Mark Shields: Healthy Political Parties Should Welcome Converts, Moderates

BY Hari Sreenivasan  April 23, 2010 at 7:53 PM EST

Syndicated columnist Mark Shields stopped by the Rundown Friday to talk with us about his latest column and the prospects for major financial reform and immigration reform legislation in Congress.

New York Times columnist David Brooks joined us solo last week.

Shields said that Michigan Democrat Bart Stupak’s decision to retire from Congress is a sign that the party might be excluding moderates, which are crucial to its legislative success. Without Stupak’s abortion amendment to the health care reform bill, Shields said, Democrats would not have been able to secure the moderate Democrats needed to pass it. The amendment drew promises from pro-choice groups that they would help defeat Stupak in the 2010 midterm elections.

“The only reason the Democrats are in the majority, which might be short-lived, is because they have pro-life and pro-gun rights members that got elected from districts that historically elected Republicans,” Shields said. “Now I think there’s a good chance you’ll end up with a Republican who won’t be with you 90 percent of the time, but against you 100 percent of the time.”

Watch the full discussion: