Media Blog

Republicans for Obama Are Also Republicans for …

Scozzafava. Surprise.
Michael Smerconish writing in the Philadelphia Inquirer:

But rather than listen to those local leaders, who thought a mixed-bag state legislator best reflected the sprawling Northeastern district, many on the right backed a third-party ideologue better suited for a House race in Alabama. They would rather lose than support an ideologically impure fellow Republican.

I’m a fan of Smerconish’s radio show, but, for Pete’s sake, it is seems to me that it’s a little close on the heels of his endorsement of Barack Obama for Smerconish to be lecturing the Republican party about what it needs. (How about fewer Obama supporters?) Smerconish cites Scozzafava’s support for John McCain as evidence of her not-a-liberal bona fides, but all that really shows is that she may be marginally less liberal than Michael Smerconish. Not exactly a ringing endorsement from the conservative point of view. And he adds:

Unfortunately … a reliably Republican district was handed over to the real liberals.

You’d think a guy with a long-term relationship with Arlen Specter would appreciate that you can represent a “reliably Republican” constituency and still be a “real liberal” — and that moderate, non-ideological types don’t necessarily pull in the votes of suburban pro-choice types: John McCain couldn’t even secure the vote of Michael Smerconish. But, speaking of moderates, how did those McCain and Specter gambits work out for everybody? A few more smart moves like those and the GOP may as well go the way of the Whigs.

I’ve noted several times that almost every prominent Republican who backed Obama was pro-choice. I don’t think that’s a single-issue answer to the question of why some found Obama attractive, but I do think it is a reminder that conservatism is not a public-policy checklist, but a disposition, a way of looking at the world. People who aren’t with you on abortion aren’t really with you at all — it’s an outstanding cultural indicator. Sure, there are people like Smerconish and Rudy Giuliani who share some goals with conservatives — don’t spend all the money, kick the stuffing out of terrorists, hang Mumia Abu Jamal — but most people of normal judgment and good intentions would be sympathetic to those goals. They aren’t the stuff that a civilization is made of, and civilization is what conservatives are trying to conserve. 

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