March 23, 2005

CONSERVATIVE CRACKUP: Is the Republican coalition about to splinter? I examine the question over at

UPDATE: More here: "In taking jurisdiction over Terri Schiavo's case from the state courts, where conservative Republicans would have previously said it belonged, and handing it to federal judges, the Republican Party arrogated to the federal government breathtaking new powers that would have made Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan wince."

ANOTHER UPDATE: Jeff the Baptist writes:

If the Democrats were wise, they would be stripping the fiscal conservative wing off the party right now. But they can't because that would mean committing to a small government they don't really want.

Yeah. But all that has to happen is for fiscal conservatives, and libertarians, to stay home. I don't think that things have come to that pass yet, but I do think that it's possible.

MORE: John Cole, on the other hand, is proclaiming the death of modern conservatism.

STILL MORE: Joe Gandelman:

George Bush won two elections by getting Benefit Of The Doubt Voters: people turned off by the inept, clumsy, and at times left-of-center campaigns of Al Gore and John Kerry. Post election analyses showed that the Democrats lost many centrists during these elections because Bush was considered the safer choice. Phone calls and emails we're now getting indicate some of these folks now consider this crew not compassionate conservatives or classic conservatives but members of an increasingly powerful radical right.

What's even worse for the Republicans is that this is an issue that, fundamentally, isn't worth a lot to them. At least, I don't see it leading to a policy victory that would be worth the damage it's likely to do. As Gandelman cruelly asks: "Who was their advisor? Bob Shrum?"

And the real damage wasn't from raising the issue. It was from passing special legislation, and responding hysterically. It was from acting the way liberals have acted for years. Follow the Gandelman link, as he has a nice roundup of views from all perspectives. And Mystery Pollster looks at all the various polls.

MORE: Read this post by Stephen Bainbridge, too. And this one.