George Will finds a welcome trace of Barry Goldwater in Ahnold’s speech at the RNC — which might just signal the weakening of the party’s social conservatives:
The reemergence into Republican respectability of conservatism with a socially libertarian cast — Goldwaterism — is a development with a large potential to discomfort the Democratic Party. The reemergence can make the Republican Party more appealing to many young and suburban voters, two cohorts in which Democrats have recently made substantial gains.
The Republican Party’s challenge is to keep its old fissures closed while relaxing the stringency of its social issues catechism. Republicans can derive encouragement from a long-lived coalition that was composed of elements far more discordant than a Republican Party that includes John Ashcroft as well as Giuliani and Schwarzenegger. FDR’s “Roosevelt Coalition,” which was born with the New Deal and did not crumble for four decades, balanced Northern liberals, intellectuals, organized labor and Southern segregationists.
Read the whole thing.