Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Extremity of 90s Republicans

Today's bit is this piece from Media Matters which rounds out something I had been wondering about while writing my last post, namely how Bob Dole fit into the picture.   As I stated then:
Next in line to Newt was Majority Leader Dick Armey, and below that, Majority Whip Tom Delay.  Moderatism was dead.  Gingrichism never faced any significant internal Republican resistance the way Nixonism did, there was no one left in the Republican party of any importance who didn't believe in it. 
I really don't know much about Dole, but in my mind he stands as rather more moderate in tone and demeanor than Gingrich, Delay, Armey et al.  Yet he was Majority Leader of the Senate and 1996 nominee.  How so?  From the MM piece I get my answer:
Dole, who was running for president and trying to shore up support among hard-core conservatives, boasted: "If you're looking for leadership, ... somebody who has been a career conservative, long before many of them showed up around this town — I was there, fighting the fight, voting against Medicare — one of 12, because we knew it wouldn't work in 1965.(emphasis added)
So there you have it.  Even in 1995, Dole takes his original and unchanging opposition to a program that had been successfully operating for more than 30 years at that point as some kind of badge of pride to wear, rather than a mark of a fool incapable of recognizing error.  I doubt if a 30 year old business went bankrupt, Dole would say the whole venture had been doomed from the start.  My fears that any moderate Republicans had somehow held positions of power in the 90s remain phantoms. 

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