The obit in today's New York Times for former Senator Warren Rudman of New Hampshire shows just how far we've traveled (and how far we haven't) in the 20 years since he left office. Listen:
Mr. Rudman "prided himself on his blunt-speaking adherence to centrist principles and his belief in bipartisan compromise as the underpinning of good government. He served two terms in the Senate, and decided out of exasperation not to seek re-election in 1992, saying that the federal government was 'not functioning' and that it was impossible to get anything done in a Senate rife with posturing and partisanship."If Rudman thought the federal government wasn't functioning in 1992, how would he have described 2012? Pathetic? Infantile? Both?
Rudman tried to warn the GOP against embracing the religious right. In a comment that could easily have been a post-mortem to the 2012 election, this is what he said:
“The Republican Party is making a terrible mistake if it appears to ally itself with the Christian right. There are some fine, sincere people in its ranks, but there are also enough anti-abortion zealots, would-be censors, homophobes, bigots and latter-day Elmer Gantrys to discredit any party that is unwise enough to embrace such a group.”“I thought my beliefs were classically conservative,” Mr. Rudman wrote in his memoir. “On balance, they put me near the middle of the political spectrum, a little to the right of center.”
A little to the right of center: a place that no longer exists on the GOP continuum. Requiescat in pace, Warren Rudman.