Jonah, I would agree that there is no identifiably large “South Park Republican” constituency, which is why Stanton seems wrong concluding “The Republicans can’t maintain the majority without the South Park Republicans; and they can’t keep the South Park Republicans by pretending they don’t exist.”
In fact, as an identifiable group, they don’t exist. They’ve just been invented as a type. It’s not like they host South Park parties and raise funds for local GOPers.(Not that I don’t know personally several SPR types, including a co-worker who thinks the South Park movie should be preserved by Smithsonian as a cultural treasure. But he is not in the “socially moderate middle,” but pro-life and pro-FMAish.)It’s as squishy an grouping as “Star Trek Republicans” or “Will and Grace Republicans” (okay, that’s largely Log Cabin Republicans).
Types can help illuminate for a strategist how to stitch together a coalition, even between GOP types that disagree a lot. By Stanton’s standards — near-silence on “anti-vice legislation” and a Federal Marriage Amendment — Team Rove is already tap-dancing on that cultural line. Unlike Bush-Quayle and Dole-Kemp, Bush-Cheney have steered clear of saying anything very critical of the entertainment industry (Lynne Cheney excepted a tad for Eminem).
They have deduced there are votes to be lost rather than gained by marching around on cultural matters that aren’t really legislative in nature. The danger for them is that for every “anti-anti-vice” vote they try to get (e.g. the Log Cabin GOP), they threaten to lose three or four evangelical or traditional Catholic voters to apathy.