The Republicans have their own splits to deal with - albeit, the center there seems to have held. That test was when Chris Cannon, a Republican much like Lieberman (reliably with the party on all but one issue, albeit it is a big issue among a portion of the base), survived a primary on that issue by a pretty decent margin (56-44). At least for now, Republican primary voters do not seem interested in purges over a single issue.
The Republicans had an incumbent lose by a 53-47 margin in Michigan, albeit the situation there was far different (the previous year, there was a 7-way primary for an open seat, which he won with 28% - as the only moderate candidate) - and there are moderates who are upset about it.
The Republicans have a chance here, but a lot will depend on how they deal with their internal splits. There is a portion of the GOP that is just as adamant and unyielding on their issue(s) as the DailyKos/MoveOn wing of the Democrats. I've even been re-thinking my association with conservatism over some of this. Had Cannon lost his primary, I would have divorced the GOP over it, as Brendan Loy has divorced the Democrats over Lieberman - it would have been the last straw for me after the neo-Borking of Harriet Miers and the treatment of the UAE at the hands of House Republicans (who were spurred on by irresponsible pundits and talk-show hosts).
If the Republicans are smart enough to nominate Giuliani, McCain, or Romney, all of whom have been on the receiving end of flak from "the base", yet all of whom are very strong leaders, they can clean house in 2008 by drawing a portion of the "Lieberman Democrats" who have been told by the Democratic primary voters they are not really wanted unless they know their place.
DJ Drummond has also discussed this a little:
But the Right has gone wrong, as well. Lately, the extremists in the Conservative Media, especially the Blogosphere, have produced a series of litmus tests for political reliability, a la the old Political Officers of the KGB – now there’s a model for you! – so that only the people saying the right things, and in the approved way, are deemed worthy of support. So it is that many who can talk the talk but never show any results, are lionized as some kind of ‘Champion of the Right’, even when their tactics and brittle ideology shuts down any chance for constructive dialog. And so it is, that many who do serious work, whose hearts and minds are devoted not to their ego but to the work they promised their constituents, are attacked and demeaned, even by their self-proclaimed “base”, for the sin of not playing puppet.
DJ's hit on something that is forming on the right. There is some pushback coming, and it is being aimed at the alternative media that largely rose up in reaction to the left-of-center bias in the mainstream. Face it, in a real sense, talk radio and the conservative blogosphere have become a bit of an echo chamber. They also can behave badly, as was the case with the neo-Borking of Harriet Miers, the treatment of the UAE during the DPW controversy, and the immigration issue.
In all three issues, many a self-appointed zampolit on the right has often targeted those who disagree. One blogger has gone so far as to persistently label those who disagree with him on immigration as traitors or agents of Mexico. Similarly, many of those who objected to the treatment the UAE or Harriet Miers received were often viewed as unprincipled or worse.
I am nobody's puppet. I'm not going to let a Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, or even Rush Limbaugh speak for me. Nor do I think that having elected officials who are their sock puppets would be good for the country. Give me leaders in political office, please.