How the Mythical Republican Moderate Disappeared

Bloomberg Businessweek
May. 2, 2012

At various points, Congress has acted to protect endangered bears, bats, wolves, ocelots—and, of course, the infamous salt marsh harvest mouse that conservatives got so upset about and rebranded “the stimulus mouse” after the 2009 stimulus funded a grant to study its habitat. But there’s at least one endangered species Congress can’t seem to protect: the Republican moderate.

Long ago, when Mitt Romney was defending abortion rights and Newt Gingrich was considered a viable presidential candidate, this legendary creature roamed the earth. Some people claim the moderate Republican still exists—possibly hiding out with Sasquatch and Nessie and plotting to pull together a slate for the Americans Elect ticket this fall. But the evidence presented Tuesday morning at a Bipartisan Policy Center panel discussion devoted to the Republican moderate was awfully thin. Only the presence on the panel of Lee Huebner, the preserved-in-amber co-founder of the moderate Ripon Society, confirmed that the species did once exist.