Friday, July 21, 2006
The Republican War: Normal Vs. Extremists
I’m not really sure what the point of is in today’s WaPo, but it briefly touches on something that I’d like to take a bit further.

Surely it was coincidence, but I couldn't help notice that in the same week Reed lost, Graham was celebrated in a front-page New York Times profile representative of his rise to national prominence. I chatted with Graham by phone on Tuesday (as it happens, before the polls had closed in Georgia) and Graham suggested that his party needs to unlearn some of the lessons supposedly taught six years ago by his state's primary.

Republicans, he said, need to move beyond mobilizing their base "because our base isn't big enough to propel us to victory 10 years from now."

Conservatives -- of which Graham is emphatically one -- should be wary of a politics based on the idea that to satisfy your own core supporters, "the other side's got to be miserable."

"I want conservatism to be seen as a good solution to people's problems and not go the way of liberals," Graham said. "Liberalism is not a title easily worn now, and that could happen to conservatism."

At this moment in history, Republicans are at a crossroads. They can either become a pawn of their far-right base, dooming them for years to come, or they can move back towards the middle, where they will find much more success.

The question is, are there enough moderate Republicans left to take control from the extremists?


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