Don't get me wrong. I am none too happy with Gingrich's move here. It seems like a head scratcher. After all, this district is solid Republican. A liberal isn't needed to win. Yet, I don't think that this makes him public enemy number one. Then again, I am not a Conservative purist, just a conservative. For instance, my first choice in 2008 was Rudy Giuliani. Yes, I know he was pro abortion, pro gay marriage, and pro gun control. I didn't much care. Rudy was a successful prosecutor and a successful mayor, and I thought that made him ready to be a successful President. My second choice was John McCain. He was the biggest terror warrior and that's what mattered to me in war time.
The conservative purists, those like Laura Ingraham, Rush Limbaugh, and Ann Coulter, all liked Mitt Romney and or Fred Thompson. That's because both were the most conservative. That's all that mattered to them. It didn't much matter that Mitt Romney only became a conservative just in time to run for President. It also didn't matter that Fred Thompson was a conservative that didn't do much governing or legislating. All that matters to purists is that someone is a conservative. Stray from the party line so to speak and you become public enemy number one.
That's what's happening in New York's 23rd district. The conservative purists, the likes of Michelle Malkin and Red State, are taking sides, taking names, and taking notes. You're either with them, or you're the enemy. That's where Newt Gingrich finds himself now. Newt has even bigger problems. He partnered with Nancy Pelosi on climate change and with Al Sharpton on education. That's heresy in some circles and he's no longer welcome in some clubs.
Now, mind you, the purists have never run for an election. They've never crafted a bill, governed, or run a party. These purists think that the Republicans could be successful if the only Republicans out there were all down the line conservatives and no one else. In fact, those Republicans that stray are worse than Democrats, they're RINO's. In the circles of the purists, folks like Lindsey Graham are worse than folks like Carl Levin. Levin already works for the enemy. For the purists, Lindsey Graham works for the enemy from our side. The purists want you to toe the line and under no circumstances do you work with the enemy.
It's of course totally absurd. Rahm Emanuel, back in 2006, ran a very successful electoral campaign by putting victory above ideology. He found dozens of moderates to run in conservative districts and they formed the base of a stunning 2006 victory. Anyone that thinks the Republican party could win anything by running conservatives everywhere hasn't the first clue about things like demographics, elections, and politics. If any purist thinks a down the line conservative could ever win in Maine they are delusional and stupid, with all due respect. For all the contempt they have for Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, they're both as conservative as a Republican is going to get in Maine. So, it's either a moderate like Snowe and Collins or a Democrat, period.
The purists will take on anyone that strays on anything. For instance, here's how Red State treats Carly Fioriano.
While some of us are fighting hard against the Obama push to nationalize the Internet, Fiorina goes behind our backs and joins them, just as Scozzafava will work with ACORN and Planned Parenthood. Meanwhile, Chuck DeVore knows the
score and endorses Doug Hoffman.
There are two kinds of Republicans. Some are on our side. Some are more interested in the left. I know which I prefer to represent our party.
Don't get me wrong. Everyone should be held to account. Everyone should vote for who they feel is the best candidate. What I think is totally destructive is the contempt that purists feel toward any Republican that strays from the conservative line. About a month ago, Lindsey Graham got excoriated by the purists when he suggested that he wants to work with John Kerry on climate change. Just think about that. Graham is the scourge of the purists because he dares to suggest that he wants to work with John Kerry on climate change. Mind you, he didn't say he supports the current bill. He didn't even say that he would vote for a climate change bill. He just said he wants to work with John Kerry on the bill. That's enough to draw ire.
The whole thing is also totally hypocritical. Ask any purist who their favorite Democrat is and almost to a person they'll tell you that it's Joe Lieberman. That's because Lieberman is independent enough to buck his party. He just did it on health care and he more famously did it on Iraq. So, when a Democrat bucks their party, they're courageous. They're the kind of Democrat that purists like. When a Republican, like John McCain, does the sam thing, he earns a place just above the devil. Conservatives aren't good simply because they're conservatives and liberals aren't bad simply because they are liberals. The only politicians I really don't like are the dishonest and corrupt politicians. Besides that, those that disagree with us on any given issue are not our enemies. They aren't to be treated with scorn and contempt. The world can't be split on ideology.
If the Republican party only allows those that agree with each other on every issue, that's not a party but a cult. That becomes something out of Jim Jones and not Ronald Reagan. If who you happened to endorse in a special election in Congress is now a litmus test, that's a problem. The irony is that Newt Gingrich has done more for the conservative movement than all the so called purists combined. Yet, he dared to stray and the purists want him purged. That's not just wrong but it's totally unhealthy.