The votes of many disgruntled fiscal conservatives and other lapsed Republicans are now up for grabs, which could alter U.S. politics in the 2008 elections and beyond.I heard this on CSPAN’s Washington Journal this morning and couldn’t believe my ears. But we’ve been hearing rumblings of this sort for years. Now, some big guns are jumping ship:
Some business leaders are drifting away from the party because of the war in Iraq, the growing federal debt and a conservative social agenda they don't share. In manufacturing sectors such as the auto industry, some Republicans want direct government help with soaring health-care costs, which Republicans in Washington have been reluctant to provide. And some business people want more government action on global warming, arguing that a bolder plan is not only inevitable, but could spur new industries.
Some well-known business leaders have openly changed allegiances. Morgan Stanley Chairman and Chief Executive John Mack, formerly a big Bush backer, now supports Democratic front-runner Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York. John Canning Jr., chairman and chief executive of Madison Dearborn Partners, a large private-equity firm, now donates to Democrats after a lifetime as a Republican. Recently, he told one Democratic Party leader: "The Republican Party left me" -- a twist on a line Ronald Reagan and his followers used when they abandoned the Democratic Party decades ago to protest its '60s and '70s-era liberalism.Today I watched staunch conservatives defend Blackwater USA’s soldiers-for-hire. Then on tonight’s Hardball (transcript not yet available) I actually saw someone defend Rush Limbaugh’s “phony soldier” remark by claiming it would be okay if his words were directed just at those soldiers who are against the war. How did we go from “Support The Troops” to, “it’s OK to criticize those troops who don’t agree with me”?
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... polling data confirm business support for Republicans is eroding. In the Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll in September, 37% of professionals and managers identify themselves as Republican or leaning Republican, down from 44% three years ago.
I think I’m watching the Republican Party implode before my very eyes.