Why This Politician Is a National 'Test Case'

Moderates and pragmatic vets might become political outcasts: David Brooks
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 30, 2012 12:30 PM CDT

(Newser) – Nathan Fletcher is a California legislator and decorated Marine who is running for mayor in San Diego, but it's his move this week to leave the GOP that has caught the attention of David Brooks in the New York Times. Fletcher is a moderate, and the pragmatism he learned in the military meant he had no trouble working with Democrats in the state legislature. His problem is that the city's GOP has "moved sharply right," and the establishment endorsed a more conservative candidate, writes Brooks. That prompted Fletcher's move to become an independent.

“I believe it’s more important to solve a problem than to preserve that problem to use on a campaign," he said in his announcement video. "I don’t believe we have to treat people we disagree with as an enemy." Brooks sees this not as a local story but as a "nationally important test case." He worries about the fate of "center-right moderates" in the GOP as a whole and also wonders whether our returning vets, "who were trained to be ruthlessly pragmatic," can be comfortable in either party. "As the two parties become more insular, is it possible to mount an independent alternative?" Click for the full column.

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