argues that "Republican leaders are signaling they prize solidarity over outreach, and familiar thinking over independent ideas."
Really? In a party where Rudy Giuliani -- the man Brownstein describes as the "(qualified) exception" to his argument is the frontrunner for the presidential nomination in every national poll? Brownstein goes on to characterize the GOP as "a party that seems committed to betting 2008 on the high-risk proposition that the way to recapture the center is to turn further to the right."
Apparently, Brownstein seems to believe that Republican efforts to promote conservatives over moderates is somehow an ill-informed, almost illegitimate approach to politics, especially this year. If that's so, it's surprising he isn't more critical of the treatment of national security Democrats like, say, Joe Lieberman -- and aware of the fact that the Democrat party has turned even more sharply to the left, with its leaders seemingly committed to defeat in the Iraq war and proposing tax increases right and left. Yet that
party, in Brownstein's view, isn't running any risk of alienating independents?
As a general matter, it's worth pointing out that if group-think is enforced in the GOP, you betcha it's twice as mandated among the Democrats -- think of the fate of an anti-affirmative action, pro-life candidate there. You can bet he wouldn't be the national frontrunner a la Giuliani. Heck -- there isn't even a debate about any important issue (national security or social) in the Democratic Party. So who's the big tent party now?
Just because Brownstein (obviously) doesn't agree with conservative policies doesn't mean that it's stupid and wrong for the Republicans to try to lock in their base before reaching to the middle.
Oh, and let's just set straight this little dig he makes at the beginning of the piece:Christian charity was conspicuously absent from the leaflets that supporters of the leading Republican presidential candidates handed out at last weekend's summit of socially conservative "values voters."
Brownstein makes that assertion based on the fact that policy
differences among the candidates were pointed out in various pamphlets being distributed. Where, exactly, is the source for his insinuation that it's somehow a violation of "Christian charity" for candidates to have policy differences, and compete on the basis of them?
Brownstein winds up the snarky aside with this: "If Sam Brownback hadn't just quit the race, somebody probably would have attacked him for participating in a Senate prayer group with Hillary Rodham Clinton." Not so much, Mr. Brownstein.
Most Americans -- even the dreaded religious right! -- approve of bipartisan praying . . . in fact, they're relieved to find some Democrat leaders who are willng to pray.
Interesting how the MSM's ignorance of religion and other biases manifests themselves, isn't it?