May 23 2008
See Update Below
Well, it started back in 2006 when Bush nominated ex-democrat (wasn’t Reagan an ex-dem?) Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court and the far right went ape. Â The far right rose up again on Dubai Ports World’s selection to run some US docks. Â Even though the UAE, home of DPW, hosts the largest US naval port in the Middle East, some felt those Ayrabs were too much of a threat to be allied to have majority ownership (no dock hands of course) in a company that loads and unloads ships. Â The ignorance on how things work demonstrated at the time was stunning – and ugly.
Then came a real issue, a national issue. Â Then came comprehensive immigration reform and the far right went ballistic and called all who disagree with them traitors, un-American and worse. Â Compounding their disgusting behavior towards political allies (acting like Sadrists to Maliki’s Shiites) they basically started lying to themselves and America about what was in the bill, what was the utility of existing laws, and equating all immigrants with the few bad apples all populations have. Â In the irony of all ironies the bad apples they held up as examples of the evils of immigration were the very ones they insured would stay around as they stopped a bill that would deport criminals! Â Great thinking there.
Now that issue is back because all those who opposed comprehensive immigration reform have fallen by the wayside since 2006 and 2007. Â The standard bearer of the hard line crowd on immigration, Tom Tancredo, lost his bid for President and his seat in Congress. Â Many others followed his example and the one left standing is John McCain. Â McCain, like Bush and many other republican conservatives (as opposed to ‘true’ conservatives), supported the comprehensive bills proposed in 2006 and 2007. Â He supports it now. Bush has done more than any other President to seal our borders, turning back 1.3 million illegals last year alone. Â There is no more catch and release plan. Â Caught and sent home.
Now is the time to deal with registering workers and those who have been here a long time making a living as undocumented workers. Â Now is the time to register foreign workers and remove the underground economy that can not only hide 20 million illegal immigrants for decades, but hide cells of terrorists. Â It is time to step away from the fringes on the right and left (who have unrealistic desires with no public backing) and deal with the problem realistically. Â And that is what McCain is going to do:
In yet another sign of his pivoting toward the general election, Senator John McCain said at a roundtable with business leaders here today that comprehensive immigration reform should be a top priority for the next president.
Mr. McCainâ€™s willingness to address the issue was striking given how the topic became something of a third-rail for Republican presidential candidates during the primary.
The response by the far right was predictable and swift – and signaled the final chapter in the purity wars of the conservative movement. Â Either the purists win and the GOP goes into terminal minority status or the broader coalition wins and progress is made through compromise and teamwork. Â Personally I already know the answer because politics in a democracy only divvies out power to those who make broad alliances and who can compromise. Â Ideologues who demand everyone bow to them always end up on the margins.
If McCain wins he will have made clear that the GOP and conservative movement can achieve success without the ‘true’ conservatives. Â I am an independent conservative. Â I have resisted joining the GOP for decades because of the purists. Â It is a combination of being repulsed by their arrogance and completely unimpressed with their solutions. Â Arrogance needs to be backed up with something, and there is not a lot there in many cases (not all of course, and I am focused on leaders and leading voices). Â I actually have no dog in this fight accept to find the best opposition to liberal policies. Â I don’t look for the purist conservative because the world changes to much and too fast to lock into one concept. Â It is a false sense fo security some seek in defining rigid dogma. Â
It is not my path, nor the path of many. Â Who will win? Â In the long run the ‘true’ conservatives will lose. Â the question is whether a short term success can be won when fighting the liberals on the left and the fringes on the right. Â I think this is the year of the centrists where America shrugs off the fringes and marches to the center to get some problems solved. Â
Update: Â Some other folks people should be listening to on this matter of whether there is a conservative GOP (big tent) or only ‘true’ conservatives (pup tent). Â The Anchoress, who is leaving the GOP, and Harold Hutchison, who links other voices who have decided the purists are not the future.
If I may be so blunt as to remind those on the right that we are at war with religious fanatics who demand purity to their views at gunpoint. Â I am not equating Islamo Fascism with ‘true’ conservatives. Â I am only pointing out that a country which is tired of the war on fanatics, but sees no path out except to keep soldiering on, may take its frustrations out on the next best example they can find and impact. Â
There is too much demand to toe-the-line on ideological grounds for this nation to stomach anymore. Â By far the most cancerous and destructive variant comes from the Jihadis. Â But the endless griping between far left and far right is not earning respect or support either. At some point America is saying enough to the purists, we are going back to the respect on peaceful coexistence of diversity and impurity.
The reason the far right is losing so badly is they have not given up their purity wars. Â We are a war weary country and would trade diversity and peace over anger and fighting any day of the week. Â Just as the Iraqis are settling into their diverse, common ground to end the real fighting there, America is doing the same. With or without the fringes.