Thursday, January 05, 2006

Sound Familiar?

Maybe the problems within our party aren't restricted to Virginia..... Check out this article about the split in the Colorado Republican Party denver & the west Is Republican rift fixable? Retaining governorship, regaining statehouse at stake By Karen E. Crummy Denver Post Staff A cultural war that has been brewing within the Republican Party for years is threatening to split the state GOP at a time when it needs unity to retain the governorship and take back the statehouse. The divide between social conservatives and moderates in the party - exacerbated by infighting over Referendums C and D - appears ready to widen as the two factions fight over who should set the agenda. "Things have gotten really bad for the party," said state Sen. Steve Johnson, a Fort Collins Republican and a self-described moderate conservative. "The right wing of the party has the attitude that if we don't agree with them on every item on their litmus test, then we aren't a good Republican. I think it's going to hurt our chances of winning back the statehouse." And perhaps it'll hamstring the party's ability to get things done during the upcoming legislative session. With such issues as intelligent design, immigration and gay marriage hovering, an inability to compromise could cause big problems for the party as a whole. "They are going to struggle to find common ground, and that could spell problems," said John Straayer, a political-science professor at Colorado State University. "But if they handle things carefully and build coalitions and stay away from ideology, they could be fine." House Republican Leader Joe Stengel said the rift in the party is actually little more than a "family squabble" that won't stand in the way of good legislation or the 2006 elections. "Like every family, we have different opinions, but in the long run, we will come together," he said. Simmering tensions among GOP legislators bubbled up early this week when state Sen. Norma Anderson, a former majority leader from Jefferson County, announced she was resigning after 19 years. Among her reasons were the expanding rift in her party and the increasing influence of "ideological Christian conservatives." "The division has been here for a long time, but the name- calling really began during C and D," she said Wednesday. "Owens has tried to be a good governor, and they criticize him because they don't agree with everything he says." Additionally, former U.S. Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell said Tuesday that he was fed up with the blind loyalty that was demanded by right-wing Republicans, and state Rep. Mark Larson, who announced last month that he was not running for re-election, said he was leaving in part because he was tired of fighting the more extreme faction of his party. "I am a 1964 Goldwater Republican, and I don't want government in my life, including my private life," he said. "But the party's changing. They've abandoned issues like the environment and have litmus tests. They've forgotten about President Reagan's big tent." State GOP party leader Bob Martinez downplayed the comments from the legislators as a venting of personal frustrations now that they had made a decision to step down. The recent tension comes on the heels of the bitter fight among Colorado Republicans over Referendums C and D - the ballot measures that called for letting the state keep more tax revenue and increase spending. Gov. Bill Owens led the charge to pass the measures, while Stengel was a leading opponent. Referendum C passed and D failed on Nov. 1. The healing process between the two sides may be slower than some initially predicted. "The split between upscale, traditional Republicans and the social conservatives was quite marked during C and D," said Bob Loevy, a political-science professor at Colorado College. Many traditional Republicans, especially in Denver's suburbs, were already put off by social conservatives - especially on issues of abortion, stem-cell research and immigration, he said. "Some of those Republicans are drifting away. They aren't leaving the party, but they are less inclined to vote for conservative candidates," he said. The Republicans lost control of the statehouse in 2004 for the first time in 42 years, and some, such as Straayer, attribute that to the GOP division. It may also be the reason, he said, that they can't win it back this year. "The socially conservative candidates often win in the primary and lose in the general election," he said. "To the extent that wing dominates the nominating process, it can cost you in the end." But others, such as Owens, said the tensions, while real, are overblown and would not negatively affect the upcoming elections. More conservative candidates are appropriate for some parts of the state, he said, and more moderate contenders work better in other parts. "That's what makes us a broad, majority party," he said. "We will work together to take control of the House and Senate." Staff writer Karen Crummy can be reached at 303-820-1594 or


At 1/05/2006 04:52:00 PM, Blogger nova_middle_man said...

look to Arizona also Arizona, VA and Colorado will vote Democratic for Pres by 2012 unless moderate republicans have a greater voice

At 1/05/2006 04:53:00 PM, Blogger Involved said...

Come on, this is anything BUT an unbiased report. The author, Ms. Crummy, only quotes bitter left-leaning Republicans, and one Republican leader who's trying to get everyone to get along.

Where was the conservative perspective?

She must have accidentally left that on the cutting room floor, along with any thought of objectivity.

At 1/05/2006 04:53:00 PM, Blogger Riley, Not O'Reilly said...

I actually spoke with someone in Colorado yesterday for work. He is a GOP activist and is elected to the Colorado Board of Regents in a district mirroring one of the congressional districts. He actually got the second most votes in that district only behind the Member of Congress last time he ran. From what he was telling me, they do indeed have an intraparty family squabble going on similar to ours.

At 1/05/2006 05:22:00 PM, Anonymous NoVA Scout said...

That "one Republican leader trying to get everyone to get along" (as Involved puts it) would be immediately cast into the abyss of moi-disant RINO-land around here.

