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Tilting at Windmills

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November 3, 2008

THE REPUBLICANS' FUTURE.... Paul Krugman considers how Republicans might react if tomorrow's elections go poorly for the GOP. He's not optimistic.

You might think, perhaps hope, that Republicans will engage in some soul-searching, that they'll ask themselves whether and how they lost touch with the national mainstream. But my prediction is that this won't happen any time soon.

Instead, the Republican rump, the party that's left after the election, will be the party that attends Sarah Palin's rallies, where crowds chant "Vote McCain, not Hussein!" It will be the party of Saxby Chambliss, the senator from Georgia, who, observing large-scale early voting by African-Americans, warns his supporters that "the other folks are voting." It will be the party that harbors menacing fantasies about Barack Obama's Marxist -- or was that Islamic? -- roots.

This seems very likely. For one thing, the few remaining Republican "moderates" (I use the word loosely) are leaving, thanks to a combination of primary defeats, general-election defeats, and retirements. What remains will be far-right lawmakers and further-right lawmakers.

For another, the party's base has already staked its claim -- conservatives firmly believe that Republicans lost in 2006 and have struggled in 2008 because the party just isn't reactionary enough. Indeed, the party's activists are out for blood: "Jim Nuzzo, a White House aide to the first President Bush, dismissed Mrs Palin's critics as 'cocktail party conservatives' who 'give aid and comfort to the enemy'. He told The Sunday Telegraph: 'There's going to be a bloodbath. A lot of people are going to be excommunicated. David Brooks and David Frum and Peggy Noonan are dead people in the Republican Party.'"

The result, Krugman noted, is the acceleration of the Republican Party's "long transformation into the party of the unreasonable right, a haven for racists and reactionaries."

And where does that leave sane Republicans? "Many of them spent the Bush years in denial, closing their eyes to the administration's dishonesty and contempt for the rule of law. Some of them have tried to maintain that denial through this year's election season, even as the McCain-Palin campaign's tactics have grown ever uglier. But one of these days they're going to have to realize that the G.O.P. has become the party of intolerance."

Steve Benen 11:10 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (66)

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Without the moderates and the religious right together, the Republican Party will be a permanent minority party. I couldn't be happier.
But Obama and the Democrats need to engage in some serious outreach, to bring those moderates over for the long term.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on November 3, 2008 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

And it will never occur to them that they brought all of this upon themselves. That would require some soul-searching; which proceeds from the assumption they have one to begin with, I suppose.

Posted by: Mustang Bobby on November 3, 2008 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

The million-dollar question is whether or not these moderate Republicans who are being excommunicated from the party simply defect to the Democrats or try to form a viable third party.

Posted by: mfw13 on November 3, 2008 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

The tone of this post is that the likely repug reaction is a bad thing. I agree with Krugman, but I couldn't be happier. Every year a new cohort graduates that is less homophobic, less bigoted and more progressive than the last. By all means, let the intolerant yahoos collect themselves in the GOP where we can keep an eye on them. They'll hold on to fewer and fewer dark corners of this country while those who favor the policies I do will press the progressive agenda.

Posted by: Bill D. on November 3, 2008 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

Moderate Republicans will not defect to the DFL. They will fight back against the morons in their party, and eventually win. But it won't happen fast.

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on November 3, 2008 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

Let the howling, ignorant, bigoted mass of them keep painting themselves into a corner. They've already lost most of their reasonable members. My husband, a lifelong registered Republican, voted for Kerry in the last election, and Obama in this one. He's repulsed by what he sees coming out of the mouths of his party leaders these days--the sheer incompetence, as well as the bigotry.

Posted by: 14All on November 3, 2008 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

Can I pray the moderates defect to a viable Libertarian party?

Libertarian versus Democrat.

Ah,... I long to be so torn.

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on November 3, 2008 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, they will freak out and retreat ever further into their bizarre world of conspiracy and delusions.
They will scream and flail and have a massive temper tantrum that would make my 2 year old proud. They will blame everything and everyone, except themselves.

You just watch, it won't be the rational, self reflection of adults as to what went wrong, you will see the petulant rantings of children who cannot accept blame for their own actions.

