The Moose concludes that the G.O.P has no room for the vital center.
If there wasn't a war, the Republican Party would be in shambles. Of course there is a war, so the elephant seems to be in its ascendancy. The current Republican triumphalism obscures problems within the party. But the latest brawl over Arlen Specter illuminates the tensions within the G.O.P. between social moderates and conservatives. Poor old Snarlin' Arlen could renounce both the Warren Commission and the "single bullet" theory and the righties would not be appeased.
As the Moose has previously written, the social conservatives are emboldened by their victory. And they should be. The increase in the percentage of conservative voters was Bush's salvation.
They literally believe the hand of God delivered this victory. Note these words by Paul Weyrich,
So God is indeed a Republican. He must be. His hand helped re-elect a President, with a popular mandate, whose job approval ratings were the lowest since ratings began of any President who has been re-elected. His hand helped re-elect a President in a country where "wrong track" was way ahead of "right track". His hand helped re-elect a President in a country where, in the rust belt and the South, millions of jobs have been lost.
In 2008, these folks aren't about to settle for a candidate who doesn't pass their litmus test. It is fine with the right-wing to showcase the moderates at the convention. It is entirely another thing to make them one of them the leader of their party. Heck, they don't even want a mod to chair the Senate Judiciary Committee much less to occupy the Oval Office. At this point, it's more likely that John Ashcroft will be the ACLU Man of the Year than the Republicans will nominate a sensible moderate in '08. After all, God is on their side.
Smart Democrats will make alliances with moderate Republicans. In '06 and '08, they will need their votes. And who knows, the donkey might even might want one of them on their ticket in the next Presidential campaign.
The Moose works in mysterious ways...