Sunday, November 11, 2012

David Frum Says It Isn't The Democraphics Killing The GOP-- It's The Message


I hope you watched the video above. Most of it-- as you might expect if you know anything about Joe Scarborough and his Villager guests-- is worthless, but the David Frum parts are extremely valuable. They stand out like a sore thumb from the rest of the drivel. For me the key segments were Frum trying to get to the bottom of what's wrong with the GOP today. "Mitt Romney's message," he tried explaining to a barely sentient Scarborough, "is 'I am going to take away Medicare from everybody under 55; I'm going to cut Medicaid for everybody by about a third, and I'm going to do that to finance a giant tax cut for me and my friends, and the reason I'm doing that is because half the country contribute nothing to the national endeavor'." Towards thge end of the bullsession, he tried again when asked about Republican leadership post-Romney:
I believe the Republican Party is a party of followership. The problem with the Republican leaders is that they're cowards, not that they're fundamentally mistaken. The real locus of the problem is the Republican activist base and the Republican donor base. They went apocalyptic over the past four years. And that was exploited by a lot of people in the conservative world. I won't soon forget the lupine smile that played over the head of a major conservative institution when he told me that our donors think the apocalypse has arrived. Republicans have been fleeced and exploited and lied to by a conservative entertainment complex... Because the followers, the donors and the activists are so mistaken about the nature of the problems the country faces... I went to Tea Party rallies and I would ask this question: 'have taxes gone up or down in the past four years?' They could not answer that question correctly. Now it's true that taxes will go up if the President is re-elected and that's why we're Republicans. But you have to know that taxes have not gone up in the past. And do we spend a trillion dollars on welfare? Is that true or false? It is false. But it is almost universally believed. That means that the leaders have no space to operate... What happened to Mitt Romney was he was twisted into pretzels; the people who put the cement shoes on his feet are now blaming him for sinking."
Yesterday in the NY Times' Laurie Goodstein had a different way of looking at it that fits in with Frum's perspective-- the failure of the hucksters and frauds who make up the so-called "Christian right." The Christian conservatives have been pillars of the GOP for decades and now the have to own part of the rejection of the party-- and their values/bigotry-- by voters Tuesday.
It is not as though they did not put up a fight; they went all out as never before: The Rev. Billy Graham dropped any pretense of nonpartisanship and all but endorsed Mitt Romney for president. Roman Catholic bishops denounced President Obama’s policies as a threat to life, religious liberty and the traditional nuclear family. Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition distributed more voter guides in churches and contacted more homes by mail and phone than ever before.

“Millions of American evangelicals are absolutely shocked by not just the presidential election, but by the entire avalanche of results that came in,” R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, in Louisville, Ky., said in an interview. “It’s not that our message-- we think abortion is wrong, we think same-sex marriage is wrong-- didn’t get out. It did get out.

“It’s that the entire moral landscape has changed,” he said. “An increasingly secularized America understands our positions, and has rejected them.”

...The younger generation is even less religious: about one-third of Americans ages 18 to 22 say they are either atheists, agnostics or nothing in particular. Americans who are secular are far more likely to vote for liberal candidates and for same-sex marriage. Seventy percent of those who said they had no religion voted for Mr. Obama, according to exit polls conducted by Edison Research.

“This election signaled the last where a white Christian strategy is workable,” said Robert P. Jones, chief executive of the Public Religion Research Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research and education organization based in Washington.

“Barack Obama’s coalition was less than 4 in 10 white Christian,” Dr. Jones said. “He made up for that with not only overwhelming support from the African-American and Latino community, but also with the support of the religiously unaffiliated.”

...[R]eligious liberals are gradually becoming more visible. Liberal clergy members spoke out in support of same-sex marriage, and one group ran ads praising Mr. Obama’s health care plan for insuring the poor and the sick. In a development that highlighted the diversity within the Catholic Church, the “Nuns on the Bus” drove through the Midwest warning that the budget proposed by Representative Paul D. Ryan, the Republican vice-presidential nominee, would cut the social safety net.

For the Christian right in this election, fervor and turnout were not the problem, many organizers said in interviews. White evangelicals made up 26 percent of the electorate-- 3 percent more than in 2004, when they helped to propel President George W. Bush to re-election. During the Republican primaries, some commentators said that Mr. Romney’s Mormon faith would drive away evangelicals, many of whom consider his church a heretical cult.

And yet, in the end, evangelicals voted overwhelmingly for Mr. Romney-- even matching the presidential vote of Mormons: 78 percent for Mr. Romney and 21 percent for Mr. Obama, according to exit polls by Edison Research.

“We did our job,” said Mr. Reed, who helped pioneer religious voter mobilization with the Christian Coalition in the 1980s and ’90s, and is now founder and chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition. He said that his organization outdid itself this year, putting out 30 million voter guides in 117,000 churches, 24 million mailings to voters in battleground states and 26 million phone calls.

“Those voters turned out, and they voted overwhelmingly against Obama,” Mr. Reed said. “But you can’t be driving in the front of the boat and leaking in the back of the boat, and win the election.

“You can’t just overperform among voters of faith,” he continued. “There’s got to be a strategy for younger voters, unmarried voters, women voters-- especially single women-- and minorities.”

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At 11:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was stunning. The extreme blindness and privilege of the pundit class on display. They had no response to Frum but to change the subject and to move on to their comfort zone of petty, inside the beltway chatter.

Yet Frum is blind himself, and demonstrates how powerful his ideology and cognitive dissonance are. Despite the very critique he provides, Frum insists that Romney would have been a wonderful president. Based on what? The only thing Romney and the Republican party campaigned on in response to the very economic conditions created by the last 40 years of Republican policy: "More tax cuts. Let them eat tax cuts."


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