Monday, July 8, 2013
Rockefeller On Republican Conservatives
Nelson Rockefeller was the leader of progressive Republicans. Alarmed by the unchecked power of the far right, he addressed the Republican convention and urged his fellow delegates to reject this new extremism. He warned that:
"The Republican party is in real danger of subversion by a radical, well-financed and highly disciplined minority... wholly alien to the sound and honest conservatism that has firmly based the Republican party in the best of a century's traditions, wholly alien to the sound and honest Republican liberalism that has kept the party abreast of human needs in a changing world, wholly alien to the broad middle course that accommodates the mainstream of Republican principles."
He was interrupted several times by the unruliness of the crowd, which had been packed with true believers by Rusher and White.
"There is no place in this Republican party for those who would infiltrate its ranks, distort its aims, and convert it into a cloak of apparent respectability for a dangerous extremism... The Republican party must repudiate these people."
His remarks captured the precise moment when the Republican party abandoned its heritage of inclusivity for the politics of division. Within five years, Nixon staffer Kevin Phillips would publish "The Emerging Republican Majority," which argued that the GOP could start winning national elections again by actively courting Southern racists alarmed by the Democratic Party's embrace of civil rights. Aided by a well-financed media machine and an organized campaign to purge progressives and moderates from its rolls, the party of Lincoln would soon become the party of Limbaugh.
Rockefeller was the last strong voice of dissent within the GOP — a political Cassandra whose warning that extremists would destroy the Republican Party went sadly unheeded. Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg all continue this tradition of progressive Republicanism today despite being pariahs within their own party. Rick Santorum may see himself as a standard-bearer, but the flag he hoists is not that of the Republican Party. It is of the radical right, and it is fighting like hell to maintain its grip even as the vast majority of America rejects its agenda.
This excerpt is from bluescreen.
Posted by Walter Ebmeyer at 12:08 PM