"It's not my fault, mom! He was making faces at me!"

Posted by: Stevie on November 3, 2008 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

I don't know enough about the contemporary British Conservative Party strongly to advocate it as a model for the Republicans, but we need a genuine Tory party to replace the Know-Nothing "real American" party the Republicans have become.

There is much to be said in any society for advocating free will over determinism, individual initiative over collective action, tradition over innovation, and so forth ( the reverse is also true ). Some people are temperamentally more inclined to accept or to avoid risk, etc. A healthy society gives expression to all these impulses.

The current Republicans just don't serve to express these impulses.

Posted by: Duncan Kinder on November 3, 2008 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

I've long hoped for something to serve as a catalyst for an effective centrist third party. I've also long wondered, for at least the last 4 years, if the lasting legacy of the Bush43 administration wouldn't be the permanant marginalization of the Republican party. Anyone remember the Bull Moose or Whig parties?

That said, it wasn't all that long ago that Republicans thought the same thing about the Dems, and that their majority would be eternal.

Still, one can dream.

Posted by: Shantyhag on November 3, 2008 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

Krugman very precisely ends his article with this summation:

" . . .the G.O.P. has become the party of intolerance."

How true. That is what they have become.

Posted by: Sheridan on November 3, 2008 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

I think a lot of the moderates will defect to the Democratic party because of it's viability. The Democratic party is really, on the world stage, a moderate, even sometimes center-right party.

The Green party or another more progressive, liberal party will come up on the left.

Posted by: doubtful on November 3, 2008 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

Dave Neiwert at Orcinus has written extensively about the extreme right wing's proclivity for violence (both metaphorical and literal). Read it and be warned.

That said, Krugman's view of the Republican reaction is probably not dark enough. Get ready for 4 to 8 years of screeching insanity and hateful demagoguery.

Posted by: Monty on November 3, 2008 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

Why do Republicans still call themselves Republicans? Because the name Ku Klux Klan is already taken. Since the party motto is now "burn crosses, not flags", I should hope that the remaining Repubs will rabidly marginalize the party as the vast majority of Americans realize there's nothing under the Republican tent for them.

Posted by: petorado on November 3, 2008 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

"Many of them spent the Bush years in denial, closing their eyes to the administration's dishonesty and contempt for the rule of law. Some of them have tried to maintain that denial through this year's election season, even as the McCain-Palin campaign's tactics have grown ever uglier."

And those are considered the sane ones? Yeesh.

Posted by: TRNC on November 3, 2008 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

in this space and others, in 2006, i argued for a coalition of rationality in which honest conservatives leave the republican party (if only temporarily) to join with the democrats (for voting purposes) and leave the crazed right-wingers to fend for themselves.

i figured the "honest conservatives" as something along the lines of 10 - 20% of self-described republicans.

based on the polling data, i'd say we're seeing that.

now, whether these people want to fight for their party and, as duncan at 11:29 quite rightly noted, turn it into a true conservative party (rather than a right-wing know-nothing aggregation) or whether they simply give up on the yahoos remains to be seen, but regardless, as long as they don't vote republican....

Posted by: howard on November 3, 2008 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

remember 1964 then came 1966
remember 1976 then came 1980
remember 1992 then came 1994
remember 2008 theb came ????

Posted by: bluesmoke on November 3, 2008 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

" . . .the G.O.P. has become the party of intolerance."

Far be it from me to quibble with Mr. Krugman, but having vivid memories of the Republican Party of Richard Nixon, Spiro Agnew, the Southern strategy, and the (unchanging) Pat Buchanan, I'd change that "become" to "remains."

Posted by: Marlowe on November 3, 2008 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

I've long hoped for something to serve as a catalyst for an effective centrist third party.

Unless you want to quibble over the word effective, that would be the Dems. At least since Clinton (or, more practically, since Gingrich in '94).

I've long wished for an effective left-leaning party to counterbalance the far-right party that the Republicans have turned themselves into. But the Dems do a reasonable job of being a centrist party more interested in governing to the status quo than in making any big changes one way or the other. (That's actually what made them such a terrible opposition party to the GOP for the last 8 years - they're interested in finding centrist positions that keep everyone reasonably happy, not pushing any kind of ideology. Which is fine for a governing party, but not so good when you're supposed to be opposing the governing party).

