The Republican crack-up

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by jterrell, Jan 11, 2008.

  1. jterrell

    jterrell Penguinite

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    From The Economist print edition
    The Republican Party is in a mess. The answer is surprisingly simple

    BACK in July 2007, John Heilemann, a writer for New York magazine and an alumnus of this newspaper, argued that it was possible to imagine John McCain winning the Republican nomination—but only if you had been fortified by “half a bottle of Maker's Mark, followed by a nitrous-oxide chaser”. Mr McCain is now back. But a bigger question remains. Do you need to partake of Mr Heilemann's chemical cocktail to believe that the Republican nomination is worth having?

    The Republicans look like dead men walking. Almost two-thirds of Americans regard the Iraq war as a mistake. A similar proportion think that the country is on the wrong track. Americans regard the Democrats as more competent than Republicans by a margin of five to three and more ethical by a margin of two to one. They prefer Democratic policies on everything from health care to taxes.

    These figures have come to life in Iowa and New Hampshire. Twice as many Democrats turned out to caucus in Iowa as Republicans. The Democrats are fired up with Bush-hatred and ready to take the White House. The Republicans are despondent and defensive. “I'd rather vote for a dead dog than a Democrat”, one New Hampshirite told this columnist. “But the way things are going it might have to be the dead dog.”

    The party has flailed around for a champion without success. Rudy Giuliani led the national polls for months only to implode. Fred Thompson sped to the front for a while only to fall asleep at the wheel. The party is divided into warring factions. Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee have as much in common as their respective alma maters—Harvard Business School and Ouachita Baptist University. The party is also in danger of going off the deep end. Mr Huckabee denies that man is descended from the apes. Everyone except Mr McCain seems to think that it's a good plan to send 12m illegal immigrants back home.

    The party's travails are producing a fierce argument on the right. Are the Republicans' problems just part of the normal political cycle? Or do they portend the end of an era? The pragmatists argue that the problems are just a matter of competence and happenstance. The war in Iraq was badly managed until Bob Gates and General David Petraeus took over. The White House's response to Hurricane Katrina was dismal. The Republican majority in Congress fell victim to the normal foibles of greed and lust. Voters always grow tired of incumbents.

    The fundamentalists think that there is something much deeper going on. Ed Rollins, a former Reagan aide who is now Mr Huckabee's campaign chairman, argues that the machine that Ronald Reagan built is now finished. The coalition of social conservatives, defence conservatives and anti-tax conservatives “doesn't mean a whole lot to people anymore”. Mr Huckabee is openly critical of George Bush's foreign policy.

    The truth is more nuanced. There is more than happenstance at work, but less than the break-up of the Republican coalition. Mr Bush's people pursued a self-defeating political strategy. They fired up the Republican base, ignoring the centre and rewarding their loyalists with government largesse. But Mr Bush's serial incompetence destroyed his narrow majority. And his addiction to government spending alienated fiscal conservatives.

    Mr Bush's Republicans also made serious policy errors. They stuck their head in the sand over global warming. They ignored rising anxiety about stagnating middle-class incomes. They turned the war on terrorism into a defining issue and then messed it up. Mr Reagan had a lasting influence not just because he forged a coalition but also because he was right on the biggest issues of his time—the importance of shrinking government and facing down communism. The Republicans are now in danger of being either wrong or half wrong on two of the defining issues of our time—global warming and radical Islam.

    This suggests that the Republicans need to engage in some vigorous rethinking, and fast. But it does not add up to a case for taking a jack-hammer to the Reagan coalition. The coalition has served the Republicans handsomely in the past—they will have held the White House for 20 of the past 28 years and controlled the House for 12 years from 1995. Jackhammering the coalition would almost certainly be a disaster. Do the Republicans really want to abandon a chunk of their core voters when they are already behind in the polls? And do they want to engage in a civil war in the middle of a tight election?
    The value of values

    Business conservatives can never win a majority without the support of “values voters” (there just are not enough people around who look like Mr Romney). “Values voters” can never produce a viable governing coalition without the help of the business elite. The Republicans have seen revolts against their ruling coalition before—remember Pat Buchanan's pitchfork rebellion against George Bush senior—and they have always succeeded in putting it back together again. They need to do the same now. Enough Republicans believe enough of the Reagan mantra—less government, traditional values and strong defence—to make it a workable philosophy.

