Monday, March 27, 2006


GOP extremists acting up

So now there’s a fight within Republican party brewing, and it looks ugly. The latest incarnation is over immigration. In LA, there’s been a surprisingly high turnout of protestors angry over the recently-passed House bill criminalizing illegal immigration. Other protests have dotted the nation. Currently the Senate is considering the legislation. Bush and some moderates are lining up in favor of amnesty for illegal immigrants. Rep. Tom Tancredo and a bunch of other...well...loonies...are on the other. But this fight represents a larger clash between the radical edges of the Republican party and its “moderate” counterpart, over social and fiscal issues. Despite the administration’s wandering into radical foreign policy territory, despite its slashing of federal government and tax-cutting sprees, despite the ur-conservative appointments to SCOTUS, extremists don’t think the mainstream of its party is going far enough. There’s the radical fiscal conservatives attacking the administration Republicans known for profligate spending. In Nevada, for example, Bob Beers is campaigning for governor on the back of his “Tax and Spending Control (TASC)” initiative – Nevada’s version of the infamous Montana “SOS” initiative – against Rep. Jim Gibbons, whose supported Bush on nearly every request for appropriations. Similar battles are shaping up in Colorado, Maine, Montana, and Oklahoma. There’s the extremist “values” camp plowing on with its utopian fundamentalist social policies despite nervous hurrumphing from mainstream conservatives with a disdain for social engineering. South Dakota’s state representative, Bill Napoli, was not only a part of his state’s recent ban of abortion, but he wants to ban birth control, too. The Missouri state legislature passed a series of bills designed to bring back “Christian values” to the state, including a bill to help ease the transition of women back into the home. Apparently these steps aren’t enough for social conservatives, who think the GOP doesn’t go far enough to promote a Christian agenda. Then there’s immigration, which pits Bush, McCain and Ted Kennedy against Tom Tancredo, who believes that immigrants pollute our essential American-ness. Tancredo, an opponent of multi-culturalism, was quoted (no link available) by the “New Republic” as saying:
America is wrestling with an identity crisis. Part of it is a result of what I call the 'cult of multiculturalism.' The idea that there is nothing—nothing—of value in Western civilization, that we have nothing to offer the world, that we have nothing to offer as a viable society, that everything we have is bad and ugly.... If we are truly in a clash of civilizations... which I happen to believe, then it is important for us to understand who we are. What does it mean to be part of Western civilization? Are there inherent values that are worth anyone's allegiance?
If I am to maintain a semblance of good rhetorical skills, I should explain what’s wrong with this quote instead of just letting it speak for itself. I need to? This guy is a nutcase! And that, in a nutshell (heh heh), is the essential clash within the Republican party. Those GOPers in power – the “mainstream” politicians – are feeling some pressure from the extreme wings of the party to get on with a fundamentalist social agenda and fiscal policy that few reasonable Americans agree with. That’s the thing: if you drive to the dance in the girl’s car, she’s going to expect to take you home before the night’s through.
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