Here's something the mainstream media never really covered in 2000, but thanks to the web and blogs people will bring it to light.
The Republican party's core beliefs are not shared with the American people. On the fiscal side, they are gleeful over the idea of an unresponsive federal government sold off to the highest bidder in the private sector. These people clap their hands at the sight of scenes like Hurricane Katrina and at the plight of the middle class.
But the folks the GOP really wants to hide in its basement is the religious far right. In a nation of mostly Christians, the religious far right is an embarrasment, destroying the line from respectful belief in their God and moving toward a brand of fascism that has no respect for the law of the land. (Republicans need people like Randall Terry but they would never want to actually break bread with that anti-choice pseudo-terrorist)
Bush has been very adept at walking this fine line, encouraging the anti-choice crazies but never really identifying himself as one of them and Heaven forbid he ever be photographed with them. He drops in dog whistle rhetoric to the religious far right in his speeches, but does his best to keep that at an arm's length or further. Were he ever be clearly connected to these people he would be relegated to their fringe and be even less popular than he is now.
But among the Republican frontrunners I don't see anyone with Bush's skill at navigating and satiating the GOP's crazy base. So watch them all as they go running to kiss the ring of the wackos that make up the modern Republican party:
The Republicans’ first primary contest is next week, and it’s not in New Hampshire. It is in Orlando, at the annual meeting of the National Religious Broadcasters. GOP presidential candidates will be there to try to generate buzz that will translate into evangelical airtime — and support in the “base” in 2008.
The only person who's doing more of a slow-walk to the ring (but he is kissing it contrary to the media's spin) is Giuliani and by virtue of his three marriages, penchant for dressing in drag, and overall disinterest in participating in their fringe activities, he's persona non-grata with them.