    The doomsters draw the wrong lesson from the Bush years. The lesson of the Bush presidency is not that the Republican coalition is exhausted but that it has been badly managed. Mr Bush has failed to keep the coalition in balance—he tilted too far towards his party's moralistic southern wing and too far away from its libertarian western wing. He has allowed public spending to balloon and pork-barrel politicians to run wild. And he has ignored big changes in public opinion about climate change. The Republican Party certainly needs to update its agenda to deal with problems Reagan never grappled with. But this is no time to go breaking the mould and starting again.
  2. theogt

    theogt Surrealist Zone Supporter

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    It's too bad that Giuliani's career was jump-started by prosecuting Wall Street. His policies are are about as "business conservative" as they come, yet his history keeps those types away. But, that's not the end of the road. Ten years ago, a fiscally conservative/socially liberal candidate would not have stood a chance. Yet, here we are and Giuliani is a viable candidate. I think that shows we're closer as a society towards reallignment of the political parties. Though it's a breakdown of the "Reagan coalition," it doesn't necessarily mean it's a breakdown of the Republican party. Or maybe it does. I'd be just as excited to see a fiscally conservative Democrat run in 2012 and I'm (literally) a card-carrying Republican.
  3. burmafrd

    burmafrd Benched

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    So who wrote this particular bit of total drivel? No author appears- now why is that?
    And I wonder if WHOEVER wrote this will ever admit how wrong he/she/it is about both Iraq and Global NON warming.
  4. ThaBigP

    ThaBigP New Member

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    You know guys and gals, the same can be said of the Democratic Party. Hillary represents the "establishment", or as some like to call the "Clinton Machine" wing of the Dem party. She was annointed by both her party and the mainstream press as the inevitable candidate, and indeed the inevitable next President. Obama threw a wrench into those plans (yes, I didn't say "monkey wrench". Heh. I'm attempting to avoid the same innocent mistake Hillary made when she said that Obama hasn't "put in enough spade work" a little while back). But PC bullcrap aside, yeah, the races are a tossup on both sides. Unfortunately if you are a true-blue conservative (perhas I should say "Reagan conservative"), your probably not too happy. Most of the candidates do not fall into that catagory, with the possible exception of Thompson, but he's not doing too well (he was actually my guy at the outset of this....but I digress).
  5. jterrell

    jterrell Penguinite

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    The difference in the two parties is night and day.

    The Dems have 2 candidates they really like and are turning out in records highs at the polls. The Repubs have candidates most Repubs can't stand and the only candidate with any core loyal following is not a real Republican: Ron Paul.

    The races are tight but that's like a football game between miami and the raiders being close on the Repub side while the Dems have a Dallas-Green Bay matchup.

    It is really just the natural cycle of things.
    We had 8 years of Repub leadership and it was seriously underwhelming. There were broken laws and moral fiascoes galore. The stuff that affects the majority almost every time power is handed over.

    GW Bush helped buddies but he didn't help the party as a whole. His administration is almost all disgraced to the point of being out of politics for the foreseeable future with the exception of Condi Rice who is very likely a lesbian with ex-lovers to be discovered if scrutiny falls on her. In short there just isn't any Repub momentum. That's how a 71 year old guy with next to no campaign money just won a primary about as far away from his home base as is physically possible.

    Even within the Repub party neotards is becoming a common and popular lambaste.
  6. silverbear

    silverbear Semi-Official Loose Cannon

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    Sure looks like it's because it's an editorial by The Economist... which NEVER puts the author's name on any piece... here's what they have to say on the subject:

    So, what we have here is an editorial policy... FWIW, the Economist is a British publication, and regularly produces articles critical of both sides of the American political fence...

    Just reread that article, and I don't see either subject mentioned... once again, you mindlessly attempt to insert your agenda where your agenda simply does not exist...

    What's funny is this article is saying that the GOP does not need to "jackhammer" the Reagan coalition, IOW it's saying that the philosophical basis for the Republican Party is viable... it merely says that Dubya corrupted that coalition, and now it needs to be put back on the right track...

    So the author is opining that the GOP is NOT doomed, at least not in the long term...

