coastal cities. That Reagan paidrnonly lip service to pro-life activistsrnduring their annual Washingtonrnmarches still rankles the party’srnsouthern wing.rnCaldwell is so eager to blame the Southrnthat he ignores even the most obviousrnfacts. First, the Reagan years saw a continuedrnincrease in economic prosperit’rnin the South, a trend that went back atrnleast to the 1950’s, while those “prosperousrncoastal cities” (such as Ed Koch’srnNew York) continued a decline that datedrnback to the urban riots of the 1960’s.rnSecond, it was Catholics in the Northeastrnand Midwest who were the originalrnhard core of the pro-life movement. RepublicanrnSenator Rick Santorum —arguablyrnthe most ardent pro-lifer in thernU.S. Senate — represents Pennsylvania,rnnot Mississippi or Tennessee.rnCaldwell’s real animus is revealedrnwhen he says that one of the “manyrnsymptoms” of the Republican “crisis ofrnconfidence” is to be foimd in the part”srn”repudiation in the most sophisticatedrnparts of the country.” If Caldwell is suggestingrnthat Reagan ever enjoyed supportrnamong “the most sophisticated” —Harvardrnprofessors? Hollywood producers?rnManhattan socialites?—he is simply deluded.rnHe repeats this error when hernrefers to “the Republicans’ cosmopolitanrnwing.” Caldwell never says who constitutesrnthis “cosmopolitan wing” of thernGOP (Henry Kissinger? Arianna Huffington?)rnor exactly how many votes theyrncan bring to the polling booths on ElectionrnDay, but the existence of such arnwing and its usefulness in advancing arnconservative agenda is something whichrnCaldwell must prove, not merely assert.rnEvidently Caldwell, like a great manyrnother Republicans inside the Beltway,rndeeply desires the approval of those whornare “sophisticated” and “cosmopolitan”rn—that is, the kind of people whornconsider the New York Times to be an objectivernarbiter of truth. This desire is responsiblernfor such anomalies as ArizonarnSenator John McCain’s recent enthusiasmrnfor tobacco taxes and “campaign financernreform.” Anyone who has experiencedrnthe ferocity of liberal hatred canrnunderstand this impulse. Wouldn’t it bernnice just to cede all the most controversialrnissues to the liberals, nod one’s headrnin agreement, and be celebrated forrnone’s “moderation” and “bipartisanship”?rnThe glib abandonment of principle,rnhowever, is not something a stiffneckedrnSoutherner can embrace.rnThe origins of Caldwell’s suggestionrnthat the COP abandon its Southern strategy,rnso far as it is revealed in his AtlanticrnMonthly article, can be summed up inrntwo words: Arthur Finkelstein. It wasrnFinkelstein who first mastered the techniquernfor deploying the attack ads whichrnhave filled the airwaves every other yearrnover the past decade or so. Finkelstein’srnhallmark was his effective use of thernword “liberal” as an epithet: He buriedrnMario Cuomo by labeling him “too liberalrnfor too long.” But the old magic —rnmade possible by the depth of Republicanrncampaign coffers—has begun to losernits efiFectiveness of late. New York SenatorrnAl D’Amato lost badly in 1998, despiternmillions of dollars’ worth of Finkelsteinrnads labeling Representative CharlesrnSchumer as a “liberal Brooklyn congressman.”rnOther Finkelstein clients, includingrnNorth Carolina Senator Lauch Faircloth,rnwere losers, too. It seems thatrnvoters mav have begun to tune outrnFinkelstein’s repetitive liberal-bashing.rnIt seems, also, that Democrats havernlearned how to use Finkelstein’s tacticsrnagainst him: Schumer’s campaign adsrndeclared that D’Amato had told “Toornmany lies for too long.”rnBut Finkelstein—a recluse who livesrnin Massachusetts with his male lover andrntwo adopted children—apparently hasrnconvinced Caldwell (and many others)rnthat the GOP’s woes are geographic andrndemographic. Caldwell cites “the Finkelsteinrnbox,” which includes the South,rnthe Southwest, the Creat Plains, and therninterior Northwest, as a sort of politicalrndividing line:rnIn states that have their largest populationrncenters outside the box, nornRepublican got a majority in thern[1996] election. Inside the box, nornDemocrat got a majority exceptrnMary Landrieu, of Louisiana (andrnthat barely). jlthough most Republicanrngovernors outside the boxrnare pro-choice, almost even,’ singlernRepublican governor inside thernbox is pro-life.rnThe Republican Part}- is increasinglyrna part’ of the South and thernmountains. The southernness ofrnits congressional leaders.. . onlyrnheightens the identification.rnThere is a big problem with havingrna southern, as opposed to a midwesternrnor a California, base.rnSouthern interests diverge fromrnthose of the rest of the country, andrnthe southern presence in the RepublicanrnParty has passed a “tippingrnpoint,” at which it began tornalienate voters from other regions.rnThere is at least one word for such anrn”analysis”: bunk. Since “Reagan Democrats”rnin the South and Midwest transformedrnthe national political landscapernin the 1980’s, the South’s interests havernconverged with, not diverged from, thernrest of the nation’s. The surprise winnersrnin 1998 were Democratic gubernatorialrncandidates in South Carolina and Alabamarnwho supported state lotteries—whichrnwere considered political poison in thernBible Belt just ten years ago. But Southernrnvoters now support lotteries becausernthev provide fimding for education withoutrnrequiring new taxes. If the vote forrnlotteries is viewed as an anti-tax vote, itrnmay represent the kind of grassroots taxrnrebellion first typified bv Proposition 13rnin California 20 years ago.rnTruth be told, Caldwell and Finkelsteinrnmerely use the South as an excusernfor the failures of the Republican Part)’rnsince 1994. These failures were causedrnby a variet)’ of factors, including the numerousrnblunders of Pennsylvania-bornrnNewt Gingrich and the sinister brilliancernof President Clinton and his advisorsrn(including the Louisiana-bornrnJames Carville). In the fall of 1995,rnwhen it looked like the COP was headingrntoward sure victorv in the 1996 elections,rnI was working at a newspaper inrnRome, Georgia. Our city editor was arncynical character. When I remarkedrnthat the Republicans were almost certainrnto win, whomever thev nominated forrnpresident in 1996, the cit)’ editor scoffed:rn”Wlio have the Republicans got? WHio?rnPhil Gramm? Bob Dole? Who? Nobody.rnYou can’t beat somebody with nobody,rnand the Republicans have got nobody.”rnHe was right, of course, even thoughrnhe ended up voting for Dole. But thernimportant insight is that elections arernwon by candidates, not frends. After 12rnyears of Reagan and Bush, GOP strategistsrnin 1992 counted on a trend andrnwere beaten by a candidate. Bill Clinton.rnIn the wake of the “conservative revolution”rnof 1994, GOP strategists in 1996rnagain counted on a trend and were beatenrnby the same candidate. Trendmongersrnlike Finkelstein and Caldwell ignorernsuch lessons at their peril.rnTo the extent that Finkelstein andrn44/CHRONICLESrnrnrn