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Christie Whitman's Centrist Plea



Former New Jersey Gov. Christie Whitman offers her advice for Republicans to begin their rebuilding process. Photo by Jin Lee of Bloomberg News

Fifteen years ago, Christine Todd Whitman was widely touted as one of the bright young stars in the Republican party -- having defeated Jim Florio (D) in the 1993 New Jersey gubernatorial election.

After spending two years as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency under President George W. Bush earlier this decade, however, Whitman was relegated to the sidelines of a party not particularly interested in hearing her centrist message.

With Republicans now at their lowest electoral ebb in decades, Whitman is lending her voice to the conversation about how the party should go about rebuilding in a new essay in the summer edition of the reform-minded Ripon Forum.

"This is still a center-right nation and I am sure the President views his declining popularity among that groups with great concern," writes Whitman, highlighting the fact that in 2008 exit polls the largest ideological group in the country was, as it had been in 2004, moderates.

In order to capitalize on President Barack Obama's slipping poll numbers, Whitman recommends two things: a focus on ideas-oriented messaging and an avoidance of controversial social issues that serve to thin rather than grow the party.

Whitman criticizes her party for their recent debate over Obama's
"cap and trade" energy policy, noting that the Republican attacks centered on dismissing the proposal as "cap and tax" rather than offering solutions of their own. "The irony here is that the cap-and-trade concept was first used almost 20 years ago, under a Republican president, to successfully reduce acid rain," she writes.

She is also critical of the recent focus by Republicans on a concealed weapon amendment sponsored by Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) even as the health care reform debate was raging.

"Instead of issues that appeal to a minority of voters, we should focus on the core conservative principles of limited government that have served our party well and made our country great," said Whitman.

Whitman has been making this sort of centrist argument for years without much impact as the party under Bush moved to the ideological right.

But, with moderates like Reps. Mark Kirk (Ill.) and Mike Castle (De.) as well as Gov. Charlie Crist (Fla.) leading the Republican Senate recruiting class, Whitman's message may well find more fertile ground within the party over the coming months and years.

By Chris Cillizza  |  August 3, 2009; 3:00 PM ET
Categories:  Republican Party  
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Comments

More accurately, Navy secretary. *A* defense sec but not *the*

Posted by: chrisfox8 | August 4, 2009 7:54 PM | Report abuse

@CF8 - I don't think that even you believe that Bernie Sanders is a centrist. Perhaps what you consider right (as in correct), but not a centrist.

In truth, I wonder if it's an extinct beast in Washington. Certainly a rare one. Here's my proposal: James Webb.

BB

==

I'm speaking on the global scale. American politics ranges from far right to extreme right. Sanders is the only person I know of who doesn't believe that maximizing profit is a moral pursuit.

Jim Webb is a totally decent guy, sure, but you're talking about a guy who was far enough to the right to be a defense secretary under a far-right president. I don't think leopards change their spots that much.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | August 4, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

@DDAWD - I'd say he has more of the old Irish populist to him. I actually voted against him in the primary. It was the one time I ever went to the polling place undecided. In the end, his opponent had someone there and I though that showed good organizational work.

I don't think Webb was a terribly effective campaigner, but he's a terrific senator. I agree with you about Veep. When I heard his response to the State of the Union address, not to mention barking at Bush, I thought we had some presidential timber. As I recall, Webb took himself out of the veepstakes early. I suspect with a young child at home, he didn't want the grief.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | August 4, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Had John McCain not listened to the neocon right wing nutjobs and selected Whitman instead of Palin in 2008 you would have seen a much tighter more focused campaign and he quite honestly might have been able to pull it off. The Repubs need more candidates closer to the center if they ever hope to rebuild their party as something other than representative of the southern far right.

Posted by: mcordray | August 4, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

The whole question of who is, or is not, a "centrist" is completely dependent upon a "left vs right" political dichotomy that, with a few moments reflection, we all probably recognize to be an utterly inadequate model of the entire range and eclectic mix of political opinion we actually see in America today.

Even if "left/right" were a GOOD model, where the "center" is would still depend, for each of us, upon where the observer himself is sitting, and even where the "extremes" might be is also a matter of perspective and judgment.

But it isn't a good model at all. There are tens of millions of Americans with opinions on both sides of the implicitly immutable "left/right" divide... probably the majority of us, who, therefore, DON'T neatly fit in either category.

