With the withdrawl of Dede Scozzafava from the race for New York's 23 congressional district, the claims of the Republican party shifting towards the extreme right have become in vogue again. Indeed, the suspension of Scozzafava's campaign is being used as an excuse to trot out the accusations of the GOP being a rump anew.
It was one year ago yesterday that Paul Krugman called the GOP a rump party, based on predictions that the 2008 elections would see 15 Republican representatives lose their seats, with the majority being more moderate than the bulk of the party. Once again, reality shows that Krugman was completely off the mark, as 26 Republican congressmen lost their seats, nearly double what Krugman was basing his analysis on.
Extremist liberal Markos Moulitsas, founder of the fringe left website DailyKos.com has been beating the drum of rump status for the GOP for months. His only evidence is that approval of the GOP is highest in the level-headed working class South, the region the lions share of Republican senators hail from.
And now with moderate Dede Scozzafava leaving the race, claims that the GOP has abandoned the mainstream to pander to the base have reached new highs.
Well, firstly as a complete rebuttal to Moulitsas' ridiculous claims, note that the race here is for a congressional seat in New York. Last time I checked, New York wasn't part of the South.
But more importantly, note that the official voice of the GOP in this circumstance, the NRCC, has now endorsed Doug Hoffman. Polling indicated Hoffman had three times as much support as Scozzafava, if not more. Thus the NRCC switched to a candidate favoured by more New Yorkers, a move that only partisan hacks could claim was anything but appealing to moderates.
Indeed, if either of the two major political parties is pandering to their base and conducting purges of those who don't toe the party line, it's the Democrats. For simply engaging in some attempts at bipartisanship, Joe Lieberman is being threatened with having his committee assignments revoked.
All of this is even more astounding since the topic driving all of this political posturing is socialized medicine. Can there be a greater example of how far the Democratic leadership is pandering to the extreme left base?
The fundamentalist progressives that have taken over the Democrat party were initially pushing for a universal single-payer system like "Medicare For All", but in the race to pander the most to these hardcore left-wing extremists, that has morphed into the public option that is in the proposed bills from both House and Senate. Not content with the complete government take-over of health insurance, these liberal activists pushed for a public option where a small fraction of the US population would get to choose to enroll in a government insurance program. And the Democratic leadership was all to happy to add this decidedly pro-choice persepctive.
Indeed, the Senate version even allows entire states to choose to not offer the program at all.
Considering all of that, it's clear which party is being run by fanatical ideologues.