What is it that moderate Republicans want?
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Reading Parker’s piece, you get a whiff of T. Coddington Van Voorhees VII, the satirical East Coast Republican created by blogger Iowahawk who sits around with moderates like Parker and David Brooks, and laments conservative extremists in between badminton games and sips of champagne. Parker’s primary objection seems to be one of culture and temperament rather than substance. Those tri-cornered-hat-wearing Tea Partiers are embarrassing all the normal and well-bred people out there.
This is the dichotomy established by many moderate Republicans: shrill, rigid, movement conservatives on one side and open-minded RINOs on the other.
It’s a straw man argument and a cheap one at that. In reality, the conservative movement consists of traditionalists, libertarians, and hawks; politicians, writers, scholars, and radio hosts; angry and wonky, loud and soft, following in the tradition of Burke and the politics of Reagan, but disagreeing vibrantly on both issues and techniques. S.E. Cupp and Rush Limbaugh are currently feuding. CPAC-goers will come home with lit from the American Enterprise Institute and the Ron Paul campaign. This is no cartoonish monolith.
The RINO movement consists of…well, people who say they’re RINOs. They’re pro-library-voices and anti-tri-cornered hats and pro-middle-class. Beyond that it’s hard to tell. But the left seems to approve.
At any rate, let me offer some overtures to the RINOs. I’ll agree to doff my tri-cornered hat and stop firing musket blanks at my co-workers, several of whom have taken up my epistemic closure with the HR office. But I’m going to keep demanding smaller government and less spending, and I may occasionally even use an exclamation point.
We’re staring down tens of trillions in debt. If the RINOs have a better solution, I’m all ears.
Image courtesy Washington Post.