The Politics of Purity

When we last checked in with Kevin Bliss at What Should Be, he argued for "a viable [centrist] third party or at least a third force, of independents." Today, he explains his falling out with the Republican Party, or more specifically, with what he calls "the purists" in the party:
Although I may not change my party registration, I am functionally an Independent these days, for the party has left me and the things it once stood for. It has become something else with which I rarely identify. At this juncture I am also tired of doing battle with the purists. I am of the mind that the only way the purists are going to learn their lesson is the hard way in a succession of devastating losses. Either that, or, the purist Republican Party needs to be isolated with the formation of a new political party in the center.
Ironically, the "purists" themselves are equally dissatisfied, if for different reasons. They argue that the Republican Party left them behind. John Hawkins maintains that the Republican Party is now 'psychologically out of whack' precisely because of its embrace of moderate, centrist policies. Faultline USA makes a similar case:
how on earth is the republican party too conservative? Are they too adherent to the Constitution? Nope! Have they been fiscally responsible? Nope! Oh yeah, some of them actually gave a hoot about keeping us safe. Don't worry, though, Barack Obama and his party will be sure to undo any strides they made in that arena. Were they against expanding the federal government? Hell no! They just expanded it less than democrats.
Paradoxically, the Republican Party became both too conservative and too moderate to maintain its national coalition. If it is true that most people who consider themselves conservatives "vote with a lesser of two evils mentality," as one commentator recently put it, then it would seem that many Republicans have begun to realize that in the duopoly there is no lesser of two evils, but rather, that we are dealing with a case of twin evils.

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