A GOP “Move To The Middle”–Wouldn’t That Be Nice?

UPDATE: The New York Times had an interesting story over the weekend about the GOP "establishment" throwing down the gauntlet with the "Tea Party" in 2014. We've discussed this on many occasions in this space, but it bears repeating: Republican attempts to kill their own Frankenstein is the gift that keeps on giving for Democrats.
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We want to acknowledge a well-intentioned editorial from The Denver Post on Friday, titled "A move to the middle for Colorado Republicans?" As our long-time readers know, this blog has accurately narrated for many years now as the Colorado Republican Party has alienated itself from the state's present and future majorities, with results increasingly undeniable in the form of five consecutive electoral defeats since 2004–even in years where the national political trends were strongly with Republicans, as was the case in 2010. We've been accused of celebrating this alienation, but the truth is, our warnings to the GOP have been sincere, and the consequences we have witnessed can very arguably be considered objectively bad. As Republicans have lost touch with the voters of Colorado, and lost elections, an honest representative viewpoint for conservatives in our politics–a viewpoint still very much prevalent among many of our state's citizens–has been undermined.

In the Denver Post's editorial Friday, a reported incremental change of heart on the part of a few Republican lawmakers on the ASSET legislation for undocumented students is celebrated as a "years overdue" "migration to the middle." They express hope for more such "migrations," on issues like civil unions for gays and lesbians, and (though they note it is unlikely) reducing gun violence. A truly moderate GOP, says the Post, might "be a voice for many Coloradans who hold centrist views that fall on the GOP side of the spectrum."

We want to be clear, as we have said so many times over the years, that we too would welcome a genuine move to the center by Colorado Republicans. We think that, partisan advantage notwithstanding, most Democrats would prefer to have less-unhinged conversations about the issues facing our state.

So it is really too bad that we have to pop the Post's bubble now.

Our friend Jason Salzman, writing last month, noted a column from Republicans Josh Penry and Rob Witwer from November, calling out Colorado Republicans for extremist predilections and telling their GOP contemporaries that they must "improve or die." Unfortunately, as Salzman proceeded to illustrate:

Now, two short months later, most Republicans at the State Capitol are lining up against the ASSET bill, offering reduced tuition to undocumented college students.

The Post's Lynn Bartels is calmly pointing out that even fewer Republican lawmakers appear to support a civil-unions bill this year than last year, because the GOP moderates were booted out by voters.

Rep. Cory Gardner is proudly telling the media how much he'd love to fill the GOP tent with women and Hispanics, without saying he's against all abortion, some forms of birth control, as well as comprehensive immigration reform. Ditto for the rest of the CO GOP delegation, at least with respect to a path to citizenship.

Despite the fact that Sen. Greg Brophy has indicated, Robert Ramirez-style, that he might see fit this year to vote for the same ASSET bill he has eloquently denounced in prior years–which is what the Post based its whole happy assessment that the GOP may be "moving to the middle" on–look at the bills Republicans have actually introduced this year. The bill to make science class safe for creationism, or the total, no-incest-or-rape-exception abortion ban. Or the party's answer to the call for new gun violence protections with bills to Wild Westify Colorado classrooms, and restore gun rights to some convicted felons. When asked about the abortion bills last month, the Post's Lynn Bartels quotes GOP House Minority Leader Mark Waller saying, "We're not going to be the kind of caucus that puts our thumbs on people and says, 'This is what you get to do and this is what you don't get to do.'"

If that's the case–if there is no will to rein in the extremists and follow through on the new moderate image they need–what Waller's caucus "gets to do" is remain a minority. And no amount of wishful thinking from an overly generous (unions excepted!) Denver Post editorial board is going to change that.

17 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. The realistThe realist says:

    Republicans in the state legislature and US Congress can't help themselves.  They only experience visceral joy when they appeal to the extreme right wing of their party — and they live for visceral joy.  The few moderate voices in the party are marginalized, or are defeated by the exremists.  The party is not down yet, but it's working really hard to get there.

     

    • roccoprahn says:

      I completely agree with you, realist, but I think we're in the vortex of an incredible storm in which redleg state legislators and U.S. House representatives that come from outright Deliverance banjo music Districts……..you have at least 16 redlegs to pick from as the main cartoon image State-wise, take your pick with Gardner and Lamborn in the big show.

      To me this conundrum screams that we'll have disfunctional government into the forseable future, as the pinko party becomes more and more marginalized,degenerating into a series of local strongholds whose rep's either cater to wild eyed extremists, gun nuts, anti choice/anti sex education/ anti-you name it goobers or lose their cushy "guvbmint" gigs.

      Those pockets of slimy insanity completely obstruct legitimate government functionality. particularly at the national level, where the teabag abcess in the House prevents Boehner from being even close to professional on those rare occasions when he attempts to, and the cruz/rubio/paul/johnson/cotton cabal in the Senate virtually assures filibuster on every attempt at legislation.

