...many members of the GOP elite--whose overwhelming concern is cutting taxes, a Giuliani forte--would privately welcome the chance to downplay, if not discard, the party's rearguard war against the sexual and women's rights revolutions. Much of the Republican Party's consulting community and country club elite always viewed abortion and gay rights as distasteful but necessary tools to win elections, easily disposable once they no longer served their purpose. Now, with most of the leading GOP contenders demonstrating at best equivocal support for the sexual status quo ante, that time appears to be drawing near.So Thomas Edsall suggests that the Republican party is changing. The morality leaders of the last twenty years or so are reactionaries who lived through the sexual revolutions of the 1960's and 70's, but they are now disappearing. The recent death of Jerry Falwell and the obvious decline are examples of this disappearance. No clear leaders have replaced those two.
Digby agrees that this change is occurring. However, he disagrees that that this is a symptom of a basic change in reactionary and Southern nature of the modern conservative Republican Party.
I agree with the fact that the GOP is ready to vote for "a hero," but I don't think it signals any kind of substantive change in the GOP. The "values" obsession was just the code of the times for the standard Southern Strategy of white male prerogatives and macho ass-kicking that the Republicans have been running on for 40 years. They are just once more re-packaging their tired old crap in patriotism instead of the Bible, (which they often cycle with "states rights" and "traditional values" among other things.)I think this is a really insightful point made by Digby. The Republican reaction to Rudi is a clear example of a change in the nature of the Republican Party. When the Republicans lost the national security issue as a tool to beat the Liberals over the head with they shifted focus to the issues of sexual morality and dominance over women. These were code for the new version of the Republican "Southern Strategy" in which they win by attracting the white Southern racist and anti-immigrant vote.
Nothing has changed. The Republicans are actually just being more honest than they've been in recent years when they didn't have a boogeyman to beat liberals over the head with and needed to erase the hideous image of that nasty man Newt Gingrich as the face of the Republican Party. "Values" was always just the girly-man version of "Giuliani Time."
The modern Republican party is all about authoritarianism, militarism and domination over minorities, women and gays. Rudy is a perfect candidate. After all, there is no candidate in the race who has humiliated women more masterfully or condoned official violence against racial minorities with more fervor. Of course the South Carolina Republicans love him.
But now they have 9/11 as a touchstone for everything they do to win elections, and they are shifting back to the more natural Republican issues of national security. The reactionary core nature of the conservative Republican Party has not changed during the twentieth century. Only the messages they use to attract different reactionary voting groups to support them has changed.