Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Republican Party Has A Dilemma


If they can't get Cheney back there's always the lovable Hammer

Today two of the NY Times' top political reporters are on the case: Adam Nagourney and David Herszenhorn-- a broader party or a purer one?. How about this for a Hobson's choice: they have to decide if they're the party of Lindsey Graham or of Jim DeMint.

The Limbaugh wing-- pretty much all that's left-- is demanding a grand purge of any mainstream conservatives left in the power structure. They're celebrating the departure of Specter and grousing they're "stuck with" John McCain, Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, and looking askance at George Voinovich, Dick Lugar, Mike Castle, Frank LoBiondo, Vernon Ehlers, Chris Smith, Tim Johnson, Fred Upton, Walter Jones, Mark Kirk... and having second thoughts about having welcomed former Democrats Rodney Alexander and Ralph Hall into the party.

Just about the only thing all Republicans can agree on-- at least behind closed doors-- is that "the party is in its worst political position in recent memory." Why is another story. An internal poll that leaked to AP shows that the public regards them as basically incompetent-- on everything. Some say the reason for their hard times is because the party has strayed too far to the right. Others say it hasn't gone nearly far enough. Some seem to want to blame the entire catastrophe of the Bush years-- 8 years marked by 100% rubber stamp subservience on the part of Republican congressmen-- on... Arlen Specter!

Chris Chocola was a two-term wingnut congressman from northern Indiana who was so universally disliked by his colleagues that his defeat in 2006 was the occasion for discreet merriment in the Republican caucus. Now he's the head of the far right front group, Club for Growth, a purity monitor disliked and mistrusted by mainstream conservatives. “We strayed from our principles of limited government, individual responsibility and economic freedom," he hectored. "We have to adhere to those principles to rebuild the party. Those are the brand of the Republican Party, and people feel that we betrayed the brand.” Chocola is set to be a major scapegoat if Specter wins his Senate seat as a Democrat next year, which looks extremely likely.

The Inside-the-Beltway GOP Establishment isn't interested in purity, only in power and they all know elections are won in the middle and decided by moderates. The lust for right-wing purity has sent moderates fleeing from the GOP in great numbers, not just in Pennsylvania where there are now 1.2 million more registered Democrats than registered Republicans, but even in states like Virginia, Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, Iowa and New Mexico. Even a hard core rightist like Texas Senator John Cornyn says the party will die as a national entity if they don't show some flexibility. The problem the Republicans have is that when they try enlarging the teeny weeny pup tent into something resembling a national party, they wake up to the shrieking and wailing of the Rush Limbaughs and Glenn Becks and Ann Coulters, the Hannitys and O'Reillys and all the kooks and loons who have become the voice of modern Republicanism to the unwashed masses-- the base.

Many Republican electeds-- perhaps most-- just don't want to deal with it, don't want to get down in the trenches and fight a civil war. They'd rather do what they can to sabotage Obama, hope he fails and gets blamed for the Depression they caused, and that somehow that will wind up getting them voted back into power.

But with few in the GOP establishment with the stomach to take on Limbaugh and the teabaggers, it can only be rumors and wishful thinking that the NRSC is going to slap down Chocola now and abandon Pat Toomey and replace him as the GOP nominee with a mainstream conservative. Still, the source is NRSC Vice-Chairman Orrin Hatch. Speaking about Toomey he said "I don’t think there is anybody in the world who believes he can get elected senator there" and when prodded about the NRSC getting behind Toomey's candidacy, as the far right-roots are shrilly demanding, he said the GOP needed to find “someone who can win there" (like Tom Ridge, who is beloved of Pennsylvania Republicans and detested by the radical right who see him as pro-choice and pro-tax and pro-government).

There were already frantic tom toms beating late into the night yesterday as the lunatic fringe started to realize the Establishment might try to undo what they see as their coup in getting rid of Specter. One of the heroes of the extremists, South Carolina Know Nothing Jim DeMint doesn't represent too many Republican electeds when he says “I would rather have 30 Republicans in the Senate who really believe in principles of limited government, free markets, free people, than to have 60 that don’t have a set of beliefs.” (Bob Menendez is rooting for DeMint's point of view to prevail.) The nuts like DeMint are convinced that the GOP has lost so badly in the last two election cycles-- and seems poised for worse losses to come-- because they abandoned right-wing purity so they could enjoy the fruits of power. They've convinced themselves that they need to be more extreme to have a broader appeal. Lindsey Graham and others in the Senate think this is absolutely delusional.
“We are not losing blue states and shrinking as a party because we are not conservative enough. If we pursue a party that has no place for someone who agrees with me 70 percent of the time, that is based on an ideological purity test rather than a coalition test, then we are going to keep losing... Do you really believe that we lost 18-to-34-year-olds by 19 percent, or we lost Hispanic voters, because we are not conservative enough? No. This is a ridiculous line of thought. The truth is we lost young people because our Republican brand is tainted.”

The more realistic among them are now admitting they have no ideas and that there are basically no reasons to vote for a Republican other than the real primal stuff: racism, xenophobia, homophobia-- stuff even they are starting to get nervous about-- and the greed thing. So they put their best minds together (staffers for Bush's brother, Willard and McCain) and came up with an idea! Really. It's in this morning's Washington Post. They're going to go around the country and ask people in country clubs what to do about issues they never cared about while they controlled the government, like health care and education-- you know, the stuff rich people never realized was a problem. They did have one good idea though: "A letter announcing the group's creation does not specifically say that it is separate from the Republican National Committee, but controversial RNC chair Michael Steele is not involved in the effort." (Also conspicuously not invited are bomb-throwing trouble-makers like Newt Gingrich, the Republican party's foremost historian Michele Bachmann, and McCain's former VP pick, Sarah Palin.)

