Somewhere, over the rainbow, a blog is born. A blog for Kansas. A blog for America. A blog by a reporter with a difficult-to-pronounce last name. But most importantly, a blog that is AMERICA'S ONLY PLACE dedicated to the vital intersection of politics and Sunflowers. The Heartland gods nod in wise approval.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Ball, elephants

Got several e-mails yesterday from people taking me to task for linking to a laudatory farewell for John Ashcroft. I must admit, there was a certain shock-value appeal for doing that. I'm guessing from my e-mails that I have a Democratic majority reading this, and I thought it would be interesting to feature something that wasn't the standard Patriot Act-prayer meeting-clothe-the-Justice-Department-statue stuff you'll hear in lefty media. But if disdain for John Ashcroft is your thing, some good links are here and here. As for Ashcroft's successor, it looks like a good move for Bush, and the best example of identity politics being used to confound and wedge Democrats this side of Clarence Thomas.

Elizabeth Dole is in the running for head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. She'd be the first woman in the post, and Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts are behind her. Her challenger is Minnesota's Norm Coleman, who has Jim Talent in his ranks. (Brownback, BTW, is being cited as a promoter of an Orwellian conception of censorship, according to LA Citybeat.)

We've seen a lot of celebration among Republicans (some in this blog) of the new heights of their party -- but a word of caution to their party comes from The Weekly Standard, of all places. It envisions this scene at the Democratic Convention of 2008 and ties it to the current debate on where moderate Republicans like Kansas-raised Pennsylvanian Arlen Specter play in the party:

Fast forward four years. The Democrats have convened in late summer in Cleveland to nominate former Virginia governor Mark Warner and Senator Barack Obama. It is the third night of the convention, and the Democrats have chosen as their keynote speaker . . . Arlen Specter. Or Olympia Snowe. Or Chuck Hagel. Or some other GOP big who has grown disgusted with his or her inability to have any influence on Republican deliberations. So they have bolted, bringing a message that their party breached its pledge to govern with the interests of the entire country in mind.

The prevention of just this sort of scenario is at the core of the debate over Senator Arlen Specter's rise to the chairmanship of the Senate Judiciary Committee. A national party would welcome the visibility of a member whose views are not always--or even often--in step with the majority's ideology. A national party intent on a generation of authority would avoid the mistake Democrats made when they drove every pro-life official from its leadership ranks.

Exactly. The temptation of any majority is for subgroups to start purges. The Democrats are paying for some moves they made a generation ago, and if the GOP doesn't watch it, they are in danger of becoming the caricature their enemies make them to be. Your ball, Elephants. Be careful.