Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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October 28, 2008

THE GOP'S FACTIONAL WARFARE.... Time will tell the extent to which Republicans have a rough election cycle, but rival intra-party factions are already gearing up for a post-election fight for the future of the party. The message from the base seems rather straightforward: "Screw moderation."

The social conservatives and moderates who together boosted the Republican Party to dominance have begun a tense battle over the future of the GOP, with social conservatives already moving to seize control of the party's machinery and some vowing to limit John McCain's influence, even if he wins the presidency.

In skirmishes around the country in recent months, evangelicals and others who believe Republicans have been too timid in fighting abortion, gay marriage and illegal immigration have won election to the party's national committee, in preparation for a fight over the direction and leadership of the party.

The growing power of religious conservatives is alarming some moderate Republicans who believe that the party's main problem is that it has narrowed its appeal and alienated too many voters.

The first battle in the larger war will apparently be fought over the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee. Far-right conservatives, including Rush Limbaugh and some state party chairs, are already arguing that they will choose the next party leader, even if McCain wins the presidency.

South Carolina GOP Chairman Katon Dawson insisted this is necessary, arguing that "moderating our party is what caused us to lose power" in 2006.

This is not an uncommon sentiment among leaders of the Republican base -- they seriously believe voters would be far more likely to support the GOP if party leaders were more right-wing. What's more, if things don't go well for the party seven days from now, these activists will push this line very aggressively as the party starts to put the pieces back together, whether it makes sense or not.

Kevin recently predicted that the Republican Party is "going to be riven by factional warfare for years, with moderates unable to get a purchase on the party apparatus because of the McCain albatross hanging around their necks. Eventually, like Britain's Labor Party in the 80s, they'll find their Tony Blair, but in the meantime they're likely to double down on the most strident possible social conservatism, convinced that the heartland will respond if only they regain the true faith."

We'll see how this works out for them.

Steve Benen 11:14 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (67)

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... social conservatives [are] already moving to seize control of the party's machinery...

God bless them! May the fervor of their righteousness lead them to victory over all their enemies, and may they cleanse the party with a purifying flame!

Onward, Christian soldiers!

Posted by: bleh on October 28, 2008 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

So, essentially, the GOP wants to isolate itself as the Party of the South. Fine by me-- whether we quarantine the bastards or they quarantine themselves, either way, they'll be isolated and in the minority!

Posted by: The Caped Composer on October 28, 2008 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

The message from the base seems rather straightforward: "Screw moderation."

Yes, please. Go with that.

Posted by: doubtful on October 28, 2008 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

Even at the height of "loony labour" the party was far more mainstream than these people. Not sure they will ever find their Tony Blair; more likely to spiral down the plughole of history like several previously dominant parties before them.

Posted by: Tim Bassett on October 28, 2008 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

Fine, just make sure they don't call themselves republicans. I have a few ideas on what they could call themselves. NAZI comes to mind. Or the American Taliban. Maybe the Theokkkrats. Rats would do to.

Posted by: citizen_pain on October 28, 2008 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

I'm with those who have commented elsewhere hoping that the moderates win out. I might still disagree with them, quite strongly in some cases, but at least we wouldn't be in danger of a theocracy if, by some terrible mischance, they actually won an election.

Posted by: brainchild on October 28, 2008 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

Get your popcorn ready!!

Posted by: David Bailey on October 28, 2008 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

I suspect this is what the infighting at Camp McCain is really about. They already know the campaign is toast. The only remaining question is who comes out covered in feces.

I'm not sure it matters who wins the blood feud within the GOP. Unless the factions can coexist, they'll be the minority party for a long time. And the bloodier they make it, the less likely they'll be able to coexist at all.

The old cons were delighted to use the theocons as usefull idiots. But in doing so, they've set the stage for their very own Planet of the Apes.
I just can't see the power elite of the GOP happily serving their new theocon overlords. Neither can I see the theocons tolerating this scam for much longer.
Pass the popcorn.

