One of the dominant storylines of the GOP presidential campaign thus far has been the standoff between social conservatives and front-runner Rudy Giuliani. Every motive/explanation under the sun has been ascribed to the hostility of James Dobson et al to Giuliani--immaturity, selfishness, short-sightedness...rarely examined has been the Politico's latest stab at an answer: Fear.
Fear, the Politico suggests, that a pro-choice nomination will permanently cripple the power that social conservatives have in the party in the future.
It gets close...but still not close enough. Fear, yes--but a far more fundamental fear.
The Republican Party is pro-life for one reason, and one reason only: because the Democratic Party is pro-choice. Opposing the donkey is the only virtue the GOP sees in it; it is a position party "moderates" can and do discard at the drop of a hat.
If party leadership believed they could gain more votes by adopting a pro-choice stance than they would lose by jettisoning their pro-life stance, they would do so in a heartbeat--and the pro-choice wing of the party has been urging Republicans to jettison away from almost the second the GOP adopted a pro-life platform.
A Giuliani nomination/presidency will very likely trigger just that.
That is the nightmare scenario that is prompting social conservatives to threaten to pre-emptively shatter the Republican coalition: a two-party system with two pro-choice parties.