Some conservatives are annoyed because Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) did not vote with the GOP the first time the financial reform bill was considered. I was also disappointed, but at the same I understand Massachusetts is not Utah. We cannot expect hard core conservatives to represent the Bay State.
Aside from Brown, there is no other Republican in the Bay State delegation. There are 40 members of the State Senate and only four of them are Republicans. Not one Republican represents the six New England states in the House of Representatives.
2010 will be a great year for Republicans but not in the Bay State. If the Tea Party claims they elected Brown to the Senate then will they be able to have an impact in Massachusetts this November? Brown will have one of the most difficult races in 2012, but he is already the most popular politician in the state. The Boston Globe has named him the “Bostonian of the Year.” Once again, I regret Brown did not vote with the GOP on financial reform, but it was the right thing to do for his state.
I believe it is far better to have a Republican who supports you 80% of the time rather than a liberal Democrat who never supports you. Melissa Jenkins of Massachusetts does not agree. She now regrets supporting Brown and says her efforts should have been focused on the isolationist libertarian candidate. I told her a strong third party candidate could have led to the election of another liberal Democratic Senator. Melissa and other Tea Party members deserve praise for contributing to the Brown campaign, but their money did not bring conservatism to Massachusetts.
Brown is reflecting the mood of his state, not the entire nation. I believe in Ronald Reagan’s big tent theory and so do some Democrats. That is why Democrats have the majority. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) paid for ads this year in West Virginia.
The Democratic candidate, Joe Manchin, used their money to blast the Obama administration. The DSCC understood it was vital to keep a Senate majority, and they financed a campaign attacking them. On the GOP side, some Tea Party people threw away Senate seats.
She believes it is better to have a liberal Democrat rather than a moderate Republican. Scott Brown is a moderate conservative but Melissa places the Senator in the same category as John Kerry and Michael Dukakis.
The Iowa Republican Civil War
My debate with Melissa is similar to what is happening in numerous GOP circles. There are a number of Republicans who will not compromise. I had a similar exchange this past week with Steve Rathje, a successful businessman and congressional candidate who was defeated in the recent GOP primary. In 2008, he was a candidate for the U.S. Senate, and also says a moderate Republican is not better than a liberal Democrat.
I disagree and moderate conservatives are a real boost to the GOP. I told Steve that on Thursday night the House of Representatives approved “$20 billion in domestic spending add-ons”, including $10 billion in grants to school districts to avoid teacher layoffs:
It really doesn’t matter because the election of Scott Brown changed everything. The GOP is now able to filibuster, and the new spending will never pass the Senate. Speaker Pelosi’s charge card is maxed out, and after November the rollback begins. The moderate Republicans are helpful in the GOP’s deficit reduction efforts, and they are far preferable to liberal Democrats.
Without Brown, the Bush era tax cuts would never have been extended. Steve quoted Ronald Reagan who said we needed candidates of bold colors rather than pale pastels. We should nominate conservative Republicans in Red states, but hard core conservatives have proven to be unelectable in Blue America. Many conservatives were enthusiastic about Alan Keyes’ 2004 U.S. Senate campaign, but State Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) received 70% of the vote and the landslide helped to establish him as a national figure.
Illinois is a tough state for Republicans but why did Keyes receive only 27% of the vote? He ran almost 20% behind Bush. Obama campaigned as a moderate who would bring people together. Of course it was not true, but people did not know it back then. Keyes appeared to be an extremist. He is a protectionist and said homosexuals, including Vice President Dick Cheney’s daughter, are “selfish hedonists.” Keyes’ own daughter is a lesbian. He also said Jesus would not vote for Obama, and women who had abortions were no different from terrorists. I responded to Steve Rathje’s comments by saying:
Who are these terrible liberal Republicans who are forfeiting our Constitution and values? I have no idea if former Gov. Terry Branstad (R-IA) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) are bold colors or pale pastels. They both describe themselves as conservatives. They are the choice of Iowa Republicans and they are far better than liberal Gov. Chet Culver (D-IA) and ultra-liberal Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA).
I do not always agree with Branstad and Grassley, but you are wrong to claim GOP moderates are destroying life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I have no problem being in the same party as them, and Iowa Republicans were wise in selecting electable candidates who are a distinct contrast to the liberal Democrats.
The Iowa gubernatorial primary was held last month, and it was a reminder that GOP infighting has resulted in 12 years of Democratic governors and a Democratic legislature. What was especially ironic, is that both Republican candidates were solid conservatives.
They had no disagreement on major issues. The area in which they were divergent is that one side claimed their candidate was “biblically based,” while the other conservative (Gov. Branstad) said he was going to focus on jobs, the economy and taxes rather than social issues.
What About the RINO’s?
There are many Republicans similar to Melissa Jenkins and Steve Rathje. Their crusade is to rid the Republican Party of RINO’s (Republicans in Name Only). In the 1960s and ’70s they would have had a point.
Those were the days of Senators Jacob Javits (NY), Clifford Case (NJ), Lowell Weicker (CT), John Chafee (RI), Ed Brooke (MA), Richard Schweicker (PA), Charles McC Mathias (MD), Charles Percy (IL) and Mark Hatfield (OR). There are few liberal Republicans left in the Senate today, and the moderates almost always vote with the party when they are really needed. That did not happen when the GOP encountered three defectors on the stimulus (Arlen Specter is now a Democrat), but on other close votes the moderates did not bolt.
Melissa will not acknowledge the difference between Scott Brown and John Kerry. She sees them as two peas in a pod and says: “So far voting Brown has had ZERO benefit for the Republicans. He will vote with the Democrats, he is a fool and a tool! He is completely clueless and way in over his head.” I wrote an article explaining how Brown’s election ended the Democrats 60 seat super majority and changed so many things on Capitol Hill.
My final observation is to admire Melissa and Steve’s self proclaimed devotion to the Republican Platform. I understand why they are upset about the financial reform bill, but I am surprised Melissa assigns little importance to foreign policy, national security and international economic issues. She has no problem supporting libertarian Republicans who oppose the Patriot Act and the U.S. role in Afghanistan and Iraq. I believe the libertarians, Ron Paul and Pat Buchanan are the real RINO’s.