“The National Council for a New America launched with an open letter that’s notable for what it leaves out: The issues that a large segment of the party’s base are most passionate about. The letter, signed by 14 congressional Republican leaders, makes no mention of same-sex marriage, immigration — legal or otherwise — or abortion…

The council marks a new phase in the Republican Party’s effort to remake itself: A formal acknowledgement by top congressional and national leaders that the GOP needs to change its pitch and its ideas.”

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“Arlen Specter made his decision to leave the party after years of being attacked by fellow Republicans. I can understand how he felt, but I believe that now, more than ever, it is important for us moderates to stay and work from within. One thing we can be sure of is that we will have no impact on the party’s direction if we leave.

Moderate Republicans should use Senator Specter’s switch as the impetus to force a re-evaluation of where our party is going — a review that can happen only from the inside. Besides, third parties in the United States don’t have a particularly successful history.”

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“Another way to put the question is: Can the party, having accurately ascertained its position, and recognizing shifting terrain, institute a renewed and highly practical tolerance for the many flavors of Republican? Can it live happily and productively with all its natural if sometimes warring constituent groups?

It must…

But also, the people inside can’t always be kicking people out of the tent. A great party cannot live by constantly subtracting, by removing or shunning those who are not faithful to every aspect of its beliefs, or who don’t accept every pole, or who are just barely fitting under the tent. Room should be made for them.”