has shifted so far left that the center right of the electorate is now considered, by them, to be hard right.

They sit near the left 20 yard line, and think it is the center of the field.
 

buckeye45_73

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The only ones who seem highly concerned about the rise of the right wing in the Republican party are liberal Democrats. Mostly, the hard left wing.

What is really weird, is that most of these left wingers consider themselves moderates. They don't have a clue as to what they really are.

The Republican party has not shifted far to the right, although it has turned right. The Democrat party has shifted so far left that the center right of the electorate is now considered, by them, to be hard right.

They sit near the left 20 yard line, and think it is the center of the field.


yep they think abortion on demand, gay marriage are mainstream positions.....LOL
 

francoHFW

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"No compromise, un-American Tea Party GOP" (TIME)


not to mention the disgraceful Pub Propaganda machine...
 

Charles_Main

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By Jonathan Chait

Rule And Ruin: The Downfall of Moderation and the Destruction of the Republican Party, from Eisenhower to the Tea Party.

MITT ROMNEY HAS BEEN running for president as the Republican nominee, de facto or de jure, for eight months now, and the grand historical joke of it has not yet worn off. A party that has set itself to frantically, fanatically expunge its moderates, quasi-moderates, suspected moderates, and fellow travelers of moderates chose as its standard bearer the lineal heir, biographically and genealogically, to its moderate tradition. It entrusted its holy crusade to repeal Barack Obama’s hated health-care law to the man who had inspired it and run, four years before, promising to do the same for the rest of America. The man and his historical moment could not be more incongruous. It was as if the Mongol tribes of the thirteenth century, setting out to pillage their way across the Asian steppe, had somehow chosen Mahatma Gandhi as their supreme khan.

Romney’s capture of the nomination required an incredible confluence of good fortune. Any one of several Republicans—Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Paul Ryan—could have outflanked Romney in both grassroots enthusiasm and establishment support but chose not to run. The one candidate with the standing and financial reach to challenge him who did grasp for the prize, Rick Perry, performed his duties with such comic, stammering ineptitude that his final oops-de-grace by that point was not even startling. What remained to challenge Romney was a gaggle of third-raters lacking the money or the rudimentary organization even to get their name on the ballot everywhere. Still, running even against the likes of Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum (which is to say, running essentially unopposed), Romney still trudged laboriously to victory after endless weeks.

But there is another way to make at least some sense of the Romney nomination.

IT HAS TO DO WITH the strange and sad fate of Republican moderation. After all, moderates, or at least relative moderates, do continue to exist in the Republican Party. They merely do not exercise power in any meaningful, open way. They provide off-the-record quotations to reporters, expressing unease over whichever radical turn the party has taken at any given moment. They can be found in Washington and elsewhere rolling their eyes at their colleagues. The odd figure with nothing left to lose—say, a senator who has lost a primary challenge—may even deliver a forceful assault on the party’s uncompromising direction.

For the most part, though, Republican moderation is a kind of secret creed, a freemasonry of the right. It lacks institutions that might legitimize it, or even a language to express itself. And since conservatism is the only acceptable ideology, the party has no open arguments with itself. Thus the “debate” in the Republican Party is entirely between genuine ideological warriors and unwilling conscripts, with intraparty skirmishes generally taking the form of hunts for secret heresies.

In this sense, Romney’s capture of the nomination is perfectly emblematic of the state of the party. Conservative activists spent months resisting Romney, sometimes furiously, despite the fact that he was defending no positions that they disagreed with. Across the entire ideological spectrum—in social, economic, and foreign policy—Romney stood shoulder to shoulder with his party’s reactionary wing. When Romney took on his hapless opponents, he assailed them from the right, as soft on immigration or anti-capitalist. The sole point of hesitation centered on conservatives’ suspicion that Romney did not actually believe what he was saying.

FIFTY YEARS AGO, the conservative movement, far from holding a monopoly on acceptable thought within the GOP, was merely one tribe vying for power within it, and not even the largest one. Geoffrey Kabaservice’s fine book tells the story of the slow extinction of the party’s moderate and liberal wings. The conservative movement, he shows in often gruesome detail, took control of the party in large part due to an imbalance of passion. The rightists had strong and clearly defined principles and a willingness to fight for them, while the moderates lacked both. Meeting by meeting, caucus by caucus, the conservative minority wrested control of the party apparatus. Sometimes this happened through physical force or the threat thereof. (Anybody who recalls the “Brooks Brothers riot” during the 2000 election imbroglio in Florida, when a Republican mob shut down a vote recount in Dade County, will find many of Kabaservice’s scenes familiar.) More often, the conservatives won out by packing meetings, staying until everybody else was exhausted, and other classic methods of organized fanatics. The moderates lacked the ideological self-confidence to wage these fights with equal gusto, and battle by battle they lost ground until finally there was nowhere left to stand within the party.

