Peggy Noonan takes the occassion of Senator Jim Demint's remark, that he "would rather have 30 good and reliable conservative senators than 60 unreliable Republicans," to mock Social Conservative Republicans for having a "shrink to win" political strategy. Noonan is too smart to unintentionally miss Demint's hyperbole, wherein she is behaving like a Liberal, pretending to be outraged in order to win an argument.
But, who started the "shrink to win" talk anyway? Social Conservatives are merely counter-attacking against the Washingtonian -- Peggy Noonan, Kathleen Parker, George Will -- Republicans who called for Social Conservatives to disappear from the GOP, beginning with their snide dismissal of Sarah Palin before the election and continuing into the post-election finger pointing.
The sleight of hand is that the call to purge Social Conservatives from the Party is couched in an accusation that Social Conservatives are trying to purge Moderates from the Party. This simply does not compute. 78% of Conservatives voted for John McCain, the Poster Boy of Moderate Republicanism, which means that most Social Conservatives supported McCain -- hardly a purge of ideological impurity.
The endlessly repeated "ideological purity" riff doesn't pass the Laugh Test. For heaven's sake, Arlen Specter was hardly a loyal Republican, who crossed the aisle from time to time; he regularly vexed the GOP Senate Leadership and dispicably leveraged his vote for personal advantage whenever possible. Is there no point short of voting for GOP-led organization in the Senate at which Republicans should draw the line and say an elected official is disloyal to the Party? After all, Mitch McConnell can win Minority Leader with or without Senator Specter's vote. Moreover, relief at the departure of a canker like Arlen Specter is hardly the Inquisition of Ideological Purity that the pundits claim motivates Conservative Republicans.
Social Conservatives are not arguing that the GOP should win by purging Moderates, rather that the GOP should win by persuading swing voters who ought to identify with the Republican Party by the power of Conservative ideas, not by me-too adoption Liberal ideas to pander to those voters.
When Moderates had their way, Republicans spent decades as the minority Party in the House of Representatives, and most of the same period as minority in the Senate. Ronald Reagan and Newt Gingrich were able to grow the Party to majority status by wooing Social Conservatives, among others, to the Republican Party through the power of Conservative ideas, so wouldn't it be fair to describe GOP Moderates’ insistence that Social Conservatives take a hike as a shrink to win strategy? Peggy Noonan et al should take a look in the mirror.