Republicans believe in the free market (except when they don't). Democrats favor gun control (some of them, anyway). Some people believe homosexuality is a sin that the government should discourage (so they must be conservatives, firmly on the political "right"), and that we ought all to be obliged to share our wealth with those less fortunate (so they are 'progressives', solidly on the "left", right?!).

Even the big parties themselves veer all over the philosophic spectrum. The Party of Lincoln fought a war to suppress the asserted right of states to go their own way, and eventually to abolish slavery, but from these roots as the most radical and liberal of parties, it now comes to see itself as the party of conservatives, and deems both "radical" and "liberal" to be terms of disapprobation.

The inaccurate shorthand of "left, right and center" does have one stark effect in the real world, and that is to provide rallying points for partisanship that makes American politics resemble tribal warfare, eternally "us vs them." We'd do better to focus on specific policies and specific issues.

Posted by: Iconoblaster | August 4, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Republicans - small government ?
More like Big government for a small elite !

Posted by: rcbakewell | August 4, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

It is possible, ebabin, that I witnessed Whitman's tenure from the perspective of my having grown up in Republican turf (Sussex County). Although, I was living in Democratic turf (Essex and Hudson) while she was governor. No, I didn't vote for her. No, I wasn't a fan of hers.

I think you can point accusing fingers at almost any governor of any state - certainly those in New Jersey. I can remember my township committee back home having to make real estate deals with this possibly "connected" guy from Nutley. I can only imagine the hardball that NJ governors have to play. I don't know who would want the job.

I think you're right about Whitman's negatives, but if you think she's far out there on the right side of the spectrum, you haven't been to Oklahoma (well, neither have I).

I also think you're right that she didn't have the guts to defend herself strongly enough against Cheney's Boys. However, she wasn't the only shrinking flower Bushie in the early 2000s. It always made me wonder what Cheney, Rove, and Rummy had on all these people.

Posted by: dognabbit | August 4, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

A centrist Republican these days is a guy who removes his KKK conehead when a lady enters the room.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | August 4, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

You seem to have a short memory, dognabbit, or you are not actually from NJ.

Christine Whitman was always more popular outside of NJ then inside. The only reason she beat Florio was that her name wasn't Florio. She barely won reelection by beating a nobody with a name of McGreevey. She was practically run out of the state amid sweetheart government contracts, racial profiling and state supreme court monkey business. She left it all for a promising career as a EPA administrator under President Cheney where she didn't have the cahoonies to argue her point while she was there or cared to criticize after she left.

I don't agree she is a rightwing nutjob but who would want to promote her re-emergence except Chris, after all, what else do the Republicans have to show for themselves after eight years of destruction?

Posted by: ebabin | August 4, 2009 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Never mind (I just got my "Morning Fix" including Obama's birth certificate controversy -- keep up the jokes -- real vampires do see their reflection in mirrors and, as HBO "True Blood" proved, sunlight does not kill them ; )

Posted by: JakeD | August 4, 2009 6:46 AM | Report abuse

Where is today's "Morning Fix"?!

Posted by: JakeD | August 4, 2009 6:25 AM | Report abuse

"In truth, I wonder if it's an extinct beast in Washington. Certainly a rare one. Here's my proposal: James Webb.

BB"

Webb never really struck me as that much of a centrist. I'll defer to your judgment over mine any day, but does he really go against the party line that often? I'd go with the obvious choices of Landrieu and Pryor from the Dems and Snowe and Collins from the Reps.

Unless you look at someone who is a PROCESS centrist. I think "bipartisan" would be a better word for it than "moderate." He has cred from both sides since he's a navy guy and worked for Reagan.

He strikes me as a liberal who likes guns.

And was my top choice for Vice President. Obama must not have gotten my messages.

Posted by: DDAWD | August 4, 2009 5:43 AM | Report abuse

@CF8 - I don't think that even you believe that Bernie Sanders is a centrist. Perhaps what you consider right (as in correct), but not a centrist.

In truth, I wonder if it's an extinct beast in Washington. Certainly a rare one. Here's my proposal: James Webb.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | August 4, 2009 2:04 AM | Report abuse

The reaction to the Cap and Trade was one of the most bizarre things I've ever seen. It's as if the republican base completely forgot what their philosophy was. Cap and Trade is very financial conservative thinking.

Posted by: bbcrock | August 4, 2009 1:10 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, that's wrong .. Anne Gorsuch was EPA administrator, Watt was Interior Secretary. She was in no way his successor. I'm on crack.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | August 4, 2009 12:41 AM | Report abuse

The GOP definition of 'centrist' appears to be pretty damn strange these days. She might claim that meddling from superiors are to blame, but the fact is the Whitman's tenure saw the EPA reduced into a joke.

