Much has been made of the conservative “tea partyers” who look poised to send a posse of new senators to Washington – starting with Joe Miller of Alaska, Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Mike Lee of Utah. Ken Buck of Colorado also has an excellent shot at winning, and Sharron Angle remains competitive against Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid.

But the middle isn’t hollowing out. In fact, the ranks of Republican Senate centrists could grow as a result of November’s midterm election, following on the heels of Republican Scott Brown’s improbable election to the Senate from Massachusetts last January…

Come January, “it’s possible that we could have a more moderate Senate, because of some of the new people, but also because of the general political dynamics that would then be in place,” says Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

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The second complaint I’ve heard is from some Christian conservatives who say that even if conservatives make it clear that they disagree with you on issues like gay marriage and gays in the military, that supporting your group in any way will end up promoting those policies and a gay lifestyle by default. What would you say to those people?

We have made it clear from the get-go that we think that social conservatives are an important part of the conservative movement. And, I don’t think by having social conservatives in the movement who may disagree with me on things like marriage or gays in the military, it’s somehow corrupting the movement from my perspective. So, I guess I don’t understand how it would be corrupting the movement from their perspective.

There’s a core of issues that I think all of us in the conservative movement can and should agree on and those are the issues that are at the forefront of our political discussion today. Debates about the size and scope of government, about tax policy, about whether or not we’re going to have socialized health care in this country. These are things that all of us can agree on. I mean, we’re not all going to agree all the time. And accepting our 80 percent friend rather than forcing him to be 20 percent enemy, I think makes smart politics for conservatives.

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The reaction to Ken Mehlman’s admission that he is homosexual and regrets his involvement on behalf of preserving traditional marriage is typical. The former Republican National Committee chairman and campaign manager for George W. Bush was greeted with cheers Washington, and quickly rechristened “one of the sharpest and most energetic political talents” in the land…

The counsel of men like Mehlman and Schmidt is politically wrong — but with the elites it is oh-so-right. It is also why, very much unlike true conservatives, they are set on soliciting dollars for court cases where judicial elites can match the elite mindset. About election strategy, these counselors are just whisperers.

While this strategy may work for short-term rulings by brook-no-opposition judicial activists like Vaughn Walker, it will prove disastrous at the polls for the party out of office — if not in 2010, most certainly in 2012. Just ask Schmidt. He has experience.

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