Is the “far right” a losing proposition?

Michael Smerconish – who gets mis-identified as a conservative due to his shaved head and glasses – calls for the GOP to act more “moderate” in order to win more elections. His hypothesis is dubious at best – given that the GOP Congressmen he identifies who lost their seats practiced this “moderation”, and the GOP loss of the state house, which he also mentions, occurred because of the tax raising, pay hiking, spendthrift leadership of “moderate” Philadelphia Republican John Perzel.

But even if his advice were sound, so what? Unless I am a Republican campaign consultant, or receive government contracts, but only when the GOP is in power, why would I want Republicans to win, if they will enact the same policies as Democrats? Smerconish may, or may not, be offering a Machiavellian prescription for gaining power, but shouldn’t their be some principles behind a candidate? He might accept that adopting all of the Commonwealth Foundation’s policy recommendations would make the state better – but that doesn’t matter, only winning elections does. Am I so far off the reservation that I think good public policy should at least merit discussion in his column?

Lowman Henry has more on Smerconish “drinking the Kool-Aid”.

In comparison, John Fund has a great column contrasting Alaska Senator Ted Stevens (recently indicted for taking bribes in exhange for earmarks) and Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn on the battle over earmarks:

The data favored Mr. Coburn: 2006 exit polls revealed that corruption in government was second only to the Iraq war as the driving force behind the Democratic takeover. A major part of that corruption was earmarks — pork projects members often secure in secret. Earmarks were at the heart of the scandals that sent Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff and former Calif. Rep. Duke Cunningham to jail. …

Mr. Coburn notes that many members feel compelled to vote for bloated spending bills, fearing their local projects will be stripped out. But he says that with each new scandal, the political value of earmarks goes down: “If only one-tenth of one percent of the 15,000 earmarks we have involve corruption, that’s 15 headlines a year Congress can’t afford.”