Tag Archives: Liberal Republicans

Why Michael Bloomberg Matters

Back in December, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave a speech attacking  ideologues on the right and the left and offering a “middle way” to governing.  I’ve read it over and it isn’t the most moving speech.  Bloomberg offers some ideas, but they aren’t anything that is new or that interesting.

Now, Esquire Magazine has a long piece on hizonner which explains his view governing style.  While Bloomberg strikes some good notes on things like mass transit, he also tends to rub me the wrong way with his nanny-state ideas on eating and smoking. 

The article on Bloomberg reminds me of another article I was reading today from Walter Russell Mead about the birth of what he calls the “Blue Social Model” or cultural liberalism in the United States.  In many ways, Bloomberg exemplifies that kind of East Coast liberalism that has had a long history in America.

I’ve been wondering what makes Michael Bloomberg such an interesting person to some folks.  Yes, he is the mayor of America’s largest city, but he’s rather boring.  The libertarian in me rails against his nannyish policies when it comes to eating or smoking.  He hasn’t really come out with bold new ideas. I think the reason he garners attention is because he represents in a way a lost tradition in American politics.  It would be too simple to look at the Mayor and see him as nothing more than a common East Coast liberal.  He is that, but I think he also represents a different strain on East Coast liberalism that is all but dead- that of the liberal Republican.  The part of him that is business-friendly and politically pragmatic on issues of taxes was part of that tradition.  When people talk about some form of centrism, they are in some ways longing for this lost tradition. Writer John Richardson sums it up this way:

He just wants us to be reasonable. Business is the great engine of progress. This is the theme tying together all his ideas, the reason why we have to keep the borders open, rebuild the national infrastructure, restrict guns in cities, and support cosmopolitan freedoms like gay rights and religious tolerance. We need a modern educated country for the new age of global competition. Is that so hard to understand?

That said, if Bloomberg were to ever run for President, he would have issues with not only his take on junk food and tabacco, but because he revels in being part of the elite and his preference of city life over all other ways of living.  Look at this paragraph towards the end of the Esquire essay:

“I think kids should grow up in the city,” he says. “I’ll tell you a great story — when my oldest went to Princeton, the first three weeks, she hated it. I said, ‘Emma, why?’ She said, ‘Daddy, all they do is drink!’ I said, ‘Emma you’ve never turned down a drink in your life.’ She said, ‘Daddy, I did this in the tenth grade.’ ”

Spoken like a true New Yorker — in fact, the ultimate New Yorker, with the spending power of a state and complete indifference to the petty concerns of ordinary political hypocrisy.

Ouch.  Now, I’m a city kid, but I think my partner who grew up in rural North Dakota and refers to himself as a “country mouse” would take a bit of umbrage at such a comment.  I could see a lot of folks who live in small towns and suburbs taking offense at Bloomberg’s comments and I could see some conservative group running an ad using the above quote as a way to paint Bloomberg as out of touch with the common folk.

Of course, Bloomberg is the product of his upbringing on the East Coast.  That said, if you’re even thinking of running for President, you have to take in to account that not everyone lives the way you do and frankly they don’t want to.  It’s one thing to share a preference, but don’t wind up pissing off half the country in the process.

I don’t think a Michael Bloomberg would make a good candidate for President because he does come off as a know-it-all.  But he could make a good template for centrist-libertarian what-have-you out there.  Time will tell if someone like that (maybe Gary Johnson?) will emerge.

Competing Liberalism and Conservatism: Liberal Republicans

When one talks about the ideological spectrum in relation to parties sometimes there is a bit of confusion over what the label conservative democrat and liberal republican exactly mean.  Are they both merely centrists in which a “conservative” democrat is only conservative in comparison to his or her party base or the “liberal” republican is only liberal in comparison to his or her party base?  While that sometimes seems to be the case in some people’s minds, and those on the left and right extremes certainly like to use such labels in order to spur their respective bases, I am of the belief that they are not centrist and in fact represent those exact ideologies.  The democrats of today tend to usually not be as conservative their Dixiecrat predecessors were, and certainly the moderate Republicans Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins are not “liberal” despite attempts by the fringe far-right radio to do so.     Past “liberal” republicans such as Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, La Guardia, Thomas Dewey, Nelson Rockefeller and Earl Warren represented Republicans who adhered to basic liberal ideology of positive government action to alleviate economic and social ills and to funnel and guide in a basic way the powerful free-market system to ultimately benefit not the CEO’s or stockholders or the upper echelon of society but for the rest of Americans.

