How the GOP Destroyed Its Moderates

As I have told many of my readers I have been very busy working 10 ½ to 11 ½ a day and I have found a subject, and thus the time, to post on this current phenomena subject with reference to the upcoming election.

I am writing this posting from the viewpoint of growing up in a Moderate Republican family….or what some are calling today, “RINOS.”  The current Republican “Du Jour” Party today 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 traditions.

Moderates, or at least relative moderates, do continue to exist in the Republican Party.  They merely do not exercise power in any meaningful, open way.  They provide off-the-record quotations to reporters, expressing unease over whichever radical turn the party has taken at any given moment.  They can be found in Washington and elsewhere rolling their eyes at their colleagues.   There are still the odd figures, such as John McCain, with nothing left to lose who will even deliver a forceful assault on the party’s uncompromising direction.  For the most part, “Republican Moderation” is a kind of secret creed, a “Freemasonry” aspect of the right to speak as such.

Today “Moderate Republicans” lack the institutions that might legitimize, to even present a voice, or language to express themselves.  Instead today, “Conservatism” is the only acceptable ideology, and the Party will NOT allow any open arguments with itself to at least take into consideration a much less extreme agenda.  Any assemblance of what could appear as a “Debate” in the Republican Party is entirely between genuine ultra-conservative ideological warriors, plus some uncomfortable self-preserving conscripts, on nothing more than what can be called a self-imposed “Inquisition” to purge via “Political Witch Hunts” for the secret heresies of Moderates within the Party.

To win the Republican nomination, Romney stood shoulder to shoulder with his party’s ultra right reactionary wing.  When Romney took on his hapless opponents, he assailed them from the right, as “Soft on Immigration” or Anti-Capitalist.”  Now that he is on the national rounds campaigning, and expounding a softer moderate view to the general electorate in hopes of gaining the independents and moderates across the spectrum; rest assured should he get into office the Ultra Conservatives will be in control and pushing their extreme agendas that will ultimately harm, if not destroy, the Middle Class citizens of this country.

It was not like this when I was growing up and my parents were the voting Republicans of their time.  Republican moderates in the early 1960s held a place of influence and comfort within their party that is hard to imagine today.  The worldview of the party’s Rockefeller faction was formed and propagated with the help of organizations such as the Ripon Society, Republican Advance, and the Committee on Economic Development, and publications such as the New York Herald Tribune, Confluence, and Advance.  Then when the great wave of the “Goldwater Movement” arrived in the early 1960s, with the explicit goal of cleansing the party of moderates and re-making it in the image of monolithic conservatism, the moderates fought back, albeit using more gentlemanly methods than those often employed against them

Moderates at the GOP convention in 1964 proposed a resolution condemning extremism of all varieties.  Goldwater supporters voted it down, their position echoed by the candidate’s famous declaration that “Extremism in the Defense of Liberty is No Vice” and that “Moderation in the Pursuit of Justice is No Virtue.”  Many moderates stalked out of the convention, including Michigan Governor George Romney and his teenage son, Mitt.  (My how times have changed!!)

When conservatives defeated “Moderate Republican California Senator Thomas Kuchel,” he lashed out at what he called a “Fanatical Neo-Fascist Political Cult” in the grips of a “Strange Mixture of Corrosive Hatred and Sickening Fear.”

The “Moderate Republican Tradition” had always leaned heavily on elitism, which abhorred demagoguery and the crude appeals to self-interest that they correctly identified with the machine hacks and Southern Racists of the Democratic Party” in the 1960’s.  As I have written in the past, it was “Maryland Republican Governor Spiro Agnew” who toured the South and converted the “White Democratic Southerner Klansmens” into the Republican Party.  With this accomplishment Nixon brought him on as his Vice President running mate.

Nixon’s strategy of counting upon “White Southern Tradition Resentment” began to identify the party as a LESS congenial place for thoughtful, educated people.  Nixon’s re-branding of the party helped set in motion a long-term political swap, in which Republicans slowly lost support among white voters with a college education while gaining traction among the white working class.

The transformation is now so complete that Rick Santorum can proudly announce “We will never have the Elite, ‘Smart’ People on our side!”  Of course “Smart” referring not to native intelligence, but to those who aspire to a certain level of intellectual respectability.

