Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Lori Sturdevant gets a royalty

Whenever Star Tribune columnist Lori Sturdevant is bored, her tendency is to pen a column pining for the days of yore when Minnesota Republicans weren't such insufferable ideologues or so gosh darn extreme.

So when I saw a Strib headline from Monday that read...

Republican moderates were a force in the '80s

Moderate Republicans are becoming harder to find, or at least harder to find among the cohort of activists and elected officials who run the party.

...,I naturally assumed that Ms. Sturdevant was taking yet another journey to yesteryear, all the while swaying to that Babs Streisand tune The Way We Were.

To my surprise, it was a Strib writer by the name of J. Patrick Coolican who penned this particular lament

One excerpt in that stood out to me:

Moderates have all but disappeared (in Minnesota) and nationally. In a national survey, the percentage of Republicans calling themselves “moderate” declined from 12 to 8 percent since 2002, just as the percentage of Americans calling themselves Republican also has declined, according to the Pew Research Center.

Conservatives have taken over state parties and defeated elected officials just for sounding moderate even when they have a conservative voting record.

Apparently Mr. Coolican was not in attendance at the MN Republican convention this past May.

If you look at the two higher profile statewide offices (governor and US Senate), the GOP candidates endorsed (Jeff Johnson and Mike McFadden) by party activists arguably were not the most conservative among their respective competitors. In fact, both Johnson and McFadden conceded that to win statewide in a blue state like Minnesota, one has to be able to appeal to Independents and (gasp!) moderate Democrats. This is something that delegates at this past GOP convention knew all too well, yet still gave those two the nod. Both men went on to win their primary elections, contests which bring out Republican voters of all stripes.

Even though people may eschew the label of "moderate" Republican, pragmatism will occasionally seep in, especially given the drubbings Republicans have endured at the ballot box in three of the past four elections.

Speaking of extremism in a political party, has anybody taken a close look at the Democrat party? Could, say, a pro life Dem ever win statewide election in Minnesota? And could a left-of-center fiscal conservative in the motif of JFK ever be elected President? An analysis into how many leftists embrace the "moderate" Democrat label would certainly be a unique (not to mention refreshing) story at the Strib. I'm sure someone's on it.


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