Political Exorcism

G.O.P. centrists organize to wrest the party back from the religious right

ULTIMATELY, IT MAY COME DOWN TO A MATTER OF passion vs. Passion. Twenty Republican centrist leaders who think they can muster enough of the former to check the growing power of the latter have announced the creation of the Republican Majority Coalition. The group's main goal is to excise controversial moral questions, like abortion, gay rights and school prayer from politics generally and from the next G.O.P. platform in particular.

Though it boasts prominent names, including Senators Arlen Specter, Nancy Kassebaum, John Chafee and Warren Rudman, the new assemblage faces rough going. Other moderates, reluctant to anger religious activists, declined to...

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