Posted by: NonyNony on November 3, 2008 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

If the moderates and economic conservatives in the Republican party abandon it and allow it to become the party of the Palin-genuflecting wackos, more power to them. It means that in a generation or so, the Republican party as we know it will be marginalized and widely regarded as the dangerous loons they are.

In the meantime, I can only hope that the two-party Democractic/Republican split we've had in this country for roughly 150 years is replaced by a two-party Progressive/Democratic split where all involved are interested in actually finding solutions and governing, rather than simply winning elections and demonizing their opponents.

A pipe dream, I know, but the true face of the modern Republican party is about to be revealed for what it really is, and that can only be a good thing for the country.

Posted by: David Bailey on November 3, 2008 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

I've spent a lot of time listening to right-wing radio over the past several months-- Krugman is totally right. The right is going to close ranks, Limbaugh is already screaming that if they lose it's because McCain was a "moderate." (heh) Meanwhile the country club republians with MBAs will blame Sarah Palin for losing it for them. The two groups will quite literally tear themselves apart.

Their illogical coalition will no longer work-- social conservatives v. economic conservatives with moderate social views-- they've only worked for this long because they have won elections. But now they will blame one another for losing this election. Maybe the right-wing social conservatives will even leave the party as they've been threatening to do for so long-- I've long thought that the Constitution Party is their natural home. (One can hope.)

A lot of this will depend on Obama's presidency-- if it is successful then things will only be that much worse for the GOP. They're going to lose a lot of moderate GOPs to the Dems.

Posted by: zoe kentucky in pittsburgh on November 3, 2008 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

I predict a split between the "One true worders" and the conservative "Pragmatists," with the GOP moderates moving back into the Democratic camp. The GOP has alienated African Americans for the next 50 years, at least.

I further predict that the "One true worders" will return to local issues to try and re-build the base that led them to national influence. We're already seeing a conservative splinter group forming in our local high school PTA.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on November 3, 2008 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

When Bush leaves office, his Administration will be ravaged. I believe the Rovian disciples are about to begin a long, slow fade-away.

I fear the far left will feel empowered by tomorrow's election results and fight even harder to drive the DFL agenda their way (motivated by a little vengance, to boot).

I wonder if these events won't drive moderate Republicans back to fighting for re-control of their own party.

Posted by: on November 3, 2008 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

Whether and how deeply the Republican party splits will depend on 1. how badly they lose tomorrow and 2. whether in two and four years the country has righted itself to the point where the independents who broke their old Republican voting habits to support Obama feel more comfortable identifying themselves on the center-left. If Obama can create an enduring bloc of "Obamacons" the way Reagan created "Reagan Democrats", then the Republicans are in serious trouble as a viable party because all they have left after that are religious cooks and hard core racists. So do they double down with that platform? Or do they ditch their old resentment-addled redneck base and reinvent themselves along the lines of Britain's new Tories -- as a forward-looking, hip, immigrant-embracing, libertarian-oriented party? The future in this country does not belong to a dwindling minority of xenophobic white men who think that they were laid off and their jobs shipped overseas because of gay abortion doctors raising their taxes. If the Republicans think that's a winning base, hey, knock yourselves out.

Posted by: jonas on November 3, 2008 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

The Republican party belongs in the wilderness, preferably stretched out on the sands and covered in vultures.
Smart Republicans (or sane Republicans, or just plain not fucking fascistic Republicans) would do well to form a new party.

Posted by: npr on November 3, 2008 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

NPR was doing reports from battleground states and interviews with voters from each side and undecideds. I don't doubt the answers were highly edited but they were still revealing.

Everyone of the McCain supporters said they were praying that God would deliver victory because the alternative is far to frightening.

This is a mainstream view held by Republicans. What can be done with this mindset? The only real solution I can see is the death by a thousand cuts.

Posted by: grinning cat on November 3, 2008 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

And where does that leave sane Republicans?

They will feel comfortable in the Democratic Party. As doubtful said, above, Democrats have become a center-right party; there's not much light between the DNC and moderate Republicans.

