Saturday, April 23, 2005
Big tents and moderates: Earlier this week, when I wished Vermont's Jim Jeffords well in his post-legislative career, a commenter suggested that we need more moderates/centrists in the Senate.
That got me to thinking.
Let's list some Republican moderates/centrists/"mavericks" in the Senate:
Lincoln Chafee, R.I.
John McCain, Ariz.
Olympia Snowe, Maine
Susan Collins, Maine
Arlen Specter, Pa.
If you add Hugh Hewitt's "fence sitters" on the Byrd option for ending judicial filibusters, you get to add Gordon Smith (Ore.), John Sununu (N.H.), Chuck Hagel (Neb.), John Warner (Va.) and Mike DeWine (Ohio) to those above.
So, that's a total of 10 Republicans who aren't hard right ideologues. Or, with the exception of Specter, are at least not hard right enough to at least consider bucking the party leadership and the GOP base on one of its top issues. Chafee, Collins, Snowe and Specter are largely pro-choice.
Now let's take a look at Democrat moderates/centrists/"mavericks" in the Senate:
Joe Lieberman, D-Conn.
Up until he left the Senate early this year, you would certainly add Zell Miller of Georgia to that list. But right now Lieberman's the only Democrat I can think of who belongs on that list -- and he's not "maverick" enough to consider bucking his party leadership on the filibuster issue. As far as pro-life Democrats go, Harry Reid likes to claim he's one, though you couldn't tell that by the attitude of the likes of NARAL and Planned Parenthood toward him.
So, which party is the party of inclusion? Which party has the "big tent"? Which party should be looking to become more moderate?
*UPDATE* Corrected Lieberman's home state.