Believe it or not, I have conservative friends, and most of them are pretty sane people. They may support stuff I absolutely disagree with, like a flat tax or war in Iraq or the abolition of the Department of Education, but at least they can give reasoning in support of these positions other than Because it says so in the Bible and if you don't think so you're a terrorist-loving commie traitor faggot!
Perhaps because of this overall cogency and ability to reason, however, most of them don't like to think about all the people on their side of the aisle, as opposed to mine, who are ? and I'm going to phrase this as politely as I possibly can ? grade-A USDA-approved right-wing nutbags. Or they can admit that someone like Pat Robertson or Pat Buchanan is on their side, but they won't concede that such folks actually wield any influence in conservative ideology or the Republican Party itself, mountains of evidence to the contrary.
So if any of those at-least-somewhat-rational conservative friends of mine ? or, hell, if any at-least-somewhat-rational conservatives who don't know me from Adam ? stumble upon this site, I'd like to ask them to take a gander at this Washington Monthly post (written two years ago but brought up again today) and read over the Texas Republican Party's official platform from 2000. Then I'd like to hear their answers to the following questions:
1. Do you agree with the positions and proposals outlined here?
2. If not, why not?
3. Do you think a substantial number of Republicans currently in positions of power in this country agree with them?
4. If not, why not?
5. Can you think of anything the Democrats have proposed in the last five years that would be as radical a change to this country as anything proposed in the Republican platform?
My point is simply this: As a Democrat and an unabashed liberal, I'm called on the carpet almost constantly to answer for people who supposedly represent the heart and soul of the Democratic Party ? Michael Moore, Whoopi Goldberg, Ted Rall, the crazies at Democratic Underground, et cetera et cetera. But these people are fringe players. The extent of their influence on me goes only so far as, in Moore's case, they can convince me to see one of their moves (I've seen one Michael Moore film, "Fahrenheit 9/11," in my entire life) or as, in Ted Rall's case, they can convince me to read one of their columns (I haven't gone near one of Rall's columns since he went off the deep end and started kicking around Pat Tillman's lifeless corpse for being an Afghan baby-killer).
The Republican counterparts to this craziness and extremism are people like Tom DeLay, who helped write the above Texas Republican platform; James "SpongeBob" Dobson, with whom Bill Frist has been hobnobbing throughout the ongoing filibuster controversy; and John Cornyn, the guy who recently posited that judges who make controversial decisions are putting bullseyes on their own backs. These people are not fringe columnists or Hollywood attention-seekers who make an inflammatory statement or a controversial movie and then retreat back into their limousine-liberal hidey-holes; they wield real power in Washington. Many of them are elected officials pushing legislation that will directly affect my life, and those that aren't frequently have direct lines to those that are. I don't get to choose whether they influence me. They're the ones in control.
So if I have to repudiate folks like Rall (I have) and Moore ("Fahrenheit" was engaging but a little half-baked), isn't it time you rational conservatives repudiated the nuts in your own party? And since they're wielding real governmental power, is it unreasonable for me to expect you to raise your voice just a little bit louder than I've raised mine?