These were truly “liberal” Republicans and were not merely moderates or centrists but in many cases left-of-center Republicans whose makeup of the modern party is virtually non-existent, but as I have repeatedly made the case before, formed an important wing of the party and in fact for a long time held sway of party direction along with the moderates.  I make the argument that this party must not continue to make liberals the enemy and in fact need to let them back into the party they once belonged to.  This in fact can be made alongside the argument that the Democrats need to allow conservative Democrats, truly “conservative” democrats and not merely moderates, back into their party ranks as they once had.  I believe that both parties need to allow these non-conformist political wings to return in order to restore a healthy balance to American politics that allowed for the two-party system to properly function without becoming sheer gridlock and one-party rule.  In the past neither party was truly liberal or conservative as it is today, and gridlocks did not exist as they do today.

Parties had basic founding principles which were broad enough to open themselves up ideologically from left, center and right and party factions and their struggle for influence was common.  What usually would happen is some sort of common ground would be found that would keep the party together with usually a centrist candidate and policies being the glue holding them together.  By doing so, neither party would move to the extremes.  What this would also mean is that not one party would be merely making legislation as bi-party coalitions made up of liberals, moderates or conservatives would be key to getting things done.  Now some political scientists and activists back in the mid-century were of the impression that if both parties could end this continuous multi-faction power struggle and represent one clear ideology over the other then people would have an easy and clear choice come election time.  This unfortunately became the case that we have today and instead of voting on a candidate’s record of governance and taking each of his/her issues and/or votes into consideration, most merely look at name label and draw a pre-supposed distinction of who they are.  The candidates themselves must then run as close to that distinction as possible due to the polar ideology that dominates that party in order to win, a process that will favor the extremes on both sides instead of those who have shown statesman-like behavior of working with others, sometimes compromising, and building coalitions to get a large enough bi-partisanship sponsored bill through.  Partisan politics become too distinct and the lines so clear as it becomes a “us vs. them”, black and white mentality.

Some may say that having a liberal republican run against a liberal democrat, opposing sides sharing a similar ideology, is somehow not enough of a difference for the voters.  I disagree with this assessment as liberal Republicans running in coastal states and regions until just a few decades ago were able to obviously draw enough of a distinction to win against their Democratic opponents.  Some may be of the belief of why shouldn’t we run a conservative in those districts.  As a person who grew up in the Hill Country of Texas and spent some time in small towns there and up in the bible belt panhandle as well as currently residing in the city of San Antonio, I quickly came to the realization that regions generally adhere to a type of ideology and are not keen on going from one end of it to another.  Certainly the Hispanic populations, despite some of my conservative colleagues’ naïve beliefs here in San Antonio, are not going to join with any ideology that is anti-government.

In doing research for a class study I had gone to a Hispanic dominated district as they marched for Hispanic rights from their neighborhoods towards the Alamo in the downtown district and was able to observe not only their general conditions but their general political feelings.  At the beginning of the march there was only one person of the anti-government, Tea Party variety present among the thousand people there.  Instead of anti-government, anti-spending speeches as given by the Tea Partiers during the Tea Party protest at the Alamo a year or so prior, there were speeches made by those who came from those same communities about the lack of proper funding for services by the government, of which by observation I do agree was needed.  Roads needed repairs, parks needed cleanups and to be redone, and most importantly the schools needed a big dose of funds in order to give the kids (and the administration) a surrounding where they don’t feel as if they’ve been neglected and doomed to fail.  The people did not march with the idea that government was “too big” or “infringing on their rights” and all of the other Tea Party conservative slogans bantered about.  No, they just want their proper representation and the services needed to be able to give them a better chance at the American dream of class mobility.  These inner-city people are moderate to liberal and will not go conservative, at least not economically/governmentally speaking and certainly place economics above social issues.

