Liberals within the party are – predictably – complaining about the departure of one of their poster boys in Arlen Specter – once again screaming about how the GOP is “demanding ideological purity”, “heading towards extinction”, or else being relegated to a “regional party” in the South. They are, of course, wrong. And quite frankly, after the likes of Specter, Snowe, and McCain – plus the others within the party who acted or voted like Democrats – crashed us into the ground, it is far past time we cleaned house and found our ideological roots again. Specter’s claim that the “far right” is taking over the party and forcing our moderates simply does not stand up to the facts. Thirty years ago, our standard bearer was Ronald Reagan – the father of modern Conservatism. Fifteen years ago, our standard bearer was Newt Gingrich – the man who led a complete Conservative revival that nearly ended the Clinton Presidency, the Frist since Carter and only the second since Johnson. In the last five years, our standard bearers have been Bush, McCain, and McConnell. Does that really represent a Conservative shift? hardly. If anything, the GOP is more liberal today than at any point in the last two decades. And Conservatives in the party are attacked just as much, if not more, than moderates. And finally, if liberals are being forced out of the party, its only because their ideas cannot compete with the ideas of free markets, strong families, and a strong and active military.
Curious as to what Ronald Reagan would say to a self-styled “Reaganite” on this occasion? Ask the Gipper himself – and keep in mind this comes from 1975, long before Conservatives were actually in power:
A political party cannot be all things to all people. It must represent certain fundamental beliefs which must not be compromised to political expediency, or simply to swell its numbers.
I do not believe I have proposed anything that is contrary to what has been considered Republican principle. It is at the same time the very basis of conservatism. It is time to reassert that principle and raise it to full view. And if there are those who cannot subscribe to these principles, then let them go their way.