In the face of significant losses nationwide, members of the Republican Party are rightly debating the party’s future. Each major political party is a conglomeration of diverse groups, and each group has a right to champion its views.
GOP conservatives argue that the party has lost favor because it has not been true to its conservative principles. GOP moderates say that conservatives have steered the party away from mainstream America.
An example of this second viewpoint is Free the GOP by Christine Todd Whitman and Robert M. Bostock, where the authors acerbically take on “social fundamentalists” that have “taken [the GOP] hostage.”
They write, “On Nov. 4, the American people very clearly rejected the politics of demonization and division.” Oddly, the Whitman and Bostock article is little more than a stunning example of ideological divisiveness and demonization of social conservatives. They offer not even one clue as to what moderate Republicans positively propose.
Like it or not, the GOP includes both conservatives and moderates. Attempts to excommunicate either faction from the party will not produce a winning result. Each faction should engage in honest discussion and debate by putting forward its ideas and respectfully considering the ideas of others.
If moderates like Whitman and Bostock want to help shape the future of the GOP, they should explain the value of their own views and abandon “the politics of demonization and division.”
What exactly are the policy differences between "moderate Republicans" and conservatives?
These moderates need to realize that there could be a mass exodus of conservatives if the party keeps trying to appease the left with moderation. I am a conservative, not a Republican. I study the philosophies of Reagan and Goldwater, not McCain, Graham, and Hagel. I am not as dedicated to the Republican party as I once was.
Cameron, I think you'd get different answers on that from different people.
Some moderates consider the conservative pro-life stance to be rather tiresome and trite. They figure that battle has been lost anyway.
I think we saw when immigration reform was a hot issue that there are some fairly divergent views between conservatives and moderates on that matter.
Some moderates are very much in favor of expanded government social programs, but done with a 'conservative' twist. Some social conservatives are on this bandwagon as well. Other conservatives see this as more of the Bush "compassionate conservatism" that is code for more big government spending and centralization of power.
Most that align with the GOP -- moderates and conservatives -- believe in freer trade and a strong national defense policy, but some of the more libertarian minded members of the GOP want much less in the way of defense.
So, while I used the terms moderate and conservative quite narrowly in my post, in real life there are a variety of viewpoints on each issue and most people do not readily squeeze into either label for all issues.
Clay, I appreciate the Goldwater and Reagan views, bearing in mind that Reagan was much more pragmatic in action than in rhetoric. I too vote my values over my party. But if you're going to be a member of a political party, it's important to avoid a take-your-ball-and-go-home approach when the party fails to achieve one's view of ideological purity. The fact is that politics = compromise.
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