Posted by: JoeW on October 28, 2008 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

Ditto, amen, cosign, etc.

Yes, republicans - Sarah Palin is your salvation! Palin 2012! Palin 2016! Palin 2020! Hell, she's healthy - Palin 2068!

Fuck those moderates - they're really liberals! Throw 'em back to the "democrat" party where they belong.

Those stupid democrats - they'll probably welcome moderate republicans with open arms - what a bunch of maroons!

Posted by: Yellow Dog on October 28, 2008 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

Here's a scenario I like to imagine [simplified, but glorious]:

It's 2016. Reaganomics is dead. By a judicious use of regulation, social work programs, and government intervention Obama has put the economy back on track.

The Democrats nominate former Va Gov Mark Warner for the presidential run.

Republican moderates and business-class conservatives can't help but see Mark Warner as the obvious choice and band with Democrats to make it happen.

The religious nutjobs left in the Republican Party tap Sarah Palin to run.

No more Republican Party.

Posted by: chrenson on October 28, 2008 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

South Carolina GOP Chairman Katon Dawson insisted this is necessary, arguing that "moderating our party is what caused us to lose power" in 2006.

That's Republican conventional "wisdom" I can believe in.

Posted by: Killjoy on October 28, 2008 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, a Repub party dominated by Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin and a bunch of bigoted televangelists -- what's not to like?

Posted by: Cash on October 28, 2008 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

The ONLY way this works out for them in the short term is if they nominate The Huck in 2012. That guy scares the bejeebus out of me...mostly 'cause I kinda like him.

If the radical social conservatives win out, and The Huck wins the nomination...I daresay they'd be pret-ty competitive in 2012. If they nominate some other culture warrior firebrand (cough cough Palin), they'll be toast, relegated to the dustbin.

Basically what I'm getting at is the social wingnuts will only be able to win with a silver tongued devil who can con the middle.

Posted by: neilt on October 28, 2008 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

The social conservatives and moderates who together boosted the Republican Party to dominance have begun a tense battle over the future of the GOP, with social conservatives already moving to seize control of the party's machinery and some vowing to limit John McCain's influence, even if he wins the presidency.

Let them have the party. If the social conservatives take over the GOP it will only serve to further marginalize it as most Americans are not social conservatives. In fact, their numbers are dwindling.

Posted by: Jeff II on October 28, 2008 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

The demographic changes in this country are leaving the Republicans behind. All you have to do is look at the crowds. Obama- Inclusive McCain...well sort of all white bread. The Republicans have become the fishing cable channel of politics, appealing to a very narrow and getting narrower band of followers.

Posted by: John R on October 28, 2008 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

Down with science, thoughtfulness and modernity. Off with their heads!

Up with original intent, religiosity, and conservofascism?

Posted by: Cycledoc on October 28, 2008 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe a real third party will emerge if the wingnuts take control of the Republican party.

Posted by: Ron Byers on October 28, 2008 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe a real third party will emerge if the wingnuts take control of the Republican party.
Posted by: Ron Byers

Yes. We'll have the semi-fascist "social conservatives," the right wing Rethugs and the centerist Dems. Other than moving to England to join the Tories, what's a liberal to do in this country?

Posted by: Jeff II on October 28, 2008 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

neilt, same here. I was watching his program on (coffcoff) Fox the other night, and I was impressed. His quick wit was interesting but his emphasis on music and art in public school perked up my ears. He probably meant painting Biblical scenes and singing hymns, but still, it got my attention.

Huckabee in 2012, would obliterate Palin in the first debate. I'd actually enjoy watching it.

Posted by: MissMudd on October 28, 2008 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

More cowbell !

Posted by: longshot on October 28, 2008 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

The albatross of moderation hung around John McCain's neck? I'm glad that people like Olympia Snow, Pappy Bush and Chuck Hagel will finally be exposed for the pinko flag-burning surrender monkeys they are!

