Tag Archives: Doug Hoffman

Reasonable Voters, Radical Pols

Blogger Jay Bookman says that at least according to Gallup, Republican voters are pretty “reasonable,” but it’s the pols in Washington that are radical.  His last paragraph is the kicker:

In other words, it’s not merely that Washington Republicans won’t compromise with Democrats. They won’t compromise even with their own voters. The national party is in the grip of radicals who accept no deviation from the approved party line, and who demonstrate no tolerance for the broader, more reasonable range of opinions that exists within the Republican electorate they claim to represent.

The takeaway from this blog post is supposed to be that Washington Republicans who are “radicals” need to listen to their more “reasonable” voters. 

On the surface, there is some truth to that, but that’s only if you have a very simple view of party politics.  But I think Bookman leaves out a lot of factors that has made Washington pols more conservative than their supposed electorate.  Continue reading

The case for moderate Republicans: consider reason in place of agenda

From the Chimes, the Student Newspaper of Capitol University:

As we enter the year 2010 the Republican Party has been placed in a good position with the far- left policies of the Democratic Congress. Despite this, the Republicans should be wary of making the same mistake on the other side.

From a philosophical level, moderates are an important audience for the Republican Party to appeal to for the mid-term elections. Despite the polarizations over healthcare, unemployment, taxes, immigration reform and stimulus bills; conservatives should focus on developing alternative reforms that use pragmatic reasoning to fulfill their agenda.

From a conservative viewpoint it would be fair to claim that the true essence of conservatism lies within using pragmatic reasoning to improve or gradually reform the existing system in order to maintain its compatibility to the constitution.

Instead of vast sweeping slogans of mass reform, or the notorious “Change” fallacy, the Republican Party will find greater success in policies that gradually allow for reform where it is needed…

It is about time we stop wasting our time pushing for issues that only divide segments who may agree with many of our policies but because they are gay, or a minority feel they are not accepted despite what they do support are general principles that unite Republicans; namely, personal responsibility and limited government.

Keep reading…

'Purity' may cost the GOP

This op-ed from the Raliegh News-Observer is talking about the North Carolina GOP, but it could be talking about the national GOP.

The N.C. Republican Party has been channeling its inner Jesse Helms lately, and not just because a portrait of the late conservative icon was unveiled last week.

At a GOP banquet Saturday night in North Raleigh, one of the main speakers was to have been Doug Hoffman, the New York conservative congressional candidate who was the favorite of Glenn Beck & Co. But he canceled because of an illness.

The state GOP is also considering a rule change that would bar unaffiliated voters from voting in state Republican primaries, in theory screening out some moderate voters.

In this age of polarization, it is politically incorrect to be a moderate.

The Republican Party likes to bill itself as the conservative voice of North Carolina and that is true enough, although the Libertarian Party might take exception.

But the state Republican Party has historically been far broader than the Helmsian party, with strong ties to the more moderate GOP brand of the mountains, the foothills, the board rooms and the suburbs.

Sometimes the Republican Party forgets that.

Twice in the last century, Republicans have won the governorship. In both cases they elected moderate conservatives, Jim Holshouser (1973-77) and Jim Martin (1985-1993).

Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, another moderate conservative, probably would have been elected governor last November if Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama had not made a huge effort here.

It has only been in U.S. Senate races that the Republican Party traditionally has spoken with a pure conservative voice. That’s largely because Helms and his longtime political organization, the National Congressional Club, helped elevate to office a series of Helms-like conservatives.

But that was a club, not a political party.

Those calling for ideological purity have a short memory. Helms was repeatedly angry and frustrated at President Ronald Reagan, who would provide only lip service to such issues as abortion and school prayer. And it was Reagan who signed a nuclear arms reduction treaty with Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev.

This is actually an old debate. During the 1970s and 1980s, the state Republican Party was often torn by factional warfare between Helms-style conservatives and more traditional Republicans.

I was present in 1988 at a GOP convention in Franklin County in which a riot broke out, with multiple fistfights.

The Republican Party grew rapidly in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s in North Carolina by courting conservative Democrats.

But North Carolina has maintained the strongest Democratic Party in the South during the past decade by siphoning off moderate Starbucks Republicans.

As conservative British Prime Minister HaroldMcMillan (1957-63) once noted: “A successful party of the right must continue to recruit from the center and even from the left center. Once it begins to shrink into itself like a snail, it will be doomed.”

About That Concession…

Doug Hoffman had conceded after he lost the race for the NY-23 Congressional District to Democrat Bill Owens. But now he has second thoughts:

By winning the seat vacated by now-Army Secretary John McHugh, Owens became the first Democrat to represent the area in upstate New York in more than 100 years. Continue reading

Conservative Inc.

Aside from the Ron Paul worship, this article seems to sum up the Tea Party movement in the GOP.

There have been posts on amconmag.com about the divisions in the major parties, particularly the GOP. There’s an old saying that you can’t tell the players without a program and it’s a good idea to fully understand what the true divisions are with the Republican Party and the larger Right.

The real division roiling the party right now is between the institutional establishment and Conservative INC. The institutional establishment includes the Republican Party itself along with all the think tanks, media figures, big donors and power brokers in the powers centers of the country (D.C, New York, Hollywood) and in each state (the neocons would be a faction within this group). Conservative INC. of course, is that amalgamation of political organizations, activists, interest groups, lobbyists, and in this day and age online groups with their fat email lists and online magazines along with bloggers who make their living off of “the base”.

