A DYING BREED….This is not exactly breaking news, but Sheryl Gay Stolberg writes today about a nearly extinct species: the grown-up Republican.

Here in the Capitol, their numbers are so few, said Senator Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania, that they quit having their weekly lunches about a year ago.

“Susan and I were there alone for so much of the time,” Mr. Specter said, referring to Senator Susan Collins of Maine, “we worked through all of our conversation and decided to disband.”

As Mr. Voinovich’s refusal to support Mr. Bolton’s nomination demonstrates, “the vanishing center” ? as another centrist Republican, Senator Olympia J. Snowe of Maine, often says ? can still play a powerful role. There are just four core centrists in the Senate, Mr. Chafee, Ms. Collins, Ms. Snowe and Mr. Specter.

Out of 44 Democratic senators, there are nearly a dozen that even conservatives would agree are moderate. Out of 55 Republicans, there are only four. That’s the New Model Republican Party for you.