The Last Gasp for Republican Moderates

September 15, 2008

I think Sarah Palin poses a very interesting issue for the GOP, win or lose. Typically, political parties, after losing the presidential election, play the game of blaming the different party factions: “We need to move more to the middle!” and “We didn’t stick with our core (read: extreme) values and policies!”

Without a doubt, Palin has energized the Republican base and religious right, which were less than enthusiastic of McCain (and still are to some degree). If McCain wins, can we expect McCain to roll back on his 75+ flip-flops to appeal to the extreme wing of the GOP? Probably not, because Palin could argue that she was responsible for that win. And who’s to say the self-described pit bull won’t want more meat of the bone to chew on, that she won’t want to have more say in policies? (Maybe then she can finally get her ex-brother-in-law fired.)

But, if McCain loses, it won’t be blamed on Palin but on McCain because he didn’t appeal to the far right until late in the game (regardless of the fact that he started those appeals and flip-flops more than 2 years ago).

Win or lose, I’m predicting that the extreme wing of the GOP will wrest even more party control and that the moderates will have had their day. You might be a Republican who believes in limited government but in freedom from government intrustion in your personal life. And you are about to find yourself even further removed from the GOP, which about to be a beast of cultural war. A party of supposed Christian values that sees fear and war in every corner.

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