Saturday, September 15, 2007

This episode offers an interesting dichotomy:

One thing was clear when Texas Gov. Rick Perry spoke to the California Republican Party's convention in Indian Wells last weekend -- he wasn't there to just bring tidings from Texas. Perry's speech followed Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's lecture that Republicans need to move closer to the political center or risk ceding political power to the more independent-friendly Democrats for election cycles to come.

But Perry would have none of that, and the different reactions each politician received were telling. Schwarzenegger got equal parts applause and stone faces. Perry had them jumping up from their seats as he mocked the Democrats and touched on all the classic conservative issues. Among the money lines: "California is too important ... to allow a bankrupt, liberal political philosophy to dominate the direction of this state."

The GOP seems to love nothing more than being dogmatic and when a particular idea finally becomes worthy enough to be enshrined as a tenant in their canon it stays there for a long time. It may stand to reason that the Rovian strategy of bringing out the base and basically saying "screw the center" may now be coalescing a the standard Republican campaign method. It's a strategy that works in certain circumstances (quite a few actually, especially in gerrymandered House districts), but will not always work nationally.

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