Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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November 4, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

DREAMING OF CHAOS....From the Washington Post today:

For the first time in nearly 30 years, there is no breakaway front-runner for the Republican nomination as the first votes of Campaign 2008 loom, and a new Washington Post-ABC News poll underscores how open the GOP race remains.

....Not since 1979 has the leading Republican candidate had less than 40 percent support in national polls in the November heading into an election year.

I know I'm dreaming and it's not going to happen, but I would so love to see next year's primary season produce a brokered convention that ended up in brutal internecine warfare between the Republican Party's sane and insane wings. On national TV. Sort of like 1968 except with shorter hair. Wouldn't that be great?

Kevin Drum 9:07 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (48)

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Comments

It would be interesting no matter which party. For the GOP, you would also have to throw in a breakaway third party candidate.

Posted by: CarlP on November 4, 2007 at 9:12 PM | PERMALINK

With our media? Puleeze!

Posted by: dick tuck on November 4, 2007 at 9:24 PM | PERMALINK

I think you mean:

between the insane wing and the sane withered, vestigial appendage.

Posted by: triskele on November 4, 2007 at 9:26 PM | PERMALINK

Does the Republican party have a sane wing?

Quite frankly, a lot of current politics in this country today resembles the Monty Python sketch about an election campaign in Britain where one of the candidates was a guy named Hilter who had a marked resemblence to that guy with almost the same name.

If I recall correctly, in a close race he lost out to the candidate from the Silly Party.

And here we are now, Life imitating Art.

Posted by: xaxnar on November 4, 2007 at 9:26 PM | PERMALINK

I want peace in the Middle East. I want to lose weight without exercise, and while eating as much pizza and drinking as much beer as I possibly can. I want to go out on many dates with Salma Hayek. I want to slam-dunk a basketball. I want John Lennon and George Harrison to rise from the dead so the Beatles can do a reunion tour. I want a brokered Republican convention, kind of like the '60s but with shorter hair.

Posted by: Chocolate Thunder on November 4, 2007 at 9:27 PM | PERMALINK

As an only-too-well-known Republican politican once said, "Bring it on."

Posted by: rp on November 4, 2007 at 9:28 PM | PERMALINK

It could happen, even with media control, what with corporations moving slightly left (merely maaning multinational) and different far-right factions sensing disaster. Well, it won't be the usual Brylcreem Kabuki, that's for sure.

Posted by: Kenji on November 4, 2007 at 9:28 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not sure the "sane" wing has a dog in the fight right now. Their candidates seem to have dropped out or started the kiss Bob Jones' ass.

Posted by: Will on November 4, 2007 at 9:31 PM | PERMALINK

Count me in as someone wanting to see a brokered Democratic convention as well. cough *al gore* cough.

It might be an interesting exercise Kevin, for you to trace back six months or so and see how many of our favorite bloggers decided there was absolutely no way Giuluiani could be nominated. As I said then, his divorces, his affairs, none of that shit would matter. The only that would matter is if it looked as though he could beat the Democrats, and then everyone would crowd around him.

Posted by: jerry on November 4, 2007 at 9:33 PM | PERMALINK

Personally, I can't wait to see the Minneapolis police go berserk clubbing all those Brooks Brothers Rioters in business suits out in the streets.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on November 4, 2007 at 9:40 PM | PERMALINK

Will the Repugs snap-out-of-it?

Is it sort of like how Ron Paul figures prominently in the Repug Party.

Posted by: Me_again on November 4, 2007 at 9:48 PM | PERMALINK

'sane and insane wings'? kevin's just fucking with us now.

your pal,
blake

Posted by: blake on November 4, 2007 at 9:54 PM | PERMALINK

Don't you mean the insane wing of the Republican Party vs. the non-existent wing of the Republican Party?

Posted by: anonymous on November 4, 2007 at 10:06 PM | PERMALINK

"Wouldn't that be great?"

Yes, it would.

Posted by: Lux on November 4, 2007 at 10:07 PM | PERMALINK

I think both parties have had burned into the most fundamental levels of their DNA the lesson that not settling on a candidate early is a recipe for disaster in November. Further, the whole thrust of modern campaigns is to weed out the weak after a small number of minor contests.

We'll know who both nominees will be before the end of February.

Posted by: jimBOB on November 4, 2007 at 10:09 PM | PERMALINK

"....Not since 1979 has the leading Republican candidate had less than 40 percent support in national polls in the November heading into an election year."

Do you REMEMBER how the 1980 election turned out? That quote scares me to death. I just CAN'T take another Reagan administration.

