Monday, May 25, 2009

Colin Powell Delivers the Republican Perspective

Colin Powell, that great conservative voice that endorsed Barack Obama during this last presidential election over fellow military man John McCain has decided he wants a more "inclusive party."

“I have always felt that the Republican Party should be more inclusive than it generally has been over the years. And I believe we need a strong Republican Party that is not just anchored in the base but has built on the base to include more individuals. And if we don't do that, if we don't reach out more, the party is going to be sitting on a very, very narrow base.”
You know, the kind of party that would be attractive to persons likely to vote for the most liberal member of the Senate in a tight race even when the Republican alternative is one of the most moderate Senators of the Powell's self identified party.
Powell said he believes it is time for the Republican Party to stop listening to “diktats that come down from the right wing of the party.

“You can only do two things with a base. You can sit on it and watch the world go by, or you can build on the base,” said Powell. “And I believe we should build on the base because the nation needs two parties, two parties debating each other. But what we have to do is debate and define who we are and what we are and not just listen to diktats that come down from the right wing of the party."
Just looking at the Republican candidate during the last election should show everyone that the Republican Party is a big tent party. Its standard bearer supported what amounts to amnesty for illegal aliens. Its standard bearer, while battling against earmarks, supported the bailouts (even suspending his campaign to try and hammer out a deal,) was originally against the Bush tax cuts, was a member of the Gang of 14, attacked George W. Bush on countless issues of military policy, is a huge supporter of the AGW myth, and, if you need to know anything else, I could mention McCain-Feingold.

John McCain was not a straight and narrow conservative on all issues. Not even close. And yet, despite all the advertised conservative zealots within the right-wing GOP, I do not personally know of one Republican that stayed away from the polls or that voted for Obama because of McCain's many centrist views. Like me, every one of them trudged off to the precinct and reluctantly voted for John McCain.

Colin Powell had the perfect centrist GOP candidate in John McCain, the kind of guy that Powell should have been gaga over. I'm sure they did not agree on everything, but I think that is the point that Powell was trying to make--that Republicans need to compromise on some of their more conservative positions in order to be attractive to many of those with whom they do not agree with on everything else. And yet, despite this, Powell went ahead and endorsed Barack Obama, a man who has never once had so much as a conservative thought penetrate his rock star head.

How could the Republicans ever seriously compete for the vote of those like Colin Powell when, in the end, all they really want to do is to vote for the most liberal candidate they can find? And, more importantly, why would the GOP even want to? And, why is it that CBS is unable to find a Republican that, you know, actually votes Republican, to represent a true Republican's viewpoint on their highly respected television program? We could have just as easily had Harry Reid or Bart Stupak give us the Republican viewpoint.

Political parties can be flexible and our voting public is too large and diverse to be even close to monolithic. To expect otherwise is more than a bit naive. It does strike me though that the political parties should have certain principles that they take very seriously--there has to be some glue there. Absent these principles there is nothing to bond a party together in the first place and we might as well just go out and pledge a fraternity.

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