- The Washington Times - Monday, May 4, 2009

BIG TENT

“The argument over the Republican Party now always devolves into the question — Should it be less conservative?” Peggy Noonan writes at www.opinionjournal.com.

“I say devolves because it is Democrats and the left who frame the question that way, and they do so because whatever the answer, yes or no, it will damage Republicans,” Miss Noonan said.

“Another way to put the question is: Can the party, having accurately ascertained its position, and recognizing shifting terrain, institute a renewed and highly practical tolerance for the many flavors of Republican? Can it live happily and productively with all its natural if sometimes warring constituent groups?

“It must.

“All the metaphors here are tired, so let’s stick with the big tent. A big tent is held up by tent poles. No poles, no tent. No poles, all you have is a big collapsed canvas.

“The poles that keep up the tent are the party’s essential beliefs. Republicans over the next few years should define what each of their tent poles stands for - a strong defense being an obvious pole, a less demanding and intrusive government being another, a natural affection and respect for tradition and for life being a third - and how many poles there are.

“But also, the people inside can’t always be kicking people out of the tent. A great party cannot live by constantly subtracting, by removing or shunning those who are not faithful to every aspect of its beliefs, or who don’t accept every pole, or who are just barely fitting under the tent. Room should be made for them. Especially in those cases when Republican incumbents and candidates are attempting to succeed in increasingly liberal states, a certain practical sympathy is in order.

“In the party now there is too much ferocity, and bloody-mindedness. The other day Sen. JimDeMint said he’d rather have 30 good and reliable conservative senators than 60 unreliable Republicans. Really? Good luck stopping an agenda you call socialist with 30 hardy votes. ‘Shrink to win’: I’ve never heard of that as a political slogan.”

‘VINDICATED’

“Only Al Sharpton could consider a $285,000 Federal Election Commission fine - one of the heftiest such penalties ever - a ‘vindication,’ ” the New York Post says in an editorial.

“That’s because the FEC originally sought to hit him for a cool half-million for financial sleight-of-hand arising from his 2004 presidential campaign,” the newspaper said.

“His lawyers managed to knock the fine down to a more manageable amount, just as they struck a sweetheart deal with the feds last summer that cut his $1.8 million bill for unpaid back taxes almost in half and avoided criminal prosecution.

“Of course, Sharpton still owes another $884,669 in unpaid state taxes, dating back to 2002, which were not included in the federal settlement.

“As the Post first reported last month, the FEC determined that Sharpton’s bizarre campaign - he won a grand total of 27 convention delegates and never got more than 8 percent of the vote in any primary - was a fiscal horror show.

“It ruled that expenses were improperly paid by Sharpton’s National Action Network; that he accepted loans ‘from unknown sources,’ and that he never reported excessive in-kind contributions from a wealthy businessman, who later was convicted on bribery charges involving Philadelphia’s city treasurer.

“Sordid, to be sure, but par for the course. Tellingly, none of this has kept Sharpton from presenting himself as a moral exemplar.

“That’s The Rev. all right: scoundrel, clown and hypocrite, all rolled into one predictable, now ‘vindicated,’ package.”

UNPRECEDENTED

“When Thomas Jefferson succeeded John Adams, a contest that put America on such a different footing that it is remembered today as the Revolution of 1800, he did not seek to put members of the Adams administration on trial,”David Shribman writes in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

“When Warren G. Harding followed Woodrow Wilson in the White House in 1921, he did not put Edith Galt Wilson on trial for usurping the office of the presidency after Wilson’s stroke. WhenBill Clinton ended a dozen years of Republican rule in 1993, he did not try to prosecute Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush for deceiving the Congress over the Iran-Contra affair,” Mr. Shribman said.

“In the span of 220 years, there have been 43 changes of presidents, and always this rule, never written but never broken, has prevailed: Presidents let their predecessors be judged by the merciless jury of history, not by the temporal verdicts of courts.

“Commentators and historians often apply a facile shorthand to describe the fundamental principle (and surpassing greatness) of the American political system: Here the transfer of power from one party to another, or from one president to another, is accomplished by ballots, not bullets. That shorthand has an unspoken corollary: Here presidents and parties do not criminalize the policies of their predecessors.

“That is why the nascent effort to investigate and perhaps prosecute members of the Bush administration is a dramatic departure from American tradition.”

SCARY STORY

“The Stephen King ‘80s horror novel ‘Pet Sematary’ told the story of a supernatural Indian burial ground behind the town’s pet cemetery. Generations of children learned that if they buried their pets in the rocky soil, overnight they would return alive,” Sherman Frederick writes in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

“The novel’s lead character, Louis, buried his cat, Church, there only to find the reanimated cat strange and different. Meaner, smelly and ‘a little dead,’ Church hunted mice and birds only to rip them apart without eating them.

“President Barack Obama would do well to remember the simple lessons of this novel as he proceeds to bury the nation’s auto industry into the rocky soil of socialism. Dead companies that re-emerge zombies of the state won’t behave quite right. They will be new creatures propped up by taxpayer cash, stumbling around in an American consumer system with no fear of the normal consequences of failure. Absent free-market pressures, Obama Motors will produce cars born by congressional fiat (pardon the pun). Picture the Henry Waxman and the Maxine Waters limited edition models - won’t run, but the left-turn signals work great!

“It’s a scary prospect,” Mr. Frederick said.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washington times.com.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide