Numbers dwindling, moderates band together
“It’s something we plan to do from time to time,” Dent said at an event hosted by the Republican Main Street Partnership, another group that represents GOP moderates.
Meetings across the aisle worked in the past to help build consensus, Dent said.
“That’s something else that we’re doing to try to help build a critical mass of people who want to try to get some things done together,” he said.
Dent pointed at a vote on an amendment on the House floor this week that would encourage the White House to adopt the deficit reduction ideas of the Simpson-Bowles commission if the White House’s forthcoming budget did not get the country’s deficit under control within 10 years as an example of bipartisan, centrist cooperation.
The ranks of both GOP moderates and congressional Blue Dogs have thinned in recent years. After the 2012 elections, the number of Blue Dogs fell from 27 to just 14. The group had more than 50 members after the 2008 election.
On the other side of the aisle, Republicans have lost a number of high-profile moderates including Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.) and Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine). Dent, Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.) and former Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-Ohio) all bemoaned the relations between both parties, pointing at party primaries and non-competitive districts as the chief reason for increased gridlock and polarization.
“It’s an indictment of gerrymandering,” said Hanna, “You have parties moving towards their extremes, not towards the center.”
LaTourette blasted the primary process — from the presidential level on down — and redistricting for some of the tone
“You have you to continue feed red meat or hew to the base if you want to even make it to the November ballot,” LaTourette said. “The best example that I have of that is when Mitt Romney had to go through those [primary] debates with people who weren’t fit to be president of the United States in some instances. When you box your spokespeople in positions like that, that’s nuts.”READ MORE