Mark Kirk: Politics has done to the word “moderate” what it has to the word “gay”

A few years ago I wrote an answer to the question “What is a ‘moderate’ Republican?” – but in light of the Mark Kirk U.S. Senate candidacy it’s time for an update.

Mark Kirk votes with his U.S. House Republican colleagues on a lot of issues. So do a lot of U.S. House Democrats. Kirk will always be able to cite plenty of “good” votes. What he won’t be able to cover-up, however, are all of his bad votes, bad positions, and his record of failure.

We’ve begun to put together quite a substantial list of his negatives on our “Kick Mark Kirk to the Curb” page. Despite what the liberal Illinois and national press would have you believe, the word “moderate” doesn’t mean what it used to mean.

The definition and use of words often change and evolve. The word “gay” once primarily referred to a person who was gleeful, jovial, glad, joyous, happy and cheerful. Today the word is used to denote men who are very prone to depression, as you can read here: “Homosexuality and Mental Health Problems.”

That’s quite a change. And in political terminology, the word “moderate” no longer means “middle of the road.”

There is nothing “moderate” about Mark Kirk’s vote on “cap and trade,” his support of “hate crimes legislation,” his support of the radical pro-abortion and pro-homosexual agendas, and his support of gun control. Those positions are all far left wing, not moderate nor middle of the road.

And you can’t even call Kirk “moderately” successful. He has shown absolutely no leadership here in Illinois. The Republican Party in his home state is in shambles. His caucus in Washington, D.C., has lost dozens of seats since he took office. Is that all his fault? Of course not – but you can’t call him a successful leader when he stood closely alongside and supported the policies of fellow Illinoisan Speaker Dennis Hastert.

I subscribe to the Weekly Standard and often link to and recommend articles on their website. But one from their most recent issue by Peter Berkowitz is not one you should bother reading. It’s titled “Moderate Is No Vice,” and the subtitle is “And extremism is no virtue in politics.”

The problem with the piece is that it’s over-written and one of its major premises is wrong. There is no way you can describe the current government we have today as anything but extreme. Preserving it in a slightly slower-growing version is not moderate.

Our federal government is doing far more than our founding fathers intended – or are permitted to do by the U.S. Constitution. It is spending the next couple of generations into economic-stagnation-inducing debt.

I agree that words are important and concepts need to be fleshed out. But any article that lectures conservatives about the need for “moderation” is laughable. We cannot grow our way out of this debt. We will not grow at all when government is as large as it currently is.

Mr. Berkowitz is worried about “tone.” Genuine conservatives are concerned about waking up their fellow citizens to the enormous political task at hand. The size of government must be slashed, and economic personal responsibility must be resuscitated. And that will require using the kind of language that can muster into existence an enormous political troop surge.

The extremism we’re suffering through right now was made possible because of the failures of Republicans like Mark Kirk. Kirk has had plenty of time to prove he’s committed to GOP Platform principles and demonstrate leadership abilities. He has accomplished neither. Being a moderate is a vice.

The public is waking up to the negative transformation that is taking place in our country because of the Obama Administration’s actions. There is nothing moderate about it, and the public won’t respond to anything but a strong tone and a clear articulation of what is needed in order for this nation to return to its founding principles.

©2009 John Biver