Like God-o-Meter said yesterday, the GOP’s God Gap problem is not necessarily that the party’s religious conservatives and more secular moderates are drifting further apart. It’s that there’s a shortage of figures who can unify those two wings going forward.
From today’s LA Times:
The social conservatives and moderates who together boosted the Republican Party to dominance have begun a tense battle over the future of the GOP, with social conservatives already moving to seize control of the party’s machinery and some vowing to limit John McCain’s influence, even if he wins the presidency.
In skirmishes around the country in recent months, evangelicals and others who believe Republicans have been too timid in fighting abortion, gay marriage and illegal immigration have won election to the party’s national committee, in preparation for a fight over the direction and leadership of the party.
The growing power of religious conservatives is alarming some moderate Republicans who believe that the party’s main problem is that it has narrowed its appeal and alienated too many voters. They cite the aggressive tone of the McCain campaign in challenging Barack Obama, who has close to universal support from African American voters; as well as the push by many Republican leaders to clamp down on illegal immigration using rhetoric that has driven away Latinos.
A focal point of the GOP fight is the selection of the next chairman of the Republican National Committee — the party’s power center for fundraising and strategic thinking. With various factions already trying to build support for their favored candidates, some conservatives are warning that McCain cannot serve as the party’s spiritual guide even if he becomes president. The Arizona senator, after all, has a history of breaking with the party’s mainstream on such issues as immigration and campaign financing
Hat tip to Mark Silk.