Therefore, centrist Democrats and moderate Republicans will consolidate into a majority party while progressives flee to form a new liberal party. And that's how the two-party system will be broken into a 1+.5+.5 party system.

Posted by: Grumpy on November 3, 2008 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

Speaking as a partisan Democrat, I think it would be VERY bad for for both the party and the country if there is no viable opposition. Staying honest in governance is very difficult, and pretty much impossible without opponents staring over your shoulder.

However, the current Republican party is unfit to serve as opposition, both because of inherent dishonesty and as a result of its bankrupt ideology. The basic mindset there is authoritarian and theocratic, and can't operate within a secular constitutional framework without dissolving it.

I imagine the business interests that traditionally bankrolled and ran the GOP are either leaving or considering leaving, both because of the Palin freakshow and because the party looks headed for oblivion. As they join forces with Democrats, elements of our party will pull right, eventually leaving, I'd hope, a space for a renewed progressive party to emerge as the new opposition. (Crossing fingers.)

Posted by: jimBOB on November 3, 2008 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

The so-called moderate Republicans are people who vote R because their primary concern with politics is to keep the federal gravy train coming to them while endlessly bitching about their memebership dues in society.

In other words their biggest interest in the use of political power is to serve themselves. That's it. Selfishness. There are a ton of ratinalizations and exercises in intellectual dishonesty and self delusion built around this, of course. Moderate Republicans tend to think of themselves as more respectable, more stable, more responsible, and more self reliant than other people. A proclivity for smugness is how they justify their selfishness to themselves. So when will these people abandon the party of reactionary extremism? When it impacts them persnally. Not before. AS long as they see the R party as being the party that will keep their earmarks and their pork barrel spending coming while cutting their taxes nothing will get them to vote any other way. That's why very few of my upscale neighbors, respectable, educated professionals all, people who would never attend a Palin rally and who really don't want to associate themselves with the Base, are stil voting for McCain. They want their tax cuts and no matter what they may say about their values that's the only thing that really matters to them.

Polling data shows that McCain is getting nearly ninety percent of the Republican votes.

So what will happen to the R party? In my opinion they will stay just as much the party of oligarchs and religious fanatics and white collar criminals as they have been for the last hundred years. They will, however, do their best to put lipstick on a pig: to find a genial, personable millionaire who can wink at the religious nuts while maintaining the kind of demeanor that doesn't scare independents but who will serve the robber barons. Bobby Jindal, for example.

And then they will come back.

The R party won't be dead until fear, hate and selfishness are dead.

Posted by: wonkie on November 3, 2008 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

NPR was doing reports from battleground states and interviews with voters from each side and undecideds. I don't doubt the answers were highly edited but they were still revealing.

As was the fact that NPR didn't mention once that all the battleground states went Republican in 2004 (they mentioned the fact during some individual reports but didn't connect the dots).


Posted by: Gregory on November 3, 2008 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

Past is prologue. This is exactly what happened to the Republican Party in California. As they have become more and more unsuccessful, they have retreated further to the right. The only reason Ah-nold is governor is because he ran in a wide-open (i.e., no party favorite) election as part of the recall of Gray Davis. After him, the Republicans have been nominating further and further right-wing candidates, and getting spanked in the general election.

Posted by: artsmith on November 3, 2008 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

Back many many months ago at the old Carpetbagger site, there was lots of talk about how Obama (as opposed to other Dem candidates) would be able to bridge the gap with the Republican party if elected. I happened to be one of the few who said it would never happen because the Republican party, after this election, would become a distilled version of the hateful, crazy-christianist right segment of the party that would not be interested in compromise or the good of the country or anything like that. It was a critique of the right, yet many at the Carpetbagger site took it as a slight of Obama and I was brow-beaten accordingly. Well, I think that we are seeing, as Mr. Benen points out, the distillation of the Republican party into a smaller but thicker and smellier jelly of these past 14 years.

And it won't be the right President Obama will need to worry about. It will be the blue-dog type Dems (not necessarily centrist Dems) that Obama will have to keep his eye on and work into compromise. But I agree with Grumpy that moderate Republicans will have much more in common with centrist and blue-dog Dems than what will remain in the Republican party.