Posted by: Richard Greenslade on October 28, 2008 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, dear Jeebus not the Huck Shmuck. As a midwestern-to-AR transplant, I cringed everytime that guy stepped onto the stage during the R Primaries. He came across as such an a&%hole. Thank Jeebus we in AR were smart enough to boot his behind and elect Beebee.

Posted by: brainchild on October 28, 2008 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

The fool in the White House said that "we would fight them over there, so we don't have to fight them over here.

Well, George, guess what? They're over here. we've got ourselves a bona-fide, 24-carat American Taliban.

I think it's time to start fighting them over here....

Posted by: Steve W. on October 28, 2008 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, republicans - Sarah Palin is your salvation! Palin 2012! Palin 2016! Palin 2020! Hell, she's healthy - Palin 2068! Posted by: Yellow Dog

Sort of like Gus Hall running on the communist and/or socialist ticket for about 40 years. I was tempted to vote for him in 1988 since Dukakis didn't have a snowball's chance, but former domestic terrorist Angela Davis was so off-putting as the VP candidate.

Posted by: Jeff II on October 28, 2008 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

Huckabee is a silver-tongued devil. Far more likeable than ANY of the GOP candidates this last cycle (except maybe for Paul, who gets the crazy but likable uncle award).

However, I think the Palinistas are going to go for broke. Huckabee could position himself as a "moderate" in that event and leave Romney/Guiliani et.al. weeping on the sidelines.

Posted by: lobbygow on October 28, 2008 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

If Kevin's prediction comes true, I see it playing out like this:

Moderate Republicans will join the Dems. Discerining readers will note a slight leftward shift in David Broder's columns.

The Libertarian Party will grow with the addition of Grover Norquist types -- the "moderate libertarians" will irk the hard-line Libs who actually want to drown the government in a bathtub -- it will be a hoot to watch.

The Constitution Party will merge into the GOP because the really super loopy hard-right theocrats will feel at home there again.

Over on the Dem side, the Green Party will start feelin' frisky again. They might even run Nader again.

Posted by: scott_m on October 28, 2008 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

If the Republican Party does go to the radical right and moderate Republicans join the Democrats, look for the Progressive Left to split from the Dems as the party becomes more centrist to conservative. I don't see this happening until 2016 or 2020.

Posted by: tomeck on October 28, 2008 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

Good luck with that Rush. These people live in the echo chamber where their beliefs are constantly confirmed by one another. Normal republicans that helped elect George Bush are turned off by this. Obama's strategy of seizing the middle was beyond brilliant especially considering McCain's run to the hard right. They were only going to maintain power by moving to be more moderate not moving to the right. What idiots. Their only hope is outbreeding intelligence.

Posted by: grinning cat on October 28, 2008 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

I would remind you, that extremism, in determining the future of the Party, is no vice.

And let me remind you, also, that moderation, in the pursuit of national political domination, is no virtue.

Posted by: Chap. 1, The Conservative Manifesto on October 28, 2008 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

"Fine, just make sure they don't call themselves republicans. I have a few ideas on what they could call themselves. NAZI comes to mind. Or the American Taliban. Maybe the Theokkkrats. Rats would do to."

I was watching an old Sean Hannity clip with Chuck Hagel and Hannity says he has registered to vote as a "Conservative". That would be good. corrupt the word so that it's a stain.

Hagel eviscerates Hannity in the clip and Hannity looks like the spineless weasel that he is.

Posted by: grinning cat on October 28, 2008 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

South Carolina GOP Chairman Katon Dawson insisted this is necessary, arguing that "moderating our party is what caused us to lose power" in 2006.

Along with the rest of you, I heartily endorse this sentiment. I think they should run a Palin/Limbaugh ticket in 2012, and promise to name Sean Hannity, Michael Savage and Bill O'Reilly to the Cabinet in their administration.