So why don’t we just let the Democrats have these areas and the Republicans only care about conservative districts and regions?  I believe that the American ideals of competition that has made our country great is applicable here, but has been lost unfortunately in the move of the parties towards singular ideology.  First off, simply saying you are a liberal or conservative is quite wide-ranging and rarely means that there is no difference between conservative candidates running for a party nomination.  Some may be more conservative than the next, others more pragmatic, or some may be focused on certain conservative issues more than others.  Now while battles within ideology can occur within party lines, as I experienced working with the failed Kay Bailey Hutchison campaign, having ideological competition within party lines usually leads to one or both sides trying to not compete with as much vigor as they are on the same team and in the end will be expected to endorse the other candidate to ensure their own place in local and state party politics.  True competition is therefore lacking in these races for either conservatism or liberalism but if you put a conservative democrat, who is a strong adherent to conservatism, against a conservative republican, then you will get a full on competitive race with no fear of inner-party retributions and formalities/niceties that restrict competition.  What such a race also does is allow for a more attention to be put on the individual than on his/her party label.  Now while this argument of more importance being put on the individual can be made by some who wish to end political parties altogether, and it certainly can be used by them, I do not go so far as I believe organized “teams” are needed to help give at least a basic sense of order in the chaos that is politics in contrast to having a race in which no parties, no sides exist, and where there are five, six or ten candidates all running around confusing the people even more.  The two-party system throughout history has kept this from happening and has worked well in this regard.  But the two-party competition fails and become a one-party system, prone to the corruption of a party machine assured of victory, when they become ideologically pure.  All one has to do today is run as a Democrat in the inner-city or as a Republican in the rural areas and it is nearly assured that they will win due to the party-ideology connection.

No real competition exists as a result and no true review of the individual candidate’s stands on issues occurs.  This leads to one-party rule and the lack of true representation as there is no incentive that is present with a constant competitive struggle to try and succeed in governing.  A race may very well come down to the details of governance and it is in the details that can distinguish one candidate from another in their ability to do basic governance even if they reside within the same school of ideology.  Again another argument against this is that the average citizen will not be interested in nuanced details, but I believe that differences in how one runs government would actually be easier to understand, and personally mean more to the local voter, than some argument rooted in academia about ideologies.  It means more if one opponent’s past decisions in local governance led to positive outcomes or not for the community and the government because such decisions hit home much more profoundly than ideology.  Which candidate has shown fiscal responsibility and which one has squandered the government revenue?  Which has shown to appropriate funds in an effective manner and has the right priorities in place for our school and neighborhood?  Who has demonstrated the ability for government to do the best amount of good as it can and whose effects can be seen all around me from street pavements to new businesses and drug-free zones to a new overpass to lift up congestion so we can get to work easier?

All of these are examples of how supposedly labeled “nuanced technical details” are capable of and should be more important than simply running on a “I hate/love government” slogan which has slowly become the staple of American politics over the last couple of decades and is the result of parties equating ideological adherence.  The political scene wasn’t always like this and it was only when competition existed all along the ideological spectrum between the two parties would the two-party system function at its best both at the local, state, and national levels.  Even at the national levels, having such a system return would allow for gridlock to end and coalitions to emerge among like minded liberals or conservatives made up of both parties where obvious common ground on ideology can be found, yet due to their being on separate “teams” which are the parties, are constantly seeking to demonstrate how they are a better conservative than the other in their governing ability, whether this means more pragmatism or more ideology or both.  The same would occur with liberals and the centrists.  One thing is for sure, party purity has failed the nation that is set up for a two-party system with multiple factions within those parties.  The parties were meant to provide an alternative side in all parts of the country and if that means that each party fields a candidate that is not very different from the other, it is usually a result of simple wants and needs of the district and region they are running in.    Every town and district needs competition; it is after all an American virtue.

Patraeus 2012?

James Joyner notes that General David Patraeus is giving a speech at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire on March 24, and when anyone famous starts giving speeches in Iowa or New Hampshire, that allows pundits to start wondering about a future presidential campaign.

