Saturday, May 9, 2009

Cheney: GOP Doesn't Need To Moderate

After Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania switched to the Democrats, Senator Olympia Snowe (R) of Maine wrote that the gradual loss of Republican moderates was unhealthy for the party:

...we cannot prevail in the future without moderates... There is no plausible scenario under which Republicans can grow into a majority while shrinking our ideological confines and continuing to retract into a regional party.

Dick Cheney is having none of it. In an interview with North Dakota radio host Scott Henen, he affirmed that there's no need for moderation:

Hennen: Some people are wringing their hands saying, “This is an example of why the party needs to change, to hear the message of Specter,” that, as Colin Powell said, the Republican Party needs to moderate. Do you think the Republican Party needs to moderate? Is that the message of the Specter defection, or the state of the party these days?

Cheney: No I don’t. I think it would be a mistake for us to moderate. This is about fundamental beliefs and values and ideas ... what the role of government should be in our society, and our commitment to the Constitution and Constitutional principles. You know, when you add all those things up the idea that we ought to moderate basically means we ought to fundamentally change our philosophy. I for one am not prepared to do that, and I think most us aren’t. Most Republicans have a pretty good idea of values, and aren’t eager to have someone come along and say, “Well, the only way you can win is if you start to act more like a Democrat.”

Presumably among the "fundamental beliefs and values and ideas...and our commitment to the Constitution" are waterboarding, sending detainees abroad to countries that practice torture (extraordinary rendition), launching unnecessary wars and wiretapping American citizens. In defending "enhanced interrogation techniques," i.e., torture, Cheney refers to the waterboarding of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.  Hennen did not ask him why, if the method is so effective, the Mohammed had to be subject to it 183 times in March 2003.

If the GOP continues to take Cheney's advice, Snowe's words of a shrinking party may very well be looked upon as prophetic. 

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