Wednesday, April 22, 2009

How Relevant Is The Republican Party Outside The Beltway?


In Monday's Washington Post Chris Cillizza holds out the far-fetched hope that Republicans could come back in 2010. It was mostly a lot of spinning from desperate, self-serving Republican politicians like Mark Sanford, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and Haley Barbour. Cillizza's comments about extremist crackpot Eric Cantor, though, caught my attention:
The Virginia Republican is rapidly emerging as the most influential member of Congress on the GOP side. Over the first 90 days of the Obama administration, Cantor has become the president's lead critic-- not an insignificant task, given the number of ambitious Republicans looking to claim that role. And in conversations with any number of other national politicians-- Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney-- they always mention that they are talking to Cantor on a semi-regular basis. Did we mention that the guy raked in nearly $1 million in the first three months of the year? Impressive on all fronts.

Impressive? Well, maybe in the way that it was impressive how many billions of dollars ponzi schemers like "Sir" Allen Stanford and the Madoff Family were able to bilk the American public for before the law caught up with them. Yeah, that was impressive! Cillizza should dig a little more deeply and see where Cantor gets his loot. Only one Republican-- Spencer Bachus (R-AL- $3,789,474), the ranking member of the Financial Services Committee and the primary shill and apologist for America's banksters-- has had a more hefty haul from the financial/insurance/real estate sector than Cantor. Mr. Cantor, a former real estate executive himself and a member of the House Ways & Means Committee, has gobbled up $3,121,188 in legalized bribes from the banksters. Impressive indeed!

Anyway, back to the GOP delusion that 2010 will be their year. Why do they think it will be their year? Polls show moderate and independent voters (although not the Fox and Limbaugh target audience) are unhappy about the mindless obstructionism and unhappy at the harsh right-wing rhetoric directed towards the president by Republican leaders like Cheney, Gingrich, Limbaugh, and the motley crew of teabaggers and secessionists who have been dominating TV screens lately. Mostly Sanford and Cantor base their far-fetched hopes on a political history that says in the first midterm after a president is elected his party loses seats in Congress.

As I've pointed out before, 2010 is shaping up very much like 1934, a severe economic meltdown caused by blind devotion to unimpeded greed disguised as right-wing ideology with major obstructionism by the perps. Back then, decades of anti-family Republican governance resulted in an orgy of unregulated avarice and plunder not seen again until Bush and Cheney seized the driver's wheel in 2000. When FDR first won the presidency, 101 Republicans in the House were defeated, leaving the party with 117 members (while the Democrats had 313 members and the Farmer-Labor Party held 5 seats). Thirteen Republican Senate seats fell to the Democrats leaving a 60-35 balance between Democrats and Republicans.

The reactionary Republicans embarked on the same strategy of obstructionism against President Roosevelt's programs that McConnell, Kyl, DeMint, Boehner, Cantor and Ryan are all about today. The results? In the first midterms Roosevelt faced, instead of his party losing seats, the Republicans lost ten more Senate seats, bringing their Senate rump down to 25, while 14 more GOP House seats were red no more, leaving the Republicans with 103 seats (23.6%), guaranteeing that they would have no say whatsoever in the nation's business. And they just got crazier and crazier, the left-behinds even more radically right and more dedicated to obstructionism than ever. They were certain that in 1936 the voters would see the light and bring them back to power. It didn't quite work out that way for them. Another 15 Republican House seats were flushed down the toilet, leaving the GOP with 88 (20.2%) and bringing the Democrats over the three-quarters mark. In the Senate 8 more Republican seats were lost and they then had a grand total of 17 seats. Roosevelt carried 46 states while the Republican candidate, Alf Landon of Kansas, carried two-- Maine and Vermont, even losing Kansas.

No one ever accused John Cornyn of being a genius but he's more realistic than Cantor and Sanford. He knows the Democrats will take enough Republican held Senate seats in 2010 to give them a filibuster-proof majority. Look for likely GOP losses in Kentucky, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Ohio, Missouri, Florida, and possibly Iowa and Georgia. And then it won't matter if they're still trying to obstruct Al Franken from taking his seat; in fact, at that point, they will cease to exist except as guests on Fox TV and Hate Talk Radio.

Today LiberalLucy at MichiganLiberal shares a report with us from a bunch of panic-striken Republican consultants who ave concluded that, despite the brave face from clowns like Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan, the GOP can't win in 2010.

A new white paper by MDJ&R Strategy Consultants takes a look at why the GOP went from controlling the governor's mansion and both houses of the Legislature before the last redistricting in 2000 to having a Democratic governor and House today. Their study of election data trends predicts neither will change hands in the 2010 election and Republicans will drop to a 20-18 majority in the Senate.

"The numbers aren't there to be successful in 2010," said Dennis Darnoi, former chief of staff for Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop (R-Rochester). "It's clear that the message the top-of-the-ticket candidates have been using isn't resonating. It hasn't been successful for six years."

Darnoi said the GOP has lost suburban and independent voters, particularly from the five biggest counties-- Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Kent and Grand Traverse. Only 32 percent of Michigan voters identify as Republicans, even though 40 percent say they're conservative. Republicans need an 83-county strategy, he said.