Maybe I can take my auction idea on the road. I doubt that the finances of the Colorado Republicans are worse than the RPV, but everyone can use some money. I must say, I've been much more relaxed today now that I see a way through this temptest in a teapot. Smooth seas, level paths and sunny climes await us all. As soon as we get the naming rights sorted out for the next quadrennium, everything will be peachy, guys. Forget this conservative/moderate/liberal stuff. It used to mean something, but it's all a false idol now.

Anyone want to talk transportation, education, economic development? Anyone want to talk about how to deal with Democrats who have won the governorship twice in a row in a dependably red state? Anyone want to talk about the dangers of political irrelevancy in an era where you can't win the only major executive spot and the Dems who win it seem intent on controlling the center of the electorate? Anyone want to talk about how the most "moderate" Republicans and the most "conservative" Republicans can find things they agree on far more easily than any Republican can with any Democrat? Anyone want to talk about making those areas of agreement the foundation of Republican re-birth in the Commonwealth?

At 1/05/2006 05:54:00 PM, Blogger Nikhil Verma said...


I'm a lifelong Republican but you are wrong my friend. Nova Scout is right and this article is right on the money.

At 1/05/2006 06:19:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like Nova Scout is suggesting we focus on the 95% of the issues we all agree on instead of the 5% we don't.

Hmmm, sounds like what people do when they want a happy marriage instead of a miserable divorce ...

At 1/05/2006 08:32:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good points nova scout, nikhil, and the last anonymous...if some in our party refuse to be more tolerant of an occasional disagreement, then Virginia will likely suffer the same fate in 2007/2009 that Colorado suffered in 2004. Part of me would almost like to allow VCAP and VCG to field their hand-picked candidates in every district in the state and watch the Republican majority almost seems like that is what it is going to take for these people to get a clue.

At 1/05/2006 10:09:00 PM, Blogger Waltzing Matilda said...

Involved- I think the "bitter" ones here are those Republican ostriches with their heads in the collective conservative sand. How "objective" is the self proclaimed right wing of the GOP in RPV? Pot thy name is kettle.

At 1/05/2006 10:51:00 PM, Blogger Involved said...

Nikhil and other anti-conservatives,

The article is about self-proclaimed moderates vs. conservatives in Colorado. The moderates are the only ones quoted in the article, however.

It's possible that the conservatives may have agreed with everything that the article stated, and it's possible that they could have shown how moderates have been pulling the party apart from their viewpoints.

The problem is that there is no other perspective taken into account. Only cries of sad moderate republicans.

You kids in moderate-land love to point fingers at the mean conservatives who keep winning primaries, but if you continue to post articles that only show your side of the story, and then demand tolerance and understanding from the other, you certainly aren't practicing what you preach, nor are you going to get any sympathy from the base of our party.

(And if you haven't picked it up from the article, the base of the party IS conservatives... which is why moderates have such a hard time winning primaries outside of far left-leaning districts.)

At 1/05/2006 11:03:00 PM, Blogger too conservative said...

Maybe you didnt read it entirely..

it states that the "far-far-far right" or "all or nothingers" win primaried but lose generals.

This is their fault..not the "moderates"

At 1/05/2006 11:26:00 PM, Blogger Involved said...


Maybe you didn't read my comments carefully enough. It is the moderate/more-liberal Republicans who are calling conservatives "far-far-far right" or "all or nothingers". They are also the ones who are blaming Republican loses on conservatives, shockingly enough.

There is no balance.

Or if you prefer, none of the "far-far-far right" are asked for their opinions.

It's simply a 'Why we Hate Conservatives and blame everything on them' article, from a 'moderate' point of view.

At 1/06/2006 03:41:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, because after the conservatives follow the rules and win the primaries, the moderate republicans abandon the party and vote for "moderate democrats" like Salazar, who then vote lockstep with the liberals in washington.

Meanwhile, the "answer", we are told, is that the conservatives should THROW the primaries to the moderates, and then show party loyalty by coming out and voting for the moderates on election day, and then everything would be just fine.

That is the definition of the moderate's party loyalty -- moderates are free to leave whenever they want, and it's all conservative's fault, but conservatives should shape up and support the party by not presenting their agenda and instead going along with the moderates.

Better for us if we just let the democrats win, if you're going to get stabbed in the back and have an anti-business pro-tax agenda shoved down your throat, better it be your enemies that do it rather than your so-called "friends".

At 1/06/2006 07:11:00 AM, Blogger AWCheney said...

"Better for us if we just let the democrats win, if you're going to get stabbed in the back and have an anti-business pro-tax agenda shoved down your throat, better it be your enemies that do it rather than your so-called "friends"."

You're too late...this strategy has already been around for awhile, which is the problem everybody is talking about.

At 1/06/2006 08:35:00 AM, Blogger Mitch Cumstein said...

"That is the definition of the moderate's party loyalty -- moderates are free to leave whenever they want, and it's all conservative's fault, but conservatives should shape up and support the party by not presenting their agenda and instead going along with the moderates."

