What’s plan B?


Conservatives are fighting amongst themselves over the future of the GOP.  Some say it has to go ever further to the right if it wants to recover.  Others say it has to moderate.

That fight has been personified: Dick Cheney vs. Colin Powell.  Cheney said Rush Limbaugh is a better Republican than Powell is, and that he thought Powell had left the GOP a long time ago.  Powell says Cheney must have been misinformed.

Bruce Bartlett is one of the voices for GOP moderation.  He recently wrote:

Powell has a responsibility to help those who share his vision by lending his enormous credibility, popularity and fund-raising ability to their efforts. If he fails to do so he risks being seen by history as someone who walked away when the times demanded that those who share his beliefs stand and fight for what they believe.

Um, it wouldn’t be the first time, Bruce.

As secretary of state, Powell went along with the rush to war in Iraq, and lent that credibility and popularity Bartlett speaks of to policies he believed were harming the country.  He may have opposed torture in internal debates, but he didn’t resign over it.  So far as I know, he never even threatened to resign over it.

Whether that’s because he lacks backbone or because he never grasped the difference between being a soldier and being a statesman — much the way Alberto Gonzales never understood the parallel difference between being the president’s lawyer and being the nation’s lawyer — is beside the point.  If Bartlett is counting on Powell to fight for GOP moderates, he’d better have a good plan B lined up.

h/t Sullivan


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