It all boils down to this question: Is there room left in the GOP for moderates or moderate-right-wingers? I’ve always maintained that there definitely is, particularly as “independent” or “decline to state” registrations grow. But if you’d heard a conservative pundit lately, you’d think that the Republican Party was set to implode unless every GOPer hops on the bandwagon and votes how they say. So today, going into Super Tuesday, I had to write about the swinging and jabbing Angry Right for my Los Angeles Daily News column:
“…What’s scary is that lifelong Republicans are, perhaps more than ever in recent memory, seeing very little tolerance for moderate or ‘big tent’ points of view in the scramble for the 2008 nomination. In doing a couple of radio shows around the debate, I could practically hear the pins going into the Bridget voodoo doll on the other end as the hosts lambasted me for not tarring and feathering McCain.
…I would hope that Pundit Worship hasn’t reached such a ridiculous point that voters depend on their sage (or whack) advice to make such important decisions as voting. I would hope that voters stick to educating themselves on the issues and candidates’ records, and save the quivering at the fire and brimstone for Sunday services.
Conservatives’ hold over talk radio has been seen as a power stronghold, even sparking some Democrats’ effort to reinstate the ‘fairness doctrine,’ which McCain has incidentally opposed. ‘And the fact that leading talkers have never acknowledged the senator’s integrity and leadership on this issue also reveals something significant about the character of his critics,’ Michael Medved wrote last week.
Do these shows actually inspire free-thinking, contemplative voters who resist groupthink mentality and arrive at decisions on their own assessment of the issues?
They see the primary defeat of McCain as a fight for the heart and soul of the Republican Party, but fighting moderate GOPers won’t do the party any favors. And because some Republicans are growing more environmentally conscious or don’t agree with Romney’s step-by-step deportations (which he outlined clearly in the debate - and which the man of the hour, Ronald Reagan, would have never done), it doesn’t mean they spell the beginning of the end.
From now until November, there are clearly many more GOP brawl opportunities for Don King to promote. Yet if he decides to promote the candidacy of McCain, he’d better have Felix Trinidad in his corner.”