"Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice; moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."
I was one of many Republicans who did not vote for Goldwater that year — I felt I was being read out of the party, though this was my first year of eligibility to vote.
Several elections later, the Republicans nominated Ronald Reagan, who was just as conservative, if not more so. But his attitude was much more inclusive: he had named moderate Sen. Richard Schweiker of Pennsylvania as a running mate in an earlier election year, and chose the leader of the moderate faction, George H. W. Bush, as his running mate that year. The difference was dramatic: he won.
Last year, the extremists of the GOP rejected Dede Scozzafava as insufficiently conservative and left her so peeved that she endorsed the Democratic candidate, who won the election in a disctrict that had been Republican since 1870. So Nancy Pelosi got one more soldier in her army. Did this help conservatives or the Republican Party?
I'm glad to see that this year they seem to have learned theie lesson. Last night I was listening to a conservative talk radio program hosted by Mark Levin, who seems to be fervently backing Scott Brown, the candidate who seems to the best hope for breaking the filibuster-proof 60-vote Democratic bloc in the Senate. And Brown is the type of moderate Republican they have often criticized as a "RINO" in the past. Thank you. We need to work together. Conservatives enforcing ideological purity have led to people like Arlen Specter and James Jeffords leaving the party, and you really need to ask again, "Did this help conservatives or the Republican Party?" It really did not.
Let's all work together and support people like Scott Brown, as moderates supported Bob McDonnell, who today takes the oath of office as Virginia governor.