Rush Limbaugh counts himself flattered and amazed that so much attention comes his way from supposedly Republican reformers like Colin Powell, but also just a little confused. Rush wonders which person supports big-tent Republicanism best — the conservative talk-show host who supported the moderate presidential candidate, or the moderate who wants conservatives like Rush drummed out of the party? (via Matt Lewis)

For someone who supposedly wants to promote tolerance, Powell seems pretty intolerant of dissent. And let’s make one point very, very clear: when the Republicans actually nominated a moderate for their candidate, fellow “moderates” like Powell left the party anyway. If Powell want to support Republican big-tent efforts, they need to stop going running away when a big-tenter runs for office.

If the GOP wants to win governing majorities again, they will have to find ways to make their message relevant to the majority. That will never happen with purity purges, which are ideologically satisfying but a quick path to a generation out of power. Rush knew that, which is why he supported John McCain in the general election, and why he supports Republicans at election time. Powell apparently hasn’t learned that much about politics as yet, which is why he doesn’t support Republicans at election time but feels himself enough of an authority to speak on party unity.

Who should Republicans keep — Powell or Rush? We should find ways to keep both and settle on core principles that unite the disparate conservative cliques, just as Ronald Reagan did. If we have to choose, however, the choice is easy. I’d rather keep the Republican.

Tags: Republicans