Posted by: katiebird on November 4, 2007 at 10:15 PM | PERMALINK

"Adding to the murkiness of the picture is that Republicans continue to be less satisfied with their candidate options than Democrats are with theirs."-WaPO

1)Undecided does not mean unsatisfied.

2)A better article might include the names of the early poll leaders (a year prior to the general) in both parties since 1979 and how they compared to the results of the primary contests and general elections.

Posted by: majarosh on November 4, 2007 at 10:23 PM | PERMALINK

I know I'm dreaming and it's not going to happen, but I would so love to see next year's primary season produce a brokered convention that ended up in brutal internecine warfare between the Republican Party's sane and insane wings.

Any differences in candidate preferences by Republicans is a consequence of fact that the Republican Party is a big tent party with rich ideological differences among its members. Because of the differences, Republicans have a healthy intellectual debate among alternatives and try to choose what is best for this country. Liberals, on the other hand, have a top-down model of governance where you wait for Kos and Atrios to tell you who to vote for and then you act accordingly so I'm not surprised liberals would never have a chance of having a brokered convention.

Posted by: Al on November 4, 2007 at 10:31 PM | PERMALINK

The Dems have several insane wings, the Repubs have one sane & two insane---which cup is the right cup?

Posted by: daveinboca on November 4, 2007 at 10:44 PM | PERMALINK

Watching the Dems so far, it's hard to get excited about an imploding GOP. Even with no opposition at all, I have my doubts these Dems could get anything meaningful done. They have all the spine of a rubber snake.

Posted by: craigie on November 4, 2007 at 11:18 PM | PERMALINK

That would be the insane and the really friggin' insane wings.

Since the Monster Raving Loony Party moniker has already been taken.

Posted by: biggerbox on November 4, 2007 at 11:27 PM | PERMALINK

"...healthy intellectual debate"

Three words that can't go ner each other with any Republican in the same room. Or county.

Posted by: Kenji on November 4, 2007 at 11:32 PM | PERMALINK

It would be great, but pray tell, where is the 'sane' wing of the Republican party?

Posted by: FreakyBeaky on November 5, 2007 at 12:26 AM | PERMALINK

Al: rich ideological differences among its members.

You mean: ideological differences among its rich members.

Posted by: thersites on November 5, 2007 at 12:27 AM | PERMALINK

Which politician represents the sane wing? Conspiracy Theorist Guru Ron Paul?

Posted by: MNPundit on November 5, 2007 at 12:33 AM | PERMALINK

The Congressional Democrats are waiting with bated
breath to see which Republican nominee they will be
consistently rolling over for after the '08 election.

Posted by: Alan in WA on November 5, 2007 at 12:43 AM | PERMALINK

As Dems have discovered far too often in recent years, "Waiting for Sane Republicans" is like "Waiting for Godot," just with the context changed.

All we need is a Senate page to show up in Harry Reid's office, saying "Sen. Warner told me to tell you he won't vote with you this evening but surely tomorrow."

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on November 5, 2007 at 5:01 AM | PERMALINK

Majarosh: 1)Undecided does not mean unsatisfied.

No, but pollsters also regularly ask respondents to indicate whether they are very or somewhat satisfied, or very or somewhat dissatisfied, with the choice of candidates of their preferred party.

The results show, as Kevin says, that Democratic voters consistently turn out to be more satisfied with their field this year. There is more to polls than the horserace numbers..

Posted by: nimh on November 5, 2007 at 6:03 AM | PERMALINK

I think a brokered convention that ended up in brutal internecine warfare between the Republican Party's wings is not out of the question. Fortunately for the Reps, Hillary is not a particularly strong candidate, since she has high negatives. Nor is Obama strong, due to his lack of experience.

I wasn't sure how Kevin defines the "sane and insane wings" of the Republlican Party. Is liberal Rudy "sane"? But, his foreign policy advisors are hawkish neo-conservatives. Is Romney, who also governed as a liberal "sane"? Is John McCain, who was the media's darling 8 years aqo "sane"? Which leading candidate is "insane"?

So, I leave a question for Kevin or commenters: How do you define the "insane" wing of the Republican Party?

Posted by: ex-liberal on November 5, 2007 at 8:05 AM | PERMALINK

And a brokered convention would draft Jeb Bush?

Posted by: bakho on November 5, 2007 at 8:42 AM | PERMALINK

What could happen is is what happened in 1976, two candidates, reprsenting different poles of the GOP, emerege after Feb. 5 and fight it out all the way to the convention.

I'm hoping it will be Rudy Guliani and Ron Paul. They're the two candidates that have defined the GOP's debate so far. Every one else is in between.

