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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

When Republican Moderates Walked the Earth

As the chattering classes meditate over the defection of Sen. Arlen Spector (R, now D-PA), it seems as good a time as any to dust off an article I wrote for Blueprint magazine in 2001, when Jim Jeffords switched parties, that looked back to the astonishingly robust condition of moderate Republicanism, especially in the U.S. Senate, in the mid-1970s. This may be of interest to younger readers who may be under the impression that this now-virtually-extinct political species was wiped out the day Barry Goldwater won the GOP nomination in 1964.
If you do read this piece, please don’t be offended by my suggestion that John McCain had come to represent the “centrist” impulse in the GOP. That was actually true back then, before McCain subsequently rediscovered his “Reagan Republican” roots and repudiated much of what he was saying and doing from 1999-2003.

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