This morning on the way to work I heard some of Christine Todd Whitman’s interview with Dianne Rehms (listen to it here). It was interesting because the purpose of the interview was to promote Whitman’s new book, It’s My Party, Too.
The purpose behind the book is to try and unify the moderates within the Republican party so that they can wrest control from the social conservatives who currently seem to set the agenda for the GOP.
Now, this is obviously an idea that appeals to me as a true-blue moderate. That said, I don’t know if it is possible. Moderates in general are probably best represented by the rhetoric of John Kerry, if not necessarily the man himself. Moderation is the home of pragmatism and compromise. You worry more about what is possible and less about what ought to be. Your ideal is a world were we all seem to get along in most things; it is not ever the best of all possible worlds. So, what is there in that to inspire?
Certainly the extremists on both sides of the spectrum can inspire. The social conservatives by pointing to a mythical past that we can return to and the social radicals by pointing to a mythical future. Moderates are stuck in the real, where social issues are messy and confusing.
So, while Moderates may console themselves by pointing out that they are likely in the majority (a fact that I am becoming less and less certain is a fact), they are unable to generate the kind of fiery rhetoric that envigorates the core. “I will push for your rights up to a reasonable point!” “I will protect your interests unless it becomes necessary to sacrifice them for the greater good!” “I will make tough choices about what I believe is best that will not be easily explained by pointing to a party dogma!” Huzzah!
So, I think the Moderate is losing influence fast. Which is great for me, because when the two parties go too extreme, my dream of a viable third party might actually happen. Huzzah, again!