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Republicans Make a Comeback

This was a convention in which those Rockefeller Republicans made a comeback. The stars were not conservatives, at least not in prime time.

The stars — from Rudy Giuliani, to Arnold Schwarzenegger — were socially liberal Republicans.

Social and religious conservatives wondered what is going on here — What is going on is politics? Politics is about getting to have your say, not always having your way. Republicans are growing up. From their seats in the bleachers, they have moved to the luxury boxes.

They need to expand their base if they want to maintain political power. That means appearing more tolerant and open to others, including those who don't always subscribe to the conservative GOP platform or every position of the president.

There is always a point of no return for a party when it so waters down its ideas it is of no use to anyone. It was Arnold Schwarzenegger who reminded the GOP of its ideological roots.

Some pundits tell us ideology no longer matters. But it does, or why should people believe in anything, or vote for anyone?

The California governor stressed economics and a strong foreign policy, but ideology also applies to how we choose to live as individuals and as a nation and what rights we recognize as always true and valid for marriage and for the unborn.

It would have been nice to see a speaker raise some of the social issues in prime time, but as long as they are moved forward behind the scenes, it will be enough for most conservative Republicans.

If these issues are put on the back burner and social conservatives feel shunned when it was they who brought the party out of minority status, watch for a split to develop that could cause the big tent to collapse.

And that's Column One for this week.

To check out more Column One features, click here.

What do you think? Send your responses to: afterhours@foxnews.com.

Cal Thomas is America's most widely syndicated op-ed columnist. He joined Fox News Channel in 1997 as a political contributor. His latest book is "What Works: Common Sense Solutions for a Stronger America" is available in bookstores now. Readers may email Cal Thomas at tcaeditors@tribune.com.