For those without a scorecard:
1: Pro-War “Liberal” Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) last month moved to broaden her base by reaching out to social conservatives over a sex scene in a video game.
2: Former right-side darling Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN) (who some GOP conservatives were apparently already annoyed with because he failed to invoke the “nuclear option” over Senate judicial confirmation procedures) has hung a hard left (from the Right wing’s perspective, anyhow) by endorsing stem-cell research (FFQ=7.2). Whether this is a calculated attempt to shift to the center, an act of conscience from a man of medicine, or an irrational attempt at political sucide we can’t yet say.
3: Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), who has repeatedly endorsed and promoted the idea that “Intelligent Design”-style Creationism should be taught in science classes, now says ID lacks scientific cred and shouldn’t be taught in schools (FFQ=9.7). All of this hot off his surreal appearance on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show. Hmmm. Anyway, this is a move that’s perhaps aimed at strengthening his position with socially moderate PA voters, who he has to face at the polls next year. And perhaps it’s a shot that aimed at a national audience in 2008.
4: Governors George Pataki (R-NY) and Mitt Romney (R-MA) have apparently begun trying to position themselves with the party’s conservative wing by vetoing legislation that would let pharmacists dispense the “morning-after” contraceptive pill without a doctor’s prescription.
Obviously a lot of this is weird as hell, and expect it to get worse (especially on the Dem side, as they try to figure out whether the answer is to move left, right, up, sideways, whatever). In any case, the intriguing part for me is that a couple prominent Republicans have decided to move toward the middle – which was how it was in the old days. Win, then plop your ass down in the middle of the road and force the opposition to find a way to beat you from the fringe.
Who knows what the movie is going to be like, but so far the previews are kinda fun….
*FFQ = Flip-Flop Quotient