Tuesday, November 04, 2008

What The GOP's Next Act?


Yesterday Paul Krugman posed the question many of us have been relishing-- what will the GOP turn into after today's colossal drubbing? You see there's a problem with cognitive dissonance: all but the seriously delusional recognize that they have been rejected by the American people but they simultaneously refuse to recognize that the American people have rejected anything about them at all. Huh? Let the Nobel laureate explain:
You might think, perhaps hope, that Republicans will engage in some soul-searching, that they’ll ask themselves whether and how they lost touch with the national mainstream. But my prediction is that this won’t happen any time soon.

Instead, the Republican rump, the party that’s left after the election, will be the party that attends Sarah Palin’s rallies, where crowds chant “Vote McCain, not Hussein!” It will be the party of Saxby Chambliss, the senator from Georgia, who, observing large-scale early voting by African-Americans, warns his supporters that “the other folks are voting.” It will be the party that harbors menacing fantasies about Barack Obama’s Marxist-- or was that Islamic?-- roots.

Why will the G.O.P. become more, not less, extreme? For one thing, projections suggest that this election will drive many of the remaining Republican moderates out of Congress, while leaving the hard right in place.

Not that there are really many "moderates" to begin with; let's call them mainstream conservatives to differentiate them with the fascist-leaning radicals who dominate the party. But of the 20 House Republicans most willing to cross party lines and vote with the Democrats from time to time, at least half be gone after January: Wayne Gilchrest (MD), Chris Shays (CT), Mark Kirk (IL), Mike Ferguson (NJ), Dave Reichert (WA), Jim Ramstad (MN), James Walsh (NY), Jim Saxton (NJ), Jon Porter (NV), and Ray LaHood (IL). Similarly, the of the 15 senators who feel most compelled to break with their extremist party sometimes, 7-- Gordon Smith (OR), Norm Coleman (MN), Ted Stevens (AK), Chuck Hagel (NE), John Warner (VA), Pete Domenici (NM), and John Sununu (NH) -- won't be returning to the Senate in January, all but Hagel being replaced by Democrats. Back to Krugman:
[T]he Republican base already seems to be gearing up to regard defeat not as a verdict on conservative policies, but as the result of an evil conspiracy. A recent Democracy Corps poll found that Republicans, by a margin of more than two to one, believe that Mr. McCain is losing “because the mainstream media is biased” rather than “because Americans are tired of George Bush.”

And Mr. McCain has laid the groundwork for feverish claims that the election was stolen, declaring that the community activist group Acorn-- which, as Factcheck.org points out, has never “been found guilty of, or even charged with” causing fraudulent votes to be cast-- “is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.” Needless to say, the potential voters Acorn tries to register are disproportionately “other folks,” as Mr. Chambliss might put it.

...[T]he G.O.P.’s long transformation into the party of the unreasonable right, a haven for racists and reactionaries, seems likely to accelerate as a result of the impending defeat.

This will pose a dilemma for moderate conservatives. Many of them spent the Bush years in denial, closing their eyes to the administration’s dishonesty and contempt for the rule of law. Some of them have tried to maintain that denial through this year’s election season, even as the McCain-Palin campaign’s tactics have grown ever uglier. But one of these days they’re going to have to realize that the G.O.P. has become the party of intolerance.

Olympia Snowe (ME), Arlen Specter (PA), George Voinovich (OH), he;s talking to you. And in the House... mainstream conservatives like Christopher Smith (NJ), Frank LoBiondo (NJ), Timothy Johnson (IL), Mike Castle (DE), Jim Gerlach (PA), Tim Murphy (PA), even Jo Ann Emerson (MO) and Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ) are going to feel very lonely, very out of place, very irrelevant in a sectarian regional party based even more on hatred and bigotry than it is now, a party where the rising stars are drooling psychotics like Lynn Westmoreland (GA), Marsha Blackburn (TN), Doug Lamborn (CO), Patrick McHenry (NC), Mike Pence (IN), Steve King (IA) and Eric Cantor (VA).

