Skip to comments.Potential Republican Crack-Up
Posted on 07/31/2005 1:19:25 PM PDT by KMB
For the past 20 years, there's been a discussion in political circles and the media about the "fault lines" in the Republican party over the hot-button social issues such as the death penalty, abortion, affirmative action and gay rights.
The presumption has always been that these issues would ultimately cause a rift between conservatives and moderates that would split the Republican coalition. The pundits and the MSM have been expecting and predicting this split for as long as I've been watching politics and they've been puzzled by the fact that it has never occurred.
I believe that the reason that it hasn't occurred is that the underlying assumptions are wrong. There are no "moderate" Republicans. I think Republicans are almost all conservative. Today, there are no Republicans left who are philosophically in line with Nelson Rockefeller, John Anderson, Lowell Weicker or Mark Hatfield. I know that this line of reasoning may be challenged by the Maine & Rhode Island Republican senators but the Republicans in those states (who vote Republican in presidential elections) are conservatives. The New England Republican Senators get elected by appealing to Democrats in overwhelmingly Democratic states.
There were approximately 62 million people who voted for GW Bush in 2004. I believe that probably 61.5 million of those people (1) support the death penalty (2) oppose affirmative action and (3) oppose gay marriage. I also believe that an equally high percentage of Bush voters (even those who are pro-choice) believe that the Roe v. Wade case was a hideous decision.
Pro-choice Republicans also are aware of the dirty little secret of the abortion debate -- which is that even if Roe v. Wade were overturned tomorrow, there would probably be no effect... There are probably no more than 7 - 9 states where abortion would actually be outlawed and there are currently few (or no) abortion doctors practicing in those states today anyway. Overall, the number of abortions occurring in the next ten years would only be affected by 1% or less if Roe v. Wade were reversed.
So this is, I believe, why the Republican coalition never cracked or splintered. It has confounded and infuriated the opposition but the Republican coalition really never had the fault lines that so many people thought it had.
However, I now think that one may be developing. The impending divisions in the Republican party won't be "moderate" vs. "conservative". It will be "evangelical conservative" vs. "non evangelical conservative". The issues that cause the breach won't be abortion, the death penalty, gay marriage or affirmative action. Instead the divisions will be caused over: (1) stem cell research, (2) evolution and (3) the Terri Schiavo case.
I think that 25 years from now, we'll all look back on the Terri Schiavo case as a cataclysmic event in American politics. There were tens of millions of people who looked at the pictures of Terri Schiavo and thought just one thing: "My god, if that ever happens to me, pull the plug, stop the feeding or do whatever it takes to finish me off."
At the time many Republican leaders spoke of the fact that this was a unique case but the tone of the debate both in and out of the media was that this was essentially a first step.
I remember that pro-Brady Bill and pro-Assault weapons ban politicians repeatedly assured the public that this wouldn't mean banning guns while activists and media pundits indicated that this was a first step towards doing so.
With the Terri Schiavo case, activists -- evangelicals --similarly didn't view this as a unique case but as a first step towards preventing feeding tube or life support removal in any case regardless of living wills or not.
This had an effect on non-evangelical Republicans or "secular Republicans" . . . By itself, I don't think that it would be enough to cause a breach but this isn't just one issue. The other issues that are occurring at the same time are an inexplicable renewed debate over evolution and the stem cell research debate.
With regard to the former, there's no polite or nice way to put it so I'll just be direct. People who believe in evolution think that people who don't believe in evolution are idiots -- pure and simple. The perception that an evolution believer has of a non-evolution believer is of a person saying, "Duh, my grandfather wasn't no ape."
Secular Republicans look at people who publicly discuss their doubts about evolution and who don't want it taught in public schools with utter disgust.
With regard to stem cell research, secular Republicans are excited at the prospects and supportive of practically any scientific research and they simmer at the thought of obstruction of research on religious grounds.
These three issues: evolution, Terri Schiavo and stem cell research are close to causing (or may have already caused) an irrepairable breach in the Republican coalition.
I'm a conservative. I believed in a 2nd war against in Iraq to remove the regime of Saddam Hussein as early as 1998. I also believe in making the '01 & '03 tax cuts permanent; drilling in anwar; that members of al Qaeda who are captured are illegal soldiers and not entitled to due process. I believe in progressive indexing of SS benefits, support the confirmation of John Roberts, think Antonin Scalia is the ideal justice and favor ballistic missile defense.
I also support the death penalty, oppose affirmative action, oppose gay marriage and think that the Roe v. Wade decision was a farce. I could go on but the point is made -- I'm a conservative....
But, I also accept the truth that the human species has a pre-history and I support stem cell research and I think that keeping Terri Schiavo's existance without life going was cruel and sadistic. That feeding tube should've never been inserted 14 years ago.
As a result of all of this, I now find myself in a position that I would have never dreamed of 5 or 10 years ago which is that I object to Hillary Clinton far, far less than I object to Tom Delay. Or Rick Santorum. Or Sam Brownback. Or Tom Tancredi.
Hopefully, Rudy Guiliani will be the nominee in '08 and make this all a moot point but if he isn't then I'm confronted with the possibility that I'll probably vote for Hillary Clinton despite the fact that she stands against so much that I believe in.
If there are others like me out there, and I think there are, then get ready for a 2nd Clinton Administration.
hmmm, I missed a long-burrowed troll. I'll have to read all these comments later, because the subject interests me from the opposite side of things, i.e. I wonder how long the social conservatives will put up with RINOs constantly kicking them to the curb.
wow 200 posts before a zot.
It doesn't have "Zot!" in the title but it does have that "new troll" smell.
I like it!
Nice kitty and ZOT! photos...;o]
Now that was a deep cover troll.
Still, a troll is a troll...they all smell, sooner or later. ;o]
The first half of his message almost made sense, but pretty soon I sensed he'd been a little too heavy into the Koolaide.
Stem cells as a fissure for Republicans, and Hillery is better? Oh, my!
He must have fried his brain with a cell phone, perhaps to his handler at the Democratic Reelection Campaign Committee.
When he said he would vote for Hillary, I knew my enemy.
He's leaving out of his equation the growing number of Dems in fly-over country who are being forced to choose between their basic moral beliefs and the opposition to them among the Dem leadership. I've had any number of Dems tell me that they voted for Bush last time because of that very thing. Any "conservative" Republican who would jeopardize the advances that we have made for the sake of one or two issues that have less importance than the whole of the others, would, imho, be replaced by a forementioned Dem, or some previously uninterested person who finally noticed that lines were being drawn and decided to take a stand for what they believe. When it gets simple enough for people to see "Right or Wrong" as they perceive it, more people will take sides and act on their convictions.
They smell like ozone... and burnt troll.
And they go BOOM! too!
But their basic misunderstanding of the underlying principles behind conservatism usually outs them in the end.
Pass the barbecue sauce.
You want a beer with that?
I... ah... liberated some ice cream for desert.
Hmmm Bumpy cake! This looks like a interesting flavor...
:opens hands. Case falls and hits the floor:
Oops! Damaged product! Guess we'll have to eat it...
*looks right, then left*
Hey! How did that case of ice cream get broken?
Well, let's get it cleaned up! Everybody! Spoons over here! C'mon! Let's get this mess out of the way!
*whispering to HTB* We gotta hide the debris!
Quite a few times if I recall.
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