Any one who deviates from the Democratic or Republican base isn’t welcome anymore. It used to be that moderates could drive safely, while the extreme ideologues passed them in the breakdown lanes. Lately moderates have been pushed closer and closer to the center line. It feels like there wont be any room left on the major party highway soon.
We all know the Republican party has been pushing out those they deem “RINOs” for some time now. There was the “with us or against us” mentality of the Bush years, which has carried on in GOP rhetoric. Rush Limbaugh and a few other extreme conservative pundits have carried the torch. Republican senators have apologized to Limbaugh for challenging him. Dick Cheney and Colin Powell have had a publicized debate on the direction of the GOP, who belongs and who doesn’t.
And of course there is the internet chatter. Commenters on conservative blogs are quick to judge others who don’t quite fit the mold. Hell, they will turn on their own in a second like sharks at a feeding frenzy. There is strict code of what a Republican should be and if you deviate even an iota you’re fish food.
Tim from Balloon Juice has broken down this phenomenon for us in a handy to read post. Republicans must live up to what Tim calls “The List”
from Balloon Juice:
D.F. must simultaneously oppose abortion (always), support torture, wiretapping and aggressive war, question evolution and doubt global warming, fear muslims, hate taxes and really hate government healthcare. If D.F. fails a single point on the list then he’s clearly a bogus conservative, anathema and unwelcome to taint the pristine boards with his heterodoxy. The question of the day (e.g., did Sarah Palin harm the ticket) usually makes a guest appearance on The List, conveniently anathematizing anyone who disagrees with the putative topic of the thread.
I read a few Conservative blogs and check some to cite a story from time to time. Tim really isn’t far off. Commenters really do bash dissenters. That kind of behavior is not exclusive to Conservative blogs. Pick a topic people are passionate about. Search forums or blog comments on that topic and you will find the same kind of behavior. That doesn’t make it any less unsavory, especially for Republicans who have opinions on abortion, gay marriage, guns, etc., in conflict with the far right.
Unfortunately for old school Republicans much of the list doesn’t always mesh with core Republican values. All the baggage brought by the religious right when the Republicans whored themselves to the rr to pad the ballot box are not the same values men like Goldwater, Buckley, or Reagan cherished. Now the GOP is paying the piper, but unfortunately so are moderate Republicans.
Democrats will often try to claim the high ground on this issue. That they are all inclusive and friendly. Well that’s not quite so. Far left liberals can push those they don’t agree with away just as quickly and easily.
Robin at American Thinker wrote a few days ago about her experience as a Democrat who chose to vote for McCain. She might as well have been a leper the way her liberal friends, husband, and therapist were treating her. While debate and disagreement is healthy, people downright loathed her for her choice, and it is her choice to vote for whoever she wants, to vote for McCain. If McCain had campaigned as the McCain we once knew I may have voted for him too.
In the hey-day of Obama excitement, you really were a brave soul to admit to voting for McCain or once he was elected disagree with him. A youtube video posted by bloggerinterrupted even questioned a black man who said he would vote for McCain, practically saying he HAD to vote Obama just because he was black. Yes shame people over to your point of view.
Of course just because you’re a Democrat that doesn’t make you exempt from the “with us or against us” behavior. Moderate Dems have been pushed around by the party base. Back in February Blue Dogs senators complained that Nancy Pelosi treated them like “mushrooms” and got perturbed when they wanted to do outlandish things like read the legislation they were voting on. I wrote on my distaste for Harry Reid’s remarks on bipartisan efforts in regards to Mr. Obama’s economic stimulus bill. His posturing at the time was just what I never liked about the Bush administration. Now that the Dems were in power they were doing it too.
So where does this leave moderates? Quite possibly taking an exit to a new road. One where moderates can express their views and not be immediately attacked as a “traitor”. One where they can vote for a candidate that espouses all of their core values, not just some candidate all over the political map. Third party country, here we come!