What remains of “Moderation” within the party has taken on a definition very distinct from the meaning that it held originally.  Unlike the moderate and liberal Republicans of yore, today’s “Moderates” generally identify themselves as “Conservatives,” probably mainly out of fear of being ostracized or even expunged by the Party.

So in conclusion when Mitt Romney is now going around presenting his new found “Chameleon Moderate and Middle Class Kinder” side placating and pandering to the “Working Middle Classes” for their votes; let it be known the ultimate result will be in the vision of the Rush Limbaughs, Koch Brothers, and other Extreme Voices of Right-Wing “Purity Forces.”


23 Responses to “How the GOP Destroyed Its Moderates”

  1. lacithedog Says:

    I have been wondering how long “conservative” has come to mean ignorant and out of touch with reality in US English usage.

    I gave up trying to argue with those people when they said that facts weren’t really relevant to the issue. Thus, they can use dodgy “facts” to support their spurious arguments.

    Hard to argue with that type of logic!

  2. Engineer Of Knowledge Says:

    Hey Laci,
    Man it is good to hear from you as I have missed you. You know I have great respect for you. Loved your postings on Muddy’s and Dog Gone’s sites.

    Yes I too am finding it hard to comprehend the thought process and mindset on the Ultra Conservative Republican who have taken over my Parents Republican party. As I have said before, my sir name ancestors have been Republicans since Lincoln and the Civil War. These Johnny Come Latelys, like Rush Limbaugh and the other “Me Too Clones” have destroyed by Political Party to the point that I cannot even recognize what it had once been and stood for. I remember the Goldwater years of the mid-1960’s but he was viewed as a goofy extremist that allowed L. B. Johnson to easily win his term.

    Even Goldwater would be a Moderate by the litmus test of today’s Republicans in control.

  3. RON Says:

    This is a wonderful, insightful commentary on the sad deterioration of the Republican Party, not only of Lincoln, TR, and Ike, but also of Nelson Rockefeller, William Scranton, Mark Hatfield, Charles Mathias, Charles Percy, Lowell Weicker, Jacob Javits, Clifford Case, and many others, including, ironically, George Romney!

    I would appreciate this commentary being posted on my website, as it is a major contribution to understanding the GOP tragedy occurring before our eyes!

  4. Engineer Of Knowledge Says:

    Hello Professor Ron,
    If you want to post this piece on your site, please feel free as I would be honored.

  5. RON Says:

    I am not as technologically savvy as you, so please do so for me!

  6. Engineer Of Knowledge Says:

    Oh Professor,
    I don’t know how to ether. :-0 You could copy and and then past into your site as if you were developing a new posting on your site. Not that I would care but you could then copy and post the web address to the article at that point to give credit.

    To do the latter you just click on the title header, “How the GOP Destroyed Its Moderates” but this will just give you the web link to this site’s posting.

    In the mean time I will look into what you are talking about. I have others I can ask who are much more blog site savy. 🙂

  7. lacithedog Says:

    copying and pasting works. RON, make sure you attribute where you found the post!

  8. RON Says:

    I wrote a comment on the blog asking readers to go to your blog to read your insightful commentary!

  9. Engineer Of Knowledge Says:

    I have added the link so all they have to do is click on it and it will take them to this posting. Thank you and needless to say I am honored.

  10. jackjodell53 Says:

    Hello, Engineer!
    What a thoroughly insightful and interesting lamentation chronicling the downward slide of the Republican Party into its current state of depravity. This should be required reading in every political science classroom in the country. The modern GOP has fallen prey to its very darkest level of ignorance, intolerance, dacism, class hatred, and downright stupidity. Whereas 50 years ago, stooges like Michele Bachmann, Virginia Foxx, Joe Walsh, Paul Broun, Paul Ryan, and the rest of those fanatical, uncooperative, disrespectful Tea Party morons would have never been elected to office and would have been correctly dismissed as undesirable crackpots, today they are held in great esteem and are even taken seriously by far too many. As you have pointed out and I echo here, these fools are not in the least bit “conservative”, but are in fact dangerous radical reactionaries whose overall aim is to turn the American political and social clocks backward to the 1880s. They are anti-democracy and wholly anti-government, and do not deserve to be on the public payroll. Hopefully, the nation’s voters will return to their senses and start to dislodge this very unwelcome infestation of outright, uncompromising, narrow-minded absolutists! They are decidedly UN-American!

