Thursday, March 31, 2005

Man Bites Dog

Some have pointed out that the splintering of the Right over recent issues (think Shiavo, Social Security, etc.) is not necessarily a sign of collapse. The perseverance of the Right is a perfect example of the strength of the Small Tent party. Their ability to rally a larger base then the Left will ever have, has as much to do with their success, as it does their lack of dissension within the ranks. That is why the Left takes some joy in seeing their opponents scurry for cover when they either inadvertently, or reluctantly take on unpopular issues.

Howard Kurtz had an excellent article the other day, sharing his take on the recent internal struggles of the GOP.
The image of a unified governing party is cracking fast.

These are normal strains, of course, for a political coalition that controls all the levers of government in Washington. When the Democrats ran the show, they were split on just about everything (health care, welfare, Clinton's conduct, you name it). But it's at odds with the image of a well-oiled Republican machine with the discipline to carry out the president's every wish. That now seems so first-term.
See, it is not uncommon for the big tent Left to have squabbles. It is amazing they are ever able to rally around a cause or a candidate with all the different factions fighting for power. When they bicker, it is a 'Dog Bites Man' story. When the Right withers, it is 'Man Bites Dog"

Kurtz itemizes some of the skirmishes within the ranks of the Right:
The budget? Some of the party's economic conservatives say federal spending is out of control and that Congress might even have to think about (gasp) limiting the Bush tax cuts.

Social Security? Not all Republicans are climbing on the Bush bandwagon for private accounts, which they view as political dynamite. Some, like Lindsey Graham, want to raise the $90,000 cap on wages subject to SS taxation, which Denny Hastert and other party leaders have rejected as a tax increase.

Immigration? While Bush promised Vicente Fox he would push a program aimed at allowing guest workers, some Republicans want to crack down on border control and asylum seekers instead.

Terri Schiavo? Some libertarian Republicans don't like the idea of the party shedding its traditional opposition to federal control and judicial activism to pluck the case out of the Florida courts, let alone writing a bill aimed at just one person. It was GOP Rep. Chris Shays of Connecticut who said, "This Republican Party of Lincoln has become a party of theocracy."
The Column then centers on the debate over Jeff Jarvis' statements,
But the overdose of overdoing it that we're seeing on TV these last few weeks may just be the catalyst that causes a backlash, that reminds us that we are a secular nation of churchgoers and that we value separation of church and state over either church or state: That is our mainstream.
and the comments from several National Bloggers:

Hugh Hewitt
"While full of entertaining fury, Jeff's logic is compromised on a number of points. Like those who see a crack-up among the conservatives, Jeff's essay is an exercise in wish-fulfillment.
and Andrew Sullivan:
"Beneath all this is a struggle between conservatives who place their faith in the formalities of constitutionalism and those who place their literal faith in the God-revealed truths they believe are enshrined in the Declaration, truths that alone give meaning, in their eyes, to America as a political project."
Kurtz points out several other examples, from both sides. But the mere fact that all this scuttle is going on, is not so much the strategic placing of a liberal bias in the media. It is a story, a story that is news when a strong and structured organization struggles to keep their own people in line.

It's SOP in the DFL, *yawn* but fascinating to watch the Right wiggle.


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