The Safety Dance
05-26-2009
Over the long Memorial Day weekend, I continued to watch the fallout from last Thursday’s dueling national security speeches by President Obama and former Vice President Dick Cheney. Of particular interest to me was hearing both former Pennsylvania Governor and Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell publicly identify themselves as proud Republicans who disagree with Cheney’s assessment that President Obama’s national security policies have made the country less safe.
 
As you would expect, Ridge and especially Powell have received some scorching criticism for their positions from the right wing of the party. What I find most fascinating (and a bit ironic) is that among their critics, Ridge and Powell’s status as moderates clearly trumps their standing as decorated veterans with significant national security experience. As a result, their assessments of Obama’s actions have been largely discounted by conservatives. This doesn’t strike me as particularly smart public relations given the broad appeal these two men could have in rebuilding the party. But it is a sure sign that the internal ideological fissures within the Republican Party are still a long way from closing.


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