Is The Right Driving Moderate Republicans Away?

There have been a few articles in recent days suggesting that moderate Republicans are growing increasingly weary of the stranglehold the Religious Right has had on the Republican Party for the last several years and that efforts by presidential candidates to pander to the likes of James Dobson, Tony Perkins, and Pat Robertson are only alienating them further:

Scott Reed, who managed Republican Bob Dole’s 1996 presidential campaign, sees three overlapping problems for Republicans among business leaders and high-income voters. One is desire to go with the winning side at a time when Democrats have captured Congress; a second is loss of confidence in the Bush administration’s competence; and a third is “a sense that the leadership of the Republican Party is too beholden to a small group of self-appointed social conservative leaders.”

Apparently, Rudy Giuliani’s campaign was initially a cause for hope for some moderate Republicans, but those hopes have been dashed ever since he started promising to nominate right-wing ideologues to the federal courts and cozying up with the likes of Robertson:

Moderate Republicans in Iowa, eclipsed for years by the party’s social conservatives, were looking forward to the 2008 caucuses.

After all, they had a candidate — Rudy Giuliani — who said early in his campaign that he could win in Iowa by attracting moderate Republicans and reinvigorating one-time GOP caucusgoers who had turned away from the party.

So far, it hasn’t worked out that way, according to once-loyal Republicans who have felt pushed aside by the party’s right wing.

“When Pat Robertson comes out and endorses him, that was the final straw for me,” said former state Rep. Betty Grundberg, a Des Moines Republican who had flirted with supporting Giuliani. “I don’t buy that this signals a united party. This shows me who he is more concerned about attracting.”

[S]ome former Republicans say their hopes for 2008 have turned to alienation.

“I’ve left the party. I am no longer a Republican,” said Dottie Carpenter of Des Moines, who served as a Republican in the Iowa House of Representatives for 14 years until 1995. “I’m sick and tired of every candidate for the Republican nomination kowtowing to the religious right.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.