President Bush is “losing his base,” or so we’ve been told. (I’m sure it’s in other places as well, but this is one of the latest.)
There are a number of things at work here. First, politicians pandering to their constituencies. Is the President doing that? He doesn’t have any re-election worries, other than keeping the Republicans in the majority. I hardly believe that he’s making a play to raise his poll numbers. He hasn’t seemed too concerned about that up until this time.
Second, the Republican base vs. the Democratic base. This kind of story highlights a major difference (although, no doubt, David will disagree with this!) between the supporters of the two parties, i.e., Republicans support issues, while Democrats are about people. I can’t say that Democrats support people, because I think it’s much more about opposing people they dislike, rather than continued support of people they do like (although, the Clinton administration, as beacon of glorious light in the darkness of Amerika, poses a counter-example). Republicans are not afraid to oppose a fellow Republican if he or she appears to betray a cause which they support. This is often pointed out with a knowing smirk, as if it somehow proved something. What does it prove? That Republicans care about particular issues, not necessarily the person with the (R) behind the name.
A “conservative base” may have gotten President Bush elected, but that doesn’t mean that an election can keep that base from pursuing its chosen agenda.