On top of that Michigan is likely to follow up it's loss of two congressional seats in 2008 (Knollenberg and Walberg) with two of three more losses. With the exceptions of three almost even splits, Obama won all of the Michigan congressional districts. McCain's best showing was in Pete Hoekstra second district-- he took 51%-- and Hoekstra will be retiring from Congress for a hopeless run at the governorship. The third district-- which resulted in a 49-49% tie that McCain wound up winning by a handful of votes is the home of Vern Ehlers, who could be vulnerable to a strong challenge. Dave Camp, Fred Upton and Mike Rogers are in similar situations. McCain lost Camp's 4th CD district with 48%, lost Upton's 6th with 45% and lost Roger's 8th CD with 46%. The trend is not the friend of any of these out of step kooks who have gone on to obstruct everything Obama has tried to do-- i.e., the agenda for change that their constituents voted for. But the real dead duck is Thaddeus McCotter in the 11th CD. McCain only managed to draw 45% of the vote but it was McCotter's anemic showing that has interested the DCCC so much. McCotter won against a poorly financed, little known challenger with only 51% of the vote. McCotter had a free ride, spending over a million dollars while his Democratic opponent, Joseph Larkin spent $28,957. McCotter has a giant target on his back and will draw a much more substantial opponent in 2010-- and a much better financed one.

There was no need to single out Michigan. The Republicans are facing electoral calamity in almost every state in the Union. Even with California's gerrymandered congressional districts, Democrats are talking about targeting as many as 8 Republicans next year! Although the GOP may be mostly safe in Utah and the other Mormon-dominated states and in most of the former slave-holding states, demographic and political trends are against the Republicans in North Carolina, Virginia and Florida, and starting to crack even in Texas! And on top of this, the vicious statewide (and blogosphere-wideRepublican civil wars are murdering their chances in at least a dozen states. Even John McCain is now facing a serious primary challenge from a lunatic fringe right-wing extremist who is gaining traction. Chris Simcox, founder of a Minuteman fringe group is announcing his bid to oust McCain today.
"John McCain has failed miserably in his duty to secure this nation's borders and protect the people of Arizona from the escalating violence and lawlessness. He has fought real efforts over the years at every turn, opting to hold our nation's border security hostage to his amnesty schemes. Coupled with his votes for reckless bailout spending and big government solutions to our nation's problems, John McCain is out of touch with everyday Arizonans. Enough is enough."

It sounds like the same tune Pennsylvanians are hearing in that state's vicious primary battle between mainstream conservative Arlen Specter and right-wing extremist Pat Toomey. The winner is likely to be a Democrat.

So while circus performers disguised as congressmen like Mike Pence (R-IN) are demanding to grill Hillary Clinton on the Obama-Chavez handshake and while a small handful of radical right obstructionist extremists continue trying to block all of President Obama's nominations-- 23 voted against confirming Christopher Hill as Ambassador to Iraq last night-- Democrats are continuing to work towards the solutions to serious problems, from health care and immigration reforms to reining in the banksters who have looted the economy and fixing the years and years of damage the Bush Regime did to American foreign policy. The GOP will just keep muttering darkly about secession until they wind up with less than 100 members of the House less than 30 in the Senate.

Hillary Clinton Slaps Down Obstructionist Assholes In Congress

Wow! This Secretary of State isn't taking any guff from Republican one man attack machine Dick Cheney of ghoulish GOP shitheads Dana Rohrabacher and Mike Pence. Kos has a great blow-by-blow of the hearings this morning. In response to Pence's inane Limbaugh lines:
Mr. Pence, I have lived a long time now... I lived at the height of the Cold War. I remember virulent communist dictators meeting and shaking (the hands of) our presidents...I have seen us establish relations with Vietnam...with China.

There is no contradiction between standing for our values and engaging with adversaries...

...My bottom line is I am here to serve my country. I am going to support my president...

I respectfully say we have spent eight years and got nowhere. We are going to try different things...We want your constructive input...

President Obama WON the election. He put forth a different opinion and won in the primary. He is the President now.

And now the out of step kooks with nothing but obstructionism and kowtowing to Big Business and ratings-hungry entertainers have something new to work themselves up into a tantrum over. Laughably, they're demanding Obama fire Janet Napolitano because she pointed out that right-wing domestic terrorists, like one who blew up the Oklahoma City Federal building, need to be watched too. If the lobbyists from the tobacco industry and Big Real Estate, otherwise known as GOP leaders, John Boehner and Eric Cantor, actually ask him to fire Napolitano, Obama should ask them to each write this quote from Nobel-prize-winning Paul Krugman on the blackboard hundred times:
Let’s say this slowly: the Bush administration wanted to use 9/11 as a pretext to invade Iraq, even though Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. So it tortured people to make them confess to the nonexistent link.

There’s a word for this: it’s evil.

Perhaps it would focus their confused minds on something useful for America.

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At 5:30 AM, Anonymous Lee said...


I loved Chris Matthews comment last night that the only thing the Republicans have going for them is
the 2 ts

taxes (cut)

At 1:41 PM, Anonymous Balakirev said...

"Anyway, back to the GOP delusion that 2010 will be their year. Why do they think it will be their year?"

1) The corporate media, which is either extremely conservative, or operating in Don Knotts mode. 2) Hopes that the economy will continue to stall, and that all the ranting on #1, above, will pay off with a "kick the Dems out" result.

Come on, guys. This isn't rocket science. The Rethugs are a serious threat, whatever their polling numbers now may suggest. They have access to money, power, and above all, media visibility. We really should be focusing on doing something focused about that.


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