Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Increasing Irrelevance of the Radical Right

From the Right, Both Acceptance and Distrust of McCain
Sen. John McCain makes an appearance at CPAC today. Last year, he faced a hostile crowd that booed his talk. This year he's Sen. John McCain, Republican candidate for President. And there's a bloc within the Republican party uncomfortable with that.

Rush Limbaugh declared that a McCain triumph would "destroy the party." James Dobson, leader of Focus on the Family, said that he will not vote for McCain under any circumstances. Ann Coulter allowed as to how she would rather vote for Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton than for McCain.

Former and current Republican congressional colleagues joined in the attacks. Former House speaker J. Dennis Hastert cited what he termed McCain's lack of party loyalty by labeling him an "undependable vote," and Sen. Thad Cochran (Miss.) raised questions about his temperament for the Oval Office.

It's looking more and more like the radical right is feeling its influence fade away. The presidential picks favored by Rush Limbaugh were panned by actual voters. No one has kissed James Dobson's ring, and even now, Mitt Romney has dropped out of the race.

I think Phil Gramm has it right:

The incoming conservative fire against McCain has become a distraction, Gramm acknowledges. "Some people, in their own minds, think they have exerted a strong influence over the party, and now they are seeing that influence passing," he said. "There's some bitterness on their part. They're people who put their dogma in front of the interests of the country. . . . They don't like it that McCain is McCain."

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