Republican darling former President Ronald Reagan popularized a phrase known as the Eleventh Commandment: "Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican."
Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has broken that commandment without remorse in his Los Angeles Times op-ed Monday. In fact, he argues that a party that doesn’t allow dissent, discussion or compromise is a party doomed to fail.
In particular, he laments the pressure to be ideologically far-right to be accepted into the "exclusive club" that is the GOP. "Big ideas don't often come from small tents," he writes.
And a "small tent" Republican party pushes out important moderate voices. As evidence, he points to two California Republicans who left the party to become independents: San Diego mayoral candidate and current state assemblyman Nathan Fletcher and former assemblyman and current Congressional candidate Anthony Adams.
Hinting at why Fletcher and Adams left the GOP, Schwarzenegger writes that in the "current climate, the extreme right wing of the party is targeting anyone who doesn't meet its strict criteria." Commenting on his own centrist politics, "I had taken an oath to serve the people, not my party."
Despite breaking the 11th, the governor makes his point by referencing the Republican of all Republicans: "What would Ronald Reagan have done? He worked hard to maintain a welcoming, open and diverse Republican Party."
Schwarzenegger is not the only GOP loyalist to chastise his fellow Republicans. In the videos below, Republicans David Brooks, Ross Douthat, Sen. Olympia Snowe, Norman Ornstein and now-Democrat Arlen Specter make similar pleas for a more inclusive and cooperative party.
Specter and Sen. Snowe refer to long-standing Republican politicians who have been ousted by the Tea Party right.
Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN), who has been in office since 1976, faces a serious right-wing primary challenge Tuesday. One of his opponent's primary criticism's against Lugar, as seen in the attack ad video below, is that Lugar cooperated with President Barack Obama.
Schwarzenegger, who is currently working on his memoir, dismisses the notion that a "real" conservative is one who doesn't work with the enemy. Again, he turns to Reagan, pointing out that the Republican president "believed in solutions and compromise" and "worked very well with Democrats to do big things."
Click through to hear similar criticisms of Republican by Republicans:
When she announced that she would not seek reelection, Sen. Olympia Snowe said candidly: "Being a Republican moderate sometimes feels like being a cast member of 'Survivor.' You are presented with multiple challenges, and you often get the distinct feeling that you're no longer welcome in the tribe." In the MSNBC interview above, she went on to say that moving towards the ideological right has meant eroding the party's strength and losing good people. Moderates are being targeted and driven out of the party, and those seats are difficult to replace, she said. Credit: YouTube/bloggingformichigan
Conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks called upon the Republican party to work with Democrats. "We've substituted governance for brokerism. For rigidity that Ronald Reagan didn't have," he said. "This rigidity comes from this polarized world view that they're a bunch of socialists over there... They're not idiots, and they're not Europeans, and they don't want to be a European welfare state.... It's American liberalism and it's not inflexible." "It's a time for flexibility and time for some sort of compromise," he added. Credit: Youtube/ThinkProgress2
Then Sen. Arlen Specter criticized Republicans for being exclusive and stubborn. "Without... compromise, there would likely have been no Constitution, no Senate and no United States Senate as we know it today. Politics is no longer the art of the possible when senators are intransigent in their positions... President Reagan's big tent has regularly been abandoned by the Republican Party." He went on, famously, to say, "Eating or defeating your own is a form of sophisticated cannibalism." Specter was widely criticized for switching from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party in 2009.
Conservative New York Times columnist Ross Douthat warned his fellow Republicans of the outcome of their behavior. "You cannot, as a policymaker,... expect to achieve a kind of durable settlement in which you never have to cut deals with the opposition party," he said. "And if you take that attitude, you risk ending up with situations where the opposition party takes power, and you get much worse deals than you otherwise would have achieved." And he appeals for depoliticizing policy making. "The goal of conservative public policy is not merely designing pledges that stand the best chance of helping Republicans win the next election," he said. "It is actually achieving the best interest of the American taxpayer." Credit: YouTube/AEIVideos
Thomas Mann, of the left-leaning Brookings Institution, and Norman Ornstein, of the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute, discuss their new book, "It's Even Worse Than It Looks." "One of the two major parties, the Republican Party, has become an insurgent outlier -- ideologically extreme; contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime; scornful of compromise; unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition," they write in the book.
A campaign ad by Richard Mourdock for Senate, criticizing incumbent opponent Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN) for working with President Obama on various legislation. Credit: YouTube/MourdockforSenate