Much More: How The GOP Destroyed Its Moderates | The New Republic

Yet, You are completely Blind to the fact that the Far left runs the Dem Party.

Gotta love Blind Partisans.

You just can not see the Reality before you.

You claim the GOP destroyed the Moderates in it's party. Yet Romney is a Moderate. Always has been, and he is our Nominee.

The Extremes in Both parties have to much Power if you ask me, But the Dem party is by far the worst right now. While the GOP is Nominating Moderate Republicans who passed things like Romneycare, The Dems continue to Put the Far left in charge of their show. Obama Despite the Common Sense that said he should have moved more to the Middle after getting his ass handed to him in 2010, Decided to Move even Further left, Be even more Partisan.

If a Moderate is what you want, There is only 1 choice in this Election, and it sure as hell is not Obama/Biden.

The Premise of the Article you posted is proven wrong by the title.

The Destruction of the GOP? What the hell is the stupid Bitch Talking about, was she even awake for the 2010 Mid Terms?

Pure Delusional, Wishful Thinking.
 
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Saigon

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Romney might be a moderate - but tens of millions of people who will vote for him are not moderate at all.

Ryan is not a moderate - I wouldn't even call him a conservative.

I do think all Americans - particularly conservatives - should be concerned about how strong the hard right wing of the GOP is, and should do what they can to ensure the party stays in touch with reality. A lot of the zero tax, Ayn Rand fans really are way out into There Be Demons territory.
 

Saigon

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Yet, You are completely Blind to the fact that the Far left runs the Dem Party.

Gibberish and cliche - there is no real "Far left" in the US.
 

Annie

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By Jonathan Chait

Rule And Ruin: The Downfall of Moderation and the Destruction of the Republican Party, from Eisenhower to the Tea Party.

MITT ROMNEY HAS BEEN running for president as the Republican nominee, de facto or de jure, for eight months now, and the grand historical joke of it has not yet worn off. A party that has set itself to frantically, fanatically expunge its moderates, quasi-moderates, suspected moderates, and fellow travelers of moderates chose as its standard bearer the lineal heir, biographically and genealogically, to its moderate tradition. It entrusted its holy crusade to repeal Barack Obama’s hated health-care law to the man who had inspired it and run, four years before, promising to do the same for the rest of America. The man and his historical moment could not be more incongruous. It was as if the Mongol tribes of the thirteenth century, setting out to pillage their way across the Asian steppe, had somehow chosen Mahatma Gandhi as their supreme khan.

Romney’s capture of the nomination required an incredible confluence of good fortune. Any one of several Republicans—Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Paul Ryan—could have outflanked Romney in both grassroots enthusiasm and establishment support but chose not to run. The one candidate with the standing and financial reach to challenge him who did grasp for the prize, Rick Perry, performed his duties with such comic, stammering ineptitude that his final oops-de-grace by that point was not even startling. What remained to challenge Romney was a gaggle of third-raters lacking the money or the rudimentary organization even to get their name on the ballot everywhere. Still, running even against the likes of Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum (which is to say, running essentially unopposed), Romney still trudged laboriously to victory after endless weeks.

But there is another way to make at least some sense of the Romney nomination.

IT HAS TO DO WITH the strange and sad fate of Republican moderation. After all, moderates, or at least relative moderates, do continue to exist in the Republican Party. They merely do not exercise power in any meaningful, open way. They provide off-the-record quotations to reporters, expressing unease over whichever radical turn the party has taken at any given moment. They can be found in Washington and elsewhere rolling their eyes at their colleagues. The odd figure with nothing left to lose—say, a senator who has lost a primary challenge—may even deliver a forceful assault on the party’s uncompromising direction.

For the most part, though, Republican moderation is a kind of secret creed, a freemasonry of the right. It lacks institutions that might legitimize it, or even a language to express itself. And since conservatism is the only acceptable ideology, the party has no open arguments with itself. Thus the “debate” in the Republican Party is entirely between genuine ideological warriors and unwilling conscripts, with intraparty skirmishes generally taking the form of hunts for secret heresies.