Posted by: rnato on October 28, 2008 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

I think Reaganomics is simply too ingrained into the American psyche to be defeated. Like it or not, government no longer serves the people, and we are dependent upon the largesse of corporate America, business America, for our livelihoods and well being. Fortunately, the private sector panders to our short term material needs, and they don't waste resources fighting wars and alienating the international community. In fact, the global corporate world is far ahead of the political world, which could become obsolete over the next century. Nationalism is not the way to go in the future. Also, corporate America doesn't give a damn about the issues that fire up red America, and as the Democrats become more and more like Republicans to survive, these crazies will lose their influence. So that's the good news.

So the bad news is this, IF Obama wins, and whether or not the Democrats obtain that 60 vote majority in the Senate: they have only two years to prove themselves, and are sailing into a recession headwind of hurricane proportions. They fail miserably to get anything meaningful done by 2010, the economy is in a shambles, and the Republicans recover a lot of ground in the midterms. The next two years consist of gridlock, a gradually improving economy, but not enough for the Democrats to retain either Congress or the presidency, and we're right back to where we were. Right wing rule resumes, and the Democrats are washed up until they become full fledged trickle down corporate Republicans and disappear from political America. The silver lining is that red America will lose its influence, because corporate America doesn't care about their issues. They care about money.

Posted by: hark on October 28, 2008 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

neilt & MissMudd -

Huckabee could be dangerous. I was very surprised when the leadership of the religious right chose to back Romney in the primary. When the base of the evengelical wing of the party backed Huckabee in the early primaries (going against their leadership) I knew both Romney and Huckabee were toast. A house divided against itself can not win (see Democrats for the last 30 years).

But I've alwasy wondered what would have happened if evangelical leaders had backed Huckabee from the start. He's got good charisma, he's a strong public speaker, by Republican standards he's a moderate on many economic issues. Huckabee would have had a real shot at the nomination. He was only guy on the Republican side who even came close to being able to match Obama in rhetorical skill.

He still would have lost but it would have been an interesting campaign.

Posted by: thorin-1 on October 28, 2008 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

There are 4 natural parties in this country and the candidates of 1948 delineated them: the far left (Henry Wallace), the subdudes (Strom Thurmond), the striving middle class (Harry Truman), and the guys who've made it already (Tom Dewey). Nixon married the subdudes with the guys who've made it already and (hopefully) this election is ripping apart that coalition.

Posted by: duBois on October 28, 2008 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

"South Carolina GOP Chairman Katon Dawson insisted this is necessary, arguing that "moderating our party is what caused us to lose power" in 2006."

In other words, the operational philosophy of this new GOP is "The beatings will improve until morale improves!"

Posted by: bluestatedon on October 28, 2008 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

uh, that should have read: "The beatings will continue until morale improves!"

Posted by: bluestatedon on October 28, 2008 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

If the Republican Party does go to the radical right and moderate Republicans join the Democrats, look for the Progressive Left to split from the Dems as the party becomes more centrist to conservative. I don't see this happening until 2016 or 2020. Posted by: tomeck

As things stand now, if we converted to a parliamentary system tomorrow, your progressive lefts would have about six seats in congress. There is no "left wing" of the Democratic party any longer. There are no dyed-in-the-wool progressives in the Democratic party anymore.

Posted by: Jeff II on October 28, 2008 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff II-

So you were influenced by that negative "Gus Hall pals around with terrorists" ad that the Populist Party ran against him?

Posted by: howie on October 28, 2008 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK
Maybe a real third party will emerge if the wingnuts take control of the Republican party.

No, it won't. Our electoral system pretty solidly guarantees that. OTOH, a new second party may emerge, with the Republicans going the way of the Whigs or the Federalists.

Posted by: cmdicely on October 28, 2008 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff II- So you were influenced by that negative "Gus Hall pals around with terrorists" ad that the Populist Party ran against him? Posted by: howie

That and I'm pretty sure that Davis woman might have been colored.

