Sunday, April 29, 2007

THE END OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY?

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Unfortunately, not the end forever-- greed, selfishness, bigotry, self-righteous feelings of entitlement and victimization, as well as religionist psychosis, will always strive for political representation on the far right of the political spectrum-- but perhaps a much-needed reprieve from the cataclysmic damages the Republican Party has wrought over the past several decades.

It isn't just the cascading Republican scandals-- the endless bribery cases, the sexual perversion, the lying, the shredding of the Constitution-- it's the gestalt of what Republican rule under the Bush Regime has come to represent in the American psyche.

This morning the L.A. Times published a story by Michael Finnegan, GOP Has Uphill Climb For Cash and Candidates, that deals with the internal ramifications of 7 years of George Bush on the GOP itself. The breathtaking drop in Bush's job performance approval rating-- currently 28%, about double that of his thoroughly detested vice president-- only tells part of the story in what Finnegan refers to as "a toxic climate for the Republican Party" and what Republican Congressman Tom Davis (VA) called "a poisonous environment."

The immediate impact is disarray in the party-- most Democrats will tell you that they like all their party's potential nominees for president while most Republicans will tell you they hate all their nominees and that they would rather sit out the race or even vote for Hillary than for Rudy McRomney. And just as ominous for the GOP is a precipitous decline in fundraising success and an increase among first tier candidates to decline requests to run for office next year. The Republican brand itself is severely damaged-- and the damage is getting worse by the day.
The problems can be seen in such places as Florida's 22nd Congressional District, which hugs the coast north of Fort Lauderdale. Republicans held that House seat for a quarter-century. But since losing it last year, the party has had trouble finding a top-tier candidate for it.

Two of the GOP's choices, both state legislators, declined to run. A third, Boca Raton's mayor, said he was weighing whether a Republican had any hope of retaking the district.

... Damaged by ethics scandals in 2006, the GOP in recent weeks has seen FBI raids at businesses or homes connected to two of its congressmen. A federal agency last week began an investigation into Bush advisor Karl Rove's political operation, and congressional panels authorized a flurry of subpoenas related to White House political activities and the run-up to the Iraq war.

Three-term Rep. Rob Simmons of Connecticut, who lost his seat last year by 83 votes, said he turned down an appeal from the GOP to run again in 2008, partly because of the dismal political climate. In a district dominated by Democrats, he said, it has become impossible for even a moderate Republican like himself to win — especially since he voted to authorize the war in Iraq. Republicans in recent days said they had found a solid candidate to run in Simmons' place: the former commander of the area's naval base.

In Colorado, Republican Sen. Wayne Allard's decision not to seek reelection set the stage for one of the nation's most competitive 2008 races. But the top choice of party leaders, former Rep. Scott McInnis, has taken a pass, citing family reasons. McInnis had nearly $1 million stockpiled for the race.


Between the scandals, the lying, the Iraq occupation, and gas prices which mysteriously sunk just before the election and have now soared to the highest levels in history, people are abandoning the GOP in droves. Fully half of all Americans identify themselves as Democrats while only slightly over a third will admit to being Republicans. The GOP had an advantage not that long ago but 5 years of Bush and his rubber stamp Congress with their wrongheaded and unpopular policies have obliterated that entirely.

Yesterday DWT live vlog viewers were treated to the first interview with Michael Wray, a thoughtful, progressive, young Democrat who will be taking on corrupt and reactionary ex-lobbyist Brian Bilbray in CA-50. Wray is bursting with energy, enthusiasm, innovative ideas and solid optimism. A downcast Bilbray described Bush to the Times as "a millstone" around his neck. Yet Bilbray has been a complete and utter rubber stamp for every single horrendous policy Bush and Cheney have put forward-- except on immigration, where Bilbray feels Bush is too moderate. Bilbray seems to favor rounding up every undocumented immigrant and expelling all 12 million of them, an unrealistic non-solution meant to appeal to the lowest instincts of xenophobes and racists.

Normally Republicans make up for their unpopular policies by spending two or three times in advertising what Democrats can afford to spend. They manage to brainwash low information voters into supporting Republican candidates whose agendas are harmful to the very voters who put them in office. This year, however, a great deal of GOP money has dried up-- or even gone to Democrats!
The GOP's relatively weak fundraising totals for the first quarter could also complicate the party's reelection effort, wrote Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report in a recent assessment. Though it can be dangerous to read too much into these early signals, she wrote, "a weak bank account doesn't just make a bad headline, it also makes an incumbent more attractive to a potential challenger."

At the same time, she wrote, the recent totals "tell us that Republicans aren't going to be able to count on their traditional money advantage over Democrats," which will limit the number of Democratic-held House seats they can target.

