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Jeff Goldstein: Of Cabbages and Kings

One of the problems with nominating moderates is that they are cast by the left as right wing extremists. Mitt Romney called himself “severely conservative” even though he was clearly a technocrat who believes in the supremacy of government as a means toward social and economic problem solving. And the fallout from this is that timid, “pragmatic” party hacks, relying on the left’s characterization of the right, set themselves up as “conservatives” when they are, in fact, no such thing. And yet because they’ve adopted the label, they presume to speak on behalf of those who, in reality, they don’t much care for, those who have been pushed into the “fringe” camp by the constant leftward movement of the political lines of demarcation.

The question going forward is this: do we allow the party hacks to pretend they’re conservative and adopt a new way of defining ourselves so that we can separate ourselves from the pragmatism and realism that these people preach, and that we as members of their party — and it is theirs, from a leadership and messaging standpoint — are consistently punished by? Because that would necessarily require either a third party or a third party coalition of some sort that worked with actual conservative Republicans, classical liberals, and libertarians whose foreign policy views are prudent and America-centric.

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