The new Michigan poll: http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/main/2012/02/santorum-moves-ahea... 

Santorum looks like he's going to have a big win in Michigan, and Romney is being forced to spout faith-based insanities in an effort to survive (as is Obama).  

If Santorum is finally the agreed upon representative of the lunatic right, the Republicans are going to find that they've got a clear and angry split in the Party, with only one damaged winner coming out of the convention, and it won't necessarily be Romney.

While I think the Republican Party will lose the election, I think the cultural divide in the US might equal the Vietnam era. Will this year be the high-water mark of the "social conservatives?" Predictions anyone? 

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The educated and disciplined generally have more choices and are less likely to shop at Wal-Mart. Life isn't fair. 

When I use the term Wal-Mart shopper, it's as an evocative image of the American working class, along with its unemployed and unemployable.

I buy my clothes from LL Bean and lunch at PF Chaings. I do many of my purchases on-line and buy food at a more up-scale grocery.

But - I hit Wal-Mart to stock up on all sorts of things from storage bins to yard supplies. I'm part of the Wal-Mart demographic. I may be a bit bourgeois but I'm also a part of the, well, 98%.

Nothing represents the non-wealthy in the US better than the Wal-Mart shopper. 

Also, I wasn't suggesting that 98% of America is "blue collar conservative."

Back to the working class, unemployed and unemployable. They exist, and more than ever are stuck in a substratum. Mostly, they are not pretty. I'm not into political correctness, but I am a social progressive.

Thanks Phil.

About Christie--I have no doubt that he is a candidate for VP, they wanted him to run initially.  I also agree with you that they are (thankfully) hurting themselves drastically by pandering to extreme conservatives.  Hopefully, it will pan out in November

About devout xians not having socialist views:

Conservapedia last year told of a revision to the New Testament to take out the socialism. It may have been the work of one deluded mind, not the work of multiple deluded minds.

- - - -

Two ways to look at Reagan's inviting the fundamentalists into the Repub Party:

1. A smart move, it brought in millions of unthinking, obedient people.

2. A dumb move, he didn't count them and their leaders took over the party.

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor united the American people; the fundamentalist attack on America is uniting moderates and progressives, but more slowly.

Tom---good observations about Reagan.  I hadn't really thought much about the history of Evangelicals and the Party, I have been more focused on their role the last decade or so.  Now that you have me thinking about it, I think both of your statements are correct; it doesn't need to be one or the other.  Politically, it was was smart move because it brought so many to the Party and Reagan either did not foresee or did not care if they took over the Party.  (I may lean towards did not care, he definitely had some evangelical leanings, I want to think on that some more). 

I do agree with your concept that moderates and progressives are uniting, but slowly.  I would add that the evangelical side is also growing.  It is, after all, a major part of their mission.  That is one reason why the the unity against them is growing so slowly.  The other is religion.  I think that many moderately religious people, like some of the fundamentalist ideas.  A line in the sand between moderates and fundamentalists has not been drawn.

The strategy of expanding the Republican party using the "white working-class vote" was not Reagan's invention.  Recall Nixon's "Southern Strategy".  Reagan was just a better "communicator" than Nixon.  The real decline of the Republican party, from the secular-pragmatic point of view, was the defeat of Nelson Rockefeller.  Ever since then, the party has become more ideological and more reactionary.  It's a shift that took almost the whole 20th century to accomplish.  William Jennings Bryan, of Scope's Monkey Trial fame, was a perennial Democratic presidential candidate.  Once upon a time, the Democrats were the party of rural traditionalists, religious revivalists, and the preponderance of elements seeking to exploit the anti-intellectual mob.  Now it's come full-circle.  But I remain cautiously optimistic.  The "millennial generation" may be no less devout than their predecessors, but they are less doctrinaire.  By around 2020 or so, the fundamentalist-fueled culture wars ought to dissipate.

Santorum is drawing clear lines. He's not interested in a diverse and democratic society. He's going with a theocratic position that excludes most Americans from real citizenship. Will it sell? This is a test.

http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/26/santorum-says-religio...

He is definitely going the theocracy route. I do not think it play well with the public as a whole.  Sure the other wingnuts on the Right think it is great, but most people I know are moderates and they aren't biting.

Two ways to look at Reagan's inviting the fundamentalists into the Repub Party:

1. A smart move, it brought in millions of unthinking, obedient people.

2. A dumb move, he didn't count them and their leaders took over the party.

It was actually, pre-Reagan, post-Nixon, …mostly as a result of the Nixon administration being brought down by a couple of old-fashioned journalists and some shoe-leather. Bringing in the religious-right wasn't the only move, the other was the destruction of independent news media. This is most noticeable when you compare Watergate with Iran-Contra, and how the latter was just swept under the rug.

Where we are now is exactly on the course that corporate-handlers set out to accomplish, …with one exception. They didn't foresee the internet.

Whatever the source of backing, religious, political or corporate; one needs only to "follow the money", …no surprises to be found when you get to the end of the trail.

We could sure use a Woodward and Bernstein now, in the mainstream; …too bad the only place to find real journalism these days is called "the fringe".

…follow the money.

And Gingrich tries to out-Santorum Santorum -

“The forces of the secular left believe passionately and deeply, and with frankly a religious fervor, in their world view and they will regard what I am saying as a horrifying assault on what they think is the truth,” Gingrich said. “Because their version of the truth is to have a totally neutral government that has no meaning.”

haha---Gingrich's statement really makes little sense.  Their disdain for the Constitution is horrifying.

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