Viewing the GOP as “the party of ideas,” Republican Senate candidate Bill Binnie entered the New Hampshire senate race to “add my voice to economic challenges” as a self-described fiscal conservative who believes in a woman’s right to choose. According to Binnie, his pro-choice stance invited “over 1,000 pieces of mail” and threatening phone calls to his home. “We don’t answer our phone anymore,” he said.
In defending his pro-choice stance, he said, “I believe that the individual has the final say, not the government, in terms of how we live our lives.” He added, “There is a fight in my party for individual rights and what it means to be a Republican.” But as the GOP shifts towards a more radical stance, he says “it is a challenge” to “stand in a Republican primary” when the party “has morphed into parts that I don’t recognize”:
“My view of the Republican Party is the party of ideas. It morphed into parts that I don’t recognize. I think it’s one of the debates of my candidacy.” […]
“I started out in this race to add my voice to economic challenges and my background,” he said. “I didn’t realize, you’re talking about the polarization, I am a centric New Hampshire citizen. I’m fiscally conservative, I’m socially moderate. I’m not an extremist in any way. And yet, as I stand up in a Republican primary, it is a challenge. That’s what I’ve learned from this process in the last few months.
“I went to a debate in Portsmouth and I was the only one when asked are you a social conservative, I said no,” Binnie said. “I couldn’t believe that. Everyone is a fiscal conservative and we all have to be social conservatives? I don’t think we all have to stand on the same square to be a Republican. That’s what this fight in my view has turned into. You could put a piece of paper between the substance of most of our decisions. By any measure I’m a conservative. Just ask my kids.”
Binnie is not the only Republican falling victim to the “hostile takeover” and radicalization of the GOP. The so-called “reasonable Republican” Rep. Bob Inglis criticized Republican leaders for the “lowest form of political leadership” and Tea Party-driven “demagoguery” that is “dividing the country into partisan camps that really look a lot like Shia and Sunni.” Though he received “a 93 percent lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union,” he lost in his primary run-off.
Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT), who fell victim to a Tea Party backlash, slammed the GOP for letting tea parties and Fox News lead it by the nose. Echoing Binnie’s sentiments, Bennett noted, “I find plenty of slogans on the Republican side, but not very many ideas.”