Lately, we’ve noted a few worrying slides to the right amongst our conservative brethren — the truly baffling ascendance of Doug Hoffman, a tea partying politician whose greatest accomplishment is letting Glenn Beck talk at him; the party’s increasing captivity to far right interests; etc. But to the GOP’s credit, Dick Cheney, of late Vice President, has aligned himself and his operation with Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson, the candidate in Texas’ Republican gubernatorial primary who’s more moderate, capable, and less likely to secede from the Union. The endorsement also puts him at odds with ex-Governor Sarah Palin.
All of these are good things. There’s a lot to disagree with Sen. Hutchinson on, but she’s an intelligent, informed stateswoman, and if opposition we must have, we should be glad to have someone closer to her than Rick Perry. Like it or not America needs a conservative party — one-party government doesn’t work over the long term, in either direction. But we as Democrats, and the American people as a whole, deserve a conservative party willing to debate issues, rather than one bent on whipping up conspiracy theories or distorting points of reasonable disagreement beyond recognition. Cheney’s move, and Hutchinson’s candidacy, are both steps in that direction, and shouldn’t pass without recognition.