We have recently seen two long time Republicans, Tom Benigno and Pete McCloskey endorse Jerry McNerney in the CD 11 race. I know that this was a difficult thing for either of them to do, but that in the end, they had no other choice.
They are not the only Republicans who are looking at thier own party and finding it wanting. There is a sickness in Washington and no one has described it any better than Christine Todd Whitmann. A story in the July 30, Concord (NH) Monitor quotes Whitman.
"We are being defined as a very narrow, mean-spirited, litmus-test party," she said yesterday. "And that's not the party in which I grew up."She continued to define the causes.
"With the national parties, it's gotten very, very partisan, so that any issue is looked at from the political perspective and not the policy ones," she told an audience of about 50 at a GOP luncheon at the Holiday Inn in Concord. "We need to be concerned about the fact that every issue is looked at through that prism."When you look at what Pombo does and compare it to what he says, it is easy to see that this is where his world in centered, in the maelstrom of political conflict and not pursuing the interests of the public, especially not the public of his own district. In the past this would have been political suicide. Today, we seem so pulled into being the partisan supporters of ideologically pure agendas that policy decisions mean nothing, only political decisions count. Whitman is trying to turn that around from within the Republican Party by rebuilding its base of moderate Republicans. I remember when we used to call them Rockefeller Republicans. Then, eventually that became a dirty word within the party.
McCloskey and Benigno were right. This is a change that can not take place until the reality soaks in that the voting public in America will no longer tolerate putting partisan positioning ahead of public service. When the leadeship of the Republican party starts losing elections, losing power, then they will have to institute some changes. Initially, it will probably be to hunker down in the bunker and try to ride out the storm, but I would not want to be in a Bunker with Dick Cheney and a shotgun.
We must turn the tide here and that means we have to convince moderate Republicans to put loyalty to the Constitution and their country ahead of loyalty to the party. We need those Republicans who find Pombo to be an embarassment to follow the leadership of McCloskey and Benigno. There are still a number of Republicans who will hold their noses and vote for Pombo just because they do not want to lose the last Republican seat in the Bay Area. Had the Republican Party provided more candidates like McCloskey, that is not a decision they would be facing now.
It is not the Republican Party that we should be vilifying on this or other media. It is the failed leadership of that party, beginning with DeLay and his remaining cadre of political hacks who deserve our scorn. Pombo, along with John Doolittle and Bob Ney are at the top of this list.