Moderate Power? Moderate Republican Group to Remove ‘Republican’ from Name and Welcome Democrats

They say for every action there’s a reaction. The Tea Party, many contend, was at first a reaction to the big government policies of George W. Bush and the then-new President Barack Obama. Then GOPers came in and largely co-pted the movement, which became a potent force within the party after the 2010 elections.

And now you have this: the moderate Republican group Republican Mainstreet Partnership is going to remove the name “Republican,” in an attempt to welcome more Democrats and underscore the value it puts on the centuries-old, honored political tool of politicians reaching across the aisle to compromise. One of the group’s key tasks: to create a Super-Pac that will help defend center-right members of both parties who are under attack by “the extremes.” Reuters reports:

The Republican Main Street Partnership, a Washington-based group that has promoted moderate GOP lawmakers and policies, will remove the word “Republican” from its title and welcome center-right Democrats in 2013, Yahoo News has learned.

The organization’s board of directors voted Tuesday morning to scrap party identification from its title and be known simply as “The Main Street Partnership.” The group’s new president, former Ohio Republican Rep. Steven LaTourette, told Yahoo News that he plans to begin conversations with Blue Dog Democrats and centrist groups in the coming months.

“The goal is to try and fill the void that is the middle,” LaTourette, who resigned from Congress this year, said. “The American political system is like a doughnut: You’ve got sides, but you don’t have anything in the middle, and it would be my goal to work with Republicans and Democrats who want to find the path forward to getting things done and compromise.”

In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, LaTourette added: “While we have changed our name, we have not changed our values or our mission. We will continue to be a right of center organization and continue to represent the governing wing of the Republican Party.”

The Main Street Partnership will also expand its super PAC, Defending Main Street, to aid center-right members of both parties, LaTourette said, adding, “It’s not going to be focused so much on party as it is on protecting people from the right and left extremes if they choose to do the right things.”

Moderates will most likely welcome this news, particularly if it truly does morph into a group that is out to strength the center-right of a country where the biggest bucks PAC money has gone into bolstering politicos on the right. At the very least, this will make it tougher for ideologues to purge their parties of those who don’t go along with a specific ideological agenda. It may not be enough to totally tilt the scale — but it will even the battle a bit and could in the long run strengthen the country’s center.

Most notable about this group: it proudly takes up the mantle of GOPers who were more moderate and who felt compromise was an important tool in politics: Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and (yes) Ronald Reagan (who Gil Troy classified as a moderate in his book on moderate Presidents, because Reagan compromised with political foes to achieve his political goals and build consensus on his policies).

Here’s LaTourette’s statement as posted on the group’s website:

Washington, D.C.) – “Earlier today, the Board of Directors voted in favor of changing the name we do business under to simply the ‘Main Street Partnership.’

“While we have changed our name, we have not changed our values or our mission. We will continue to be a right of center organization and continue to represent the governing wing of the Republican Party.

“Partisanship has become deeply poisonous to the process in Washington over the last few years. As someone who just left Congress, I understand this more than most.

“We at Main Street understand that to begin to turn back this tide and to begin to restore the American people’s faith in Washington we must celebrate – not attack – those on both sides of the aisle who are willing to work together to find solutions to the serious challengers we face as a country.

“While we remain Republicans, we are committed to reaching out to fair-minded members of the Democratic Party. We understand that bipartisan compromise – by it’s very definition – means working with members of the other party.

“Compromise doesn’t mean surrendering – it means success. Compromise is not an act of political cowardice – indeed it is the exact opposite, it is an act of incredible political courage.

“We need more voices in Washington willing to put the best interests of the American people above petty partisanship. That is what we have done at Main Street over the years and that is what we will continue to do.

“We look forward to working with our centrist Republican members in the months and years ahead and engaging fair-minded independents and Democrats who want to help do what is right for this country.”
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The Main Street Partnership is dedicated to promoting and building a pragmatic, thoughtful, fiscally conservative, and inclusive “Governing Majority,” where political debate is encouraged to promote solutions to improve the lives of all Americans. Embracing the full spectrum of center-right ideologies and values in order to build coalitions, the Main Street Partnership is the largest organization of elected leaders who are in the mold of Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and Ronald Reagan. For more information on the Main Street Partnership, visit our website at www.republicanmainstreet.org.

Here’s a different view on this group from Talking Points Memo.

         

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