Recruiting moderates leaves losers in charge of Republican Party

Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

As Representative John M. McHugh of New York began planning his retirement from the House after being picked to be the new secretary of the Army, a chunk of Republican morale prepared to depart with him.

In picking Republicans like Mr. McHugh for top jobs, the Obama administration says it is assembling a coalition government that welcomes qualified members of the opposition. It gives the White House a claim to bipartisanship despite continuing clashes with Republican Congressional leaders.

But the political benefits are an equally strong incentive. Remaining Republican colleagues become discouraged and feel further isolated in the minority. Political vacancies are created. And Republicans can be painted as being hostile to more moderate Republicans or those willing to engage the Democratic administration.

You just figured that out, eh?

Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission

In embracing select Republicans, the Obama administration — notably Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff — seems to be applying this maxim: Hug them until it hurts

In accepting, Mr. McHugh noted that he was just the latest in a line of people of differing backgrounds and, in his case, “differing political persuasions, who have been provided by President Obama the chance to heed, to answer new, important and challenging problems facing this country.”

Mr. McHugh was a highly regarded and popular House Republican. He held one of the minority party’s plum committee posts, serving on a panel that has a reputation for bipartisanship, one where Republicans can have substantial effect on military policy.

Many more junior Republicans aspire to reach his level and his decision to resign was no doubt interpreted by colleagues as proof that he does not expect Republicans to be back in charge any time soon, since he would be passing up a powerful chairmanship…

At the same time, the fact that Mr. McHugh’s departure would at least temporarily reduce New York’s once substantial Republican delegation in the House to a total of two members was a vivid reminder of the party’s steep decline in the Northeast.

I think this is one of the better political chuckles of the post-election drama. Obama co-opts moderate Republicans – leaving the dunderheads in charge of painting themselves deeper into a corner. The dimwits will run “pure” candidates to replace the departing moderates – Dems can run someone more appropriately centrist or liberal for the same office.


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