Principles can get in the way of enthusiasm...

While I'm not especially comfortable with the topic, I thought I should amplify the discussion of the litmus test for Republican principles in my previous post about Arlen Specter.

Glenn Reynolds linked this discussion of whether the NRSC is about to abandon Toomey, and within that, I found the following statement from Senator Jim DeMint:

Yesterday, Jim DeMint, South Carolina's conservative Senator, said, "I would rather have 30 Republicans in the Senate who really believe in principles of limited government, free markets, free people, than to have 60 that don't have a set of beliefs."
While that has an emotionally appealing sound (especially to those who are fed up with the business-as-usual sellout GOP), is that really the choice that's facing the GOP?

Presumably DeMint would include himself within the 30 who believe in freedom (if we overlook his previous statements that pregnant women and gays should not be allowed to teach), and presumably he thinks there are a number of others who share these principles already there in the Senate. So in logic, the choice is not between them and 60 unprincipled RINOs. I suspect that his argument is more along the lines of "let's get rid of the 30 RINOs, and leave only those with 'principles'."

The appeal of this argument is obvious, as many would agree with DeMint. But is purging the party of deviationists the way to build a majority coalition?

I suspect that DeMint is concealing an argument against the Big Tent coalition with a false dichotomy.

There's also a big debate now over whether the Republican Party has moved to the right. I don't think it has; especially at the rank and file level, things are pretty evenly divided. The people I'd call the WorldNetDaily right, though, are louder than ever, and if you talk to them, they'll tell you that they and only they are "the base." Naturally, the left is delighted to echo their claim, which is endlessly re-echoed by academia and media. And they can be depended upon to scream, loudly -- well into the next election -- about how the "new" "far right" Republican Party ran Specter out.

Public perceptions being what they are, I think it would be a mistake for the GOP to deliberately whittle itself down to a small minority and abandon the coalition approach.

But my bias may be showing. I am, after all, just a Goldwater liberal who thinks it would have been a good idea if Reagan had followed Barry's advice and given Jerry Falwell that good proverbial kick in the ass. (He could have gotten away with it then, but it's too late now.)

On social issues, Toomey is less of a libertarian than Bush was, and he might be to the right of Santorum. Whether that means the party is shifting rightward, who knows? It's too early to say.

I held my nose and voted for Bush, and if I still lived in Pennsylvania I suppose I could in theory even hold my nose and vote for Toomey.

But must I also show enthusiasm?

posted by Eric on 04.30.09 at 08:57 AM


Forget it, dude. If you don't worship the baby jesus you are not wanted. And that's just the way it is.

dr kill   ·  April 30, 2009 1:46 PM

To be honest, the Conservatives in the Republican Party have been a rough and cranky group at the best of times. But what really cheeses us off is when a fellow Republican breaks Reagan’s 11th commandment: Thou Shalt Not Speak Ill of a Fellow Republican.

Ok, we’re guilty of doing it ourselves sometimes. But Specter and the other “usual suspects” gave us a perfect example. Here you have the largest “stimulus” bills on the face of the planet, plowed thru in the dead of night, unread by Republican eyes. Not a single Republican member of the house voted for it, and it would certainly have come to a screeching halt in the Senate without at least two Republicans. And rather than stand with Republicans in attempting to reduce the size of this monster, kill the pork projects, and get some real tax cuts…

The Democrats are welcome to him. We’ll ship his baggage over right away. Have fun.

Georg Felis   ·  April 30, 2009 3:47 PM
and if I still lived in Pennsylvania I suppose I could in theory even hold my nose and vote for Toomey.

acorn may be able to help you with that

dre   ·  April 30, 2009 6:40 PM

If Toomey repreent your views best then vote for him in the primary. He may have challengers.

I never expect perfect resonance with my views with a politician, why should others?

At least you get a chance to vote for a conservative. I live in MD ans my senators are Cardin and Mikulski both died in the wool liberals. WE do not get good candidate to run against them. If a decent centrist would be nice, but the GOP has gven up in Md. We depend on pro gun Democrats to protect our gun rights and they do a good job in the State House. Federal level we have lost it and have awful liberals.

RAH   ·  April 30, 2009 7:56 PM

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