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Moderate Republicans Seek to Organize
Can moderate Republicans find a candidate to vote for? Some Republican public officials seek to change the Republican Party.
By Ed Knudson
Recently I had a conversation with a good friend who said to me that even though he was a Republican I would be surprised at the fact that he was quite liberal on many of the social questions. He supported rights for women, for gay people; he didn't think abortion should be outlawed. I asked him, who was he going to vote for? His head jerked toward me (a sure sign he was hearing what I said), and he looked at me squarely; his eyes told me he knew exactly what I was asking, there were no Republicans at the national or state levels which represented his position. Later I heard from someone else that my friend may be thinking of voting for Democrats this year.
I think there are many, many Republicans like that. They are very uncomfortable with the direction of their party. They think of themselves as moderates. But they have not really faced the fact that the political and religious far right wing has captured their party. It's amazing that the last "liberal Republican" president was actually Richard Nixon!
There is a website started by Republican public officials which seeks to take back the Republican Party for moderate Republicans. It is called Come Back to the Mainstream. Here is one of the statements submitted at the site:
I've been a life-long, Conservative Republican. I actively campaigned for Reagan and supported Bush in 2000. I left the GOP in May 2004 to protest this regime's lies on Iraq and its support of violations of the Geneva Convention, which threaten the real patriots in the US military.
I am sickened that this administration allows the neo-nuts in the Party to control policy, that this administration continues to attack the Constitutional foundations of our country by weakening the separation of church and state and allowing the illegal detention of American citizens. I am disgusted that this administration allows its friends in Enron and elsewhere to attack the environmental laws and public lands that Republicans since TR fought so hard to secure. ... End this pandering to the neo-nuts and un-Christians or continue to see even Conservatives like me bolt the Party!
The following statement can be found on the site:
Instead of partisan ideology - which increasingly has led moderates to leave the party - what's needed is a speedy return to the pragmatic, problem-solving mainstream. Here's how the President and Republican-majority Congress can send that clear signal to the nation:
Stop weakening environmental law - and once again protect our air, water and public lands as Teddy Roosevelt and other great Republican leaders intended;
Restore fiscal responsibility - with "pay-as-you-go" budget discipline to end record deficits that jeopardize economic growth;
Put the health of millions first - and clear the way for embryonic stem cell research;
Appoint mainstream federal judges - and respect the Constitution;
Make America safer - and protect cities and towns, still vulnerable three years after 9/11, by securing chemical and nuclear plants and shipping containers;
Rebuild our alliances – with real partnerships and restore America’s standing in the world.
By returning to the mainstream in these ways, our party can regain the trust of a divided nation and earn a vote of confidence in November.
The following public officials are backing this effort: David Cargo, Governor of New Mexico, 1967-71, Dan Evans, Governor of Washington, 1965-77, A. Linwood Holton, Governor of Virginia, 1970-74, Willam G. Milliken, Governor of Michigan, 1969-83, Walter R. Peterson, Governor of New Hampshire, 1969-73, Charles M. Mathias, Jr., U.S. Senator from Maryland, 1969-87, Robert T. Stafford, U.S. Senator from Vermont, 1971-89, Robert G. Dunn, Minnesota Senate, 1973-80, Jack B. Jewett, Arizona House of Representatives, 1983-92, Norma Paulus, Oregon Secretary of State, 1977-85, Harry Richardson, Maine House & Senate, 1968-75, Hon. Thom Rumberger, judge, Florida, 1969-70 Rick Russman, New Hampshire Senate, 1990-2000, Bill Rutherford, Oregon State Treasurer, 1984-87, Grant Woods, Arizona Attorney General, 1991-99, Nathaniel P. Reed, Assistant U.S. Secretary of the Interior under Presidents Nixon and Ford Russell E. Train, U.S Environmental Protection Agency Administrator under Presidents Nixon and Ford.
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