In a series of conference calls on Tuesday and over the last several days, Republican Senate aides encouraged conservative groups to avoid emphasizing the searing cultural issues that social conservatives see at the heart of the court fight, subjects like abortion, public support for religion and same-sex marriage, participants said.
Instead, these participants, who insisted on anonymity to avoid exclusion from future calls, said the aides - including Barbara Ledeen of the Senate Republican Conference and Eric Ueland, chief of staff to Senator Bill Frist, the majority leader - emphasized themes that had been tested in polls, including a need for a fair and dignified confirmation process.
Mr. Ueland acknowledged that he and others had been working almost since the vacancy occurred last Friday with Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's resignation to persuade conservative activists to steer clear of divisive language.
"Every contact we have with these folks is 'stay on message, stay on purpose,' " Mr. Ueland said. "The extremism of language, if there is to be any, should be demonstrably on the other side. The hysteria and the foaming at the mouth ought to come from the left."
Of course the dirty little secret about the GOP is that they can't win without religous conservative religious agitators, theocrats, and right-wing extremists, and non-reality based secular libertarians and "neocons."
This Supremem court nominee may expose the fissures in the GOP.
Will conservative religious folk who supported Bush finally wake up and smell the coffee if Bush appoints a pro-torture candidate for the Supreme Court?
Well, 5 bucks says if it's Gonzales, James Dobson will have no problem with him.