Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Republicans' Pity Party

The Bush Administration keeps recalling the cliché about the kid who kills his parents and pleads for mercy because he’s an orphan.

Now Republicans are retiring in droves and bewailing the vicissitudes that have made their legislative lives unbearable.

Today’s Washington Post reports “moderate Republicans in Congress are facing a tough choice: Stand by President Bush or run for their political lives. Votes are due soon on Iraq, an expansion of a children's health insurance program and an array of spending bills. GOP leaders hope to use them to regain credibility with their base voters as a party for strong defense and fiscal discipline. But moderates, many of them facing the possibility of difficult reelection bids next year, are dreading the expected showdowns.”

It would be easier to sympathize with those Republican moderates if they hadn’t handed over the keys to their home to Newt Gingrich in 1994 and stood by while George W. Bush has been burning it down for the past six years.

Emblematic of their experience is the recent decision of Lincoln Chafee, a second-generation product of what used to be respectable Republicanism, to leave the party that sent him to the Senate but then turned its back on him over his positions on abortion and gay rights.

The Democrats who stand to gain by the Republican debacle might want to keep in mind that, despite the horror show of the Bush years, there is no ultimate profit for a party that abandons its core principles.

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