Where Have You Gone, William Buckley, Jr.?

Dear Commons Community,

David Welch, former research director for the Republican National Committee, has an op-ed piece in today’s New York Times calling on the Republican Party leadership to rein in the extremism of the Tea Party.  He compares the Tea Party with the John Birch Society of the 1960s:

“In the 1960s, William F. Buckley, Jr.,  largely through his position at the helm of National Review, displayed political courage and sanity by taking on the John Birch Society, an influential anti-Communist group whose members saw conspiracies everywhere they looked.

Fast forward half a century. The modern-day Birchers are the Tea Party. By loudly espousing extreme rhetoric, yet holding untenable beliefs, they have run virtually unchallenged by the Republican leadership, aided by irresponsible radio talk-show hosts and right-wing pundits. While the Tea Party grew, respected moderate voices in the party were further pushed toward extinction. Republicans need a Buckley to bring us back.

He recommends:

“Republicans must now identify those who can bring adult supervision back to the party. Replacing Buckley — an erudite and prolific force of nature — with one individual is next to impossible. But we don’t need to. We can face the extremists with credible, respected leaders who have offered conservative policies that led to Republican victories.

Dare I say it, or should I just whisper the word? We need “the Establishment.” We need officials like former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, operatives like Karl Rove and Republican Party institutions.   Mr. Christie and Mr. Bush are ideally suited to drive extremists from the party.”

I agree fully with Welsh’s position but I am not sure that Jeb Bush and Chris Christie are the ones to do it. Jeb Bush’s problem is that he has the Bush name and Christie’s embrace of President Obama during the election leaves him suspect among Republicans.  I would suggest someone like a George Will who put the likes of Donald Trump (bloviated ignoramus) in his place.

We will see!




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