The Tea Party may be pushing the Republican agenda these days, but the party’s moderates are pushing back.
An old professor of mine used to say that, “Decisions are made by those who show up.” If this is the case, then perhaps it’s time to start focusing on people like Colin Powell and Mike Bloomberg and start ignoring folks like Christine O’Donnell.
While O’Donnell bailed on plans to speak on the Sunday morning talk shows last weekend, "Meet the Press" hosted former Secretary of State, General Colin Powell. Powell, who remains one of the Republicans' lone voices of reason, made it a point to counter the noise surrounding Tea Partiers and their beliefs. The former General, who has served under four different presidents in various roles, echoed the sentiments of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg who, in a New York Times article, compared the Tea Party to Ross Perot’s failed third party run for president in 1992.
“If the Republican Party is going to come out in the way that Mike Bloomberg and some others are saying it should come out, then they have to take a hard look at some of the positions they are taking,” Powell told Meet the Press moderator David Gregory.
Bloomberg, for his part, has been making news lately for his bi-partisan approach to political endorsements. In California, Bloomberg supports Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman. In Pennsylvania, it’s Democrat Joe Sestak that gets the Bloomberg endorsement for the United States Senate. Bloomberg’s website shows that the billionaire mayor continues to support a range of candidates and issues that transcend traditional political boundaries.
As so-called moderates like Lisa Murkowski continue to find themselves on the sidelines of the Republican team, there is a growing contingent of reasonable right-wingers who may be able to join forces with disenfranchised left-wingers. This membership of the moderates would likely leave behind divisive social issues like gay marriage, abortion and Muslim-hating, but may leave opened the possibility of tackling concrete problems like job creation, deficit reduction and of course energy policy.
Already, Bloomberg has spearheaded a solutions-based energy policy in New York City. The latest news is that Bloomberg will lead the C-40 Climate Leadership Group, which is a collection of leaders from the world’s 40 largest cities devoted to fighting climate change. So, with Democrats being perpetually impotent in their ability to govern, and Republicans likely to assume power with such an extreme agenda that they will fail to galvanize the mainstream, the middle may be where things get done.
Powell and Bloomberg continue to navigate from this reasonable, solutions-based position. And if enough people fall off of the Democratic and Republican Party trains and decide to join the voices that not only show up, but also make sense, then perhaps America will return to solving problems instead of avoiding them.