Patraeus is a registered Republican and there has been a lot of talk here and there of the General being a potential candidate in the future. A Mother Jones article  by Adam Weinstein, that Joyner notes, wonders if a Patraeus candidacy would revive the state of centrists in the GOP:

But on further review (and ignoring the obvious concerns about militarism in electoral politics), a Petraeus candidacy might be healthy for the GOP—and for the country. He publicly supported the Obama administration’s now-stalled plan to shutter Guantanamo Bay’s detention facility and end torture. He holds a doctorate from Princeton and has surrounded himself with intellectuals, left and right, in and out of uniform, who embrace out-of-the-box thinking—no small feat in the military’s often stultifying bureaucracy.

Most important, Petraeus has reportedly identified himself as a “Rockefeller Republican,” a rare breed of urbane, educated, big-state social liberal that’s been excommunicated from the Grand Old Party of late (see also Crist, Charlie; Chafee, Lincoln). Since Barack Obama’s election, the GOP has sought to co-opt ultraconservative, right-wing, and Tea Party anger as its brand of choice, effectively marking moderate Republicans as Godless traitors. But who’s going to level such attacks on the uniformed, mythical superman who averted disaster and “pacified” Iraq? He could debate the ins and outs of health care policy without being labeled a socialist. He could shut down military tribunals and expand diplomacy without being called an Al Qaeda sympathist. He could discuss the finer points of social policy without being shouted down as a pinko libertine.

In effect, only someone of Petraeus’ unassailable stature could force mainstream Republicans back to the political center—and whether or not it’s enough to win an election in 2012 or 2016, his candidacy could be an undeniable victory in America’s protracted war with rightist extremism.

However, Joyner isn’t convinced:

A noble thought but, of course, ultraconservatives, right-winger, and Tea Partyers are a large part of the Republican nominating electorate. It’ll be a neat trick winning their support while pulling the party back to the center.

On one hand, I agree with him. The last time a Northeastern or Rockefeller Republican ran for President, which was when former New York mayor Rudy Guliani ran in 2008, it was a disaster. Also when General Colin Powell was thinking about running in 1996, he was cut short by the ultra right who was ready to wage a campaign against the moderate.

However, one should never say that moderates in the GOP can never win. After Dede Scozzafava’s downfall, it seemed that moderates were not welcomed. Then Scott Brown wins the special election to win the Senate seat vacated with the death of Ted Kennedy.

Also, it matters who Patraeus would have around him in a proposed campaign. If he has some masterful tacticians running his campaign, he could pull it off, emphasis on the word “could.”

Who knows. It will be interesting to watch.

Who Mourns for the Moderate Republican?

The short answer? Probably no one.

It seems that way at times. Republicans tend to consider moderates and their liberal Republican cousins, traitors. Democrats profess their love of moderates usually years after they were in office.

The history of moderate Republicans is one that is not well known. It tends to be forgotten because in the battle between conservatives and moderates the winner (in this case, the conservatives) wrote the history. When they are remembered, it isn’t very fondly. While Ross Douthat is too classy to call Northeastern Republicans both past and present “RINOs” he basically has said that many times in blog posts and op-eds. He does so again today in a post about the current health care bill. This is his take on the current Senate bill and what kind of Republicans would like this bill:

The Senate legislation is the kind of bill that the early-1970s Richard Nixon might have backed, or the early-1990s John Chafee (who crafted a Republican alternative to Clintoncare), or (self-evidently) the Mitt Romney of 2005.

But keep in mind that the kind of “moderate Republicanism” (or “Rockefeller Republicanism,” to use a better term of art) that bound all of those figures together was often closer to a liberal Republicanism — a pro-business version of the prevailing liberal paradigm, that is, rather than a intellectually-distinct alternative. On domestic policy, Richard Nixon generally resembled a more cynical version of Lyndon Johnson, not a Ronald Reagan avant la lettre. (Is anyone nostalgic for the days when the Republican Party was “moderate” enough to favor wage and price controls? I hope not.) Likewise, John Chafee’s views on most domestic issues (like those of his son, and successor) bore roughly the same relationship to an ideologically-consistent conservatism that Zell Miller’s views on, say, defense policy bore to the liberal mainstream when Miller was a Democratic Senator from Georgia. And while conservative health-care wonks did have some input on Mitt Romney’s health care efforts, calling Obamacare a centrist-Republican proposal because it resembles a compromise forged in the nation’s most liberal state is still a little like claiming that the Bush tax cuts of 2001 were a centrist-Democratic effort because Ben Nelson voted for them.

