Extremist politics of GOP off-putting

By Laura Keslar
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, October 12, 2004

The College Republicans finally got their voice. They finally got a conservative speaker to battle the forces of liberal darkness for them at the UA.

They got Ann Coulter.

The College Republicans booked Coulter, the reigning Queen of Shrill and Barbie-Doll Rejects, to help spread the conservative goodness all around. Did I just say conservative? Oh, wait, who am I kidding? I surely meant Republican.

Although UACR was trying to balance the political discussion on campus with a conservative voice as prominent as Michael Moore's, they have instead opted for a mainstream Republican voice that habitually excludes all other voices by labeling them as traitors or "girly boys," as she called the editors of the National Review after they fired her.

Instead of a balance to Moore, what the College Republicans wanted was someone who fit their idea of what a conservative was, and the best that they could come up with was Coulter.

University of Arizona students might conclude that Coulter and Moore are different sides of the same page. Both use the same general tactics of vitriol and the occasional manipulation of the facts to fit their agenda and influence their audience's opinions. (God forbid, I hope Coulter does not resort to Moore's tactic of offering her underwear as motivation for her audience members to vote.)

The only differences between the two are their politics and the extent to which their politics permeate their respective supporting parties. At least Moore does not define the Democratic Party.

In fact, he is not even a Democrat; he is a Green.

However, Coulter and her ilk have come to be the very representatives of the new GOP. For instance, National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice, a star in the Republican Party, applauded Coulter's outrageous statement that college students need to be intimidated because "otherwise, they will turn out to be outright traitors."

And these are the people the UACR chose to represent a conservative viewpoint? Ouch. Moore must be some awful liberal to warrant this kind of extreme conservatism.

This exclusion of most other conservative opinions is not just afflicting our campus Republicans; it is ailing the entire Republican Party. Quite unlike the current Democratic Party, the GOP has gone from being a party under whose banner conservatives of every ideology can gather to a party of mainly neo-conservatives. It has become the party of the Karl Roves and Paul Wolfowitzes.

Consider this: The Democratic Party is the party where people as diverse as Dennis Kucinich and Joe Lieberman can come together and find their ideas accepted by a multitude of the party members. But tell me, when was the last time the Republican Party endorsed a paleo-conservative for president? And, no, Pat Buchanan is not an acceptable answer, because he is not a Republican.

Sure, the Republican Party has former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Governor Arnold Schwarzeneggar, and Senator John McCain, but they are everything the Republican Party is not. Giuliani goes against the Republican grain when he says that he is pro-choice and pro-gay rights and both McCain and Schwarzeneggar have been labeled as RINO's (Republicans in Name Only) because of their positions on economic and social issues.

These men might have been spokesmen for the Republican Party at the convention a few weeks ago, but they were used to appeal to the centrist-conservatives and undecided voters, because their politics don't define the Party's, thus causing them to appeal to those voters who might otherwise be turned off by the GOP's platform.

While the RNC's attempt to appeal to moderate conservatives was touching, it should not be taken as anything more than an attempt to win over swing voters. It does not represent a change in the dominant forces of the Republican Party.

Rather, conservatives are feeling the squeeze by the GOP as they and their opinions grow more unwanted by the party leaders. With this squeeze, we shall be seeing an exodus of everyone from moderates to wacky libertarians.

Therefore, in order to remain a potent force in the next decade, the Republican Party, including the UACR, needs to reassess its exclusionary principals; in particular, the College Republicans would have been better off choosing someone less abrasive and less exclusionary than Ann Coulter.

Laura Keslar is a pre-pharmacy junior. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.