â€œThere are tens of millions of pro-choice Republicans that are just as good Republicans as I am, and we need to support them. Thatâ€™s what party building is about, and donâ€™t think that is giving up your principles.â€
– Haley Barbour testing the waters for 2012
No doubt this is encouraging, but are base Republicans really ready to listen to this? Especially the highly religious, pro life base. To them abortion is akin to genocide and since it took the GOP decades to wedge those voters to the polls year after year, there’s little likelihood they’ll be able to back away from that play and convince them to focus on other issues.
Here’s more from Barbour…
Party building is about addition and multiplication, not subtraction and division, Barbour said at a party fundraiser in Des Moines. The GOP must be inclusive, he argued, and that idea extends to even the most divisive political issues. To make his point, Barbour pointed out that he helped pass several anti-abortion bills as governor, eventually garnering his state the reputation as â€œthe safest place in the nation for an unborn child.â€ But he said there are good Republicans who donâ€™t agree with him on the issue. […]
But if Iowaâ€™s GOP wants to have any chance of defeating an incumbent, it must stick together. The party should also strive to be inclusive, Barbour said, adding that the need to build coalitions and to attract voters means it is not the time to focus on â€œpurity.â€
â€œThere are a lot more things that unite us than do divide us,â€ Barbour said. â€œOr as President Reagan used to say, remember that a fellow that agrees with you 80 percent of the time is your friend. Heâ€™s not some 20-percent traitor.â€
Well put. But does anybody really think they’ll be able to turn it around by 2012?