Posted by: Jeff II on October 28, 2008 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

This is not an uncommon sentiment among leaders of the Republican base -- they seriously believe voters would be far more likely to support the GOP if party leaders were more right-wing. What's more, if things don't go well for the party seven days from now, these activists will push this line very aggressively as the party starts to put the pieces back together, whether it makes sense or not.

For a simple model on how this plays out, all you have to do is look to Oregon. The Far Right took over the Republican Party and drove out the moderates, pushing the party farther and farther to the Right. The result? The state party is broke, in debt, and shattered. All the major partisan offices are held by Democrats and the Democrats are looking to hold huge margins in both houses of the Legislature after November 4.

From outside, Oregon may look like an atypical Blue state with the model dismissed, but there has traditionally been a very even split (mostly urban v rural) and Oregon has tended to send real moderate Republicans to DC.

Posted by: gummitch on October 28, 2008 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff Frederick (Virginia state GOP chair, and young right-wing punk) goes national! Oh, what fun to see Republicans self-destruct.

Posted by: Vincent on October 28, 2008 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

Nice post, Mr. Benen. One thing:
"[T]hey seriously believe voters would be far more likely to support the GOP if party leaders were more right-wing."
While there may be a few loony tunes who really believe this, the far more accurate assessment is that corporate-religious authoritarian nationalists (e.g., modern conservatives) know from experience they can ram, cheat, and steal their retarded policies down the nation's throat. Please - please - do not provide cover for their degraded behavior.

"So, essentially, the GOP wants to isolate itself as the Party of the South."
The Caped Composer at 11:20 AM

The actual map is really interesting, a swath of low-electoral red from Idaho, through the midwest, to South Carolina. This election is indeed "quarantining" the thirty-percenters, but in a somewhat new fashion, and I think we might see some media-driven navel gazing about "what this [new electoral map] really means." Palin & Co. are obviously all over it. Not so sure how good this is for the country as a whole, but it's nice to see the Dem base expand beyond the coasts and northern industrial areas. We might be seeing, then, a geographical separation of interests reminiscent of the Civil Rights era, but I doubt the current Repug narratives can sustain this core unless the Dems really shit the bed. Which ain't gonna happen.

Posted by: on October 28, 2008 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

MODERATES? WE DON'T NEED NO STINKING "MODERATES"

"The social conservatives and moderates who together boosted the Republican Party to dominance have begun a tense battle over the future of the GOP, with social conservatives already moving to seize control of the party's machinery..."

Hi -- there has not been a moderate in the Republican Party since the 1988 election. It's like Iran, people keep saying there are moderates but in reality any "moderate" is only moderate by comparison.

And, I watched the social conservatives take over the "machinery" of politics in Arizona and they have proceeded to run the state into the ground. Evidently the only thing they know is how to do is to gut all state institutions -- esp the universities and transportation departments -- except for prisons, we have ALOT more of those.

Posted by: Kurt on October 28, 2008 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

For a simple model on how this plays out, all you have to do is look to Oregon. The Far Right took over the Republican Party and drove out the moderates, pushing the party farther and farther to the Right. The result? The state party is broke, in debt, and shattered. All the major partisan offices are held by Democrats and the Democrats are looking to hold huge margins in both houses of the Legislature after November 4. Posted by: gummitch

The opposite happened in Washington in the early 1960s. The moderates, led by all-time favorite governor Dan Evans, booted the right wingers, many of them Birchers from Eastern Washington, and they've been smarting ever since. They finally got their revenge when they unseated Tom Foley after about 30 years in congress when he was Speaker of the House during the Rethug ascendancy in the 1990s.

Since then, the eastern primarily rural half of the state (having only about 1/4 the state's population) have had Doc Hastings, who let Trent Lott slide on ethics violations in 2005, and a right wing Christian from the extreme NE of the state, survivalist territory adjacent to the Idaho Panhandle. There are just two house districts east of the mountain and seven on the west side, six of which are held by Dems.

