The Moose notes the emergence of the neo-AuH2O faction in the GOP.
Barry Goldwater was the first prophet of the conservative insurgency. Despite his disastrous defeat in '64, his race was the harbinger of the right's ascendancy to power.
In his later years, of course, Barry expressed his disgust and disagreement with the emergence of the religious right as a force. He colorfully collided with its leaders. For instance,
"When you say 'radical right' today, I think of these moneymaking ventures by fellows like Pat Robertson and others who are trying to take the Republican Party away from the Republican Party, and make a religious organization out of it. If that ever happens, kiss politics goodbye."
And Barry was even more direct about Falwell.
Despite his differences with the direction of his party, Goldwater remained a limited government, balanced budget, hawkish conservative. While Reagan was an heir to the Goldwater legacy, he was also an ally of the religious right. However, Reagan did not deliver much other than lip service for the social conservatives.
In contrast, Bush and Rove have elevated the religious right to a dominant status in the Party ,while eschewing any notion of limited government. The reign of the Bushies is predicated on an alliance of plutocracy and theocracy.
Since the Schiavo case, the Moose senses that there is increasing discomfort within Republican ranks about big government, religious right over-reach. The veto threat against the stem cell bill must increase the unease among many GOPers regarding the power of the Dobsonites. You don't have to be a pro-choice ,Arlen Specter Republican to be uneasy with the rise of the theocrats. Indeed, prominent pro-life Republicans in Congress are bucking the social conservatives on stem cells.
The "neo-Goldwaterites" are Republican center-right voters who are fiscally conservative-libertarian, defense hawks who are repelled by the inordinate power of the religious right. They are not necessarily moderates - in fact they have a deeper commitment to balanced budgets and limited government than the Bushies.
Watch for the "neo-g's" to play a significant role in the '08 Republican Presidential primaries as the conventional Bushie-cons divide the spoils of the religious right. And Barry's band has a natural leader who is truly the heir to his political legacy.
In their heart, they know he's right... --