Cheney: ‘I think it would be a mistake’ for the GOP to become more moderate.

With only 20 percent of Americans self-identifying as Republicans, the GOP is searching for a way forward. Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME), along with Colin Powell, have said the GOP must move toward the center to expand its tent. In an interview with Scott Hennen, a North Dakota radio host, Cheney declared that becoming more moderate “would be a mistake”:

HENNEN: Some people are wringing their hands saying, “This is an example of why the party needs to change, to hear the message of Specter,” that, as Colin Powell said, the Republican Party needs to moderate. Do you think the Republican Party needs to moderate? Is that the message of the Specter defection, or the state of the party these days?

CHENEY: No I don’t. I think it would be a mistake for us to moderate. This is about fundamental beliefs and values and ideas…what the role of government should be in our society, and our commitment to the Constitution and Constitutional principles. You know, when you add all those things up the idea that we ought to moderate basically means we ought to fundamentally change our philosophy. I for one am not prepared to do that, and I think most us aren’t. […] So I think periodically we have to go through one these sessions. It helps clear away some of the underbrush…some of the older folks who’ve been around a long time (like yours truly) need to move on, and make room for that young talent that’s coming along. But I think it’s basically healthy. I don’t spend a lot of time or lose a lot of sleep over it. I just think now is the time for people who are committed to get out there and find candidates they like and go to work for them.

RNC Chair Michael Steele has sounded a similar note earlier this week. “All you moderates out there, y’all come. I mean, that’s the message,” Steele said, but added, “Understand that when you come into someone’s house, you’re not looking to change it.”