The Democratic Party is known for its skill in assembling circular firing squads.
In the special election to fill the Congressional (NY - 23rd District) seat, left open by the appointment of Rep. John McHugh to serve as Secretary of the Army, conservatives proved that they are every bit the equal of their Democratic Party counterparts when they nominated an extreme right winger to run on the third party Conservative Party ticket.
The official Republican Party candidate - a moderate who, absent a split vote, was almost certain to win - was driven out of the race and the Democratic challenger took the prize without much difficulty. The result is that one of the few Republican seats in the north east - and one that had been in Republican hands for more than a century - has been unnecessarily lost to the Democrats.
Regrettably, the Republican party seems to have taken yet another step towards being an organization of Southern right wingers obsessed with social issues such as gay marriage, abortion and Christian prayers in public settings while simultaneously refusing to raise taxes to pay for the government spending programs that they demand. Those of us who describe ourselves as Liberals of the 19th century variety (otherwise almost identical to Goldwater conservatives who believe in a strong defense, fiscal conservatism and social tolerance) can only shake our heads and wonder where in the current party structure we fit.
Stay tuned for another episode of the right wing circular firing squad in the 2010 Florida Republican Senatorial primary. There, Governor Charlie Crist is facing strong opposition from a very young right winger, with no executive experience, named Marco Rubio who seems to be as obsessed with Fidel Castro and Cuba as anything else. This Twitter post, four days ago, sums up his attitude to a still significant number of Republicans:
"If you live in NY CD 23 vote 4 Hoffman. Send message to those who want GOP to "moderate" that we do not need 2 Democratic Parties."
The attitude of the right wing activists brings to mind the description of the British Labor Party's [extreme left wing] 1983 Election Manifesto (platform) as the 'longest political suicide note in history'. The policies that the Labor Party espoused made a major contribution to Margaret Thatcher's Conservative Party landslide. The Labor Party did not regain national office until 1997.
Is that the experience that Republicans want? Can such ideological inflexibility be good for our country? Is the Republican Party to become the 'Exclusionary Right Wing Party' instead of the 'Broad Tent Center Right Party' that is still needed for electoral success in America?