  11. RON Says:

    Jack, I agree with you completely,and Engineer of Knowledge has posted what he stated on my blog, THE PROGRESSIVE, so I suggest you look at my blog and post your comment under his on my blog. It is good to see that there are intelligent, insightful people who can see what has happened to the GOP!

  12. lacithedog Says:

    ”I’ve become less conservative since the Republican Party started becoming goofy,” said Justice Richard Posner in a radio interview last week.

    Links to a good story.

  13. Dog Gone Says:

    In Minnesota, the MNGOP kicked out a number of prominent moderates, including very well regarded former governors and other high office holders, for not being extreme enough.

    They are prohibited from participating in the state caucuses and conventions.

  14. Engineer Of Knowledge Says:

    Hello Laci,
    Very good link and thank you for passing this on for others to use and inform themselves.

    Dog Gone,
    How sad that the Republican’s have gone to this extreme!!! They are purging the mentors, the sage voices, and those whom should be emulated. I would have hoped that the Party would have imploded from the extremism but its longevity and how far it has gone has surprised me.

    In the end it will never survive but how much damage will be done before this happens? This may now be the question with people actually considering voting for Mitt Romney.

  15. uptheflag Says:

    Hey Engineer, just a wonderful post. I will be traveling
    I-75 N on Saturday, Nov. 3rd. Could plan to meet up
    with you say around Dayton? Probably early afternoon.
    If that isn’t possible, will be heading South on 75, Nov.
    10th in the morning. Since MS is solidly a red State, not
    much we can do here to help the Obama cause so going back to home base, Toledo, to help with the get out the
    Democratic vote.

    If any of those two dates might work for you, let me know
    and we can make more specific arrangements by e-mail or

  16. Stimpson Says:

    Hi, Engineer.

    Conservative, as a political leaning, should mean simply “predisposed against change” or wanting to go slowly and cautiously on change. As you have very capably illustrated, it has come to mean something else in U.S. political parlance. Now when a Repub says “conservative,” he/she is typically using the word to mean what I would term “regressive” – i.e., for the rollback or repeal of changes that us sane people think of as progressive or good. Or that Repub might instead mean ignorant or dismissive of science – and how conservative came to mean proudly anti-science is a real puzzler to me.

    Mittens isn’t nearly as “conservative” as he presented himself to be during the primaries. At that stage he was play-acting for the right-wingers. The moderate Mitt, who I would say is the true Mitt, came out soon after the Repub convention. It doesn’t speak well for him that he can be so flexible with his principles.

    IMO, the most worrisome things about Mittens relate to his religion. But that’s a whole other subject, I guess.

  17. J.O.B. Says:

    E,E,E,E- I would like to congratulate you and yours on a triumphant and blessed Sunday, in the church of the NFL. Ravens, Browns, and Skins. A glorious day for you my friend.

    I am still young to politics. Didn’t even have the right to vote until ’94. So, I don’t really know what a Moderate Republican is. LOLOLO
    I’ve been on blogs now for a year and a half. I’ve spent a lot of time with die hard Conservatives. I’ve spent a lot of time with die hard Liberals. Then, I spent quite a bit of time with you. 🙂
    Through all the posts, the sites, the diatribes, and the rhetoric. I’ve realized on thing. Most Liberals are idiots, Most Conservatives are idiots. You’re dumb and I’m retarded. This country, our country is LOST. There’s no more moderation anywhere. Repubs have a platform, you stick to it, or get the fuck out. Dems have a platform, you stick to it or get the fuck out.
    I’ve watched the debates start to finish. I’ve argued with bloggers on both sides about all the fact checking, and misquotes. There are two facts when it comes to these debates.
    2- The two best candidates to run this country aren’t even in the debates. Gary Johnson and Jill Stein will not be seen on the major networks. But we can still watch them debate.
    We have become a lessor of two evils voting society. Myself, I can’t do it anymore. I was all set to vote for Romney. Not because he’s the better candidate, but because he MAY be able to do a better job. But I can’t do it anymore Brother, I just can’t. I deserve better, my family deserves better, this country deserves better. The two party system has failed this country and I believe will continue to do so.

