Bush set up the whole convention to reflect media criticism of the Republican Party. His "compassionate conservatism" is the same as the "kinder and gentler America" that his father ran on.

This was such an extreme appeal to the media version of politics that even the media were taken aback. They listened to Colin Powell demand that Republicans follow Clinton. They listened as the open border of the United States was not criticized at all. They watched as the Republican platform approved of the Department of Education, the Department of Energy, and the liberals' taxpayer-supported propaganda units, the National Endowment for the Humanities and Public Broadcasting.

In one area, the media began to sound like the Republican base used to. In the last three presidential elections, the Party wrote a very conservative platform. Each time the conservative base worried that Bush or Dole would sell out the platform. They did.

This time, a major part of the platform was written to appease the media. Media commentators wondered aloud, over and over, whether the Party would betray THEM. Would Bush give them Powell's speech, all those minorities and exclusion of conservatives and conservative rhetoric (in the name of Inclusion, of course), and then go back to the old rightist Republicanism that won in 1980, 1988, and 1994?

Bush has sold conservatives out so obviously that it is no longer a question of his betraying his base. He isn't even pretending to go with them. It is the media who feel he may betray them.