In this sense, Romney’s capture of the nomination is perfectly emblematic of the state of the party. Conservative activists spent months resisting Romney, sometimes furiously, despite the fact that he was defending no positions that they disagreed with. Across the entire ideological spectrum—in social, economic, and foreign policy—Romney stood shoulder to shoulder with his party’s reactionary wing. When Romney took on his hapless opponents, he assailed them from the right, as soft on immigration or anti-capitalist. The sole point of hesitation centered on conservatives’ suspicion that Romney did not actually believe what he was saying.

FIFTY YEARS AGO, the conservative movement, far from holding a monopoly on acceptable thought within the GOP, was merely one tribe vying for power within it, and not even the largest one. Geoffrey Kabaservice’s fine book tells the story of the slow extinction of the party’s moderate and liberal wings. The conservative movement, he shows in often gruesome detail, took control of the party in large part due to an imbalance of passion. The rightists had strong and clearly defined principles and a willingness to fight for them, while the moderates lacked both. Meeting by meeting, caucus by caucus, the conservative minority wrested control of the party apparatus. Sometimes this happened through physical force or the threat thereof. (Anybody who recalls the “Brooks Brothers riot” during the 2000 election imbroglio in Florida, when a Republican mob shut down a vote recount in Dade County, will find many of Kabaservice’s scenes familiar.) More often, the conservatives won out by packing meetings, staying until everybody else was exhausted, and other classic methods of organized fanatics. The moderates lacked the ideological self-confidence to wage these fights with equal gusto, and battle by battle they lost ground until finally there was nowhere left to stand within the party.

Much More: How The GOP Destroyed Its Moderates | The New Republic

Yet, You are completely Blind to the fact that the Far left runs the Dem Party.

Gotta love Blind Partisans.

You just can not see the Reality before you.

You claim the GOP destroyed the Moderates in it's party. Yet Romney is a Moderate. Always has been, and he is our Nominee.

The Extremes in Both parties have to much Power if you ask me, But the Dem party is by far the worst right now. While the GOP is Nominating Moderate Republicans who passed things like Romneycare, The Dems continue to Put the Far left in charge of their show. Obama Despite the Common Sense that said he should have moved more to the Middle after getting his ass handed to him in 2010, Decided to Move even Further left, Be even more Partisan.

If a Moderate is what you want, There is only 1 choice in this Election, and it sure as hell is not Obama/Biden.

The Premise of the Article you posted is proven wrong by the title.

The Destruction of the GOP? What the hell is the stupid Bitch Talking about, was she even awake for the 2010 Mid Terms?

Pure Delusional, Wishful Thinking.

The hard left is the Democrat Party now.
 

francoHFW

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zzzzzzzzzz
 

francoHFW

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Heritage Plan ACA is marxist LOL!
 

Erand7899

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Romney might be a moderate - but tens of millions of people who will vote for him are not moderate at all.

Ryan is not a moderate - I wouldn't even call him a conservative.

I do think all Americans - particularly conservatives - should be concerned about how strong the hard right wing of the GOP is, and should do what they can to ensure the party stays in touch with reality. A lot of the zero tax, Ayn Rand fans really are way out into There Be Demons territory.

Perhaps your definition of moderate is as skewed as the view expressed by the original post.

Is fiscal restraint a hard right concept?
Is a limited federal government a hard right concept?
Is respect for the law a hard right concept?
Is respect for individual initiative a right wing concept?
Is respect for self reliance a hard right concept?
Is respect for the original interpretation of the Constitution a hard right wing concept?

BTW, most of those Ayn Rand fans call themselves Libertarians, not conservative. And, there are a bunch of anachists who also want to be called libertarians. But, they are mostly left wing nuts.
 

auditor0007

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Good bye and good ridance.

Who won the House in 2010, make it stronger in 2012 and possibly take back the senate ?

Ask Dick Lugar.

Lugar would have easily won re-election. Mourdock may lose in a heavily Republican state. The long term implications of chasing the moderates out of the Republican Party are going to weigh heavily on the party for some time to come.
 

Saigon

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Erand -

Opposing the seperation of church and state IS a hard right topic, IMHO.

I also think pouring money into the military when the US already spends more money on arms than the next 25 biggest spenders combined is a policy closer to Nationalism than Conservatism.

I am not suggesting that everything the GOP says and does is far right, because obviously there are plenty of moderates within the party, too.
 

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