Posted by: Jeff II on October 28, 2008 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

Can't help but feel that the social conservatives are going to win the battle over the control of the RNC. They seem to control a lot of the national party structure as well as the state and local apparatus. Moderates are going to have a hard time wresting control back/away.

Posted by: ET on October 28, 2008 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

I think the money conservatives are going to win out over the Bible-thumpers. They've got all the money (of course) and most of the elected officials so they are in a position to make the rules. The Constitution party might get some new voters, but not elected officials which is what you need for a third party in the U.S.

By the way, Huckabee was term-limited out. He actually got more than the maximum term--he had two years of the previous governor's term, plus two four-year terms of his own. I think if McCain had picked Huckabee instead of Palin things would be looking very different.

Posted by: ArkPanda on October 28, 2008 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

But to GET the nomination, McCain became hard right wing...

So only Gary Bauer or Sarah Palin is allowed to run under the GOP banner?

I hope they have big 'ol canteens, that's a big desert they're marching into.


Give them 4 years and Newt Gingrich will return to tell the holy rollers to shut up so moderates can com in and give them the majority again.
Run 1994 all over again.

It'd work except Democrats appear to be successfully unloading gun opposition, the key to gaining the Midwest and west. Even acceptance of the moderates won't help get a majority under those conditions. 8 years of Obama with no gun ban and improvement in the economy will be enough to keep the country solidly blue for decades.

Without the NRA's bogeyman message, the GOP comes up shooting blanks in huge swaths of the country. They are SO screwed if we embrace the ENTIRE Bill of Rights. (As unpalatable as that is to some.)

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on October 28, 2008 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

In 2012,the Republicans will probably nominate Romney.
Dobson and Robertson will run their own candidate--maybe Huckabee, maybe Cornyn, maybe someone new.
Neither will be stupid enough to run Palin, who will be the subject of an enthusiatically promoted narrative that it was Sarah, not a repudiation of the Right, that cost them the election.
But that will be the end of the alliance between the theocrat Dominionists and the Republican party.
By2020 there will be the Theocrat Party and the Democrats. The Republicans will have ceased to be.

Posted by: pbg on October 28, 2008 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

Look, I don't want to look ahead to trouble when we're on the verge of a great success, but this is not alloyed good news for us.

First, this is not England. The dynamics that led to Labour being so long in the wilderness are not the same here. We don't have a parliamentary system and we don't have a population that is accustomed to socialism. We have a very conservative heartland and an issue (abortion) to keep them motivated. Moreover, their children are growing up with that, and similar social views, as a rock solid core of their belief system.

Second, any party, in any country, no matter who, becomes fat, bloated and corrupt without an opposition to keep them honest. Those of us who lived through the 70s and 80s remember Mills and his famous chase of a DC call girl near the Reflecting Pool, not to mention pork that would shame Ted Stevens.

Third, the precedent that the Bushies have set in regard to executive power is lethal, particularly when combined with the first two items.

I could forsee a scenario where the moderates are purged from the Repug party, and the whack-jobs take over. They struggle in the wilderness for 20 years (sound familiar?), long enough for the new generation to grow up, while the Dems become fat, dumb and corrupt. This new, sharp-toothed generation takes control of the government because of the drunken belief that the Dems could never be defeated by whack-jobs and then the whack-jobs refuse to relinquish power because they are on "God's Mission."

Sigh.

I know, I know: Why look at future dangers when we've just been pulled back from the brink and are on the verge of victory? Why worry about a "might be" 20 years from now? Because if we don't manage to bring the electorate more together, this scenario is possible - and even if it's only possible, it monstrous.

However, when I'm off work, I'll go to the Dem HQ and do my calling tonight and will canvass my brains out over the weekend! Let's everyone make sure we do the same!

Posted by: MichMan on October 28, 2008 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

This reminds me of the recently re-aired American Experience about LBJ. He really wanted to be elected in his own right, but there were several reasons to be worried that he was just too unpopular... enter Sen. Goldwater!

