GOP crack-up? Pardon my guffaw: "Anyone would think it was the Republicans who'd lost the 2004 elections, and the 2002 elections, and the 2000 elections. From every corner, concerned 'friends' of the party rise to offer 'friendly' advice. "
The notion, for example, that poor Terri Schiavo will cost Republicans votes in a year and a half's time is ludicrous. The best distillation of the pro-Schiavo case was made by James Lileks, the bard of Minnesota, responding to the provocateur Christopher Hitchens' dismissal of her as a "non-human entity." "It is not wise," wrote Lileks, "to call people dead before they are actually, well, dead. You can be 'as good as dead' or 'brain dead' or 'close to death,' but if the heart beats and the chest rises, I think we should balk at saying this constitutes dead, period."
The Republicans did the right thing here, and they won't be punished for it by the electors. As with abortion, this will be an issue where the public moves slowly but steadily toward the conservative position: Terri Schiavo's court-ordered death will not be without meaning. As to "crack-ups," that's only a neurotic way of saying that these days most of the intellectual debate is within the right. If, like the Democrats, all you've got are lockstep litmus tests on race and abortion and all the rest, what's to crack up over? You just lose elections every two years, but carry on insisting, as Ted Kennedy does, that you're still the majority party. Ted's quite a large majority just by himself these days, but it's still not enough."