Political Centrists & The Litmus Problem

A provocative column last week by Richard Cohen of the Washington Post, entitled “The GOP’s Litmus Problem,” makes the point that “GOP dogma” will “shrink the biggest of men.” As Cohen puts it, “they [successful Republicans] have to swear allegiance to a balanced budget, dangerously low taxes, cutting (trivial) waste, fraud and abuse from the budget, the sacredness of even microscopic life, the innocence of mankind in the cooking of the planet, the inviolability of the 18th century Constitution, meeting the challenges of globalism with even more localism, and a furious rejection of the lessons of Keynes – even when those lessons are successfully applied.”

Cohen goes on to say “it is simply impossible for a centrist to capture the Republican presidential nomination – maybe even to be a Republican. I challenge any of the above to wholeheartedly endorse evolution or global warming.” Cohen believes the Republican party “continues on a course that has already driven out the political moderates and pro-choicers that once comprised its intellectual and financial core…to call this a brain drain understates the calamity. It’s a political lobotomy.”

Notwithstanding some inconvenient facts; that John McCain was a centrist who captured the Republican Presidential nomination, or that Republicans, supposedly a dwindling party of ideological lemmings, recently took over the U.S. House of Representatives, captured 29 Governor’s mansions, and control both legislative houses in 26 states; how exactly does Cohen [...] Read More