Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison may not think "moderate" is an epithet, but she sure doesn't want to be called it.
In an appearance on CBS' "Face the Nation" this morning, the Texas Republican was asked if the word "moderate" has become "a dirty word."
The context was a Club for Growth attack ad in Texas criticizing Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who is running for Hutchison's Senate seat, as a "moderate." This got the blood boiling of the old-fashioned host Bob Schieffer, a self-described "hopeless romantic" who regularly editorializes against the fallen state of American politics today. (He actually said "my heavens!" after showing the ad.)
Hutchison threaded a careful line in her response, saying that of course there's nothing wrong with being a moderate, but it's just that she's not one, and neither is Dewhurst. (Shades of George Costanza on being mistaken for gay.)
"People have called me a moderate," she said, defending her honor. "I've always been a conservative."
She added that Gov. Rick Perry, who is supporting Dewhurst, is also conservative, as is the Texas Legislature. So, no one is a moderate, not that there's anything wrong with that.
"I think you can differ on issues, of course, but making moderate seem like you're a liberal when you're really a conservative I think is kind of a misstatement," she said. "I think that moderate is a different type of approach to things. I don't think it's bad. It's just labeling people wrongly is what's bad."