A fundamental debate broke out among Republicans on Wednesday over how to rebuild the party in the wake of Senator Arlen Specter’s departure: Should it purge moderate voices like Mr. Specter and embrace its conservative roots or seek to broaden its appeal to regain a competitive position against Democrats?
I therefore found it interesting to learn via Think Progress that the Kent County Republican party chair Joanne Voorhees in Michigan cancelled a fundraiser with Governor Jon Huntsman Jr. of Utah (above) because he's too moderate. Voorhees said, "The voters want and expect us to stand on principle and return to our roots." The group Campaign for Michigan Families said, "Presumably he is testing the waters [for a presidential run] and we hope he realizes now the waters in Michigan will be hazardous to someone who endorses the homosexual activist political agenda."
Though Utah, like Michigan, passed an amendment prohibiting gay marriage in 2004, Huntsman believes that the amendment may not ban civil unions–apparently a heretical position among right-wing homophobes.
In an interview, Huntsman said, “Instead of just kind of grousing and complaining, it would do us all a whole lot of good if we actually started engaging directly in finding compromises and common ground and shared solutions.” No doubt that's another heretical view in a party that continues to purge moderates as it shrinks.