Posted by: jhm on October 28, 2008 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

We have a very conservative heartland and an issue (abortion) to keep them motivated. Moreover, their children are growing up with that, and similar social views, as a rock solid core of their belief system. Posted by: MichMan

True. But demographics are against them. Those parts of the "heartland" where the population is growing is becoming "browner" all the time. The rest of the "heartland," the plains states, is actually losing it's rural population pretty rapidly. The only bastion of hard line fundamentalist conservatism gaining population is Texas. It remains an enigma.

I think the demographic wild cards at this point are the illegal and legal immigrants from Latin America. By default, they are poorly educated and superstitiously Catholic. While they should have nothing in common with us gringos, they are, on the whole, socially conservative. If the illegals are granted amnesty, whose team do they line up with eventually? Economically, they should be represented by the Dems (once-upon-a-time anyway). But socially, they would side with gays, guns and anti-abortion right.

That fence is looking better all the time.

Posted by: Jeff II on October 28, 2008 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

at least we wouldn't be in danger of a theocracy if, by some terrible mischance, they actually won an election.

Or more likely, stole it like they did in Ohio in 2004 and Florida in 2000.

Posted by: Jenna's Bush on October 28, 2008 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, republicans - ... Hell, she's healthy - Palin 2068! Posted by: Yellow Dog

Hmm, that doesn't leave her much time to bury the bodies, fill her head with how polytics work and wean her off the talking points. Better get crack'n.

My hope is they run her every year so we can comment and encourage her on her progress. That would trump most any entertainment that gets run on the TeeVee.

Palin '68! You betcha(tm)!

Posted by: Kevin on October 28, 2008 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

What I'm wondering is if wealthy moderate Republicans such as Romney & Bloomberg and thinking about ditching the right-wing conservatives and starting a centrist third party.

Posted by: mfw13 on October 28, 2008 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

If the GOP shrinks down to a LaRouche-type fight club, it will be imperative to launch a real third party to keep the Dems from slithering to the right.

Posted by: ludd on October 28, 2008 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff II, Correct, but, may I add the importance of Alan Gottstein and his Second Admendment project in Bellevue, who gathered a war chest after the passing of the Brady Bill - A great deal of that money was used to defeat Foley and others who had voted in favor of that bill. The Brady Bill had far more to do with the upsets in '94, than any Contract ON America and term limits.

The Birchers and Southern Democrats who had relocated to California forced moderates and liberals out of power in '66 in the Republican Party. The only difference was Reagan was able to difuse their influence, somewhat, by bringing over the so-called "Reagan Democrats" by '80. However, it did change the party from the San Francisco based Knight moderate wing of the party to one which more resembled the Walter Knott Orange County wing. That California party is still trying to find an identity.

Posted by: berttheclock on October 28, 2008 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

I seem to recall that one of the recovery policies instituted during the great depression was a higher top marginal tax rate. So just where is all this bullsh*t about lowering tax rates coming from? I mean, who got the bailout? I sure as heckfire didn't.
Let me be clear about this: we should tax the wealthy until they start leaving. There's always someone willing to be just as wealthy, but pay a bit more in taxes. This is America for pete's sake.
Even clearer you say? Okay, how about pitchforks and torches. I'm sick of this nonsense.

Posted by: Govt Skeptic on October 28, 2008 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

"Palin '68! You betcha(tm)!"

That'll work. They've been itching to relive the '60s and now they can do it -- cryogenically!

Posted by: Kenji on October 28, 2008 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

I've had the privilege of meeting Chairman Dawson at a few fundraisers since he's taken the helm of the SCGOP. And every time, I've been more impressed with him. He's a very sharp man who understands the nature of politics and government more thoroughly than many can imagine. I'd be more than happy to see him take the wheel of our
shattered party if he decides to try for the RNC Chairman position.

