Honey, I shrunk the GOP, Part 4: Moderate GOP candidate yields to angry conservative. Gingrich says if this keeps up, “well make Pelosi speaker for life and guarantee Obamas re-election.

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"Honey, I shrunk the GOP, Part 4: Moderate GOP candidate yields to angry conservative. Gingrich says if this keeps up, “well make Pelosi speaker for life and guarantee Obamas re-election."

Honey, I shrunk the GOPWe’ve seen how GOP conservatives want to cleanse their party of moderates “” see “Honey, I shrunk the GOP, Part 1: Conservatives vow to purge all members who support clean energy or science-based policy.”  Even Lindsay Graham (R-SC), an American Conservative Union “Senate Standout,” among the 20 most conservative U.S. Senators in 2008, is being attacked for even daring to engage in bipartisan efforts to solve our climate and energy security problem (see Teabaggers try to “flush” Graham out of GOP, calling him “traitor” and “RINO” and “wussypants, girly-man, half-a-sissy”; Graham responds, “We’re not going to be the party of angry white guys”).

Well, Senator, not only does Glenn Beck say “I’m going to stick with the angry people,” Mike Pence, chair of House GOP Conference, sides with Beck (see here).

If you need it further proof that there’s a growing purity test for GOP nominees for national office, that the angry people are taking over the party, consider this bombshell from New York:

A moderate Republican whose candidacy for an upstate New York Congressional seat had set off a storm of national conservative opposition, abruptly withdrew on Saturday, emboldening the right at a time when the Republican Party is enmeshed in a debate over how to rebuild itself.

The candidate, Dede Scozzafava, said she was suspending her campaign in the face of collapsing support and evidence that she was heading for a loss in a three-way race on Tuesday involving Douglas L. Hoffman, running on the Conservative Party line, and Bill Owens, a Democrat.

As TP reports, “big tent” and “establishment” Republicans “” such as Gingrich, the RNC, and the NRCC “” backed Scozzafava whereas “purists” “” such as Sarah Palin, Rick Santorum, and Bill Kristol — backed Hoffman.

What test did Scozzafava fail:

Ms. Scozzafava had been under siege from conservative leaders because she supports gay rights and abortion rights and was considered too liberal on various fiscal issues.

Hoffman, on the other hand, is one angry guy, as this NY Post op-ed he wrote last week makes clear:

Taxes, the deficit, red tape and regulation are breaking the back of the nation, mortgaging the future of our children and grandchildren.

Americans have had enough and are vocalizing their anger in town hall meetings and on the streets of Washington. They are mad as hell and they’re not going to take it anymore!

That’s why I am running. I am one of them!

Yes, he’s one of the angry few.

This is the political story of the week with huge implications for climate action and the entire progressive agenda.  In the very short term, it may make it difficult for some “moderate” Republicans to engage in a serious bipartisan effort to preserve a livable climate and end our dependence on oil (see “Honey, I shrunk the GOP, Part 3: RNC Chair Steele withdraws support for Rep. Kirk over his vote on climate and clean energy bill“).

The pressure on Lindsey Graham will no doubt continue to be enormous, though at least in his case he’s not up for reelection until 2014.  Fortunately the few remaining moderate environmental voices in the Republican Party are speaking out for him (see here).  If you want to thank Lindsey Graham for reaching across the aisle to address the climate problem (click here).

In the medium term, however, the GOP’s internecine warfare is almost certainly a good thing for progressives, as even Newt Gingrich understands:

Yet other prominent Republicans expressed concern that Ms. Scozzafava’s decision seemed likely to unsettle the party going into next year’s midterm elections, raising the prospect of more primaries against Republican candidates that they deem too moderate. Party leaders “” including Mr. Steele and Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker “” had argued that local parties should be permitted to pick candidates that most closely mirror the sentiments of the district, even if those candidates vary from Republican orthodoxy on some issues.

“This makes life more complicated from the standpoint of this: If we get into a cycle where every time one side loses, they run a third-party candidate, we’ll make Pelosi speaker for life and guarantee Obama’s re-election,” said Mr. Gingrich, who had endorsed Ms. Scozzafava.

“I felt very deeply that when you have all 11 county chairman voting for someone, that it wasn’t appropriate for me to come in and render my judgment,” he said. “I think we are going to get into a very difficult environment around the country if suddenly conservative leaders decide they are going to anoint people without regard to local primaries and local choices.”

Ms. Scozzafava, a state assemblywoman and former small-town mayor, was nominated this summer by Republican county leaders who quickly found their choice second-guessed by the party’s conservative wing. Many officials in the district, a vast expanse from the Vermont border through the Adirondacks to Lake Ontario, were deeply resentful of the outside involvement.

“They’re trying to bang 435 elections across the United States into the same mold,” said James Ellis, chairman of the Franklin County Republican Party. “It’s a detriment to democracy.”

