I’m going to write a post that is political in nature, not ideological, although I suspect it won’t be taken that way. As a lifelong progressive who has found myself admiring and even voting for Republicans over the years, I find myself appalled at its current state. How did it become a party where the word moderate is a pejorative?
Since I have no real answer to that let me make an observation. It now seems that everyone has been missing the point of the Republican primaries. A little over a year ago Republicans with real gravitas began making the decision to sit out this presidential campaign which on the face of it made no sense. Obama was by any measure a seriously weakened president, ripe for defeat. Why then did those potential candidates decide not to run, leaving the field to candidates with little to no chance to win? What did they know that the rest of us completely missed?
It is becoming painfully obvious that for the Republican party this is the year of the ideologue. Republicans like Jeb Bush, Mitch Daniels, Paul Ryan and Haley Barbour, while conservative, were certainly not pure ideologues and they knew they’d get involved in a slugfest they weren’t prepared to wage. So we’re left with one simple fact. The Republican base wants an ideologue this year and no amount of money or appeals to electability seems to be dissuading them from their demand.
And the only way for the adult wing of the Republican party, the wing interested in governing rather than a far right ideological purity that is doomed to irrelevance, to regain control of their once grand party might be to give those in the base demanding purity what they want. A purely ideological, extreme right wing candidate for president of the United States.
In my lifetime there have been just two pure ideologues gain the nomination of their parties, McGovern for the Democrats and Goldwater for the Republicans, and the results were disastrous. Yet because of their landslide losses in those elections, the parties were able to wrest control of their nominating processes back from their ideological fringe elements, and returned in later cycles to great success. So I say give ‘em what they want, nominate Santorum, take your inevitable pounding, regain control of your party from the wingnuts, and return to your roots.
Now that’s a winning strategy.