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A Republican Litmus Test?

What is a Republican? Depending on the outcome of Florida’s upcoming Senate race, that might become a pretty simple question to answer. Searching for ideological purity, some conservatives, it seems, cannot countenance associating with anyone who favored Obama’s $787 billion stimulus bill.

Charlie Crist, the less-than-centrist Republican governor of Florida, announced today that he is running for the state’s soon-to-be vacant Senate seat, and he’s already getting blasted by his more conservative primary opponent, Marco Rubio, the former state House speaker. Crist, of course, was one of the loudest Republican exponents of the stimulus bill earlier this year, and Rubio is letting him have it with a new ad on how the governor palled around with the free-spending Obama.

Analysts are billing the looming primary battle, in a critical swing state, as a referendum on the future of the party. For their own sake, Republicans had better hope the primary doesn’t achieve that level of significance. Or, if it does, that Crist wins.

Litmus tests are clumsy tools, cramming people into too-neat categories when politics is so often about working in the gray areas. But this is a particularly bad litmus test for Republicans to choose. Not only are conservatives wrong on the bill, which, though flawed, was not fundamentally unwise given the economic crisis and the broad, sensible outlines of the policy. They're on the wrong side of public opinion -- only a rightist rump opposed a compromise stimulus bill, according to opinion polls. And they're setting the bar so far to the wingnutty right that any centrist of good faith could hardly qualify for membership in the party. The resulting loss of potential front-men such as Crist would be a disaster for the GOP. No wonder Sen. John Cornyn (Texas), the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, quickly endorsed Crist today.

Besides, the stimulus is yesterday’s news. Good to rile some angry conservatives -- but an issue that has already been decided. Going forward, the bigger battle, as Bill Kristol argues today, is over Obama’s budget -- a subject far better suited to a wide-ranging and inclusive debate over the nation’s fiscal future.

By Stephen Stromberg  | May 12, 2009; 4:19 PM ET
Categories:  Stromberg  | Tags:  Stephen Stromberg  
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Comments

An under-educated hateful angry white male over the age of 40 still dreaming about becoming a country music star or a NASCAR driver. Oh...and they want the military to fight wars all over the world (gives them something to watch when Jeff Foxworthy is not on TV), but not pay taxes.

Posted by: August30 | May 12, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

The GOP's credibility on fiscal policy over the past 28 years makes the issue about the current budget moot.

The GOP's pitch will likely find an audience with its base, because simply complaining about spending is no alternate vision.

Most voters saw tax-cut and spend in action -- they realize that we have huge accumulated deficits. The GOP had a chance to put its ideas into practice, and for most Americans those ideas failed people miserably.

If the GOP is serious about fiscal responsibility they need to get rid of every Republican who voted for Bush's 2001 and 2003 tax cut. Until that happens, they're just whiners.

If the GOP has any chance of remaining viable, it will happen because of people like Crist who strike a balance and focus on constructive solutions, rather than whining and trying to repackage the same failed ideas.

Posted by: JPRS | May 12, 2009 6:53 PM | Report abuse

So let me get this straight; the "Chosen One" blasts the Bush administration for having run bloated deficits, then responds by propoising a budget that will TRIPLE any annual deficit run during the Bush years?!?!?!?! Sounds like lefty Washington business as usual...

Posted by: michaelellis29 | May 12, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse

An under-educated hateful angry white male over the age of 40 still dreaming about becoming a country music star or a NASCAR driver. Oh...and they want the military to fight wars all over the world (gives them something to watch when Jeff Foxworthy is not on TV), but not pay taxes.
===========================

Understanding you sentiment..
You should not be prejudicial against people like do calling people LIBERALS and other alphabet words.

You listed some wonderful employment opportunity for Singers and racing car drivers..

The Neocons cornered the GOP into being the party of Racism, Sexism and other practices of prejudice..

Lets not do it on the NON GOP side.
Practicing prejudice.

Fei Hu

Posted by: Fei_Hu | May 12, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Litmus tests? LOL! The test Crist has to worry about is the Limbaugh Test.

Posted by: plaza04433 | May 12, 2009 9:19 PM | Report abuse

A cult intent on ideological purity? This is a doomsday cult. The GOP are turning on their own. Probably was like this at Jonestown about a week before they had the little Kool-Aid party.

Just get them out of the way, we have work to do.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 13, 2009 12:34 AM | Report abuse

I think the whole 'closeted gay' charge is going to be real damaging to Crist in a Republican primary.

Posted by: flounder2 | May 13, 2009 12:48 AM | Report abuse

Michael Ellis' response is typical of the GOP attack on anything that is not right-wing: display either myopic, or willful, ignorance of the fact that there are unpleasant consequences to all the tax-cuts for the rich and borrowing to fight wars that 28 years of Republican misadministration has given us. To stay afloat, America is now forced to borrow and spend even more -- but at least this time, we won't have malignant rightist fools making the executive calls.

Posted by: leftcoastblue | May 13, 2009 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Republican campaigning has taken on the ceremony of a toga party, which seems like a good way to choose a senator.

Posted by: dpascover | May 13, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

The GOP claims that the Democrats are Socialist,
If U agree, then:

1-Cancel your Social Security Card.

2-Tear up your Medicare or HMO Card..

3-If receiving disability checks, cancel them.

4-Shut down the Veterans Adm, it's hospitals & clinics.+ All National Cemetaries incl... Arlington.

5-Sell all the city+state+federal roads & Interstates to Halliburton.

6-Sell the US Postal Service.

7-Cancel any pensions & benefits receive from Govts.

8-Take off all Govt. Restrictions on all Corperations.
[that means farming,mining, mfg.,etc., let the chips fall where ever]
[pre 1940s=slavery, child labor, sweat shops, inhuman working conditions,bondage & so on]

9-Close all public schools, libraries, museums,hospitals, clinics etc.

10-Eliminate all Civil Service Jobs, let private corps. do the hiring.

11-YOU CAN ADD TO THIS LIST>

Posted by: mrseas1 | May 14, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Conservative republicans have pandered/used whiny Cuban immigrants for the last 50 years and the result are politicians like Marco Rubio.

Rubio may find he does not have the Cuban base he believes he has and there may finally be a backlash by Floridians tired of "whiny Cuban immigrants"!!!

Posted by: knjincvc | May 14, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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