Saturday, April 16, 2005

Fighting for the soul of the Republican party

Okay, I'm not a Republican, although I have voted for a few of them over the years, most notably Indiana Senator Richard Lugar (who, fortunately, grew out of his rap of "Nixon's favorite mayor" when he was Mayor of Indianapolis). But that doesn't preclude me from watching the Republicans, especially during these interesting times.

These times are interesting because the radical minority is running not only the Republican party, but also the entire country. The fringe right-wingnuts, most notably evangelical/fundamentalist crazies, have taken control of things in a way we never could have imagined just a few short years ago. Given their role (claimed if not actual) in Bush's recent reelection, they're now asking for their due rewards. These nutburgers are getting totally out of control, as witnessed during the recent Terri Schiavo affair, and the post-mortem cries to take action against so-called "activist" judges. (Most of whom, in the Schiavo case, were actually Republican appointees -- go figure.)

Now we're starting to see the Republicans start positioning themselves for the post-Bush world and the 2008 elections. Interestingly, some of the most popular Republicans nationwide -- Schwarzenegger, Giuliani, McCain -- are actually fairly moderate, especially on social issues. But they're not part of the current power base, so instead we're seeing the far-right crazies jockey for position -- most notably, Bill Frist and Newt Gingrich.

So what we have here is the run-up for a major-league battle between the moderate and crazy-conservative wings of the Republican party. Already Frist and his ilk are dissing McCain for being too moderate on the anti-filibuster blustering surrounding some stalled judicial nominations in the Senate. McCain is being quite rational -- in his words, "we won't always be in the majority" and thus have to act sensibly. But that's being a pansy, as far as Frist is concerned. The right-wingnuts want blood, and lots of it. It's a religious war they want; they're damned scary.

And what's even more scary is that these demagogues represent less than 20% of their base. That's less than 20% of Republicans. Put 'em at about 10% of the total populace. But they're the crazies that are in control, and they'd like to stay that way.

Here's hoping that the more level-headed Republicans like McCain can take back control of their party. Most Americans are not anywhere near as rabid as Frist and the other right-wingnuts. We need moderation to rule, not extremism. Frist and his pals have to be beaten down; we cannot continue to accept rule of the party or of the nation by a radical minority.

But that's just my opinion; reasonable minds may disagree.

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