The Northeastern moderates tend to style themselves as fiscal conservatives, spinning a narrative in which they’re the victims of a doctrinaire social conservatism and its litmus tests. But many of them are just instinctive liberals who happen to have ancestral ties to the Grand Old Party. Chafee fit that bill; so did former Senator James Jeffords of Vermont, who amassed a distinctly left-wing record after he bolted the Republican Party in 2001 to become an “independent.” For that matter, so does the retiring Supreme Court Justice David Souter, a New England native and Republican appointee who often gets described as a moderate, but boasts the jurisprudence of a reliable liberal.You canNOT be a fiscal conservative and vote for an "$800 Billion" bailout. It's a simple litmus test. And, I take issue with all these pundit omnipotent types who claim that the "defection" of Specter was a...loss...or negative in any way. It is very much an improvement to Conservative principles. The more moderate tweeners that are cast aside, the clearer the message of those who are left.
Others, like Collins and Snowe and (until last week) Specter, are simply horse-traders and deal-cutters, whose willingness to cross party lines last month to vote for $800 billion dollars in deficit spending tells you most of what you need to know about their supposed fiscal conservatism. They’re politically savvy but intellectually vacuous. Their highest allegiance isn’t to limited government. It’s to meeting the party in power halfway, while making sure that the dollars keep flowing to their constituents back home.
Soon, that message, should it be framed and communicated effectively will resonate in the constituency (supported and encouraged by the contrary policies and actions of those on the Left). ROSS DOUTHAT makes some valid points, but it's clear that he doesn't get it. I find it amusing that the IHT (NY Times) posts his photo with the story and uses the following caption under the pic:
Susan Etheridge for The New York TimesSome of his points reflect hers, I'm sure. This is the time to clean house and go full out on the offensive...