Tuesday, January 18, 2005

What Is Wrong with the Republicans

Here, in a dueling pair of books fighting for the ideological heart of the Republican Party, is a microcosm of what is wrong with the Republican Party. On the one side is Newt Gingrich, who now adds, to his awful record as a grandstanding pragmatist, the further crime of turning himself into a mouthpiece for the religious right. On the other side is Christie Whitman, a compromising "Rockefeller Republican" whose alternative to religious dogma is to return to the days of "me-too-ing" the socialist left.

"Republicans Just Won; Is It 2008 Already?" Scott Martelle, LA Times, 1/18/05

"Gingrich describes a split America. On the one side are people 'who know how integral God is to American exceptionalism,' place American national interests ahead of international concerns, 'insist on a judiciary that understands the centrality of God in American history,' and see hard work as the underpinning of a good economy. They are opposed by "elites who find it acceptable to drive God out of public life.'...

Whitman attended her first Republican National Convention in 1956 as the 9-year-old daughter of prominent New Jersey Republicans, and describes her early political years as a 'Rockefeller Republican.' She's a fiscal conservative and supporter of legalized abortion who found herself isolated after accepting Bush's appointment to head the Environmental Protection Agency....

Whitman believes the party's future is to be found in the past. Despite a reputation as a conservative, she writes, Nixon presided as a moderate, opening d├ętente with the Soviet Union and diplomatic relations with China, creating the EPA, urging creation of a national health insurance plan and increasing funding for the National Endowment for the Arts."