      I'm struck by my own immediate reaction every time I hear of, read about a crazy move by these ass clowns. We have a very competent, hard working, brilliant, pragmatic, compassionate President that, in my opinion, these "people" would absolutely get behind if he were completely white.

      Instead, we face the horrors of sequestration, 1250 people shot since Newtown, crumbling infrastructure, on and on………………..in 2013, for Christ's sake!

      If a person supports the current republican party, in its' present form, with its' clownish elite, its' idiotic positions on everything, and that person's not a millionaire, he/she is nothing but a fool.

      Uneducated, misinformed or not informed at all, idealogical extremist, lazy, intellectually dishonest and definately unpatriotic individuals. The vast majority of these "conservatives" that hate government and scorn earned benefits are older white people that are on some sort of entitlement themselves. Oh, the irony.

      Do elections count any more?

  2. Craig says:

    Love your sarcasm on a Monday morning.  As you know, I do not share your hope that the Republican Party will moderate.  I spend 10 years trying to do just that.  It won't work  The only thing that will work is to continue to beat Republicans of all stripes until the party withers away and something else takes its place.

    As for Realist's comment above, Republicans can't help themselves because what they spout is what they truly believe.  The members of the Republican Party who used to just pander to this kind of crap are gone, or at least not in office any more.  The true believers (as we used to say the "ones who think Jesus is in it") control things now.  The reality is that for most in the party, there is only what they believe and nothing else counts.

    I continue to laugh at my pro-choice, non-religious brothers who think they are really part of the Republican Party and never miss an opportunity to spout Rush's latest drivel.  For me, I finally got tired of being the circus animal that was always pointed out as the example of a "moderate" Republican.  That's why I'm not a Republican anymore, because that was false advertising and I was tired to being used.

    • JeffcoBlueJeffcoBlue says:

      Completely agree, Craig. People like Brophy can only fake moderation, and politicians who have attacked the very things they need to embrace can never do so legitimately. Yes, the GOP needs to change, but it can't be fake change. That will require a new generation. None of the Republicans in power today who have embraced the bad old GOP can be a part of saving it.

    • Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

      I continue to laugh at my pro-choice, non-religious brothers who think they are really part of the Republican Party and never miss an opportunity to spout Rush's latest drivel. For me, I finally got tired of being the circus animal that was always pointed out as the example of a "moderate" Republican. That's why I'm not a Republican anymore, because that was false advertising and I was tired to being used.

      That's an impressive comment, Craig. It is hard to accept when something you really believe in turns into something you can't support. Do you have a feeling about the way it will evolve?

    • GalapagoLarryGalapagoLarry says:

      It's over.

      This talk about the Republican Party "coming back" as a moderating force, is pure unicorn worship. It's over. Dead. Fini. Putrified, maggot laden, skin-bones-and-and-puss dead, like a long lifeless cow at the bottom of an arroyo in August. It is what it is, and no amount of remessaging, phony outreach and spin by its Denver Past mouthpiece will ever strip milk out of those black tits again.

      You said it. Craig: It won't work.

      Perhaps, someday, republicanism (small r) may re-form into a positive democratic (small d) co-governing force. After all, one can wish to see a unicorn without actually believing in one. But the party that represented that in the past is already long beyond the disgusting stage.

    • ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

      I work with the GOP causes but remain registered as a libertarian for a (few) reason(s)

      • MADCO says:

        So….the R's allow you to caucus and vote in their primaries, yes?

        Oh- what's that? No.  Ok – so basically you are an academic observer, just like the unaffiliated or those who tune in when the ballot is on their kitchen table.  

        Not that there's anythign wrong with that.

  3. Irish Patti says:

    40 years ago President Obama would have been considered a nice moderate Republican. I think that the likelihood of the Republicans becoming moderate again is akin to me becoming Pope. 

  4. GalapagoLarryGalapagoLarry says:

    Ah, to laugh. So–with Rove's braniac assistance–the GOP is going to "migrate" to the "middle", huh.

    For the current utterly delusional, shape shifting Party patriarchy, where's that? Where's the middle for John McCain–under Sarah Palin's left nipple? Where's the middle for John Boehner–under Eric Cantor's left ball? Where's the middle for Charles Krauthammer–under his own smirking inoperative left lobe?

    Should be a short, painless migration. They've been there before.

    • BlueCat says:

      Thing is, you have to understand what they mean by "middle".  To them terms like moderate or middle mean still hard right but you try not to say the most offensive things you all believe right out loud. 

      That was pretty much Jindal's message.  He may have said stop saying stupid thinks but what he meant was… stop being so stupid as to say certain things out loud. How do I know that's what what he meant?  Because he never mentioned… you know…  any actual policy moderation.

  5. MADCO says:

    Deport 'em all.

    Or motivate them to self deport.  What part of illegal is hard to understand?

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