==

Under Reagan it was too ugly to be a joke. Executives' limousines sat outside with their *engines running* all day long so should one of them want to go somewhere, he'd get snappy service. Interior Secretary James Watt was an End Times nutbar who didn't see any point trying to preserve anything because the Rapture would be here soon anyway. He went to CNN after he shot off his bigoted mouth one time too many, but he didn't last there either.

His successor was an anti-environmental lawyer named Anne Gorsuch, later Burford, the worst slap in the face as an appointee I can remember.

But it was Bush who delayed acting on global warming for eight years, and the damage may already be too far along to reverse.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | August 4, 2009 12:35 AM | Report abuse

There is no such thing as a centrist republican anymore, according to both parties.

Posted by: nodebris | August 4, 2009 12:24 AM | Report abuse

I think McC is not running for reelection, based on this vote, which disappoints me.

==

Hope you realize that this can be interpreted as "I'm disappointed that McCain isn't running again."

But I hope his vote doesn't surprise you. Whatever myths we built around McCain as a man of integrity are dissipated wisps now. McCain is the man who went on TV and said that the Obama campaign was calling him a terrorist in their speeches, so his calling Obama one was OK. This is the McCain so irresponsible and so ambitious that he wanted to put a deranged fundamentalist within reach of nuclear weapons. This is the same John McCain who ran an idea-free and attack-soaked campaign and the man of honor who voted against his own anti-torture bill out of political expediency.

Of course he'll vote no on Sotomayor. He's a loyal Republican. It's about obstructing the country's business and hoping for failure.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | August 4, 2009 12:14 AM | Report abuse

The GOP definition of 'centrist' appears to be pretty damn strange these days. She might claim that meddling from superiors are to blame, but the fact is the Whitman's tenure saw the EPA reduced into a joke.

Posted by: theamazingjex | August 4, 2009 12:14 AM | Report abuse

@BB: Bernie Sanders

Posted by: chrisfox8 | August 3, 2009 11:39 PM | Report abuse

Whitman the centrist- oh yeah, her, the one who told my wife it was safe to go back to work a couple of days after 9/11 several blocks from the WTC because her marching orders were to get people back to work even if it meant deceiving them about risking their health.

Posted by: dyinglikeflies | August 3, 2009 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Where is the deranged emotional queen that usually patrols
this blog looking for a life and someone to fight with.

Could it be the smallest sense of shame emerges in a loony lib after the facts are presented for an entire day.

Even the poor moderator has had it with thus queer excuse for a stooge.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | August 3, 2009 10:30 PM | Report abuse

More drivel about a "center right nation" regurgitated uncritically by the Washington Post. Based on what? Party id? Republican approval? Bush and Cheney's ratings were in the toilet for years and the current republican crop does no better.

Posted by: manraygun | August 3, 2009 9:32 PM | Report abuse

mark_in_austin:

Did you see this?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8UjY3YDlwA

Posted by: JakeD | August 3, 2009 9:31 PM | Report abuse

BB - Rayburn and LBJ, the entire decade of the 50s.

Snowe - Collins, now.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | August 3, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

"Whitman a centrist? And I'm the Pope."

Pleasure to meet you, your holiness.

Still, I'll bite Chris. Name a coupling of well-known political centrists for me.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | August 3, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

dognabbit - Well, she used to *call herself* a neoconservative on her web page and was identified as one on the Republican Leadership Council website, too. Those pages have been amaturishly edited, in light of the dirty name Bush brought to that term, but you can find many of the original identifiers and comments by using Yahoo and doing a search on "Christine Whitman neoconservative".

Posted by: mibrooks27 | August 3, 2009 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Once again, you make my point Trevor Drown the independent from Arkansas whi is running for Us Senate is one of the founders of the dare to make a difference leadership movement.

Posted by: arkielawyer | August 3, 2009 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Hey, chrisfox8. Whitman is somewhat attractive, and a female. What, no sexist garbage or i[n]nuendo[] about her like you do every chance you can about Palin?

Oh, that's right. Whitman is "centrist" (read: pro-abortion), so the leftists and the mainstream media will treat her with much more respect.

==

You're completely preoccupied by wedge issue BS, you're not even making sense, and you certainly have zero clue what motivates my disgust with Palin.

