“The Pulse: A view from the right, the right way”
In the column, Smerconish quotes former Penn. Governor and Bush cabinet secretary, Tom Ridge, speaking to a Log Cabin Republican group with his take on the dangerous game the political purists in his own party are playing, including highlighting how a shrinking (but vocal) base has allowed the likes of definitely right-of-center Republican Senators Lamar Alexander (my old boss), McConnell, Hatch, McCain, Rubio, Graham and others to have their conservatism questioned. Lamar Alexander a RINO? Please.
Some of Ridge’s choice quips:
“Two Republican presidents changed my life in a very personal and meaningful way,” Ridge said. “One called on me to serve my country in Vietnam. The other asked me to serve my country after the attacks of 9/11. Neither president asked me my position on social issues.”
“For many observers, the GOP has become intolerant, judgmental, and self-righteous – perhaps worthy of attitudes of the Pilgrims in 1620, but hardly attractive qualities for a political party nearly 400 years later,” Ridge said. “Sadly, there is very little room or respect for differences of opinion on social issues.”
Says Smerconish of Ridge: “Strong words from a man who has run eight campaigns as a Republican. But he’s uniquely qualified to offer that view. Remember, McCain favored Ridge or Joe Lieberman as his vice presidential pick in 2008, avoiding the former because he is pro-choice.”
In setting forth his opposition to Obamacare, Ridge gave a tutorial on how to advocate while seeking to expand the tent. He described the law as flawed and worthy of repeal, “blatantly infringing on the religious liberties of Catholic and other religious health-care facilities.” But, he added, in demanding respect for individual rights, Republicans must “respect the rights of others to live and let live.”
Tom Ridge continued: “If we want a government that acknowledges our God-given right to freely choose how we live – in regard to marriage and other issues – we must demand a government that respects the rights of others to choose and follow their conscience just the same.”
“In order to govern, we must win national elections. To do so, the narcissists and ideologues within our party need to understand that Americans are more conservative than liberal, but are more practical than ideological, and more tolerant and open-minded than judgmental. They are also looking for real, not rhetorical, solutions.”
Hear, hear, Tom Ridge.