David Brooks argues that cohesiveness — or the lack of it — is what’s driving Bush towards reelection:
Today’s Republicans not only like Bush personally, they also overwhelmingly support his policies. According to a Pew Center study, 85 percent of Republicans support the war in Iraq, 82 percent believe that pre-emptive war is justified, and 72 percent believe the U.S. is justified in holding terror suspects without trial.
The Democrats, meanwhile, are divided on all these issues. According to the same Pew survey, 54 percent of Democrats oppose the war in Iraq, but 39 percent support it. Forty-four percent of Democrats oppose the pre-emptive war doctrine, but 52 percent support it. Forty-seven percent of Democrats oppose holding terror suspects without trial, but 46 percent are in favor.
Liberals have all the passion these days. They dominate campaign events in Iowa and New Hampshire, but they have not won over half the voters in their own party.
Further fracturing by the Democrats before November is a safe bet, too. With Ralph Nader almost certain to run under the Green Party banner, and Al Sharpton possibly in a position to make embarrassing wedge-issue demands on the party platform. . . it’s going to be ugly.
But — how much longer will libertarian-leaning conservatives stay happy with Republican largess? Will the Christain Right demand a Federal Marriage Amendment, keeping urban pro-war voters at home on election night?
Is it really still over nine months until it’s all over?