Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Signifying Nothing's Chris Lawrence posts on the latest row between hard conservatives and soft, MOR conservatives. Chris attributes it to a strain of "big tent" thinking, which might be valid, but I'm not so sure.

Look at President Bush's unusual choices in Senators for his stated brand of conservatism. And yet, at every juncture where he can throw support one way or the other, he always opts for the "big marquee name," whatever their conservative credentials, over the "real" conservative also running. It was Lamar! over Bryant here in Tennessee. Liddy Dole in South Carolina. Riordan over Simon in California. (Have I got that one right? Not sure as I do this.) And now Spectre over Toomey. Heck, he seems to have been OK with getting the hard-edged (and incompetent) Lott dumped for the softer Frist.

No one has really explained it. The prevailing theory I know of is that he prefers electable names over unknowns, wanting to just get the public used to conservatism of the mildest kind before he starts to move farther right. But that's a kind of long-range thinking nearly no politician makes, only behind-the-scenes activist-types. Rove isn't a grand theorist, just an election-winner for his guy. Which may be it: those marquee names win elections. Hence, Bush supports 'em.

They'll deal with the consequences later.

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