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Saturday, August 28, 2004
 
Shorter David Brooks:

"Mark Souder (R-IN) is a human being and a Republican. In fact, rumors to the contrary notwithstanding, the Republican party is wholly comprised of human beings, amongst whom past divisions are now yielding to concerns about, and opposition to, their own policies."

Slightly longer:

Then in 1994, he ran for Congress himself, and in that great Republican year, won. He immediately behaved in ways that defy the stereotypes. He's worked with members of the Black Caucus to steer federal scholarship money to urban kids. He voted against three articles of Bill Clinton's impeachment - he thought Clinton's behavior was immoral but not impeachable. He was one of the House Republican leaders of an unsuccessful coup against Newt Gingrich.


Actually, Souder did think Clinton should be impeached. He voted yes on the third of four impeachment articles, that Clinton had obstructed justice (it passed).

The fact is, the Republican Party is less riven into ideological camps than it used to be, and the issues that used to divide it, like abortion, are less salient. Now fundamentalists, moderates, libertarians and old-fashioned Main Street types all express the same sort of concerns: about the need to win the war and anxiety that we're not fighting it properly; about the need to restore fiscal discipline and the anxiety about egregious Republican pork-barrel spending. Across the party, there is a great deal of admiration for Bush's core instincts, but a belief that his administration has not performed that well.

In short, ideological disputes have been replaced by problems of governance. Old coalitions are breaking down. New ones have not yet formed. We media types love to report about rifts in Republican ranks. But most of those clich├ęs are obsolete.


Republicans are more united these days, unlike the bad old days when they fought tooth-and-nail over a woman's right to choose. All they fight about now is their own overspending habits and inability to get anything right in Iraq. Souder's in the thick of it, this year voting with only 46 other House members, including Tom DeLay, Dennis Hastert, and Katherine Harris, 100% in support of President Bush.

Our eternal gratitude is due to Mr. Brooks for another in a long line of content-free, yet still misleading, columns.