David Broder gets into the growing dissatisfaction among traditional Conservatives who feel they've been left behind for the religious right. These are the people who made their bones with Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan, and Lee Atwater, the Karl Rove of his day who dismissed the religious fringe as "the extra chromosome gang." Now that Pat Robertson's gang is running the show, the old actors are starting to grumble and that may spell disaster for the GOP in November.
When Goldwater Republicans are asking how long the GOP can fight raising the minimum wage, you know we've hit a new low. "How the hell long can they refuse to raise the minimum wage?" asked one unnamed source for Broder. Bemoaning the extremism on display in today's conservative movement, the source seemed embarrassed to share the same political ground with the likes of Frist, DeLay, et al.
"They spend like fools, they run up the deficits and they refuse to give a raise to the working people who are struggling," he said. "How the hell are you supposed to live on $5.15 an hour these days?"
But don't think this rising tide is quite ready to crest in a mass exodus of Reagan Republicans putting the hurt on upstart neo-cons.
"If it wasn't for Pelosi," he said, "I'd just as soon the Democrats take over this fall. Get some checks and balances and teach these guys a lesson."
I can't argue with that. Pelosi is a loser; a wet dog who is stinking up the place. But the answer may not be in defection, but in enthusiasm. As we saw in 2004, voter turnout is key and if more Republicans are less inclined to wait in line to vote than Democrats, we may indeed see this much ballyhooed sea change come November. But how sad is it when democratic (small "d") victories are based on non-participation? A hollow victory, maybe, but I'll take it.