As someone who is involved in the Republican Party, I definitely began doing some research once I heard rumors about the different people
seeking the RNC Chairmanship. Of the wide range of those considering, Mr. Dawson no doubt brings what the GOP needs. He is not going to alienate voters as a "bigoted televangelist" nor is he going to give up the fight on conservative principles such as illegal immigration. He wants to make the GOP the party of limited government and controlled spending again, something it no longer is. And he, more so than anyone else in the running, is capable of unifying this party and
getting it back on that track. If you need any proof, take a look at where the state GOP in SC was before he came in. Then look at it now.
Since he has been in charge, Republicans in SC have won almost 80% of elections in which they fielded a candidate.

After the elections on Nov. 4th, it is going to be a sad day for anyone who considers themselves a Republican in America. I sincerely hope Mr. Dawson wins this position, because I have full faith in him to lead our party back to where it needs to be.

Posted by: on October 28, 2008 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff II, Correct, but, may I add the importance of Alan Gottstein and his Second Admendment project in Bellevue, who gathered a war chest after the passing of the Brady Bill - A great deal of that money was used to defeat Foley and others who had voted in favor of that bill. The Brady Bill had far more to do with the upsets in '94, than any Contract ON America and term limits. Posted by: berttheclock

I had forgotten about Mr. Gottlieb. What an asshole. Why do I get the feeling that though he lives on the Eastside he's not all that welcome in the salons of Medina and Hunts Point?

Posted by: Jeff II on October 28, 2008 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not so sure about Huckabee's future in the GOP. I know he appeals to many, especially religious conservatives, but there were also many like Limbaugh who despised him because he wasn't consistently conservative enough. The McCain/Palin feces flinging looks almost tame compared to what was dished out towards Huckabee.

Posted by: Grupetti on October 28, 2008 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

The bigger problem the Republican Party faces is that their entire philosophy of government has pretty much been discredited over the past eight years.

Unilateral foreign policy....worked out great!
Deregulation....worked out great!
Supply-side economics....worked out great!

That's why McCain has done nothing but attack Obama with negative and often misleading advertising. He simply doesn't have any positive ideas left to run on except for lowering taxes, and enough Americans have realized that you can't lower taxes forever and still have a functioning government that even that idea has lost traction.

The other problem that Republican's have on domestic policy has that while their entire indentity is based on the idea of reducing the size of government, voters realize that while that sounds like a great idea in the abstract, it's not such a great idea in reality.

So until the Republican Party comes up with some new ideas, it's not going to make much progress in terms of regaining power.

Posted by: mfw13 on October 28, 2008 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

Palin isn't going to run in '12.

She's going to her natural fit: journalism.

Elisabeth Hasselbeck, fer chrissakes, has a national television show to showcase her beauty-queen right-wingnuttery. What did she ever do? Finish 4th on Survivor -- that's it.

Gov. Palin will do much better and get her own show on Fox News, where she will outshine Hannity AND O'Reilly and become the go-to wing-nut.

She may even surpass the Big Fat Idiot even.

Remember, her "degree" after 6 colleges, is in journalism. She's got the looks, the talk, and the ridiculous viewpoint also.

Posted by: And a pit bull would have made a better Vice President also. That's TWO things even. on October 28, 2008 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

Come on, MichMan. Who cares if the Repubs don't get reorganized until 2020 when they finally again able to offer a credible altenative to Democratic rule? In politics, that's an eternity away.

If we can govern for the next 12 years, that's fine. As for the future, it will take care of itself. It always does.

Posted by: Cash on October 28, 2008 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

I'm still mad at McCain for making friends with that treasonous traitor and original Manchurian candidate, Dave Ifshin. He was the Hanoi Hebe when McCain was imprisoned, and when McCain got back they were best friends! And you know Ifshin was nailing Jane Fonda on their trips to North Vietnam together!

Posted by: Mooser on October 28, 2008 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

I have a hard time understanding why the left bloggers are so agog at the social conservatives' argument. After all, they truly believe that Reagan's 'moral clarity' brought down the USSR, and this is just more of the same.

Posted by: Paul Camp on October 28, 2008 at 10:27 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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