This is not what moderates are asking for at all. I have no problem with "conservatives" presenting and even pressing for their agenda. The problem for those of us who just don't buy into the most conservative viewpoints on all issues is that we're attacked and labled "Rinos" or bad Republicans. It should come as no surprise that some, when faced with the choice of a moderate Democrat and a conservative Republican, one supported most vocally by those who would villify us, would support the former and not the latter.

The reality is that the majority of Americans fall somewhere in the middle of the political spectrum. For some reason, some in the GOP believe that they have the ability, through villification and whacks to the head and kneecaps, to force a strict ideology on citizens. Well, it just doesn't work that way, particularly when considering how hypocritical the party platform has become. Not to say that the Dems are any better. But you're never going to convince me that it's OK for the government to tell me how to live, who to worship and who to sleep with on one hand, and then say that that same government can't tell me how to run my business and can take my tax money and spend it on the whim du jour.

What we have right now is an historic opportunity for tremendous success as a party or horrific failure. We can either be the party that puts an end to the corruption and gets back to the basic responsibilities of good goverenance, all the while attracting new members and supporters, or we can continue eating each other alive and watching another party grab the mantle and chuckle at our self-induced destruction. Of course, I'm a moderate, so I'm cool either way ;)

At 1/06/2006 08:40:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not that one side is more correct (can't say right or it would be confusing). I think it is just sad that once a "conservative, but not anointed by the self-appointed guardians of conservatism therefore must be a RINO" Republican is elected, he or she gets more public criticism from members of the GOP then from the Dems. Is there any hope that the Republicans could possibly learn to have their fights behind closed doors? Put the pressure on the electeds to do what you think they should, but for the love of Twinkies don't do it in the paper or by forming little splinter groups that publicly denounce Republicans above all others. From where I sit, it seems that the “conservatives” use this tactic muck more than the “moderates.” And I am using quotation marks because a person’s placement in either group has nothing to do with beliefs and everything to do with loyalty.

At 1/06/2006 08:55:00 AM, Blogger nova_middle_man said...

wow good discussion here :)

I don't want to generalize because I think only one or two conservatives has posted here but... Are some conservatives saying they would actually have a democrat instead of a moderate republican???. The primaries are for ideology fights. However, in moderate districts at least some thought must be given to the general election. I think we all can agree it is better to have a republican than a democrat. So, during the general election if you are a stay at home Republican you are basically casting a vote for the democrat. Kilgore lost for many reasons but I think it is crazy that some republicans chose to stay at home instead of voting.

At 1/06/2006 09:19:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Middle Man- Regular everyday people are not going to alter their schedule to accomodate voting unless they are given something to vote for and not just something to vote against.

At 1/06/2006 10:26:00 AM, Blogger Involved said...

I'd say that I'd certainly vote for a moderate Republican, before voting for a Democrat... but that I'd also vote for a conservative, any day of the week, before voting for a moderate.

Keep in mind that it's the moderate Republicans who jump-ship and support Democrats when they don't get their way... conservatives don't!

At 1/06/2006 11:00:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think former Senator Jane Woods would disagree ...

At 1/06/2006 12:38:00 PM, Anonymous getagrip said...

involved, the piece you seem to be missing is that the general public doesn't go along with the far-far-far right ideological agenda. When faced with a choice between a representative who is focused on making their district a better place to live and one who is focused on making up litmus tests for other Republicans, they will reasonably vote their self-interest. Isn't that why Dick Black got spanked? Pandering to the wildest dreams of the far right base works in primaries, it does not win general elections. Isn't there a lesson in their somewhere?

At 1/06/2006 12:48:00 PM, Blogger Riley, Not O'Reilly said...

The bottom line is political parties are membership organizations. If you're an active member of a party, once a nomination has been settled, you should support the nominees whether they are conservative or moderate. Sure, it is okay to be disappointed if your preferred candidate doesn't win the nomination, but don't do anything to damage the nominee or work against his or her election once the nomination process is settled. If you're going to be like that, then perhaps being an active member of a political party isn't for you and you should consider joining a group based upon ideology (liberal or conservative) or some other premise. But for goodness sake don't tear apart the party.

At 1/06/2006 03:28:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

After conservatives lose primaries, they run a candidate as an independent in the hope that the Republican nominee loses. That is showing party loyalty!

At 1/06/2006 03:30:00 PM, Blogger nova_middle_man said...

"Middle Man- Regular everyday people are not going to alter their schedule to accomodate voting unless they are given something to vote for and not just something to vote against."

I respectfully disagree anon.
Two examples from both sides

In 1996 was anybody really excited about Dole or was it just an Anti-Clinton vote

In 2004 were people really energized by Kerry or was it just an Anti-Bush vote

In summary I believe people vote "against someone" all the time. Like this disucssion has shown, it is nearly impossible to find a canidate you agree with 100%. Usually a person would rather see one person win more than the other person. (Even if that person doesn't really like either canidate)

At 1/11/2006 11:39:00 AM, Blogger Involved said...


However, when a moderate loses they endorse the Democrat in hopes that they will win instead of the conservative... or else they will run as a third party candidate in order to take votes from the more conservative Republican. (Which has been happening far more in VA than having Conservative defections run as 3rd party candidates.)


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