Over the weekend, fellow Blogcritics contributor Warren Beatty wrote a critique of my political views for the Conservative Daily News, a rightist online newsmagazine. After its publication, he asked for my opinion on it through the comments board for a recent piece I wrote about the late, great feminist Kate Chopin. I responded that I would do so in a full length article; this is it.
To begin with, Beatty thanks,
...God that the Rockefeller wing of the Republican Party, members of the Republican Party who held moderate to liberal views similar to those of Nelson Rockefeller, is “all-but-extinct.” The term “Rockefeller wing” has fallen into disuse, replaced by the term RINO.
Oh, my. So many points to discuss here. I will be the first to admit that the Rockefeller wing of the GOP, of which I am a member, is in dire straits at this very moment. Calling the deceased longtime governor of New York a moderate is apropos, but a liberal? When it came to social policy, he firmly believed that no one had the right to force his or her respective moral beliefs on another. However, his stances on fiscal and domestic security matters were staunchly conservative. A champion of free enterprise and namesake of the infamous Rockefeller drug laws, one cannot seriously paint him as a man of the left.
Regarding Rockefellerites becoming RINOs (Republicans In Name Only), such a notion is total hogwash. Going back to the 1870s, centrists have been the GOP's dominant faction. It is only over the past few years that various far right schemers have laid claim to the party name and demanded control of its apparatus. Realistically speaking, they are the RINOs of which Beatty speaks.
Beatty also notes:
Second, what, precisely, is staunch centrist? In what does Joseph F. Cotto believe? Does he believe in ANYTHING? Centrist ideologies tend to focus on social liberalism. Conservatives understand that since the conservative philosophy is a coherent whole, it is untenable to discard part of it without discarding all of it.
Simply put, a staunch centrist is an individual who looks at both sides of any given argument, not necessarily of a political nature, and takes the side seeming to make the most sense. As we centrists are not bound by the constraints of doctrine, we have no ideology. This open-minded standpoint lallows me to make observations such as: in the United States, there is no authority which declares what a conservative is or is not. To be conservative simply means to conserve something, whether the entity in question is a rainforest or a melting ice cream sandwich. What one individual sees as conservative another might see as communistic.