Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Mother of All Coalitions

Specifically, I'm talking about the coalition between the Religious Right and the Libertarian Right. Bruce Bartlett's latest article is about a book that suggests that this coalition is on the rocks.
The gist of the book is that the coalition of religious conservatives and libertarian free-marketeers is breaking apart. The basic principle that held them together throughout the postwar era -- the idea that morality and virtue need to be freely chosen to have meaning -- is breaking down. The traditionalists have gotten the upper hand and increasingly reject the idea of freedom when it comes to things like gay marriage, pornography, drugs and abortion.
He attributes this break down to the fact that Religious Conservatives now feel like they are in a position to dictate to the party; they don't need the libertarians anymore. And the libertarians haven't gotten very much at all out of the Bush Administration. They got lower taxes, but no reduced spending, and increased Governmental power.

The problem with extremists (of any stripe) is that they can't help going farther than they should. When they have other parts of their movement to hold them back, their drive can be a positive thing (sort of). But when they are unchained, well, they always go further than most people are comfortable with. Right now the Republicans are letting their extremists go - and the results are going to come back and bite them.

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