It’s not a neat division. There is plenty of overlapping. Fox News for example, went from being Bush II’s palace guard to organzing peasant revolts. Talk radio hosts contracts are held by corporate syndicates but they are the ones closest to “the base” through their programs. Big publishing houses make a killing off the Right market. Corporate donations help to fund many political groups. Each group tries to influence the other and tries to control the other, so it is the ying and yang of the Right in this country.

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This division has been in existence since the mid-1980s, since the rise of a Right establishment in Washington once it got into power in 1981. Once upon a time the division was between the Republican Party itself as an institution and the conservative movement but since the NY-23 debacle showed the GOP is no longer in the business of helping GOP moderates win elections anymore, the moderate wing has been reduced to a feather that will soon be shed and the struggle for control of the party is between those who value it as an institution with its own prerogatives and those who wish to use it as an ideologicalal vehicle. And since those who wish this have turned the movement into racket, as all movement generally become, this is why they are referred to as Conservative INC., because like any good business it sells itself as a brand and uses that brand to gain its customers. But beyond its PR and marketing campaign it is at heart an ideology as Austin Bramwell described it. Indeed, Karl Rove’s job, as White House political director during the Bush II reign, was to basically keep these forces in balance and working together, which largely worked until the end of 2006 when defeat smashed the facade of unity brought on by 9-11.

Both Dans, McCarthy and Larison, are right that both sides try enforce rigid discipline and control, one that I think goes beyond producing a “cookie-cutter” approach. Any Ron Paul delegate or alternate who attended the Republican National Convention of 2008 in St. Paul knows full well the free-speech zone was outside the Xcel Energy Center, not inside it. A party obsessed with showing total unity with no dissent that year acted in dirty, unethical and dictatorial ways from preventing either Paul or his delegates from being chosen to the convention or being seen at it (and gave us a good indication of what life inside John McCain’s America would be like). Likewise, the ideolouges have also acted in the manner of “Enforcers of the Doctrine” whether its Club for Growth financed primary candidates or their assaults upon Mike Huckabee or Ron Paul for not being 100 percent support of the dogma on their big issues of taxes or the war or anything else one of their interest groups believes in.

What the Crist/Rubio, Perry/Hutchinson, Ayotte/Lamontange, Illinois Senate GOP primary contests are about is one candidate who represents what institutional establishment thinks are non-ideological  candidates who can win statewide races and another backed by Conservative INC. who will, as Bramwell put it:”see to it that the flame of pure intention is not quelched.”Â

Keep reading…

The Scozzafava Meme

In all the stories about former GOP candidate Dede Scozzafava and why she pulled out the race, there has developed a certain meme as to why she did not win in a three way race: she was a bad candidate.

In more than a few blog posts not only from her detractors, but from those who say they want a more expanded GOP, this meme has stuck and it even has an image, one of Scozzafava going to campaign in front of conservative challenger Doug Hoffman’s headquarters surrounded by Hoffman supporters. For many this is proof positive that Scozzafava was a dunce, a weakling, an all around inferior candidate.

I tend to think most of this is about blaming the victim. Scozzafava might not have an expert political tactician, but it is quite another to blame the outcome of the election in NY-23 as her fault. To make such a charge and ignore what was going on around her is to engage in political blindness. Continue reading

We Shouldn't Be Attacking Our Own

From Politico:

RNC Chairman Michael Steele’s promise that the GOP will “come after” incumbents who support President Barack Obama’s policies is inexcusable. I like Steele personally – he was an original co-chairman of the Republican Leadership Council along with former Missouri Sen. Jack Danforth and me. He took on that role, he said, because he recognized that the party needed to be able to accommodate Republicans who might come out in different places on various issues. I wish he were still championing that message.

Lest we forget, people are elected to represent and serve their constituents – not a national political party’s agenda. Last week, on the other side of the aisle, 39 Democrats in the House of Representatives voted against a Democratic president’s single most important policy goal. I cannot sit idly by and let the American people think there is not room for disagreement within the Republican Party.

Our party has recently lost plenty of seats in Congress; many of which were held by moderates who were driven out by constant attacks from within the party. Just last week in New York’s 23rd District, Republicans lost a congressional seat that had been in the party’s hands since the 1800s. They lost because the right-wing ideological purists ran a conservative candidate against the Republican on the ballot. The result: Another member of the Democratic Caucus in Washington. Republicans in the House may not have always agreed with her, but Dede Scozzafava would have voted Republican the majority of the time, and we lost that voice. After all, to make a difference, you have to be relevant.

Let me be clear: I am not here to express support for Obama’s proposed spending sprees. I personally disagree with the health care bill that passed in the House last week – it is not true reform, and it adds more government bureaucracy to an already administration-heavy industry. House leadership estimates of the costs involved appear to be naïve at best, and the alleged savings are extremely questionable. If there’s one thing governments rarely do it is foster efficiency; Obamacare is a recipe for more far reaching tentacles of the federal government when what we need is less government interference.

On these points, Steele and I agree. Health care and the stimulus bill passed earlier this year are classic liberal policies, and as Republicans, we should be proposing fiscally responsible, efficient alternatives to the challenges facing the economy and health care in particular. But to threaten retribution on Republicans for voting their conscience is unacceptable, and to scare them from engaging in the debate is irresponsible. The RNC chairman should not be in the business of going after our own – that’s a recipe for defeat and irrelevance.

Christine Todd Whitman is a former New Jersey governor and Environmental Protection Agency administrator.