The Moderates Cometh

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Here we go. Traditional conservatives (and liberals like Hillary) are pulling towards the center as the mid-terms of 2006 draw closer and the runway to 2008 gets shorter.

This particular op-ed piece comes from the NY Times and concerns itself with conservatives across the spectruym like Bill Frist, George Pataki, Mitt Romney, John McCain and Rudolph Giuliani (who could be argued is the most moderate of the bunch.)

Here’s a little about McCain’s swing back and forth to please the base:

Marshall Wittmann, a former lobbyist with the Christian Coalition who is now a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute, a centrist Democratic research group, noted that the very qualities that allow Republicans to win in blue states like New York can doom them for the higher office. “It’s the opposite of what Frank Sinatra sang,” he said. “If you can make it there, you can’t necessarily make it anywhere in the Republican Party.”

It was, ultimately, the enmity of the new Republican establishment that doomed Mr. McCain – despite what were solidly conservative ratings on abortion and gun control – to defeat in the 2000 primaries. And in the last five years, Mr. McCain’s record has become even less conservative on many issues. He has pushed for legislation on global warming and voted against most of the Bush tax cuts, calling them fiscally irresponsible.

But some saw Mr. McCain’s steadfast support of Mr. Bush during the 2004 campaign as a way for him to earn his way back into his party’s good graces. Mark McKinnon, the media strategist for Mr. Bush’s campaigns, recently said he would work for Mr. McCain should he run in 2008, and the senator retains high public approval ratings. “McCain has the asset of being pro-life, if not quite as adamantly pro-life as Bush was,” said Norman J. Ornstein, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. “But a good share of that base doesn’t trust him for different reasons, whether for his campaign finance efforts, or his bipartisanship or because he ran against Bush.”

The whole thing is worth a read, if you’re so inclined.