    Yours Truly,
    An Obamacare disbeliever, Pro choice, Gay marriage, gun ownership, States rights, religious freedom, welfare reform, affordable higher education, advocate. How’s that for Moderate? 🙂

    BTW- By the looks of things, you should change the name of your blog to “The Classroom”. Considering we now have Lawyers, Professors, and Engineers….LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL
    I might have to go back to college just to continue visiting your site.

  18. Minnesota Central Says:

    IMO, the last “good” President who was a Republican was Eisenhower … why … because he rejected the Republican Platform. Did you know that the Republican Party platform in 1952 called for lowering tax rates, winning the war in Korea, repealing Social Security among other planks ? Remove Korea and replace with Afghanistan, and the GOP Platform is the same. Ike told the Republican-controlled House that he would not lower tax rates until the budget was in surplus … so the top tax rate remained at over 89% … oh, he did end the fighting in Korea … and expanding Social Security participation … and he invested in infrastructure creating jobs … and got to a surplus.
    That’s one of the reasons that Kennedy could fight to lower tax rates to 70% … he had a surplus to work with.

    The funny thing is that the last Minnesota RINO was Norm Coleman who was thrown under the bus for not being conservative enough … in fact, he ended his campaign by trashing PACs that were so heavily spending in Minnesota. As you probably know, Coleman lost to Al Franken in a recount … but what you may not know is that Coleman underperformed John McCain by over 60,000 votes … so voters knew that Obama was going to win MN Electoral College votes before going to the polls, but Republican voters opted to not vote for Coleman. So what’s Coleman doing today ? He runs American Action Network which is spending money on campaigns to elected hardcore Conservatives … Coleman figured that if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em … so Minnesota’s RINOs have no place to go.


  19. Engineer Of Knowledge Says:

    Hello Minnesota Central,
    Thank you for stopping by and I think you have summed this up very well…..”It is truly SAD!”

    In my lifetime I have seen “My Family’s 150 Year Legacy of Belonging to the Republican Party” being destroyed and purging the “Moderate Voices” that my family has always presented.

    At this point and time the “Extremism” that is so prevalent within my Republican Party, being fueled by the “Willing and Wanted Ignorance of Logic, Critical Thinking, and Science,” I have no idea how to bring this back to sanity. This truly has digressed to a mental illness status……and these people want to “Run Your Life!”

  20. microdot Says:

    Sorry, I haven’t been here sooner…this is a great piece, and I will cross post it on my blog! I’m reading the flack that Colin Powell has been catching for his critique of Romney absolutely Null and Void grasp of Foreign Policy. The best they can do is try to negate his criticism with racist commentary? Good luck….I think that the best news about the race I heard today was that Newt Gingrich, the self appointed president of Moontopia, made another one of his predictions…that Romney will win with over 300 electoral college votes, but we know Gingrich is an alien from another strange and bizarro universe and of course, on Gringrich world, he’s already the emperor, divine planner and supreme deity and Romney is just a bobble headed gilded idol he controls in his pantheon of supreme universal power….All hail Gingrich…but please, for your own safety, DO NOT DARE TO GAZE DIRECTLY AT THE GINGRICH!!!!!!

  21. lacithedog Says:

    The Republicans have alienated most of humanity and are now focusing on the somewhat niche ‘rapist vote’.

  22. J.O.B. Says:

    I think my wife says it best. Have your dick cut off, turned into a properly working vagina. Then we’ll talk about the effects of rape and unwanted pregnancies.

  23. microdot Says:

    Engineer…I was just learning about the projected landfall of Hurricane Sandy! Good Luck my friend! I hope you have a generator! I gots one and had to use it just last week to keep my freezer cold when we lst power in a huge windstorm that lasted for 3 days.
    I have friends coming from NYC next week and they are getting worried about their trip planning.

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