by Max Brantley
Some odds and ends:
* WEDGE ISSUES: It's all about wedge issues for Republicans. Always has been. And I was struck last night by some Rachel Maddow reporting, though it was obvious in retrospect, on the ever-increasing rigid ultra-conservatism of the Republican Party. It makes messaging simple. Republican = God, guns, (anti) gays, tax cuts. This leads, however, to concoction of some created wedge issues, NY Times notes today, as candidates attempt to demonstrate how one is even more extreme than the other. Some Republicans are worried about it.
The uniformity of views this year — forcing candidates to distinguish themselves by showing rigid fealty to conservative ideology — strikes some veteran Republicans as misguided and electorally dangerous.
“It is not true that there are big differences between these candidates,” said Vin Weber, a Washington lobbyist and onetime House Republican ally of Newt Gingrich who now backs Mr. Romney. “And it’s not true that the philosophical purity of the candidate is the key to beating Obama."
Maybe. But the tent for the primary is VERY small.
* INJUDICIOUS: The chief federal district judge in Montana, a Bush appointee, admits he e-mailed a "joke" suggesting President Obama was sired by a dog. Not racist, he said. Just a measure of his dislike for Obama. Oh. OK, then.
* CLARKSVILLE REMAINS X-RATED: Because of a pending state Supreme Court appeal, a judge has stayed an order closing the X-Mart in Clarksville for sale of sexually oriented items in violation of a zoning ordinance drawn to put the store out of business.