New York City Republicans should become the center of the party. That there are six of them and 100 million born-agains isn’t the point; the NYC-ers are cooler.
I like Ron’s style, and I thought Kathleen’s column showed the ugly face of metroconservatism. She was right to this degree, though: the extremes of religious enthusiasm repel a lot of people who favor general conservative principles. I meet those people all the time. They generally end up with a grudging vote for the GOP, if they bother to turn out (and there isn’t a Libertarian on the ticket), and Ron is right that their numbers are not currently convincing enough for GOP strategists to start saying to candidates: “Tone down the God stuff, for God…, er, I mean, for goodness’ sake.”
That might change in a few election cycles, though; as, of course, might the preferences of evangelicals, who don’t vote Republican because they want small government and fiscal restraint, but from hostility to the greater social liberalism of the Democrats. (I probably should have said “white evangelicals” there.) As Jonah Goldberg says: “The Religious Right will stop being Right before they stop being Religious.” So far as conservatives are concerned, evangelicals are fair-weather friends.
It’s a tough circle to square. The GOP alliance of irreligious conservatives with religious haters of social liberalism may not be stable.
In any case, we on the secular Right have to understand, as Kathleen plainly doesn’t, how marginal we are in the big antler-clashings of national politics. Currently.