Even the Republican charged with re-electing GOP House members, right-wing extremist Tom Cole (R-OK) likened his party to "a beaten-down stock." With at least two Republican congressmen-- John Doolittle (CA) and Rick Renzi (AZ)-- probably headed for messy trials and prison between now and the elections that beaten-down stock is more likely to get delisted than turn around.


UPDATE: OH, AND THERE'S ANOTHER, MORE OBVIOUS REASON, THE GOP'S GOING DOWN HARD

Republican journalist Andrew Sullivan points out that "the 20 percent or so of Americans who still think we're winning in Iraq happen to be the Republican base. And so the GOP in Congress has to pick between surviving their own primaries, maintaining civility with their own faithful, and potentially getting wiped out in the next election. The game of chicken is getting very intense. I guess we'll know how strong the kool-aid is by September." I think we have a pretty good idea already.

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8 Comments:

At 12:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The GOP 'base' is freezing out the national party over immigration and RudyMcRomney, expect them to open their wallets if/when Fred Thompson gets in. Also the USSC is currently in the process of hearing a "grassroots advocacy" appeal which may alter McCain-Feingold. Depending on the outcome, there could be an enormous amount of money dumped into races by Swiftboat style groups. Robocalls, poll watchers, voter purge lists, etc, their bag of dirty tricks will be overflowing in '08. If they can't win an election - they'll steal it - again.

 
At 2:02 PM, Anonymous Bil said...

Certainly the end of the Neoconservative and Far Right Republican Faux Christians who hijacked the Party.
Real Conservatives and Republican Christians I believe WILL sit the next election out, or become Independent ex-Republicans like me and probably give Edwards a try. But WHAT A MESS the next president will inherit.
Karma is a bitch and I wouldn't want to be in George W. Bush's shoes.

 
At 4:12 PM, Blogger Robert said...

I doubt its going to be the dem landslide that people on this board seem to think. Bilbray will crush any and all opponents hands down. So start drinking now all you Busby-ites. Also, don't think that discontent with Bush will equal a dem president either. Republicans are tired of Bush, no doubt, but they will likely seek reform in the eyes of another Republican like Rudy. The dems just don't have the talent to out do the Republicans.

 
At 4:48 PM, Anonymous Bil said...

Robert, even though I have disliked Bush2 from the primaries, I still feel Independent enough to vote for a good Republican. And I see much more talent in the Democratic field and a hell of a good cabinet I might add.
Voter reg is dramatically down for Republicans, I think the Christian right KNOWS they were used and why would ANY person of color vote for a Republican? You know what the Republican definition of Diversity is don't you? Two old white men from different oil companies.
I think Rudy is a VERY loose cannon but I COULD live with a Republican having to clean up the mess Bush2 has made. Payback is a bitch too.

 
At 12:44 AM, Anonymous jacqrat said...

Oh yes, Robert! When I look at the lineup the republicans have assembled for '08, the FIRST thing that pops into my head is "talent".

Not.

Step away from the grape flavor-aid, my friend.

 
At 3:04 PM, Anonymous Israel said...

The wonderful news is that the Republican party is going away. Best news I ever heard. The 'old school' republicans of fiscal responsibility have had their eyes opened to reality. From as far back as I existed, 1970, the Republican party has always been about rich getting richer and poor getting poorer. They always claim to care about the budget, but look at history. I do not know, but I am pretty sure the deficit started with Nixon, continued with Carter, grew quickly with Reagan, even faster with Bush Sr.... Then - oh my god - a big spending bloated government Democrat actually eliminated the deficit completely and even built a small surplus... Then Bush Jr., not to be out done, beat his fathers record deficits in his first year in office!!! This was after Greenspan alleged that bad things would happen if we paid off our debt too fast... If you truly care about fiscal responsibility and smaller government then look at history, Republicans will not be responsible, they are like poor white trash with a new credit card.

They claim to care about reducing important waste programs like social security, medicare, medicaide... saving maybe a few $billion$ but at the same time happily wasting $Trillions$ on wars fought for lies. Right now Bush Jr says he will veto a bill to give health care to children costing $10 Billion while in the exact same breath asking congress for another $190 Billion to waste on this war nobody wants!!!

I would hope by now that even the stupidest of Republicans who are not rich would realize that that party has not got their best interest at heart. Think of them as the lessor of two evils, but Democrats care about the people who are not independently wealthy and Republicans do not. Period.

 
At 1:01 PM, Blogger Gayle said...

Considering how old this post is, it looks more like the end of the Democrat party! LOL!

 
At 4:15 PM, Blogger Christopher said...

So Robert, how do you feel about the certainty of the GOP victory against Obama in retrospect? Taste that bitter taste in your mouth? That's what being dead wrong tastes like.

 

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