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Rhetoric, Reality, and Romney: A Rockefeller Republican’s Response to the New Right

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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.

I would say that Beatty’s idea of a conservative philosophy is actually more of a right wing ideology. This is judging from the content of his past articles and the fact he believes that in order to effectively follow one aspect of a school of thought, all others must be obeyed. Blind adherence to anything other than the law is destructive in the extreme, as one can easily find a path to justifying irrational behavior.

Beatty asks us:

Never heard of Joseph F. Cotto? Well, not specifically by name, but he (and many like him) exist when it comes time to vote. And it is people like him who have made/continue to make this country a fiscal and social wreck. Rush Limbaugh has been quite vocal lately about him, the “independents” and “moderates” that conservatives cannot alienate if they want to win elections. 

I hope that many people read my works, but the last thing I want is a cult of personality. It would be a terrible bother to be stopped by every fourth person on the street asking if I am Joseph F. Cotto. How would I ever get anywhere on time? Florida traffic is bad enough as it is, I don’t need any more delays. Of course, I do exist on voting day, but I am most certainly not wrecking my beloved United States of America in either the fiscal or social senses. I believe that the ideologues on both ends of the political spectrum can be blamed for this, but presently, Rockefeller Republicans are not powerful enough to run a lemonade stand, let alone a country.

As far as quoting radio entertainer Rush Limbaugh as a voice of reason, well, that does say something very profound. I suppose that if you consider Charlie Sheen to be a role model for clean living, John Edwards a pillar of honesty, and Bill Moyers an impartial journalist, then such an action may vaguely approach making sense. Beatty does get one thing spot on, however. The Republican Party has no chance of winning the vast majority of elections if it doesn’t appeal to the independents and moderates; and nonsensical far right rhetoric impresses very few, if any, in the political mainstream.

Beatty again:

Third party? While there may be true conservative candidates out there, I think that the power behind the Tea Party, conservatives who have had it with Joseph F. Cotto and his ilk, know that a third party will only bleed votes from the Republican candidate, thereby handing victory to the Democrats. 

I think that not merely a third, but a fourth party would be stellar ideas. The far right Republican fringe could have its own sandbox, as could the hardcore lefties masquerading as Democrats. Then, the dominant center right and center left groups could govern America without so much as a thought for the wingnuts and moonbats. In fact, maybe the wingnuts and moonbats could band together in their radicalism and form the Wingbat Party. I have always thought that the far right and far left share much more in common than those closer to the center, and Beatty’s diatribe is a fine example of why.

A few of my readers have wondered why I am such a strident supporter of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney in the current Republican presidential primaries. There are a myriad of reasons; chief among them that I admire his work ethic and superior managerial skills in the private and public sectors alike. He is also a social moderate at heart and a person who has the innate ability to remain calm, cool, and collected along the campaign trail.

Beyond these, though, he represents the thoughtful, tempered traditionalist umbrella wing of the Republican Party. This includes we Rockefellerites, so his electoral victory is ours. If Romney manages to seize the Republican nomination, then the various far right elements that have wreaked havoc on the GOP over the last three years will be neutralized. Various pundits have admitted as much, and this is why all the jokers have crawled out of the woodwork to promote former House speaker Newt Gingrich, Romney’s main opponent, who harnesses the vile anger harbored by them.

Many of said jokers and their deluded bands of followers have promised to abstain from voting in November if Romney is on the ballot against incumbent President Barack Obama. I personally believe that this is a load of poppycock and should be taken with a grain of salt. However, in the event that a large number were to throw support behind a write-in, or yet unknown, candidate and allow Obama to enjoy reelection, then it will become glaringly obvious who the real RINOs were the entire time. Perhaps then that fabled alternative party could be formed and the obscurity its founders and enablers so richly deserve felt in full.

Little is known about what will happen during the months ahead in American politics. Whatever takes place, though, is sure to be not only interesting, but groundbreaking.

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About Joseph F. Cotto

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Actually, I think a case could be made that today’s Democrats are (fiscally speaking) yesterday’s Rockefeller Republicans, and yesterday’s Democrats are today’s Progressives (which includes me).

    And today’s Republicans?

    Think about it – they want taxes slashed to the bone and austerity is the watchword of the day. The last president who actually delivered what today’s Republicans want…was Herbert Hoover.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And Joseph –

    Speaking of changes in parties and political irony, I think you’ll find this article about what’s going on in Bosnia pretty interesting.

  • http://www.jackrabbit-media.com Jason Holloway

    Dear Mr. Cotto, a well reasoned response. I think the big problem facing the Republican party is a huge class divide between the wealthy and the non-wealthy. I attended many Republican events here in Nevada over the past several years. The poor and middle class are always involved in politics because of ideology. The rich are involved to protect their interests. Very few wealthy Republicans are involved in the party because they seek to further some kind of ideological agenda. I say this as someone who has performed fundraising tasks and attended hundreds of events. The wealthy always want something for their investment. The poor and middle class seek only to implement an ideological agenda. Now, there are always exceptions to the rule, but that is my day-to-day experience. I think just like these anti-Obama folks equate socialism with black muslim instinctively, I think many anti-Romney folks are instinctively rejecting Romney solely because he represents a different economic class. I understand what I am saying is slightly off topic, but it’s something I noticed that most scholars and pundits have missed. Thank you for your time.