    And you find this annoying... what a commentary that is on your ability to actually comprehend what you're reading... apparently, ANY criticism of the right sends you into attack mode, even a thoughtful criticism that basically says the GOP ought to "stay the course"...

    Once it gets Dubya out of the way... but as you always do, you go into full-blown knee-jerk attack mode at any hint of criticsm of the right... in your black and white world, the right is NEVER in the wrong...

    Which demonstrates once again that a closed mind is a terrible thing...
  7. Jordan55

    Jordan55 Active Member

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    So who wins the nomination for the Democrats? because there is great divide between the far left and the young crowd which are supporting Obama and as for Hillary, will she has the support of the Bill Clinton historians.
    Still have 10 more months we will see how it plays out.
  8. burmafrd

    burmafrd Benched

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    You notice only Conservative Blacks can be insulted by liberals. Jterrel just shows his racist and bigoted self there.
  9. jterrell

    jterrell Penguinite

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    We'll know first week of February.

    I expect Hillary to win the delegate race fairly easily.
    She would have done better had Michigan not been penalized for moving up their primary.

    The real truth is Obama has only fared well in polls in places he has spent a great deal of time and energy. He simply can't hit every state as hard as he did Iowa and NH. Iowa was the easiest because it was the first and a very small state. NH, was a bit tougher and he was met there by Hillary's renewed effort. Obama has a great shot at capturing South Carolina because he spent a good deal of time there, Oprah campaigned for him there and the anti-Hillary angst is high there.

    But, once you get past SCar, Obama doesn't poll well in any of the other non Illinois states.

    In short it is a like a big budget film versus a small Cannes film festival winner. In the end substance can bridge the gap but it is unlikely.

    Obama does have the college crowd which again to me just signifies he will ultimately realize his goal of being President but it isn't this election cycle. He could run for governor of Illinois or any major state and win or he could be VP or remain a state senator. He will have name cache and experience next go round.

    Where GWB worked for Hiillary, Obama would be best served by a Repub win this election cycle followed by the same type of inept Repub leadership.
  10. theogt

    theogt Surrealist Zone Supporter

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    And yet, in the general election national polls between all of the candidates it's a relatively close call, with the Republican leading any many cases (e.g., McCain leading Hillary in almost every poll; Giuliani leading Hillary in several polls).

    I mean, seriously, if the Democrats can't win this election, with everything in the world lending towards a Democratic blowout (as you yourself contest), then what does that say of the Democratic party?
  11. jterrell

    jterrell Penguinite

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    That's actually not true at all.

    Hillary dominates most Repub candidates in the polls and has been behind McCain only recently and Rudy only previously.

    Obama fared even better against Repub candidates.

    When it is all said and done, Dems win this election cycle. It isn't about raw poll numbers it is about who can carry which states and which party gets their members to the polls. Dems are going to the polls.

    But I do hope you keep talking that like because the more talk like that is generated the more Democrats will vote HRC. They are aware the Clintons know how to beat Repubs.

    The latest poll of Hillary versus Guiliana I saw looked close, Hillary was ahead by like 2% but she won the electoral vote count handily, 306 to 176.

    In the battlegrund states of Florida, Ohio, Nevada, Pennsylvania HRC is very popular.

    the closest battle may well be with McCain but Hillary has a slight delegate edge even then...
    check this site out:

    They are advertising anti-Hillary ads on the site itself so hard to call them shills for her by the way.
  12. theogt

    theogt Surrealist Zone Supporter

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    Are you normally this wrong?

    Thank you Captain Obvious.

    Precisely my point. It's close. Everything is pointing towards the notion that this election should be a landslide. Yet, it doesn't look like it will be. What does that say about the Democratic party? About the Republican party? Stop being a hack for just a moment and think about it.
  13. Jordan55

    Jordan55 Active Member

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    Jterrel, I would not be surprised to see Obama, beat Hillary, he keeps getting more supporting endorsements from some of the top Democratic members.
    Apparently they don't think she can win, Obama could take this nomination from her.
    Although I would prefer her over him, "did I just type that", since he has no track record to be able to judge him, he's to new on the scene, no one knows where this guy stands.
    I don't even believe the democratic faithful know, but we'll see how it shakes out. There is alot of contempt for Hillary, maybe she can have a few more ringers set up in her campaign speaches, the one the other day was too much.

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