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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

They'd rather be right

It might be time to change the symbol of the Republican Party from the elephant to the lemming.

Regular readers know I am hardly a fan of Myth Romney, who has flipped and flopped his way to national political prominence and is now the apparent front-runner for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination.

That reality probably keeps the planners of Barack Obama's 2012 reelection campaign up at nights. But it also causes a severe case of agita over on the far right flanks of American political life, where, in decades past, the mantra was "better dead than red."

Listen to Joe Miller, head of the Western Representation PAC:
“Right now [our focus] is making sure that Romney, who’s very clearly a RINO, doesn’t walk away with the nomination,’’ said Miller, using the acronym for Republican In Name Only. “We’re trying to save the country. And with Romney at the helm, it’s not going to get saved. Romney is just going to be a disaster for this country.’’
Romney's sins? Well, there is his acknowledgment that climate change is real and has a human element. And that Barack Obama didn't actually make the economy worse. Of course, the ultimate sin: the Massachusetts health care law.

The last we heard of Miller he defeated Lisa Murkowski for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination only to lose to her in the general election. As for the PAC, it's greatest claim to fame last year was support for Sharron Angle in Nevada.

Those should be comforting thoughts for Romney. But there's also FreedomWorks, the Koch Brothers-Dick Armey machine that has been far more successful in tilting the debate toward the right fringe.

As a progressive, I should thoroughly enjoy this effort by the None Dare Call it Treason crowd. The GOP has long fought with its fruitcake fringe and has occasionally lost big -- Barry Goldwater in 1964 for example.

But the right's virulence this time around is frightening. Goldwater, who supported gay rights, and Ronald Reagan, who raised taxes, would be considered leftist radicals today.

The thought of Michele Bachmann as the GOP nominee does bring a smile to my face. But I would actually be troubled by Romney's defeat in a fundamental way.

That's because just as I believe Michael Dukakis' dismantling by the GOP damaged the idea of competence as a presidential qualification, the destruction of another Massachusetts governor would represent the end of sanity as a qualification.

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