Monday, May 30, 2005

Brownstein on GOP Paradigms

Ron Brownstein's column in today's LA Times offers what I think is a reasonably plausible explanation for why the right is so much more incensed about the Gang of 14's compromise than the left (although extremists on neither side are happy about it, as I've noted before). Brownstein suggests that the "ruling political paradigm" for Bush since 2001 has been "energizing the conservative base, even at the price of straining relations with more centrist voters," but that the seven GOP members of the Gang of 14, as well as the 50 Republicans in the House who voted for the Castle-DeGette stem cell bill "signaled their uneasiness with a course that places so little weight on moderate swing opinion."

Brownstein ends his piece by noting "Conservatives are guaranteed the dominant voice in the GOP for the foreseeable future. But after last week, they no longer appear to be the only voice. No wonder so many of them are howling." I quite agree. The events of last week prove what I and other centrist bloggers have been saying for months: when moderates stand up and be counted, we make a difference. When we don't back down in the face of overwhelming odds and opposition, we get things done. I hope now that our centrist senators and representatives have tasted victory they will not surrender its sweetness for the rotten taste of defeat.

Enjoy your Memorial Day, whether you are vacationing, working, or going to school. Take a moment to remember what it's all about, and honor all those who have made the supreme sacrifice in the service of America.


At 2:22 PM, Blogger EG said...

If you look at the issue from a completely partisian level, the conservatives are not angry about the Gang of 14 but about two Republicans, Graham and DeWine. The other five Republicans have not considered loyal for some time.

If Graham and DeWine hadn't stepped up, the Republicans would have killed the filibuster completely (despite what they said about it being only for judicial nominees).

The attitude of 'Me, Myself and I' is what Mark Shields and others have opined. Why settle for a plate of food when you have own the restaurant?

At 3:07 PM, Blogger Andrei Berman said...

Hey centrists (and Jeremy). Check out the new McCain So maybe it was created by me, but nonetheless, I think a lot of Chargingrino readers might be interested.


At 4:04 PM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

You know, the usually center-left New Republic blasted the filibuster deal. I was surprised at the level of disgust they showed toward the Democrat moderates who signed the deal.

Us Centrists could really use a weekly or monthly publication.

At 11:20 PM, Anonymous Simon said...

This makes me think back to Andrew Sullivan's excellent "2 kinds of conservative" article in TNR a few weeks back. Great article, you can find it on their website.

I agree that a monthly (or even bimonthly) publication for centrist Republicans could be an excellent idea. Pat Buchanan started his American Conservative magazine (which is doing very nicely, thankyou) to keep alive and promote paleoconservatism, which the theocons and neocons hate almost as much as they hate moderates. There's always the Ripon society's quarterly publication, but I would want a moderate equivalent of "Commentary" or "The Public Interest".

I think it's very important, however, that such a publication be broad-based and inclusive. I would again stress that "moderate" Republican is NOT a codeword for "pro choice" Republican. I'm a moderate Republican, but that doesn't make me pro-AA, it doesn't make me anti-war and it doesn't make me pro-choice. I'm not saying that a moderate magazine should reflect my policy positions, but that it should not become a mirror image of the very people whose hold on the party we're trying to break.

In other words, moderates and centrists need a written forum, rather than a loudhailer.


At 12:17 AM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

Weekly Standard used to be a little more free-thinking and moderate right (at least outside of foreign policy). But these days they seem to expend much of their energy inventing intellectual justifications for the theocons.

That's the problem with most political publications--they get too aligned with their party and start warping their ideas to fit the actions of "their guys in office." Any Centrist pub would have to be, I think, staunchly non-partisan. Of course, I have no idea who could get the funding and writers to start one.

At 11:35 AM, Anonymous Simon said...

I don't think there's any need for a centrist / moderate Democrat publication (there are several already - the Washington Post and the New York Times, for example), but a moderate Republican publication, yes, absolutely.

The way I would do it is to look back to the Commentary days. Commentary was a mail order publication, which meant that it didn't have huge startup costs. What you'd do in this day and age is have a magazine which was evenly balanced between current affairs commentaries, maybe a law section, and essays covering broader ideas, with a letters section and a book review section focussing on intellectually friendly publications. If it focuses no ideas as much as news commentary (which it must), you also want it to be citable, so you have volume and edition numbers, so that you can cite "Story title" (2 Policy Review 6 at 18-20). Then you make it available in print at cost, for PDF download for free (suggest a $2 donative, maybe), put a blog on the website to keep people interested between editions.

That's my $0.02. It's a good idea, but it took the necons twenty years to develop and push forwards their ideas.


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