I'm not a big believer in the "big tent" theory of Republican base-building. I think there is a critical difference between standing for a set of principles and leaving the welcome mat out for all who see something to follow, even if they don't buy into the whole platform, versus jettisoning principles altogether in a cynical effort to pander to the lowest common denominator.
But, by the same token, I've never been one who called for so-called "moderates" to be bum's-rushed out of the party for not being ideologically "pure." If the Rockefeller remnant wants to remain in the party, they are perfectly welcome - so long as they understand that the party is not going to forfeit what it stands for just to keep them around.
This is why, despite all the lib gibbering to the contrary, "Jumpin' Jim" Jeffords (aka "Triple J") was not "driven out" of the GOP four years ago, but rather defected of his own greedy, ill-advised accord.
However, I think a parting of the ways has been reached, or is, at the very least, fast approaching, with another so-called "Republican" senator who is making it his life's mission to, in political terms, make Benedict Arnold look like man's best friend
One of John R. Bolton's leading Republican backers, Senator John McCain of Arizona, signaled his support on Friday for a compromise in which the White House might allow Senate leaders access to highly classified documents in return for a final vote early next month on Mr. Bolton's nomination as United Nations ambassador.
The conciliatory signal from Mr. McCain came as Senate leaders traded blame over who was responsible for the miscalculation that led to Mr. Bolton's nomination being blocked Thursday....
Appearing on the Fox News Channel, Mr. McCain reiterated his support for Mr. Bolton. He also praised an argument made by, among others, Senator Richard G. Lugar, Republican of Indiana, who has urged the Administration to provide the Senate with more information related to Mr. Bolton's conduct. Senators calling on the Administration to share the documents "have some substance to their argument," Mr. McCain said.
Unfortunately for the Supreme Chancellor, this time it wasn't Bill "Doofus" Frist he was undermining, but the man who kicked his ass five years ago:
But the White House showed no sign that the Bush Administration might change course.
"The Democrats who are clamoring for this have already voted against John Bolton," Scott McClellan, the White House spokesman, said in a telephone interview. "This is about partisan politics, not documents. They have the information they need."
Or, in plain, non-Beltway English, "No deals." (It's a pity the White House didn't display this mettle a week ago when it would have come very much in handy, but I digress.)
story eventually gets around to disclosing the "substance" to which "Sailor" makes pompous reference:
The third factor, and perhaps the most important [in producing the filibuster of the Bolton nomination], Congressional officials said, was the success of Mr. Biden and Mr. Dodd in convincing fellow Democrats in dozens of phone calls that the vote was not about Mr. Bolton but about standing up for the Senate and its prerogatives against incursions by the executive branch. [my emphasis]
There's a word for this; instead, I'll substitute one of Rush Limbaugh's standbys: "phony-baloney, plastic banana, good-time rock & roll rotgut." This is the most flagrant example of opposition projection I've seen yet. They're
the ones attempting to dictate the staffing of the Executive Branch as well as
the Judiciary; they're
the ones who are trying to emasculate the Constitution in the most blatant power grab attempted in this country since the aftermath of the Civil War; and they're
the ones who are openly proclaiming the principle of oligarchy - minority rule - and claiming that it is the salvation of both the founding documents AND the Republic!
This is the effective coup de tat
to which John McCain is lending his active and insufferable assistance.Ed Morrissey makes a couple of good observations
about this man, but doesn't go quite far enough:
Once again, we have the senior Senator from Arizona falling all over himself to validate Democratic tactics while maximizing his weekend press profile. McCain has to be considered one of the leading dupes from the Seven Dwarves who fashioned the last capitulation, the one one which Frist relied when he scheduled the Bolton vote. McCain has to prove that the "comity" that he claims to have revived still exists, and so he has transferred the blame for this impasse from the Democrats to the White House....
It gives him another opportunity to stick a white hat and ride a donkey to the rescue of the Democrats, whooping and hollering all along the way in order to make sure that every newspaper sees how reasonable he is. In his own way, he has become the Jimmy Carter and/or the Neville Chamberlain of the Senate: he jumps into disagreements and surrenders almost everything he can in order to wave a piece of paper over his head and claim victory.
I don't think that McCain is a "dupe" at all. I think he knows exactly what he's doing.
A week ago I said
that he had finally gotten his revenge on George W. Bush. But that's just the beginning. I think what the political Sith master is attempting is no less than the overthrow of the conservative leadership and platform of the Republican Party and its replacement by the neo-Rockefelleroids he truly represents. This he intends to do by full, open cooperation with the Democrat minority to completely obstruct the entire Bush agenda, both legislative and appointive, in order to prevent his intra-party rivals from gaining any bigger of a foothold nationally. In so doing, his high, and nauseatingly, rubbing-our-noses-in-it media profile will, he hopes, swamp any and all rivals for the '08 GOP presidential nomination, and will bring the GOP base along behind him when we realize that the choice is between him and Hillary Clinton - and, of course, we'll have "no choice" but to elect McCain, and transform the Supreme Chancellor into the Emperor. Then, once ensconsed in the Oval Office, he would proceed to govern as far to the left, or even farther, as Mrs. Clinton would have, and all under a "Republican" label.
As I said in another post
last week, "Arrived, the Dark Times [will] have." At least, if McCain realized all his objectives. But as I also concluded in yet a third post
, he doesn't have a prayer of achieving the above, but can and will still do maximum damage to the party he so falsely claims as his own, which would morph his swansong into a strafing run.
It is for all of these reasons that I think the GOP has to start considering ousting John McCain from the party. This would be a case of surgically removing a cancerous tumor from the Center-Right body politic. As the old saying goes, "It's easier to slip a knife into an ally's back than an enemy's." It's McCain's continued presence on the Republican side that both facilitiates all his mischief and feeds him all the press attention he craves. Once ousted, all of that would evaporate; nobody would care about him anymore, and his influence on the weak-minded (e.g. Mike DeWine, Lindsey Graham) would be substantially diminished. Don't believe me? How long did the aforementioned Senator Jeffords' notoriety last?
Even more to the point, it would send a message that while the GOP is still a "big tent," that metaphor will not be allowed to stretch to the point of grandstanding dissidents shooting holes in the tent roof with opposition cannons.
It'll never happen, of course - Bill Frist, as the Cap'n rightly observes, can't even keep "Sailor" on a "short leash," much less grab the SOB by his collar and belt and bounce him out of the caucus so hard he'd use his nose for a brake.
But the longer John McCain is allowed to RINO-ize the GOP, the more the party's fortunes will erode, and the farther from our collective grasp this golden opportunity for conservative hegemony will slip, until it's gone altogether.
Boy, now I know how Yoda felt
UPDATE: Trent Lott
, on the other hand, should be taken to the woodshed....