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Observations from Charleston: God Help South Carolina

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Title: {Observations from Charleston: God Help South Carolina}

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Category: {OpEd}  (you may use OpEds or General News or Life Arts Science between the brackets.)

Description: {William F. Buckley called for the GOP to purge itself of extremists to elect a Republican president.

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman's announcement in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Monday that he would end his campaign for the GOP presidential nomination is further evidence that the kooks in the party are purging themselves of the moderates. This may help them re-elect a Democratic president, Barack Obama }

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Fifty years ago, William F. Buckley argued that the Republican Party needed to purge itself of extremists like Robert Welch, founder of the ultra-conservative John Birch Society, who jeopardized the future not only of political conservatism but of American democracy. 

The GOP establishment heeded Buckley's call--and the political right was transformed into a force that elected Ronald Reagan president in 1980. It is doubtful that Buckley, who died in 2008, would be pleased with the state of the Republican Party.

"I've spent my life separating the Right from the kooks," he often said.  

 Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman's announcement in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Monday that he would end his campaign for the GOP presidential nomination is further evidence that the kooks in the party are purging themselves of the moderates.

Huntsman knew he had no chance of winning the South Carolina primary on Saturday (Jan. 21) and little to no chance of winning any other primary because, unlike former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, he refused to ingratiate himself to the GOP's extremists.  

Unlike the other GOP presidential candidate, Huntsman supported the deal that averted a default on U.S. debt payments. He is the only candidate who supports same-sex civil unions and the only one who supports scientific evidence that human beings contribute to global warming. Huntsman opposes deporting illegal immigrants and using waterboarding on enemy combatants.

Such positions made him unacceptable by today's GOP.

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Today's GOP presidential candidates believe that torture is necessary to stop terrorism and less regulation is necessary to fix the problems on Wall Street. Who cares if the photographs of U.S. soldiers torturing Iraqi prisoners of war were used as recruiting posters by al Qaeda? Or that our economic collapse was a direct consequence of too little regulation.

Huntsman joined Romney, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry Saturday, January 14, at the Sottile Theater in downtown Charleston for a forum for undecided voters. U.S. Rep. Ron Paul did not attend the event.

The crowd of 700 included a woman from nearby Summerville, who said she was torn between voting for Romney and Perry. After hearing Perry, the women, who had moved from Texas, said she would vote for Perry.

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Chris Lamb is a professor of Communication at the College of Charleston, in Charleston, SC, he teaches courses in journalism and media studies. He has written hundreds of newspaper columns that have appeared in the Washington Post, Los Angeles (more...)
 

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