In his recent column entitled "Happy New Year?" the widely respected Thomas Sowell remarks upon the GOP’s decades long insistence upon nominating “ad hoc moderates” — like Mitt Romney — as their presidential candidates — even though these moderates unfailingly “get beaten by even vulnerable, unknown or discredited Democrats.”
Sowell expresses what appears to be the consensus among many in talk radio, to say nothing of the rank-and-file of the Republican Party.
Sadly, far from shedding light on the GOP’s woes, this consensus is a reflection of them.
When Republican voters decry “ad hoc moderates,” it is to “Republican-In-Name-Only” (RINO) types that they refer. That is, it is Republican liberals for whom they reserve their disdain. But this grievance implies that there is a meaningful distinction to be drawn between Republicans who are “moderates” and those who are not.
The truth of the matter is that no such distinction exists.
In other words, with few exceptions, the vast majority of Republican politicians are “moderates.” In practice, if not always in rhetoric, they are liberals, Big Government tax-and-spenders.
Doubtless, the widely shared perception among those on the right that Mitt Romney is, as Newt Gingrich referred to him in the presidential primaries, a “Massachusetts moderate,” is correct. Seldom noted, however, is that Gingrich himself is no less of a “moderate.” In fact, Gingrich is actually more of a “moderate” than the former Massachusetts governor.
From his support for “spreading” Democracy around the planet, foreign aid, and an individual “health care” mandate, to his support for a ‘flex fuel” mandate, Medicare D, the bank bailouts of 2008, and everything in between, Gingrich is as avid a proponent of Big Government as there is. Yet Gingrich isn’t the only “conservative” alternative to Romney from the primaries who isn’t conservative. Rick Santorum is another.
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Jack Kerwick, Ph.D. (photo)