Fracturing of the Reagan Coalition

McClatchy Newspapers | Steven Thomma | Republicans bemoan fading Reagan coalition
Jan 12 2007

Excellent article on the fracturing of the Reagan coalition.

•Sen. John McCain of Arizona? …But he’s criticized Bush tactics against suspected terrorists as torture, sided with the president in wanting to let illegal immigrants stay and earn citizenship and pushed a campaign-finance plan that curbed political speech.

A lot of loyal Republicans think he’s anything but Republican, and the party’s influential echo chamber on talk radio hates him.

•Huckabee? A Baptist preacher who talks about his faith, he’s excited social conservatives.

But he raised taxes as governor, wanted to let the children of illegal immigrants in Arkansas schools earn the same college aid as Arkansas-born children and called Bush’s foreign policy “arrogant.”… And talk radio big shots such as Rush Limbaugh think he’s a liberal in preacher’s clothes.

•Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney? He’s the most aggressive in courting the Reagan coalition, promising low taxes and small government, a strong national defense and newfound opposition to abortion and gay marriage.

But social conservatives are suspicious of his recent conversions on abortion and gay marriage. To some people, that leaves Romney with one foot in each camp, but grounded in neither.

•Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani? He cleaned up New York, reduced crime and cut taxes. He also showed calm and nerve when his city was attacked.

But he supports abortion rights, gay marriage and gun control, he’s been married three times, and his private life falls short of Christian conservative ideals. Social conservatives such as James Dobson, the head of the Colorado-based Focus on the Family, say they’d bolt from the party if Giuliani is nominated.

My thought’s exactly.

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