Renee Ellmers making overtures to GOP’s left wing?


A TV ad during the May primary promoted congresswoman Renee Ellmers as “North Carolina’s most conservative member of Congress.” It also plugged her as a fighter for “traditional marriage” and the free market.

That ad helped her get renominated in a new, more conservative district, and likely reelected for two more years in Washington.

After the primary we hear about her 59 (out of a potential 100) percent conservative ranking by The Club For Growth — making her one of the least conservative Republicans in the state’s delegation.  She beat out only Walter Jones. 

Now, she and her office are promoting a column she wrote for The Ripon Society’s in-house publication.

What’s The Ripon Society?  Here’s what their web site says:

 […]  The first public statement of the Ripon Society was written in the weeks following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It was distributed to Republican leaders on January 6, 1964, as a new session of Congress convened and as the 1964 Presidential campaign officially began. In their own words, the founding members of The Ripon Society declared:

        “While we yet sorrow, so must we seize this moment before our thoughts slip away to be lost in the noise of ‘life as usual.’ It is in this context that we have chosen to speak. We speak as a group of young Republicans to that generation which must bear the responsibility for guiding our party and our country over the coming decades. We speak for a point of view in the Republican Party that has too long been silent.

“We believe that the future of our party lies not in extremism, but in moderation. The moderate course offers the Republican Party the best chance to build a durable majority position in American politics. This is the direction the party must take if it is to win the confidence of the “new Americans” who are not at home in the politics of another generation: the new middle classes of the suburbs of the North and West – who have left the Democratic cities but have not yet found a home in the Republican party; the young college graduates and professional men and women of our great university centers – more concerned with “opportunity” than “security”, the moderate of the new South – who represent the hope for peaceful racial adjustment and who are insulted by a racist appeal more fitting another generation. These and others like them hold the key to the future of our politics.

        “We believe that the Republican Party should accept the challenge to fight for the middle ground of American politics. The party that will not acknowledge this political fact of life and courageously enter the contest for power does not merit and cannot possibly win the majority support of the American people.” — The Ripon Papers – 1968  […]

In other words, think of snobs like Cheers’ Frasier Crane or former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld.  They think those people with the Southern accents who go to church every Sunday are KILLING the GOP.  

The site for the “Republicans For Choice” political action committee identifies The Ripon Society as “a pro-choice favorable Republican organization.”    Timothy Noah, writing in The New York Times Sunday Book Review, describes Ripon as “an influential liberal group.”  The Seattle Times describes Ripon as “the liberal GOP wing.” The Chicago Tribune describes Ripon as “a liberal GOP group.”

So, it’s not just ME

The Ripon Society was critical of the 1964 Goldwater campaign, and both of Reagan’s terms and campaigns. Not exactly a bunch of flaming right-wingers.

It’s her right to be a left-of-center  — ahem, moderate — Republican if she wants to.  Renee just needs to tell us the truth — campaign as what she really is.