CONCORD, N.H. - They were called Reagan Democrats and then "values voters." They were the police and firefighters President Bush credited with his 2004 reelection. And in this week's Iowa caucuses, they were the dominant constituency in the Republican Party.
For decades, Republicans sought to reach beyond their traditional base of business-oriented, upper-income voters by wooing blue-collar voters through social issues and appeals to patriotism. But Thursday in Iowa, working-class Republicans flexed their muscles, sending former governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas to a clear victory over businessman Mitt Romney - and leaving some upper-income conservatives to wonder whether they are in control of their party anymore.
When Bush launched his ambitious campaign to privatize Social Security, Christian conservatives expressed dismay, saying their members couldn't support such a scheme. But when Bush answered requests from Christian conservatives to intervene in the case of Terri Schiavo, the brain-damaged woman whose husband wanted her removed from life support, many GOP economic conservatives were dismayed.
Such economic conservatives also blamed social conservatives for increased government spending on Medicare, education, and other traditionally liberal priorities under Bush and the recent GOP-led Congress............
Some of the strongest voices of advocacy can come from the converted.