GOP moderates ‘will be cheerfully ignored’

GOP MODERATES ‘WILL BE CHEERFULLY IGNORED’…. If the Republican Party hopes to compete in the coming years, Christine Todd Whitman argued the other day, it’s going to have to move away from the far-right cliff. Tod Lindberg, a fellow at Stanford’s conservative Hoover Institution and an informal foreign policy adviser to the McCain campaign, said it’s time Republicans realize that it’s become a center-left nation. Even conservative Sen. John Ensign (Nev.), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman said issues such as abortion and gay rights should no longer be at the core of the party.

Last week, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) went so far as to say it’s time for Republicans to reevaluate its priorities, downplaying social issues. “Those issues are very important, but there’s a lot of issues that people care deeply about, that affect their lives in a real way, every single day,” Crist said. “If you’re going to be successful in this business, you have to win a majority. It’s not just a majority of Republicans, it’s not just a majority of Democrats, it’s a majority of the people.”

And then there’s the other side.

Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform, scoffed at calls for the Republicans to move left, which he said had followed Republican defeats in 1964, 1976 and 1992. And he suggested that some calls to update conservatism — by taking global warming more seriously, for instance — were essentially disguised calls to move the party to the left.

“They will be cheerfully ignored,” Mr. Norquist said.

This follows Rep. Mike Pence, the #3 person in the House Republican caucus, who recently told Fox News that the way to revitalize the party is to promote “a belief in free markets, in the sanctity of life, the sanctity of marriage,” and the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins insisting, “Moderates never beat conservatives…. What Tuesday was, was a fact that people wanted change, and it’s a rejection of a moderate view.”

The post-election “bloodbath” between the various wings of the party hasn’t really come to fruition. Those who popped popcorn, waiting to see intra-party warfare among Republicans are probably disappointed.

I’d just add this: it’s still early. The Republicans have not yet decided which lessons are the right ones to be learned from the 2008 cycle, so the fight for the future has not yet begun.