Friday, April 22, 2005

Radical right wing Republicans have painted themselves into a corner by threatening the nuclear option, and now Rick Santorum is darting his eyes around the room, looking for a way out. He's privately arguing for delay because internal Republican Party polls apparently show a lack of support for eliminating the filibuster. The poll figures aren't being released--which, in itself, tells us that the G.O.P. is worried about what they say. Santorum comes from moderate Pennsylvania, and his extremist rhetoric on Shiavo and "the option" have cost him dearly in state polls. He's up for reelection next year and is currently trailing his political rival 49-35.
Daily Kos, an excellent left-wing blog, quotes Dick Morris, a Republican writer:
With the filibuster decision bookended by the Terry Schiavo case before and a Supreme Court confirmation battle likely following it, the issue has the potential to spell disaster for the Republican Party.
Now that Iraq seems to be more pacified and the war on terror is receding as the key national issue, Bush can no longer count on his success in protecting America to anchor his popularity. His inept handling of the Social Security reform issue further drains his approval ratings.
But an attempt to switch the rules in the middle of the game on judicial filibusters will really make his alliance with the Christian right the main issue in his second-term presidency, with disastrous results.
Americans are simply not on board with his Moral Majority agenda. They voted for Bush twice -- or once -- despite his advocacy of a pro-life position, and his Schiavo posturing alienated moderate voters even more. His attempt to bar a filibuster will be seen as an effort to steamroll America into accepting the radical-right agenda on moral issues and will cost Bush the ballast he needs to appeal to the center of American politics.

When Dems stick together, as they have on this issue and Social Security, they can be an effective opposition party. Two more recent signs of a stiffening backbone surfaced from conservative Democratic senators. Ken Salazar, just elected in Colorado, lit into Focus on the Family last Thursday, saying: "I think what has happened is Focus on the Family has been hijacking Christianity and become an appendage of the Republican Party. I think it's using Christianity and religion in a very unprincipled way."
The same day, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, who has considered himself an evangelical Christian for 25 years, pointed out that theocon tactics threaten "to make the followers of Jesus Christ just another special-interest group. It is presumptuous of them to think that they represent all Christians in America, even to say they represent all evangelical Christians."
A backlash against the prospect of the Moral Majority running our country--now wouldn't that be loverly.

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