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'Reagan coalition' called dead on RNC eve

ST. PAUL, Minn., Aug. 31 (UPI) -- As Republicans gather in Minnesota for their 2008 national convention, they face a new era in which the so-called "Reagan coalition" is gone, analysts say.

The broad alliance of social conservatives, small-government activists and pro-military hawks that elected U.S. President Ronald Reagan twice in the 1980s -- and which has mostly held together in the intervening years -- has splintered for good, analysts told McClatchy Newspapers Sunday.

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"The coalition that elected Reagan is no longer there," William Lacy, a political director in the Reagan White House and now director of the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas, told the news service. He said that in foreign policy, "neoconservative" interventionists have alienated many Republicans who believe nation-building is a mistake.

"Neocons are willing to throw out some of the principles of conservatism," he added.

Lacy also said the dominance of the GOP by Christian conservatives, with their emphasis on legislating against gay marriage and abortion, no longer can mollify with the party's Libertarian wing, which sees any kind of government intrusion into private lives as anathema.

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