Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Future of the GOP

The Republican party has now suffered two straight election cycles of massive defeats (losing both chambers of Congress in '06, even greater congressional losses in '08 and a near-landslide loss in the Presidency). Former swing states now seem solidly blue (ie. Pennsylvania), and former red states are now blue-leaning swing states (ie. Colorado, Virginia). One would think the GOP would take this to heart, and take a self-critical look at the state of their party. Luckily for Democrats, but bad for two-party democracy, the party is run by stubborn ideologues.

The Friday before the election, I wrote a post on what to expect from the GOP after the election (which turned out to be pretty spot on). Also spot on was my list of things not to expect from them-
1) Do not expect the Republican party's post-election soul-searching to result them deciding to move back toward the center, and move away from their current base of religious conservatives and tax cut fanatics. Rather, they will likely double down and insist that going more conservative is what will save them (this was basically their attitude after 2006 anyway).

2) Do not expect Republicans or conservatives to be gracious in defeat. After you've spent months implying your opponent is a borderline terrorist, can you really turn around and say "Hey well-played campaign! Congrats, and good luck!"? No. And they won't. Unlike Democrats, who after the 2000 election (in which we lost by a mere technicality) began working with Bush to accomplish things on issues like education, Republicans will be immediately begin criticizing and undermining and Obama presidency. They'll even get a kick out of doing so (also their post-2006 attitude).

Let's take a look at #1 first. Before the election, National Review columnist Kathleen Parker-- whose right-wing conservative credentials had never been questioned before, by anyone-- invoked the ire of fellow Republicans by saying out loud what conservatives were only allowed to acknowledge in private... that Sarah Palin was a disaster, and a cynical, pandering pick. Parker went on after the election to urge her party to move away from the religious right and back toward the common-sense issues that Americans care about. What happened from there? Did the party begin to have that discussion? Or did they shun Parker and dig in deeper?

I'll give you only one guess, but the fact that Sarah Palin's been in Georgia regurgitating her presidential campaign talking points while stumping for Saxby Chambliss in the Senate runoff race tells you all you need to know.

As for #2, well...
In an interview with the conservative online publication Newsmax, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said the GOP must broaden its appeal to avoid becoming “the old white-guy party,” and recommended that Republicans create a “shadow government” to work on its own agenda. Claiming this is still a “center-right country,” Bush urged Republicans not to move towards a “Democratic-lite” agenda.

Ahhh yes, that's what the American people are looking for right now in these serious times where action is required... more GOP obstructionism! Why am I reading this, and picturing this? Hmmmm.

With smart moves like this, the GOP will be back on top in no time. No time at all.

I say this because I am not one of those liberals who wants to destroy the GOP and see it burned to the ground. I would like to see it restored to some level of sanity (remember, even Reagan was this before he was this). Every party in power needs a good opposition party to keep it honest. But we don't have that right now. We have a band of crazy people, crooks, and idiots posing as a party. Hopefully more Kathleen Parkers will point this out until something changes.

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