David Brooks (behind the TimesDestruct firewall, I'm afraid) explains to Republicans, one more time, one big reason that they're going to take a pasting in a few weeks: they've been so busy pandering to The Base that they've alienated the moderate, "empiricist" (his term, not mine, but a good one) branch of the party.
[Republican moderates] are looking for orderly places to raise their children. They are what you might call antiparty empiricists. They distrust partisans and can’t imagine why anyone would be sick enough to base an identity on a political organization. They don’t expect much from government but a few competently delivered services, and they don’t like public officials who unnerve them.
The Republicans used to do well in these areas, but now it’s as if they are purposely trying to antagonize the married moms at the pseudo-New Urbanist outdoor cafes. The deficits alarm them. Tom DeLay was a perfectly designed Northeastern alienation machine. As insular Democrats know little about what life is like in flyover country, so insular Republicans know little about how people think in the suburban Northeast, where blue New York Times delivery bags dot the driveways each morn.
The big issue is Iraq, but the core problem with suburban voters is not the decision to go to war; it’s the White House’s reaction to the mess afterward. As Robert Lang, the superlative suburban specialist at Virginia Tech, notes, when people mess up a project in an office park, there are consequences. But Donald Rumsfeld never gets fired. Jerry Bremer and Tommy Franks get medals.
This is not how engineers and empirically minded managers behave. The people in these offices manage information for a living, and when they see Republicans denying obvious trends, or shutting out relevant data, they say to themselves, “Those people are not like me.” [emphasis added - bc]