I was just listening to Christine Todd Whitman, former governor of NJ and former head of the EPA, talking about her book It’s My Party, Too. To this conservative Republican, she makes alot of sense.
I liked her distinctions between conservatives and social fundamentalists. Social fundamentalists are what are controlling the Republican party now. (She repeatedly says they worked hard and earned it.) Here are some of their distinctions:
- Conservatives believe less government is better. Social fundamentalists (SF) seem bent on increasing government intrusion. (I missed her examples but I think of legislating marriage, privacy intrusions, etc.)
- Conservatives believe in lower taxes and controlled spending. SF’s seem to think lower taxes alone will do the trick.
- Conservatives have never been afraid to work together for consensus. As crazy as this is, SF’s seem to prefer a Democrat that will vote against them 100% of the time to a Republican that will vote with them 95% of the time.
An example she kept citing was the federal government’s intrusion in the Terry Schiavo case. SF’s are great at getting people to call their elected officials. Most politicians felt this was an issue all of America wanted them weighing in on. In truth, about 70% of Americans thought the federal government was way out of line.
What does all of this mean? I guess it means that those of us that think things like changing the filibuster rules are wrong, need to speak up. Especially if we’re Republicans. According to Whitman, “You don’t get to be the majority party without working with people on all sides of the issue.”
And you certainly don’t stay the majority party if you aren’t willing to work things out. I think President Bush deserves leaders in Congress that will help pass legislation, not grandstand.
Phew. That’ll fill my political pontificating quota for a few months!
[After thought: I must admit, I was troubled as I watched Revenge of the Sith. The portrayal of a democracy wildly approving facism was frightening. Especially when it’s happened in the not so distant past…]