Jonathan Chait writes at length about the death of the moderate republicans this week.. and it’s helpful to remember that “republican” and “conservative” have become two very different things now.. the party has for the most part turned into an instrument of a handful of donors… and moderate conservatives have nowhere to go at the moment…
And it’s probably not so much about changing culture trends, shifting winds in society, historical fluctuations, even demographics… it seems to be the corrupted campaign finance system that’s mostly driving these developments..
How the GOP Destroyed its ModeratesRule And Ruin: The Downfall of Moderation and the Destruction of the Republican Party, from Eisenhower to the Tea Party
By Geoffrey Kabaservice
(Oxford University Press, 482 pp., $29.95)
By David Frum
(CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 484 pp., $16.99)
MITT ROMNEY HAS BEEN running for president as the Republican nominee, de facto or de jure, for eight months now, and the grand historical joke of it has not yet worn off. A party that has set itself to frantically, fanatically expunge its moderates, quasi-moderates, suspected moderates, and fellow travelers of moderates chose as its standard bearer the lineal heir, biographically and genealogically, to its moderate tradition. It entrusted its holy crusade to repeal Barack Obama’s hated health-care law to the man who had inspired it and run, four years before, promising to do the same for the rest of America. The man and his historical moment could not be more incongruous. It was as if the Mongol tribes of the thirteenth century, setting out to pillage their way across the Asian steppe, had somehow chosen Mahatma Gandhi as their supreme khan.
Romney’s capture of the nomination required an incredible confluence of good fortune. Any one of several Republicans—Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Paul Ryan—could have outflanked Romney in both grassroots enthusiasm and establishment support but chose not to run. The one candidate with the standing and financial reach to challenge him who did grasp for the prize, Rick Perry, performed his duties with such comic, stammering ineptitude that his final oops-de-grace by that point was not even startling. What remained to challenge Romney was a gaggle of third-raters lacking the money or the rudimentary organization even to get their name on the ballot everywhere. Still, running even against the likes of Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum (which is to say, running essentially unopposed), Romney still trudged laboriously to victory after endless weeks. (..)