Sunday, August 12, 2007

Ron Brownstein on Rep. Mods and Mavs

In the LATimes:
[Rep. Christopher] Shays and [Sen. Lindsey] Graham embody the two forms of dissent from the dominant conservative orthodoxy in the modern Republican Party. In one category are traditional moderates like Shays, who pursue a centrist course, especially on social and foreign policy issues, but whose numbers have relentlessly declined for decades. In the second are maverick figures like Graham or Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel, who are too conservative to be considered moderates but too eclectic and unpredictable to be considered reliable allies by the right. Both of these groups -- moderates and mavericks -- are under siege at a moment when Republicans are struggling to reach independent and swing voters disillusioned by Bush and the war.
Shays (one of the smarter politicians out there imo) faces his challenge from the left, riding the anti-Bush/anti-Republican/anti-war wave that is going to be a factor (as it was in '06) in Congressional, Gubenatorial, and Local races in '08.

Graham faces attack from his right---because he broke with conservative "base" orthodoxy on immigration reform and torture (aligned both times with McCain his mentor).

If these types are eliminated, expect the Republicans (minus a possible Giuliani or [far less likely in my mind] Romney prez win) to become an even more ideologically pure but much smaller party.

If Romney wants to pick up some steam, he should start adopting (wholesale I would say) the message of Newt Gingrich. Run as a change anti-Bush conservative. Giuliani has already taken the Mr.9/11, Mr. Security mantel. And I think Thompson is, as Michael Duffy (of Time) said on Meet the Press today "a hologram candidate."


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