Republicans gathering in New York are doing their best to appear "compassionate" and "mainstream." Rudy, McCain and Arnold will be everywhere this week, while Tom DeLay does his best disappearing act. But even some Republicans aren't buying the GOP's "extreme makeover," to borrow Ed Gillespie's rap on the Democrats repeated ad nauseam in Boston.
In a statement published this morning in the New York Times, 17 leaders and former elected Republican officials called on their party to come back to the mainstream. Their suggestions:
-- Stop weakening environmental law, and once again protect our air, water and public lands as Teddy Roosevelt and other great Republican leaders intended;
-- Restore fiscal responsibility, with "pay-as-you-go" budget discipline to end record deficits that jeopardize economic growth;
-- Put the health of millions first, and clear the way for embryonic stem cell research;
-- Appoint mainstream federal judges, and respect the Constitution;
-- Make America safer, and protect cities and towns, still vulnerable three years after 9/11, by securing chemical and nuclear plants and shipping containers;
-- Rebuild our alliances with real partnerships, and restore America's standing in the world.