Nelson Rockefeller might well have liked the current health care bill. So would Jacob Javits, Lowell Weicker and a whole generation of politicians for whom the point of being a Republican was to head in the same direction as the Democratics, but more slowly, with more attention to the concerns of corporate America, and with a greater zeal for balancing the nation’s books. But while I have all kinds of problems with what the contemporary Republican Party has become, and where it might be going, I can’t say I’m sorry that Rockefeller Republicanism no longer plays a major role in shaping the G.O.P.’s agenda. In the end, the country is better off with an opposition party that offers Americans a real choice — whether on health care or any other issue — rather than being content to supply a “moderate” and business-friendly echo.

I will agree that the Republicanism that Douthat disdains was responding to the then-dominant liberal paradigm. But responding to that era when liberalism was the main thrust in America doesn’t make one just simple echo. Their views are lost to history, but I’ve read books by some of those liberal Republicans that Douthat disses, and they stake out their positions. They had convictions and strong beliefs that were once part of the Republican party. Read Jacob Javits’ Order of Battle and you see a man that gives strong compelling reasons for why he was a Republican. One might read one of the many biographies written by Geoffrey Kabaservice on moderate Republicans to see that these moderates were not spineless.

Frankly, Douthat’s disgust for moderates in the GOP both past and present make no sense to me. Douthat has long argued that the GOP needs to adopt a more robust agenda. In the book he co-authors with Reihan Salam, he maps out a plan that would use the government to help the working class and the poor. It’s a worthwhile read. Douthat laments that Republicans have not yet taken this new agenda to heart and in looking at the current crop of Republicans, he is correct- they have no interest in his ideas. Of course, there is a certain sector of the party that might be interested, moderate Republicans. Mind you, the moderates he spurns came up with ideas in response to what the Democrats were proposing. They had an interest in dealing with poverty or trying to help the working class. They were interested in making sure that Americans had access to health care.

The problem is, Douthat expects that the current crop of Republicans will somehow come up with bold, new ideas that will rejuvenate the party. Well, Ross can keep waiting, cause it ain’t going to happen. It’s not that there aren’t conservatives in the GOP that are coming up with good ideas, but there aren’t enough of them to make a difference. Even if a conservative Republican comes up with an idea, like Bob Bennett of Utah and health care, he is attacked by outsiders for consorting with Democrats. How many conservatives have come up with a decent health bill?

I understand Douthat’s game. To maintain some gravitas in the conservative realm, he has to learn to take down moderates. But that means taking down the one group that has the passion and the willingness to carry the water for his ideas.

But maybe the thing that bothers me most is that while he shares his disgust of moderates over here, Douthat raves about the Conservative Party accross the pond. The rejuvenated Conservatives got that way because they started listening to their moderates. They decided to branch beyond the base instead of looking down on them.

The moderates of today can’t be the moderates of yesteryear. Moderates in the GOP from the 40s until the 70s were dealing with aftermath of the New Deal. Liberalism is no longer dominant, so moderates of today have to learn to respond to the current situation.

But the leaders of that time, the Javitses, Chaffees and Brookes, should not be looked down upon. They worked for the poor in urban areas, supported legislation that cleaned up our water and air, and helped African Americans gain their civil rights. These are achivements that should never be forgotten.

I don’t expect Douthat to ever be nice to moderates like me. After all, he has a reputation to maintain. But he also should not expect that the GOP will ever rise to dominance. Unless the Republican party listen and accepts the moderates in its midst, Douthat’s words will be like speaking to the wind.

Lukewarm Bloggers Need Not Apply

This is one of my regular posts where I ask people who are interested in blogging to let me know. We have had a few people sign up, but we need to have a cadre of prolific bloggers who are good center right thinkers and love, love to write. At current we have a number of bloggers who write very occasionally, and while we are thankful for them, a blog has to be update pretty often to get noticed. Continue reading

…At Least We Have Our Principles.

David Frum and the Weekly Standard are talking about the Dede Scozzafava, the GOP candidate for NY-23and her position on card check (not to mention her calling the cops on a reporter).