I have no idea where Whitman stands on abortion, nor do I care. The fact that she's a Republican in an age where the GOP stands for torture and destruction of the earth is enough for me.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | August 3, 2009 7:13 PM | Report abuse

The corrupted US government officials who are members of "The Family" want nothing to do with Whitman. They are violating the constitution instead:

http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2009/07/21/c_street/


Elected and former US Government politicians under the Family's religio-political counsel include, in addition to Ensign, Coburn and Pickering, Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Jim DeMint and Lindsey Graham, both R-S.C.; James Inhofe, R-Okla., John Thune, R-S.D., and recent senators and high officials such as John Ashcroft, Ed Meese, Pete Domenici and Don Nickles. Over in the House there's Joe Pitts, R-Penn., Frank Wolf, R-Va., Zach Wamp, R-Tenn., Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., Ander Crenshaw, R-Fla., Todd Tiahrt, R-Kan., Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., Jo Ann Emerson, R-Mo., and John R. Carter, R-Texas.

These people are openly members of a religious cult that believes its members are above the law.

EXPOSE THE FAMILY AND WATCH ITS ROACHES RUNNNNN!!!

Posted by: onestring | August 3, 2009 6:59 PM | Report abuse

There will be no 'attacks' from the left about Whitman because she is not a silly woman, a caricature, like Sarah Palin.

I only wish there were more like her in the Republican party.

Posted by: drindl | August 3, 2009 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Whitman is somewhat attractive??
Right uh there with Margaret Thatcher, Golda Meir and Janet Reno?
Rating politicians by their looks is a preoccupation of the right, not the left.

Posted by: shrink2 | August 3, 2009 6:52 PM | Report abuse

bsimon - I think McC is not running for reelection, based on this vote, which disappoints me.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | August 3, 2009 6:48 PM | Report abuse

dbw1,

Alaska is not New Jersey; Head of the EPA is not mayor of Wasilla; and Christine Todd Whitman is not Sarah Palin.

Had McCain chosen Whitman as his running mate, he likely would still have lost, but he'd have done quite a bit better than he did in the election and would have done quite a bit to salvage his legacy.

Posted by: Coloradem1 | August 3, 2009 6:41 PM | Report abuse

chrisfox8:

Hey, chrisfox8. Whitman is somewhat attractive, and a female. What, no sexist garbage or inuendo's about her like you do every chance you can about Palin?

Oh, that's right. Whitman is "centrist" (read: pro-abortion), so the leftists and the mainstream media will treat her with much more respect.

Probably won't be any articles speculating about how much Whitman paid for her shoes, or who's baby she may really be the mother of....

Posted by: dbw1 | August 3, 2009 6:32 PM | Report abuse

@bsimon: there's this rumor floating around that McCain is one of the more "bipartisan" GOP Senators, because he sponsored a bill with Feingold, I guess.

In real life McCain is about as far right as they come. Let's not forget he let pass a chance to choose a reasonable running mate and chose the farthest right person he could find, appealing to the Base instead of the electorate.

He's no moderate.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | August 3, 2009 6:17 PM | Report abuse

I see that Senator McCain is now on the record for a 'no' vote on Sotomayor. I suppose he's scared about getting RINO'd out of his seat next year, but the news is still a disappointment, particularly after making the argument the President isn't being bipartisan enough. Do as I say, not as I do, eh Senator?

Posted by: bsimon1 | August 3, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

MR. MCCAIN, CAN I SEE THAT CAMPAIGN PROMISE YOU PROMISED COME TO REALITY? THE ONE ABOUT LEVY AND BRISTOL TYING THE KNOT?

Posted by: opp88 | August 3, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

McCain: Joe the Plumber is "My Role Model"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4o1X08L7a4&feature=related

sad, sad ...sad!

Posted by: opp88 | August 3, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Joe the Plumber " I once was on welfare, my parents twice!"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnK84mM5N-o&feature=related

Posted by: opp88 | August 3, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Colmes Nails "Joe The Plumber" For Being On Welfare!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPzW2XELAfw&NR=1

Posted by: opp88 | August 3, 2009 5:36 PM | Report abuse

JRM2 writes
"No way will they go center, that is where Obama lives."

Yup. Self-marginalization.

Posted by: bsimon1 | August 3, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Christie Whitman is a tool of this organization:

http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2009/07/21/c_street/

Yes, it is like a bad paperback thriller - and unbelievable... UNTIL IT IS ADMITTED TO OPENLY BY ITS CRIMINAL MEMBERS WHO SERVE IN THE US HOUSE AND SENATE!

Ensign, Sanford, Vitter... the list of corrupt politician/members goes on and on!