Josh Marshall seems to be postulating that if the Palin (and Joe the Plumber) crowd actually take over the GOP, it won't just be a regional party but one that caters to those whose "areas of higher reasoning and cognition (frontal lobes and all that) are flat-lining or tracking into oblivion." He doesn't think it can happen.
Even a week or so back a poll of Republicans found that Palin came in third behind Romney and Huckabee in their choice for a 2012 nominee.

The conventional wisdom seems to be that only the conservative 'intellectuals' have a beef with Palin. But I'm pretty sure the post-election view is going to seem very different. The chatter out of the McCain campaign only confirms what her two months on the public stage has made painfully clear. Palin wasn't simply unprepared for intense scrutiny of a national campaign. The woman is an ignoramus of almost unprecedented magnitude in the annals of national politics. It's not just that virtually every-non-Republican has a negative view of her. I just don't see a national party getting behind someone like that. And before you snark, "What about George Bush?" Sorry but there's no comparison. Whatever else I think of him, he's not a moron. And while he appears to be astoundingly incurious, there's simply no comparison to Palin.



At 8:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very true. Bush is a also shrewd, hard-nosed, and ruthless. Palin is a powermonger, like all politicians, but she hasn't any brains to speak of, and she was woefully ill-equipped to move into the national league.

I do expect the hard right wing of the Reps to come up on top after this election, given that they'll predominate still further in the party. And they will rally around her, at least for a while, until somebody else comes along with brains who easily topples her from her perch. It won't be Romney; the Mormons haven't got enough power to make the Reps form a devil's alliance, I think, as they did with the neo-con radicals. It might be Huck; he has a strong far-right evangelical powerbase, and this is a marriage the Reps have made, before. However, they've only wanted to pay lip service to that wing of their party, and getting in a president who actually walks the walk probably scares plenty of them.

It won't be Giuliani. There has been no more fitting punishment for the lying, hypocritical former NY mayor who helped create many more casualities on 9/11 than the one he created in turning himself into a low class court jester.

But in any case, I think the Reps are going to be reestablishing themselves for a while, at least if Obama forms a working coalition with the Congressional Dems that Gets. Things. Done. If instead it becomes business as usual in Congress, the honeymoon between Obama and the US public is going to be very short, indeed. We want action, not wordy blowhards like Reid talking tough and caving in.

At 9:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obama is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He maketh me lie down on my couch to ponder.
He leadeth me beside still factories.
He restoreth my welfare check.
He leadeth me in paths of socialism, for his name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of unemployment, I will fear no evil,
for Pelosi and Reid, they will comfort me.
He prepareth a tax break for me in the presence of my social worker.
He anoints my bank account with someone else's wealth that he has spread around.
Surely slumber and laziness shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in my house, and on my couch, forever.

At 10:18 AM, Blogger 333 said...

The picture of a Klansman fares all to familiar when one considers the death knell of the Republican Party. In fact, just last night a friend from North Carolina and I pondered via IM, that as we consider the past years, gun control is not the issue, it is Bomb Control.

As we think back to the days of our " first black President..." Bill Clinton, we must remember the large amount of Domestic Terrorism that gripped the country for 6 years.

Think of the Oklahoma City Bombing, the Waco Disaster where Religious Zealouts were clinging to their Guns and Religion.

Think of Ruby Ridge, where a man selling sawed-off shotguns caused mass terror on a Mountain top.

Think of Eric Robert Rudolph who amassed his share of terrorism against the unborn at the very clinics he despised for...terrorizing the unborn?

Think of the Gays, Lesbians, and Transgendered folks who were bombed in Atlanta.

Consider then, the Olympic Games in 1996 which were bombed by an Extremist who was desperately clinging to his GUNS and his RELIGION. He hated diversity.

Prepare for the worst. It is not the GUNS and Religion you should fear...

It is the Bombs and Religion.


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