Small pond Republicans

“Would you rather be a big fish in a small pond or a small fish in a big pond.”  This is a question sometimes asked of job seekers who are deciding between a large firm or a small start-up.  Sometimes it is asked of a talented academic researcher who is deciding between a first tier research university (large pond) or a university where there are fewer high quality researchers (small pond).  It is rarely asked of political parties, who are always seeking to enlarge their power.  At least that is what I used to think.

Apparently conservative Republicans prefer to be large fish in a small pond.  The most recent evidence of this is their attitude of “good riddance” towards Arlen Specter, and their apparent desire to see Colin Powell to leave the party.

In today’s Boston Globe, Jeff Jacoby supports Powell leaving the Republican party (after Jacoby mischaracterizes Powell’s views).  More importantly, there seems to be a chorus of those who would like Powell to leave, most notably Rush Limbaugh and Dick Cheney, both of whom are “small pond Republicans.”   Colin Powell is thoughtful, compassionate, honest, pragmatic, and strongly believes in the rule of law.  Perhaps this explains why Limbaugh and Cheney and would like him to leave the Republican Party.

When Powell joined the GOP, he believed it best represented his overall views on politics.  Since then, the Republican party has moved heavily to the right, has become far less tolerant, and is much smaller.  The conservative solution to this is to try to weed out those who want the party to move more to the center.   This is not the way to gain political influence, but perhaps conservatives have bigger fish to fry, or to kick out of their shrinking pond.

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One Response to “Small pond Republicans”

  1. william janis Says:

    Dear Dr. Orlin:

    My son Jonathan who will graduate from Yale on Memorial Day invited your son Ben and three of his other room mates to camp in Virginia for a week. Both before and after their camping adventure, this crew visited my wife and me in McLean, Virginia. We are all chatting this Saturday evening. I hope to meet you at graduation.

    I enjoyed reading your postings. Take care!

    Sincerely,

    Bill Janis

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