The New York Times is moaning the supposed loss of the "Republican Moderate" in Congress with their latest piece, Moderate Republicans Feeling Like Endangered Species.
Amusingly, some of the names they use to define a "Republican Moderate" are Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine and Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island. They also mention Mike DeWine of Ohio, but the three they focus on are Snowe, Collins and Chafee... these are the people they call "moderate".
Let's take a look at how the ACU rates the conservative voting record of these three in 2005 (0 being least conservative and 100 the most conservative).
Susan Collins - 32
Olympia Snowe - 32
Lincoln Chafee - 12
These three are FAR from being "moderate". They are more like Democrats -- and far left ones at that -- than Republicans and rarely vote with their national Party on any issue. But, to the NYT "moderate" means voting with Democrats, apparently.
At least DeWine got a 56. Now he could really be claimed a moderate with that kind of voting record.
But, the Times' confusion on what a "moderate Republican" is aside, the most amusing thing about the report is that it pegs this presumed GOP veer to the far right on "party leaders" who are "pursuing a strategy dominated by conservative themes".
Not once in the story, however, does the Times seem to recognize that political parties have voters and it is voters who usually drive the agenda of a party. American voters have been drifting more and more toward center right issues since Ronald Reagan, but the Times seems to think that it is the party that is forcing voters to vote a certain way instead of voters pushing the party that way by the support they give to candidates with certain ideologies.
"Moderate" Republicans are losing, not because the Party is forcing its candidates to be conservatives, but because voters are rejecting these left leaning candidates. For good or ill, Republican voters are not voting for these so-called moderates. The GOP's drift right (if it is, indeed, happening) is a response to what wins them votes, not something forced from the top down.
Of course, the Times realizes this fact. But, their own agenda is to discourage GOP votes, sour people on the Party and the proceedings and elect their own candidates to office. What better way to do that than to undermine support for the GOP with stories that lures readers into believing that the Party is conspiratorially eliminating the "moderate's" voice? What better way than to make it seem as if the GOP is becoming some outrageous, right-wing juggernaut forcing its out-of-the-mainstream opinions down everyone's throats?
Anyway, with "moderates" like Collins, Snowe and Chafee, who needs Kennedy, Durbin or Kerry?