While I was off introspecting this summer, something stunning was happening in American politics.  Conservative Republicans were being rejected by Republican voters in primaries and caucuses across the country:  Bob Bennett (UT), Lisa Murkowski (AK), and Mike Castle (DE).  Charlie Crist would surely have lost the Republican primary had he not opted to run as an independent first.  These conservative Republicans were beat because they were not conservative enough.  They were too “moderate” for the Republican rank and file.

The extent of this lunacy is well-described by Dana Milbank in an October 6 Op-Ed in the Washington Post entitled Who’s a real conservative?  It’s all relative. I consider this a must-read.

It helps explain why I am not longer a real Republican.  If there is no place in the party for folks who are with you two-thirds of the time, there is no place in the party for a relative centrist such as myself.  And it speaks to a very dangerous America in the years ahead when our two parties are so ideologically distant.  Nothing that this country so urgently needs to do will be done, as Thomas Friedman so eloquently pointed out in his October 2 New York Times Op-Ed, discussed and linked in one of my blog postings yesterday.

What I am pleased about is that Senator Murkowski and Governor Crist have opted to run as independents.  Fantastic.  My hope would be that they would choose not to align with either party and start building a third party base in their home states.  I think there would be enormous freedom in not having to pander to either party’s ideological base.  The country would undoubtedly benefit as we’d likely see more common sense and rationality emanating from at least two U.S. Senators.  I regret that Mike Castle declined to also run as an independent.  He would have been a great U.S. Senator, especially if freed from the need to pander to his party’s right wing.