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The Man Who Gave Us Souter


Warren Rudman, R.I.P.

Hopefully the New York State museum will be putting together a display on the moderate New England Republican — it can go right next to the Wooly Mammoth.

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  • howard

    it’s been a remarkable evolution: when i was a mere lad in the ’50s and ’60s, the thrifty yankee republican voter was a stock type, with a lunatic fringe in new hampshire.

    now the lunatic fringe is the republican party in new england, and that formerly thrifty yankee republican voter now votes democratic (or for angus king).

  • John

    There’s still Susan Collins, I suppose. It’s certainly remarkable, though. Lowell Weicker and Jim Jeffords and Lincoln Chafee became independents. Chris Shays and Rob Simmons were unable to win primaries against a woman who is best known for participating in staged cat fights on television. Massachusetts hasn’t elected a Republican to the House since 1994.

    • Scott Lemieux

      And Collins, perhaps by necessity, is no longer a moderate.

      • John

        For whatever it’s worth (not much), she’s still the least conservative Republican in the Senate, no?

  • Sherm

    Sounds like you’re running out of things to see in Albany.

    • Verplanck

      Running out? Once you’ve hit up Mahar’s, you’ve exhausted the city’s possibilities. Even Troy has more to offer at this point.

      • Sherm

        My last couple of visits involved Wolff’s Biergarten.

        • Scott Lemieux

          Eh, German beer is overrated. If you’re downtown, try the City Beer Hall or the Merry Monk.

  • liberal

    As in all such matters, there’s always this question: was he moderate, or “moderate”?

    • liberal

      E.g. in 1984 (to pull a random year), Amer for Dem Action gave him a 30/100. OK, it’s not necessarily scientific, but…

    • Incontinentia Buttocks

      I believe that, like Bob Dole (not a New Englander, obviously), Rudman was considered a conservative for most of his career. By today’s standards he might be a moderate. But he was no Lowell Weicker or John Chafee. To put that ADA score from 1984 in a little perspective, here are the scores of other New England Senate Republicans that year:

      Lowell Weicker (CT) 90
      William Cohen (ME) 80
      John Chafee (RI) 60
      Robert Stafford (VT) 60
      Gordon Humphrey (NH) 15

      Rudman was a lot politically closer to his (clearly conservative) NH colleague than he was to any of the actual New England moderate / liberal Republicans of the day.

      • Scott Lemieux

        Although in 1984, a 60 from a RI Senator is probably pretty comparable to a 30 from NH senator.

        • Incontinentia Buttocks

          Rudman was certainly moderate for NH Senator. But it’s still worth noting that eleven GOP Senators that year scored 50 or higher on the ADA’s ratings.

          Meanwhile, six Senate Democrats scored fifty or lower.

          Two things worth noting about this: 1) the real ideological overlap between the parties and 2) the fact that the GOP was arguably a bit more ideologically diverse than the Democrats (even with the latter party still including some old-fashioned Boll Weavils).

          How things have changed!

  • c u n d gulag

    Anyone who’d allow Gramm to attach his name to his own on a piece of legislation, isn’t worthy of much respect – even when we’re not supposed to speak ill of the deceased. Sorry.

  • Johnny Sack

    Ah, Souter, giving the Rs some good old Stevensing. But then we got Thomas, and then his son gave us Roberts and Alito. Is our children learning?

  • Johnny Sack

    I obviously didn’t mean that Thomas was the father of Alito and Roberts. Although that might make a good Cronenberg movie.

    • karl

      Don’t you mean “grandfather”?

    • Abby Spice

      Delurking to say that that made me laugh out loud.

  • The Dark Avenger

    it can go right next to the Wooly Mammoth.

    As with the shaggy pachyderm from the past, there are revival efforts underway:

    WASHINGTON—Saying the now critically endangered species of politician is at high risk for complete extinction within the next 10 years, Beltway-area conservationists announced plans Monday for a new captive breeding program designed to save moderate Republicans.

    According to members of the Initiative to Protect the Political Middle (IPPM), centrist Republicans, who once freely roamed the nation calling for both economic deregulation and a return to Reagan-era tax rates on the wealthy, are in dire need of protection, having lost large portions of their natural terrain to the highly territorial Evangelical and Tea Party breeds.

    “Our new program is designed to isolate the few remaining specimens of moderate Republicans, mate them in captivity, and then safely release these rare and precious creatures back into the electorate,” said IPPM’s Cynthia Rollins, who traces the decline of the species to changes in the political climate and rampant, predatory fanaticism. “Within our safe, enclosed habitats, these middle-of-the-road Republican Party members can freely support increased funding for public education and even gay rights without being threatened by the far-right subgenus.”

  • Njorl

    The difference between moderate Republicans and woolly mammoths is that the mammoths may return via cloning.

  • laym

    “New York State museum […] Wooly Mammoth”

    Heh. I think that thing has been there since I was in grade school, in the late 70’s.

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