Frum has this to say about her supposed support for the Employer Freedom of Choice Act (otherwise known as “Card Check”):

As weird and unpleasant as Scozzafava’s call to the cops may be, let’s not lose the lede: The Republican candidate in NY-23 supports card check. That’s not a vote forced on her by the shape of her district. It’s a personal ideological adventure. The state Republican party leaders who handpicked Scozzafava have a lot to answer for…

Now, I don’t support Card Check even though both my parents are union members. I find it unfortunate if it is true that Scozzafava would support it. But I think Frum’s pooh-poohing of Scozzafava relveals a bit of double-standard that takes place when moderates run for office. Continue reading

Why Moderate Republicans Suck- REPOSTED

This post orginally appeared here last summer.‚ I thought it was time to bring it out again.

Okay, that the above title might be a bit harsh.  But even so, we Moderates really are in a world of hurt.

The moderate/liberal movement in the GOP that once had the likes of Thomas Dewey and Dwight Eisenhower is barely alive these days. Some of that is due to the fact that social conservatives have driven moderates out of the party with their emphasis on issues like abortion and gay rights as litmus tests. As David Jenkins has reported, hard right conservatives have done what they can to get rid of GOP leaders that are deemed not Republican enough.

So, one important reason that there is not a thriving moderate movement in the GOP is because the party has done a good job at trying to purge us from the party.

Many a writer tends to stop at that point and not ask anymore questions. The belief is that the current Republican leadership, which tends to be made up of hard right conservatives, needs to be more open to moderates. Of course, this is true.  Even though the current leadership is far more conservative, they need to be willing to bend on certain issues, especially in those swing districts.  What works in a Republican dominated area, doesn’t work in all areas. This is what helped bring Democrats back into dominance: they ran more conservative Democrats in areas that were swing districts.  It tended to work swimmingly for them.

But this is only part of the story.  Bloggers and journalists tend to write what is the easy story: narrow minded Republicans harrassing their more moderate brethren. But there is another part of the story that tends to be missing, though some people do catch it now and then.

The missing story is the lack of a credible countermovement within the GOP, a movement for change. When one talks of Moderate Republicans, we talk of basically a loose group of individuals who are basically on their own. For example, take Senator Arlen Specter, who until recently was a moderate Republican. After he voted for the stimulus package, he recieved a fair amount of protests from Republican groups.

The image in the media was of a lone Republican Senator against a phalanx of hard right groups. In the end, Specter decided to leave.

This image has been seen again and again. A lone, moderate Republican legislator is attacked, not by a collection of cranks, but by organized groups that have the money and more importantly, the people to take down those who are not pure.

The lesson here is simple, the hard right is a movement. There are groups of like-minded individuals that come together and are able to force change in the party. A single person realizes they are part of a larger movement and that gives them the stregnth to march forward.

On the other side, moderates are at best a collection of individuals.  We tend to feel lost and alone and don’t feel a connection to anything greater than us. Because we are isolated, we don’t feel as empowered and tend to give up easily.

If the GOP is to moderate, then there needs to be an effective moderate movement within the GOP forcing change. Nothing will ever happen unless these collection of frustrated individuals come together and organize.

Hence, why we moderates suck.

What conservatives in the Republican party have done over time is to create a culture that could sustain them.  Think tanks, magazines, organizations and blogs have all been developed to foster this culture. Yes, it has been inward focus and it does have its weaknesses, but what this conservative culture is good at is empowering people, making them believe that it is in their power to change things.

The reason moderates do not feel so empowered is because we have no discernable culture or movement to back us up and give us meaning.  The result is that we feel adrift and powerless to make a difference.

There are many ways to help build a credible movement of moderate to liberal Republicans.  I want to focus on a few area where there is a weakness.

Blogs. There are many blogs on the far left (ie: Daily Kos, Huffington Post) and on the far right (ie: RedState, Hot Air) that cater to those parts of the political spectrum. Some have many readers, some have a few.  But all of them have something in common: they reinforce a person’s political viewpoint. Now, many of these partisan blogs are more heat than light on the political issues of the day. They are more cheerleaders than they are trying to think about issues.  In the past, I would have said that being a cheerleader is of little value, and to some extent, I still believe that. However, there is also a case to be made that a little cheerleading for your side can make one feel that they are part of a greater movement; that they are not alone in how they feel of think.

