Monday, October 8, 2012

Rockefeller Republicans

So I was listening to KCRW's  very entertaining podcast, "Left, Right, and Center," when somebody said that the recent debate was between two "Rockefeller Republicans.  Okay, Romney had moved to the center.  Obama scarcely moved at all — especially during the debate.

Yes, Romney had moved to the center, probably assuming (correctly) that the Republican base would vote for him over that socialist Muslim no matter what kind of triangulation he might attempt.  Also, I'm still suspecting that somebody slipped some Ritalin into Romney's caffeine free Diet Coke.

Me, I'm old enough to remember Nelson Rockefeller.  I was a Boy Scout when the governor came to visit us at Scout Camp, and a bunch of kids from Manhattan started singing, "H A doubleR I, M A N spells Harriman," which was the name of the Democratic incumbent governor he recently had defeated.  At the time, he didn't seem all that moderate, but it was nearly a decade before Nixon's southern strategy won over southern racists and two decades before Reagan.

Mostly, Rockefeller was a pragmatist — somebody who worked to identify problems and solve them.  If he were part of today's Democratic Party, he wouldn't even be a blue dog — he just wasn't that ideological.  In some ways, he reminds me a lot of Obama.

He always wanted to be president, but the closest he got was his appointment as vice-president by Gerald Ford — the appointee of an appointee.  In those lost, golden days, it would have been impossible for a man so notoriously rich to win the White House.

My, how things have changed.

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