Sunday, November 20, 2005

Social conservatives to divorce moderate Republicans

Steve Kraske, whose columns in the Star are often must-reads, interviews former Mission Hills mayor Betty Lu Duncan and Mark Gietzen, who took GOP chair Shallenburger to the mat for his inclusiveness.

Steep sides line gorge of Kansas GOP rift:
“I’d like to be a Republican, but the extreme right won’t let me,” [Duncan] says.

Gietzen, 51, and Duncan, 72, embody the challenge facing the state GOP chairman, Tim Shallenburger, who said this week that the party must quit its internal squabbling to begin pulling together for the 2006 elections.

If it doesn’t, Shallenburger said, he’ll resign.

But Gietzen and Duncan hardly appear eager to form a united front against the Democrats. Duncan says there’s no way to repair the rift unless social issues can somehow magically be tossed out of politics.
Perhaps the Kansas GOP's troubles are God's punishment for their sinful ways. Sort of like when God abandoned Dover, PA, and then al Qaeda wiped San Francisco off the map.
Why is Tim Shallenburger off-base in his attempts to pull the party together?

It’s just not going to work. It’s beyond ridiculous. The problem here is that these lessons were learned a long time ago, and now we have to learn them again.

Sandy Praeger, a moderate who favors abortion rights, is a Republican running for re-election as insurance commissioner. Can you back her?

Not in a primary, but I certainly would vote for her in a general election if she’s the nominee. I think she’s an honorable person. I respect her. I like her. I would like to sit down with Sandy for about 10 lunches and explain to her why she has the wrong position.

She should either change her position or join a party that acknowledges her position.
Irreconcilable differences. Tut, tut.

Ms. Duncan, anything to add?

Why not join the Democrats?

Because on the national level, I am not philosophically in the same camp with them. It’s basically a local concern.

How has it felt to you emotionally to watch the Republican Party drift away from you?

It’s a huge disappointment. I’m going to sit back and watch the pendulum swing the other way. As soon as the extremists manage to drive enough people away that they can no longer win, then the pendulum will swing back. It always does, although maybe not in my lifetime.

It’s really sad that Paul Morrison has to change parties in order to win.
I suspect that Ms. Duncan and many other Kansans who think they are Republicans will find that, as they vote party line Democratic, the national party starts looking pretty reasonable, too.

And in the mean time, they can keep forming rebel factions.

A week after an acrimonious exchange involving the state Republican Party chairman, and moments after a plea for party unity, Friday's Wichita Pachyderm Club meeting dissolved amid infighting over the formation of a new club and the resignation of the existing club's secretary.

"The formation of the new club was never intended to be a split in the party or this club, but there are some, not involved with the new club, who want it to end up that way."

Club president Dan Stockemer tried to calm the situation.

The formation of a second club "is not about division, it's about unity," he said. "This is not a moderate/conservative split. If somebody said that, it's wrong."
Division is unity, war is peace, obedience is freedom. Welcome to the GOP of 1984.