When one goes to look for blogs of moderate/liberal/progressive Republicans, you will tend to find a graveyard of blogs that were started with good intent, but then died for various reasons. Take for example, the Lincoln Coalition, a blog that states it’s goal as “a grassroots organization of current and former Republicans that is dedicated to building a party based on traditional Republican principles.” It has not published a new post in over two months.  They had a wonderful description that talked about wanting to return the party back to its principles.  They had a few months of post and then…nothing.

It’s hard to try to rebuild a party when you aren’t trying disseminate ideas.

There are other bloggers that have also stopped for various reasons.  Go to Charging RINO, or Plain Talk GOP or the Liberal Republican (which has since been removed), and you will find blogs that are basically dead. Now, the internet is full of blogs that are no longer in use, and there are probably a good number of conservative and liberal blogs that are also on life support, but for some reason, the ones that I see that have become ghost towns tend to be moderate Republican blogs.

I’ve been blogging on politics in one form or another for a few years now.  I don’t know how many people see my blog, but I do know it is important to keep blogging on the events of the day.  And I do know that over time people do see your work and take notice. Blogging can be about yelling, but it can also be about sharing and presenting ideas to people. It can be about getting out a message and letting others know they are not alone in the political world.  An active blog can also help grow a living movement. A dead blog can’t do that.

Lack of Strong Institutions. One of the glaring problems among moderates in the GOP is the lack of a counterpart to the Democratic Leadership Council. The DLC describes itself as a organization started to bring Democrats out of the “political wilderness. ” The goal was to moderate the Democratic Party and wrest it from the hands of the liberals who controlled the party and brought it to defeat. If you go to the DLC website, you find papers on various issues from immigration to health care, all placing a centrist Democratic spin on things.

There really isn’t a counterpart among Republicans. Yes, there is the Republican Leadership Council, and it has done some good by supporting moderate candidates. That said, it doesn’t seem to offer ideas in the way that the DLC does. The RLC does have state chapters, but the site doesn’t say a whole lot about what is going on.

That doesn’t mean that groups like RLC or Republican Mainstreet Partnership are somehow wastes of time. I think both groups have good and grand intentions, but they lack the people to help promote and fuel their agendas. If moderates feel disenfranchised and isolated, then trying to buck up worthy groups like these seem pointless.

Weak Web Presence. If you check out the website of Republican Youth Majority, you will notice that it hasn’t been updated in a long while.  Go to their Facebook Page and you will find the same thing. If IanTanner is correct and the GOP needs to reach out to younger populations that are more moderate on social issues, this group should have a live page showing what they are doing. But instead we find a very old website and Facebook page.  I have no idea what they are doing.

Take a look at the California Republican League, a state moderate organization.  Again, the website has not been update since at least 2004.  It does look like the group is still in existence because of it’s Facebook page, but other than that, I have no idea what they are doing and how they plan to help moderate the California GOP.

If an organization doesn’t bother to update its website, then it might as well not exist. The only way for a group to thrive is to have an active web presence getting its message out. Some groups like Log Cabin Republicans and Republicans for Environmental Protection get it, use blogs, and social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook and update their webpage.

Individualism. Maybe the thing that is most destructive to creating a moderate movement is that most moderates tend to see themselves as individuals and not part of a movement.  Moderates are not one to just follow someone and while that can be commendable, it can also breed a sense of isolation, so that when the cold winds of extremism blow, they are easily knocked down and they leave the party.

There is an old saying from the civil rights movement that goes, “Walk Together Children, Don’t You Get Weary.”  Maybe if we learned to walk together, to support each other in the hard times then we would see a stronger movement. Trying to change a party takes stamina and fortitude, but it also takes numbers and as they say, there is strength in numbers.

These are only a few observations. If people want the GOP to be a center-right party again, then it is up to moderates to make it happen. But we have to be able to do it as a team and make the long slog to change. We have to be willing to blog, create strong organizations, and use the web to get out the message of change within the GOP.

Then, Moderate Republicans won’t suck.