Posted by: Sean Scallon on November 5, 2007 at 8:55 AM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal: You haven't been paying attention if you are asking if we consider Rudy sane. Most liberals believe Rudy is completely insane. And Kevin has said that explicitly.

And for most people here, the sane wing of the party is not represented by any of the candidates.

Posted by: DR on November 5, 2007 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

All of the events that happen will conspire to help Mike Huckabee. I have no idea if he'll be willing or able to take advantage of those events.

Posted by: freelunch on November 5, 2007 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

You want the remaining 5 or 6 sane people to be beaten up by the entire rest of the Republican party? That seems rather cruel.

Posted by: Outis on November 5, 2007 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

There has not been a brokered convention in over 50 years ('56 - Dems). FWIW, the primary system is so loaded, it's hard for somebody not to come up with 51% of the delegates. It may be prolonged through the spring (that's what I'm kind of expecting), but come early summer, we probably will know. But this is the first primary season in a long time where the possiblity of a brokered convention is at least a possibility.

Even relatively "sane" Repubs must pay homage to the insane faction.

Posted by: MaxGowan on November 5, 2007 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

Hillary is not a particularly strong candidate, since she has high negatives.

Just keep telling yourself that, if it makes you feel better. (Hint: Bill had high negatives in '92. It didn't stop him, and GHWB was an incumbent in a much stronger position than any of the current batch of GOP bozos.)

Nor is Obama strong, due to his lack of experience.

Cough (dubya in 2000) cough.

Posted by: jimBOB on November 5, 2007 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

"Al: rich ideological differences among its members.

You mean: ideological differences among its rich members.

Posted by: thersites"

My vote for best comment of day goes to this.

Posted by: David in NY on November 5, 2007 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

*

Posted by: mhr on November 5, 2007 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

besieging the Democrat convention in Chicago

I do remember a pro-war/anti-war split at the Democratic party convention in Chicago that year. What is this "Democrat convention" that you speak of?

Posted by: Ethel-to-Tilly on November 5, 2007 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, with all respect on the wishful '68 repeat: (1) 68 was not a brokered convention, the McCarthy/antiwar/anti LBJ forces never had a chance, (2) surely in 2008 there will be no Daley thugs beating long hairs outside with tear gas wafting through the air. While the Republicans probably deserve to have a self-defeating donnybrook, if it happens it won't be the least bit like Chgo '68.

Posted by: Nate Levin on November 5, 2007 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

How do you define the "insane" wing of the Republican Party?

That would be the wing with an elephant for the logo.

Posted by: ckelly on November 5, 2007 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

I'm confused. Which one is the sane wing? The one that expresses reservations about all the insane things being done by the current infestation of the White House & then votes to support those things?

Just curious...

Posted by: dolphy on November 5, 2007 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

ex-lib: How do you define the "insane" wing of the Republican Party?


about 1/3rd of gop presidential contenders when asked...last summer..

said in public..

they didn't believe in evolution..


Posted by: mr. irony on November 5, 2007 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

As nutty as Ron Paul seems to be, I don't think his popularity is so inexplicable. I don't follow him or what he stands for much, except a vague awareness that he's nuts (I didn't even know what he looked like). But I saw him for the first time on 60 minutes and he at least comes across as a sane, principled, openminded, sincere person. If I didn't know better, I would have a very good impression of him. Something I can't really say about ANY of the other candidates running (but if Russ Feingold was prez, I'd wet my pants for joy).

Posted by: jussumbody on November 5, 2007 at 6:25 PM | PERMALINK
*meatheadrepublican at 10:56 AM
Speaking for the insane wing of the insane party of the insane, meatheadrepublican fails to note the crimes of his hero Nixon. Posted by: Mike on November 5, 2007 at 9:36 PM | PERMALINK

Don't count me out...


-

Posted by: Ahmad Chalabi on December 9, 2007 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

The following is the opening to Ron Paul's last speech about foreign policy--

"Escalation against Iran is a bad idea. There’s no need for it. There’s great danger in doing it. America is against it, and Congress should be…

We don’t need to do this. The threat is overblown. The plan is an hysterical reaction to a problem that does not yet exist.

“Hysteria is never a good basis for foreign policy. Don’t we ever learn? Have we already forgotten Iraq?"

I'm sorry, but how is this man insane? Not even the Democratic candidates have the guts to say that Iran is not a problem.

Posted by: jmay on December 9, 2007 at 8:22 PM | PERMALINK

It's nice to dream, but these folks have shown a chronic and bottomless capacity for kool-aid. In the desperate end, someone will chant some mindless slogan and they'll all follow.

Posted by: garberpog on December 9, 2007 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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