Posted by: onestring | August 3, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmLJDrsaJmk

Obama Hits the AIG Spot: SuperNews!

Posted by: opp88 | August 3, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

If I'm "paid," where's my check?

Drat, maybe the fusion center took it.

Posted by: mattintx | August 3, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: opp88 | August 3, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Whitman used to be prime spank material for guys like joked until S lutty Sarah Palin came along.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | August 3, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Did you write this from her press release or after having lunch with her publicist? It's not just fluffing, it's content-free.

Posted by: TeddySanFran | August 3, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

I give her incremental credit for pointing out that the Thune bill is fluff. That isn't standing up to Limbaugh but at least it's a start.

I think the guns-in-national-parks rider was Terry Shiavo Parte Deux

Posted by: chrisfox8 | August 3, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse


Ms. Whitman's essay didn't mention Rush Limbaugh or anyone else by name. But by at least advancing the notion of being FOR something, instead of just being the "Party of NO" she is standing up to the likes of Limbaugh.

Unfortunately, this essay will probably not see wide circulation, and Rush can probably just ignore it. But thanks, CC, for raising it up, anyway.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | August 3, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Obama is brilliant, he knows the Repubs will not agree or work with him so he claimed the center-right mantle to push them ever so closer to the far right cliff they appear to be going over.

No way will they go center, that is where Obama lives.

Posted by: JRM2 | August 3, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Q: Where is the courage among the GOP's centrists to stand up to Rush Limbaugh?

A: Courage is one thing, political suicide is something else.

Posted by: shrink2 | August 3, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

TO: chrisfox8 @ 4:49 p.m.

"Kill time" -- or covert "ideological exclusion" intended to drive away serious readers via relentless blog-spamming juvenalia and frat-boy effluvia?

You all have been BUSTED.

Have a nice day.

Posted by: scrivener50 | August 3, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Where is the courage among the GOP's centrists to stand up to Rush Limbaugh?

Posted by: molsonmich | August 3, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

For "mattintx" read "paid troll."

==

Dude, this is a public blog where people come to kill time. We don't decide the next election here. Get a grip.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | August 3, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

TO: mattintx @ 4:28 p.m.

For "paranoia" read "prescience."

For "mattintx" read "paid troll."

Seeya, wouldn't wanna beya!

Posted by: scrivener50 | August 3, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

For "speculation" read "paranoia."
For "media watchers are" read "I am."

And what's with all that passive-voice circumlocution? Show some pride of authorship, dude.

Posted by: mattintx | August 3, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

As Whitman talks about the Republican party turning the center, Republican Chris Cristie, a Conservative, looks like he will be the next governor of New Jersey here in 2009. In 3 months Cristie is expected to beat out Gov. Jon Corzine and a sleu of others to become the next governor of NJ. New Jersey has a history of nominating "moderate Republicans". This year, they finally nominated a conservative candidate in Cristie. Traditionally, the conservative base stays home or votes Independent, allowing the Democrat to win the election: gov. race in 05, Kean in 06' for US Senate & Zimmer in 08' for US Senate are all examples. Cristie is a conservative and Corzine is an unpopular governor, Conservatism will win out in 09.

Posted by: reason5 | August 3, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

MEMO TO MS. WHITMAN:

If this were a "center-right" nation, Barack Obama would not have been elected president by such a commanding electoral margin.

Yours is a voice of reason amidst a cacophony of extremism... but you may have had too much of their Kool-Aid.

Speaking of "Kool":

Cool psychedelic Nehru jacket!

***


BLOG-SPAMMERS TO FACE OFFICIAL CRACKDOWN?


Is the Inspector General at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence about to crack down on U.S. government intelligence agencies that deploy legions of paid "blog-spammers" while conducting surveillance programs in the name of national security?

Speculation has it that this tactic -- apparently intended to divert attention from reader postings that do not comport with the ideological outlook of agency bureaucrats -- has come to the attention of Roslyn Mazer, inspector general in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

While there is no official confirmation, media watchers are theorizing that her office may formulate formal guidelines to ensure that such activity does not violate the Constitutional rights of media outlets, or their readers, or run afoul of federal statutes and regulations that prohibit agencies from engaging in domestic propaganda campaigns.

While it cannot be confirmed at this time, it is believed that this issue was brought to the attention of the IG/DNI by a continuous stream of blog-spamming inflicted upon The Washington Post's "The Fix" political blog, authored by Chris Cillizza.

