RLC, Anyone?

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Christie Todd Whitman, who spent a couple of unhappy years as head of George W. Bush’s EPA, makes the case for the GOP moving away from what she calls “social fundamentalism” in today’s WaPo. As she points out, she was hooted down by the party faithful when she made the case in a book, It’s My Party Too, four years ago. It will be interesting to see what happens this time around.
Though you’d think, after the defeats of 2006 and 2008, the reception would be friendlier, I’ll believe it when I see it. Together with former Missouri senator John Danforth (another critic of social conservatives), Whitman heads the Republican Leadership Council, an exercise in party moderation modeled on the Democratic Leadership Council, which played a significant role in dragging the Democratic Party into the political center (see Clinton, Bill). The RLC, which doesn’t seem even to have volunteer leaders in most states, has a long way to go if it’s to match its counterpart. Its stands for fiscal conservatism and a strong defense are anodyne; where it departs from party orthodoxy is in its support for environmentalism and call for “Less government interference in individual lives.” One of the founders was former Maryland lieutenant governor Michael Steele, now chairman of GOPAC, the conservative political action committee that was once Newt Gingrich’s party-building fiefdom. Steele has announced his candidacy for chair of the Republican National Committee. If elected, will he remember his old moderate co-conspirators?