Monday, April 04, 2005

Unbearable Lightness of GOP Moderates

The Moose urges the Environmental Protection Agency to grant endangered species protection to Republican moderates.

In recent weeks, a host of Republican moderates have lamented the subservience of their party to the religious right. Former Senator John Danforth and current Senator John Warner and Congressman Chris Shays have all spoken out against the GOP over-reach in the Schiavo case. Ex-Bush EPA official Christie Whitman has written a book decrying the influence of the "social fundamentalists" within the party.

Dana Milbank describes Whitman's feeble protest this way,

"Christie Whitman has brought a knife to the political equivalent of a gunfight.

"The former New Jersey governor and Bush Cabinet member is warning that religious extremists have taken over the Republican Party and the administration in which she served. It's a devastating critique -- or at least it would be if she backed it up with the sort of actions that would get the party to take her seriously.

"But Christine Todd Whitman, last vestige of Rockefeller Republicanism, is too nice to do that. Prim and sensible as she sat in a green armchair and pitched her new book at a Council on Foreign Relations forum this week, Bush's former chief of the Environmental Protection Agency ruled out quitting the GOP or launching a presidential candidacy. She even refused -- politely, of course -- to identify a single one of the "social fundamentalists" she claims have hijacked the Republican Party."

With all due respect to the GOP "wets", their problem is not that they are weak, but rather they are blind. They ignore the political reality that dictates that their party without the religious right is merely a full service concierge for big corporate money. The Moose writes in a review of Whitman's book ,

" The GOP bigwigs pay obeisance to the religious right because it provides the shock troops for their campaigns. The Republican establishment cynically manipulates the cultural issues because a party that is dedicated only to redistributing wealth upward has little chance of majority status. Once elected, Republicans reward the religious right with some crumbs, while the real goodies are handed out to their wealthy donors and corporate cronies."

The moderates have largely made their peace with a party that is the province not of Danforth, Warner, Shays or Whitman, but rather of Tom DeLay - money power marinated in social conservatism. Ultimately, the real problem for the mods is not the religious right but a party that has made as its primary purpose the promotion of the economic interests of the great malefactors of wealth. Cultural conservatism is essential to provide a populist facade for the plutocratic agenda.

Tom DeLay is the individual who offers the true face of the Republican Party behind the deceptive mask of "compassionate conservatism." That is probably why Karl Rove will now manufacture his removal from power. Watch for signals emanating from unidentified White House officials expressing doubts about the Bug Man.

And then the moderates can celebrate that their party has moved back from the brink of extremism.

-- Posted at 8:45 AM | Link to this post | Email this post