In the 1987 film "Moonstruck," Rose Castorini, played by Olympia Dukakis, walks home accompanied by a man she met in a restaurant. When he asks her if he can come in, she declines. When he asks why, she responds, "Because I'm married and because I know who I am."
On a political level, that seems to be the problem these days with the Republican Party. Many Republicans have forgotten who they are and what they are supposed to stand for. This is why there was such a strong reaction to Rush Limbaugh's speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington recently. Limbaugh tried to remind Republicans what they once believed in and of the ideas that won them elections. Instead, too many Republicans have tried to cozy up to the liberal elite, hoping they will praise them for being "reasonable" and "moderate."
This strategy has never won Republicans elections, though it may have made some of them feel better about losing.
Michael Steele, the new Republican National Committee chairman, was caught in this Venus flytrap when he seemed to agree with a CNN interviewer that Limbaugh's radio program is "incendiary" and "ugly." In truth, it is educational and inspirational to conservatives and anyone else interested in substance, rather than emotion. Those who call Limbaugh an "entertainer" mischaracterize him. He is a passionate advocate for ideas in which he believes, ideas that brought prosperity to the Republican Party when it also embraced them.
I asked Michael Steele about the brouhaha he didn't start, but to which he contributed. In an interview last Thursday in his RNC office, during which he proudly pointed to a picture of himself with Limbaugh (appropriately off to his right), I asked Steele if he planned to heed the few calls for his resignation.
"No!" he shouted, before I could even complete the question. "And shame on (those) who should have the cojones to at least come and talk to me."
Steele said he called Limbaugh to apologize for his remarks. He said Limbaugh was "very gracious." He agrees with Limbaugh that some Republicans appear embarrassed by their party's positions on certain (notably social) issues. Does Steele think too many try to curry favor with some on the left, especially the big media?
"I do think it's a problem generally," he replied. "I don't think we should worry so much about them and that's why I don't feed them. If I sat and worried about what The Washington Post was going to write about me tomorrow, I would stay in my room."
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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