Yes, it’s true, that the effort by Rahm Emanuel and other Democratic leaders to build up a working majority by reaching out to moderate candidates means that progressives don’t always get precisely the legislation they’d write by themselves.  But the point is, without a working majority, you don’t get to write legislation at all, and you’d certainly never end up with the biggest increase in clean energy funding in U.S. history — bigger than all of the previous increases combined.

If Obama is a two-term president and we can maintain working majorities throughout both terms — then we have a serious chance of making the transition to a clean energy economy and averting catastrophic global warming.  Thanks to the angry conservatives, that outcome just became a bit more likely.

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8 Responses to Honey, I shrunk the GOP, Part 4: Moderate GOP candidate yields to angry conservative. Gingrich says if this keeps up, “well make Pelosi speaker for life and guarantee Obamas re-election.

  1. Robert says:

    It’s time to change the GOP’s (Grand Old Party) moniker to NOP(e) to reflect their true image. NOP; the Nation Obstruction Party is the party of NO, No Way, No How and soon Nobody! Oh, how sick is the road ‘they’ travel as it may very well turn into a Dead End; the road to Nowhere for ‘them’! Why do they think that ‘Denial’ is a road to a better place? Don’t ‘they’ realize that at some point the s1eeping masses will realize they’ve been duped? Many will want to name the instigators of this massive and unconscionable fraud CAMPAIGN! Documents will be reviewed, names will surface, and blame will be HUNG on those who have guilt. It will unravel and snarl, like a cheep bait casting real! Those who’ve cried out that ‘Global Warming is a Hoax’ will be found out as the real perpetrator of thee most sinister HOAX in the history of mankind; seen as the Denial of Scientific Fact! ! They have lost sight of their ideals of Truth & Honor. Many Statesmen have become the lowly Snake Oil Salesmen! Greed has made them blind and those who crave power have become foolish. To deny Science is to plea ignorance along with the insanity defense! Truly a grievous crime against mankind has been committed! Hip,Hip, Hurray for the Acid Litmus Test of the Republic Repugnant Radical Right!

  2. Gail says:

    Robert, a fine rant for a Sunday morning, sir!

  3. k. Nockels says:

    HERE,HERE! I agree a great rant, how did so much hate and anger get lose in the party? Poor losers is my opion, that and MONEY. what ever will cause them to lose any is a reason for hate, even at the cost of the rest of us.

  4. Mike Roddy says:

    The Republican Party membership has clearly become completely unhinged. Whatever it is that they represent, it has nothing to do with legitimate conservative principles such as limited government or personal freedom.

    This may make them more easily written off, but I’ve seen this movie before. We gloated after Goldwater’s defeat and Nixon’s disgrace, too, and they rose up again, like relentless crabgrass.

    America’s dark underbelly may be more dangerous when it’s spiraling into irrelevance. We need to be careful, but to also keep up the attack. As Augustus Caesar said about the Germanic tribes, “They must be attacked, crushed, and then attacked again. Only then will they respect us”.

  5. Dave Morris says:

    How long it will take before reality-based Republicans (like Gingrich??) come around and see that their party has been hijacked by ideological idiots? While lots of power for the Dems in the short-term may be good for climate action, I fear that absolute power will do its usual trick before long.

    World War Two, the apt analogy for the climate crisis we face, was fought by a unified and determined nation, not by a fractional majority imposing its will on the rest. We need Republicans – or some better political force – to keep Democrats and climate activists on their toes and responsive.

  6. Dave Morris says:

    Mike,
    Your analogy to Caesar and the Germanic tribes may not support your political aims, at least in the long view.

    All that Roman attacking and crushing of the barbarians didn’t end up working out so well for the Romans. Upshot: now they are Italy, nearly irrelevant, famously unstable, and ruled by neo-fascist criminals!

    Obviously we care about much shorter timeframes than that, and climate action now is crucial. But I also think that reasonable attempts at bipartisanship are beneficial in the long term, and a better basis for good governance than any kind of scorched Earth.

  7. Gail says:

    Well, I don’t know if it’s true but this is the email I just got from the DCCC

    “Late yesterday news broke that the moderate Republican Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava, candidate in the hard-fought special election in New York’s 23rd Congressional district, had been driven out and the Republican party was throwing their weight behind the Palin/Limbaugh/Glen Beck endorsed radical tea party candidate instead.

    Today, the moderate Republican threw her support behind our proud Democratic candidate Bill Owens.

    It has never been clearer that the Republican Party has been hijacked by extreme right wing ideologues with a radical agenda that would effectively dismantle Social Security and Medicare, and are out of step with a vast majority of Americans.

    Eight extreme right wing groups spent more than $1 million on this campaign including the Minute Men, Club for Growth and the Family Research Council.”

  8. Matt Dernoga says:

    Also important is that Bill Owens could be an important vote on clean energy issues, over an obstructionist Hoffman

    http://madrad2002.wordpress.com/2009/10/31/new-yorks-23rd-district-and-clean-energy/