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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Paul Soglin's Concern for Republicans

In a post that appeared on WisOpinion earlier this week, Paul Soglin lamented the fate of moderate Republicans:
The election of President Barack Obama last fall and the accompanying reaction from the extreme right wing worsens the condition of moderate Republicans. Here in Wisconsin, especially around metropolitan Milwaukee, where right-wing talk radio with Charlie Sykes and Mark Belling sways listeners, moderate Republicans continue to come under siege.
He goes on to note the fact that some Republican party activists are taking on GOP incumbents (gasp!). Perhaps a GOP incumbent bailout package should be considered?

Soglin's concern though, is little more than a rhetorical trick. It appears his definition of a moderate Republican is a Republican that agrees with his policy positions. There are plenty of people that do agree with him, and they are called Democrats.

The idea that if you don't agree with Soglin you are an extremist is ridiculous. I can see, however, that it could sway some voters who think of themselves as centrists. Especially when you look at his list of areas for agreement, most of which are so vague that it would be hard to argue against them. For example, "the value of investment in infrastructure." Even an extremist prefers bridges that don't collapse and might occasionally want to use the interstate highway system.

As I have argued, there is a need for a re-balancing among conservatives and the Republican party in general. Where the passionate populism that is so much in evidence today is tempered with ideas grounded in principle and developed through sober reflection.

Republicans who feel the same should work toward that end. Spreading the message that principled opposition to wrong-headed policies doesn't make you an extremist. Opposing your principles so that you can be called moderate though, does make you a fool.

3 comments:

Dad29 said...

For example, "the value of investment in infrastructure." Even an extremist prefers bridges that don't collapse and might occasionally want to use the interstate highway system

So does Soglin condemn Doyle for allowing the 894/45/94 interchange to damn near fall down with his fraud-o-budgets?

I didn't think so.

arod said...

Good article.

Steve said...

I haven't yet heard a "moderate" radio talk show host. It is a contradiction of terms, because when you always get in the last word by clicking the "off button" you are essentially saying how partial and un-yielding you are, not how moderate you are. There is nothing "moderate" about an "off button", and the reason there are so many "conservative' talk shows is that, to them, the words dialogue and compromise are cryptic code words of "big government" and are not to be taken tolerated. Radio show hosts are essentially intellectually red-necked, and whose previous, or next, profession was, or will likely be, a pulpit-pounding evangelical. Meanwhile, the dog's bark but the caravan moves on.