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At 9:53 AM, Anonymous Tim Singleton said...

I am a conservative and I appreciate your post, though, clearly we do not have the same principles nor expectations of government.

The Republican party has FAILED. Why do I say that? Because they tried to keep just enough of their principled positions to call themselves Republicans and give bennies to those who look to me as a taxpayer to support them to keep them voting for them, too.

The Republicans ground on the small businessman while short stroking their Wallstreet buddies. They called this being strong on capitalism and business when it was actually economic Fascism.

YOU are not entitled to a piece of my paycheck. No one is. Sure I am obligated to pay in to help support the government's activities, but where does that end?

As I see it, on the one hand we conservative, small business owners are trapped between the Fascist Republicans and their Wallstreet bankers and the Marxist Democrats and the poor from whom they buy votes they know they cannot keep. (No, driving the entire country into bankruptcy is not the same as really paying for healthcare.)

Neither party is fair, neither party is wise, and both will destroy us as a republic with economic opportunity, given time.

At 9:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Meh, you're not representing the Republican Party in a very fair way and like most liberal bloggers you're just painting a fantasy picture of how you want the Republican Party to look like so you can continue to whine and whine and whine about them.
It's in vogue to do this kind of blogging and if you're this hard-line of a democrat (and well let's be honest, you are) then you should really seek some payment, man. Obama's playing good cop while he pays bloggers like you to play bad cop. It's ingenious.

At 10:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having grown up in Britain I recognize the difference between being conservative and being a Conservative. One is a responsible human being trying to minimize wastefullnes, while the other is a political animal bent on creating an uber-class of priviliged, wealthy individuals bred to be 'leaders'. Sadly many in the Republican Party took on the guise of the latter while hoping to fool voters into believing they were the former. Finally voters look a closer look and realized the difference, and that is why the Republican Party is in such dire straits. We don't want a return to Monarchy, we don't want a priviliged self-appointed 'ruling' class made up of excessively wealthy individuals. We want the best of the best to be our leaders, and that is demonstrated by actions, not wealth.

At 10:52 AM, Blogger JacklynD said...

The Republican Party is a reduction of reactionary fatheads.. There is no central ideal anymore. The people running it are not interested in the common good. It is all about power. Bush's appointees reflect the shallowness of the group as a whole. It didn't occur to Bush that it was important to have qualified people in positions of authority (FEMA - Michael Brown). They adopted torture tactics without doing any research as to their effectiveness. He entered a Viet Nam type of war with no end game. Despite their claims of fiscal superiority they spent our nation’s money like drunken sailors with little or no oversight (Halliburton Blackwater). Bush rewarded buddies and political backroom heavies.

When it was apparent that McCain could lose the election, the party leaders chose a woman (any woman would do) to capture disgruntled Hillary supporters. They actually believed that women were voting for Hillary just because she was a woman and didn't draw a distinction between her and Palin. They found a black man and stuck him in as leader of the party - literally.

These are not rational well-thought-out progressive measures adopted to improve the United States of America. Most Americans are common sense middle-of-the-road kind of people. We're practical and progressive. We believe in fair play. So much so that we recognized a truthful voice and many set aside superficial racial prejudices and elected a black man as president.

If the Republicans continue to embrace creationism, rudeness, right is might, my religion or the highway, if you don't agree with me you are anti American slogans, they don't stand a chance and good riddance. Rational people won't stand with them.

At 12:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said, JacklynD

At 12:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A left wing blogger named "DownWithTyranny"? That's adorable! Why don't you look up the Republican you lefties claim to worship, Abraham Lincoln. See what he had to say about tyranny, and put the kool-aid down when you're done.

At 2:44 PM, Anonymous Bil said...

Bachmann won 3rd place for the Worst Person in the world for that one! She has almost as many trophies as BillO, the loofah-falafel king.

However, Virginia Fox ran away with the worst person for slandering the hate crimes bill victim.


At 3:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just remember who is really footing the bill in this country. And it isn't you lazy sots that finally got out of your houses on election day. The government can only create so many jobs for you. If folks that actually paid taxes were the only ones that could vote then we would have a different president. Sure would be nice if the Administration's cabinet picks could even do that much. Wake up people!

At 7:13 AM, Anonymous WorkingTommyC said...

Thanks, Tim Singleton! Great comments!

The U.S. Constitution never even seems to come into the equation for the petty tyrants in both major parties. A CONSTITUTIONAL republic would not be having economic and personal liberty problems to this degree.

A two party system is little better than a one party system in this regard: they're playing the same games and very few there will try to hold them accountable to the law.

The only real solution I can see is grinding down the two major parties to the point that we can get 4th and 5th and 6th party members elected as well. It needs to get to the point that the parties are weakened so much that they can not push a national agenda and must resort to the Supreme Law of the Land.

Rather than pretend one party is much better than the other, I'd rather vote on the individuals based on their adherence to the U.S. Constitution.

Yeah, I'm dreaming, here.


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