Fissures

I sometimes wonder, of the two major parties, which one is cracking up the most.  Which one is closer to approaching that dreaded breaking point?  True, as an old Kevin Drum once reminded us, we do have to remember that primaries always get bad, a truth that is itself somewhat comforting to a degree.  And yet there’s some serious animosity out there aimed at one’s own party.  A whole lot of animosity.

It is thanks largely to the the congeniality of the top two Democrats during their last debate, and a lack of over the top negative campaigning that has at the very least allowed some of the open wounds within the party heal. Don’t worry, as of tomorrow I would expect some of thos wounds to be reopened when we have a clear picture of how the delegate race is shaping up.  But for now we’re playing relatively nice.

But on the other side of the fence, one thing is clear, high profile conservatives simply don’t like McCain, leading some pretty powerful voices such as She Who Must Not Be Named, and Rush Limbaugh to develop their own McDS, yet another derangement syndrome in a political season plagued with them.  This leading to a much talked about rebuttal from party elder Bob Dole, one that seeks to defend McCain’s conservative credentials.

Personally, I blame Huck.  No, really.  He carved out the socially conservative “leg” of the conservative “stool”, leaving the neocons and friedmanites off balance.  Of course, Romney picks up the fiscal wing of the movement, and McCain whose advocation of more wars couple with his stand up military service gains him the fervor of the neoconservative movement.  This of course is bad luck for Romney for the real heart of the fiscally conservative movement has always beenthe weakest part of the movement, the head part while the other two focused much more upon the heart.

Yeah, people like low taxes, but Friedmanism isn’t enough to build a movement off of.

But here’s the real problem with Republicans, and no I’m not going to go into corruption (though, I could, of course).  It’s the concept of letting the conservatives run the party.  For far too long the base of the party has gotten to have its cake and eat it too and that’s just a little bit unhealthy for any party and for America as a whole.

This because at some point you have to realize you’re not governing for conservatives alone.

You take a look at the make up of this primary season as a whole, and one thing that becomes incredibly evident is, unlike the Democrats who have steeped themselves in wonkish policy proposals and ability to reach across the aisle, the Republicans have been falling all over themselves to claim the mantle of “Most Conservative Person Ever”.  Somehow, they went from pandering to focus groups to pandering to an entire ideological alliance, each faction of which having its own agenda.

Now, had the conservative movement, or perhaps more aptly put, movement conservatism actually been a single ideology, this might not necessarily be so bad, but it isn’t–it is that three legged stool, and alliances always at all times face the potential of fissures being driven in between the different parts.

It’s not certain at this time whether or not that is actually taking place here.  While the intelligencia seems to be having a last ditch effort to stop McCain in favor of Romney, the actual voters are lining up behind McCain to the point where after today he’s likely to be the presumptive nominee.  This pointing to at least some party unity.

But still, one wonders.  One wonders if Huckabee may not have erected a lasting wall between the Christian base and the rest of the party.  One wonders if John McCain actually will isolate the movement conservatives who are so adept at motivating the base.

And at the same time, one wonders if this was always the fate of the Republican party, locked in upon the election of George W. Bush, a man who represented the very worst of all three legs of the conservative stool.  Whose unnuanced and hamhanded neoconservative foreign policy has led to the Iraq and Afghanistan debacles, whose irresponsible tax cuts especially in a time of war has result in the surging of both the deficit and the national debt (a factor that in and of itself has put our country on even shakier ground in regards to national security), and whose unadulterated pandering to the religious right has ledthis country to divide itself, forcing a tremendous and sometimes violent rift while at the same time shaking the very foundations of that all important wall between church and state.

Perhaps the three remaining Republican candidates (Ron Paul really doesn’t count in this discussion) are simply acting out their parts set for them by the failure of the Bush II years.

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