EJ Dionne on the increasing number of non-Republican Republicans

Tuesday, May 09, 2006 at 03:09 PM

The deserting rat-sinking ship association is in the process of being played out yet again in life, this time in the Republican Party.

What to do when you belong to an all-powerful party which is now anathema to a growing number of voters?  No, you don't switch parties, that would be too honest.  You switch your beliefs within the same party.

EJ Dionne describes the current phenomenon in Working for Change:

Santorum is not alone. All over the country, Republicans are engaged in a massive effort at rebranding, reframing and, in some cases, wholesale retreat from past positions. The surest sign that the nation is in the middle of an ideological transition is that Republicans don't want to sound like -- well, Republicans.

Thus are those who once derided Al Gore's environmentalism now painting themselves in very bright shades of green. Last month, Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., took a drive in a hydrogen- powered car to show how much he cares about conservation and the planet.

Members of Congress who once eagerly showered tax breaks on the energy companies now want you to know they're tough on big oil. Last month, House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., urged federal agencies to investigate possible price gouging by the petroleum giants.

The focus of the piece is on Rick Santorum, who requested a breakfast meeting with Dionne to clarify THE REAL RICK SANTORUM," a sensible, compassionate guy who's all about the poor.

You see, they aren't reinventing themselves, it's all about clarifying "misconceptions," maybe clearing up a few "confusions," that sort of thing.  They're good guys and gals, just a tad misunderstood.  Seems people took all that venomous hyperbole seriously, for God's sake.  Can't anyone take a joke anymore?

Just because we said God despises your evil ass doesn't mean that we meant anything of the sort.  In fact, now that you seem to despise our evil ass, I'm here to tell you that God never despised your evil ass, and He told me that personally.

Besides, both our probably-not-so-evil asses are in this together, pal, come on give a repub a break, okay?

It's enough to make you wonder if they really have the courage of their convictions.  Many are going to have to muster up the courage to face their convictions in court, of course.  Lets hope that extends to the court of electoral opinion.