Ironically, it is hypothesized that algorithmic analysis of political blog surveillance that specifically mentioned the name of Ms. Mazer may have brought the issue of blog-spamming to her personal attention.

http://nowpublic.com/world/govt-fusion-center-spying-pretext-harass-and-censor

(NOTE: The preceding post is intended for entertainment value only.)

Posted by: scrivener50 | August 3, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't she the one who told firefighters that the air at ground zero was safe to breathe? Didn't she also later say to tell the truth would be giving aid and comfort to the terrorists?

Posted by: DDAWD | August 3, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

The centrist view is becomming more and more popular amoung the younger generation. We don't want to hear about party politics. For example, in Arkansas there is an Independent for US Senate, Trevor Drown who is daring to make a difference and listen to the people. He is open-minded and wants to understand what their greatest concerns are before jusmps around like many of these clowns pushing the party political agenda. That is what is needed.

Posted by: arkielawyer | August 3, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

She also had enough sense to bolt the Amtrak "Reform" Council once its real agenda became clear.

Posted by: mattintx | August 3, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Sadly, it seems, there are fewer and fewer centrists, and none that post on this board. I'm left of center, but I see no reason to blast Whitman.

Whitman may not be exactly in the center, but she had enough integrity to try to run the EPA responsibly. That's why she ran afoul of GWB and quit. To equate her with the rest of the Bush administration is to look no deeper than the (R).

Everything in her article, and as quoted here, is a centrist message. To call her a right-wing nutjob is to dismiss all attempts at bipartisanship and cooperation.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | August 3, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

A bit late for all of that. Less talk, more action. The water should be off in DC soon. The pressure is about shot. They can't even get a fire hose pressurized in less than a hour! Who's fooling who?

Posted by: Dermitt | August 3, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

The GOP may be strategizing about how to win elections but they're a generation away from abandoning the far right. For them to move to the center would require an act of candor and maturation that isn't anywhere in sight.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | August 3, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

I'm a Democrat who gre up in New Jersey and I can tell you that Whitman is not a "NeoConservative nutjob" (mibrooks27). She was a rising star in politics who got a call from the President of the United States to serve her country. Little could she know that the Bush Administration would throw her to the wolves.

As for parties, both Dem and Rep, their relative positions on the left-right scale tend to be cyclical.

However, if the GOP fails to ever come back from its far-rightness, perhaps Whitman, et al, could secede and take some centrist Democrats with them. How about a third major party to shake things up?

P.S., Christine, This is NOT a "center-right" nation. It's "all of the above".

Posted by: dognabbit | August 3, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

I am skeptical of Ms Whitman as a moderate, mostly due to her tenure with the EPA.

But she is correct when she describes the poor job Repubs are doing by criticizing without offering solutions, as the Fix writes here:

"Whitman criticizes her party for their recent debate over Obama's
"cap and trade" energy policy, noting that the Republican attacks centered on dismissing the proposal as "cap and tax" rather than offering solutions of their own. "The irony here is that the cap-and-trade concept was first used almost 20 years ago, under a Republican president, to successfully reduce acid rain," she writes."

Posted by: bsimon1 | August 3, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

As a moderate independent the GOP could grab my attention by making the neutralizing of special interests a top priority with publicly financed elections, non-partisan redistricting, universal voter registration, open primaries, etc. These policy would demonstrate a commitment to country over party.

Posted by: PaulSilver | August 3, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

You guys have a pretty nutty idea of where the center lies, Chris.

Whitman a centrist? And I'm the Pope.

This is the party that can't bring itself to do anything for their own country because it might appear they're cooperative with its duly elected president.

I guess when you run a column showing the GOP is in the deep stuff you need to counter it with another puff piece like this? Was Froomkin's firing a warning shot?

Posted by: chrisfox8 | August 3, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Whitman is kidding herself about a party leadership that is owned lock stock and barrel by dishonest, anti-science loonies who have the gall to talk about deficits after handing us six trilion in GOP debt.

There is an honest and honorable course for a sensible Republican official. Renounce your party's leadership as the pack of reckless kooks they are, and resign. Whitman lacks the courage to do this.

Posted by: davidscott1 | August 3, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Whitman a centrist? Are you joking, Chris? She is a NeoConservative nutjob, hardly what anyone with half a brain considers "centrists". I thought we were done with these fools when we got rod of Bush and replaced them with our own clodhoppers, the "Trans-Nationalists". Evidently not.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | August 3, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

I sent her a donation.

Posted by: JakeD | August 3, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

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