The term “moderate Republican” has become increasingly outdated and has reached the dubious status of oxymoron. The party has become increasingly dominated by the hard liners – now those who are even right of right. The “tea bagger” element appears to have taken over.
The titular head of the party, its national committee chair, is unafraid of any Democrat in the universe. Just listen and he will tell us so. But he skitters in the wind if it blows from Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News or “rushes” in from the radio voice of the great Limbaugh.
Does anyone remember when John McCain was a maverick, a moderate Republican who co-sponsored a comprehensive immigration bill, or the one who worked across the aisle with democrat Feingold to craft what might have been a phenomenal campaign finance law? Now, he grimaces during the State of the Union speech at the negative mention of the Supreme Court decision allowing corporations unlimited funding of political issues and campaigns. He is having trouble with a right wing opponent in Arizona.
McCain went right as he started his own campaign for his party nomination more than two years ago. His accepted party dictates for a dizzy glamour girl from the right to spice up his lagging personality appeal. His general campaign rhetoric was almost totally negative, including personal attacks on his democratic opponent and allowing his minions to disseminate known falsehoods. McCain no longer has real leadership status either within the party or with the far right.
Mitt Romney set a similar example as he went from moderate to arch-conservative for the campaign and ever since. Although he had sponsored some enlightened moves in health care as governor, generally he ran away from his own social accomplishments in working with democrats. Trying to woo a party element that was his inferior, he lost his own credibility with all.