A lot of angst and rejoicing south of the border today as Democrats sulk and Republicans rejoice at the news that Republican State Senator Scott Brown was elected to replace the late Ted Kennedy. Much was riding on the outcome of this special election: Barack Obama’s personal popularity and ability to sway voters after a year in office, elimination of the Democrats bullet-proof senate majority and the fate of Obama’s health care reform package.
Mr Brown will be Massachusetts’ first Republican senator since 1972. He calls himself a “Massachusetts Republican” who wouldn’t hesitate to cross party lines if he deemed it necessary.
He is also quoted as saying, “As a party, we need to have a larger tent. And we need to have some diversity of ideas.” And when asked about the debate over whether the GOP should adopt an ideological purity test, Brown responded, “I’m a fiscal conservative. I’ve never voted for a tax increase. Another Republican may not feel that way. I think it’s shortsighted to have a purity test.”
That must be music to the ears of moderate, more centre-right Republicans like David Frum who are trying to “modernize” and “renew” the post-Bush GOP and the broader conservative movement in the United States.
The GOP needs to be once again a “big-tent” party and realign itself to the needs and aspirations of a broader cross section of Americans. No longer can they limit their voter support to the pure laine of the conservative movement like National Committeeman, Jim Bopp, who introduced a resolution to limit Republican National Committee funding and endorsements to Republican candidates who first passed an ideological “purity test.”
Thankfully, the GOP is kicking off the new decade in grand style.
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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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