Posted by: bubba on November 3, 2008 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

Some fundamental things are changing for Republicans and for US politics:

-- Republican economic policies have failed. F-A-I-L-E-D. Banks and large financial firms (AIG, Fanny & Freddie) have been bailed out because government financing was the only way to keep the economy from collapsing. Remember: Paulson begged Pelosi on bended knee and said "Republicans are the stumbling block." This means that only marginal factions (the GOP "One True Worders") will continue to advocate absolute, hands-off economics. The economic policy debate has moved left. Not a question of whether but how much government intervention is appropriate.

-- the GOP Southern Strategy is a thing of the past. Virginia is blue and North Carolina and Florida may go blue as well. The southern Republican base is shrinking. If Dems use "What's the Matter With Kansas" arguments to appeal to moderates then we could see Louisiana, Missouri & others back as reliable Dems.

-- Hispanic voters are no longer led by Cuban Americans in Florida & New York. Mexican & Latin Americans very turned off by Republican nativism & they are voting Democratic this election.

I see the domestic policy debate shifting left, a la Europe. If Republicans want to stay relevant they need to be able to justify policies that actually make the majority of people more prosperous, not just cater to the elite few and pay lip service to the rest of us.

I see the One True Word Republicans splintering off & more traditional Republican conservatives appealing to moderates. Difficult to say at this point what camp Palin will fall into. She may be a flash in the pan anyway. There are lots smarter conservative women.

In any case the Republican brand as we have come to know it since the Reagan presidency is dead. It will be interesting to see how they sort things out.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on November 3, 2008 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

Therefore, centrist Democrats and moderate Republicans will consolidate into a majority party while progressives flee to form a new liberal party.

I dunno. Most far-left liberals who can't stand "sell outs" like Harry Reid have already wandered off to the Green Party or to work for candidates like Dennis Kuchinich. If a far-left party were viable, it would have happened already. Remember how much the left hated Clinton?

The Democratic party just doesn't have the irreconcilable tensions and cognitive dissonances the Republicans do. It's between people who want to strictly limit road building in national forest versus those who want to ban it. It's between those who want to get out of Iraq now and those who want to get out in a year. It's between people who want federally-funded daycare versus those who want to give grants to states to offer daycare to poorer parents. Some kind of compromise can be found in these positions. When your party consists of people who want strong foreign policy experience and free trade, versus people who don't think those things really matter because Jesus is coming soon, you have some bigger problems.

If a new political party comes out of this, it will be a Christian evangelical/nationalist party consisting of random tinfoil-hatted militia types, Rambo afficionados and Left Behind fans. They may win local and statewide offices in places like Utah and Mississippi, but that will be about it.

Posted by: jonas on November 3, 2008 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

I think a lot of the moderates will defect to the Democratic party because of it's viability. The Democratic party is really, on the world stage, a moderate, even sometimes center-right party.

The Green party or another more progressive, liberal party will come up on the left.

This is all armchair punditry of course, but I see this as one of many viable courses that history could take following what seems to be a looming GOP defeat at the polls.

We need parties of ideas, not ideologies. That is why the Libertarian party will not easily flourish, because there is too much demand for dogmatically adhering to their models of how reality should work. I say this as someone who finds their model of reality quite appealing at the gut level.

The Green Party is certainly more ideological than the Dems, but pragmatic enough to win seats and attract members in several areas of the country.

Assuming Obama governs as a "center-right" Democrat, which I think he will, I can picture several of the most liberal party members defecting to the Greens. It won't happen overnight, but it will be a steady erosion. Especially if Obama serves two terms and is succeeded by another center-right Democrat. The Democrats will be seen as dragging their feet on issues of sustainability in favor of minimizing the pain of transition to U.S. corporations. Only a wholesale change in mindset among either consumers, who exert more pressure than government, or the businesses themselves will prevent this perception. Given that consumption will be down for at least two terms, I don't see that being an issue -- especially if the cash strapped consumer can be convinced that accelerating environmental regulations will hit them in the pocket book because of added costs.

Anyhoo, this might even provide opportunity for a "libertarianish" party to emerge as a counterbalance to the Know-Nothing remainders of the GOP, which would further dilute the influence of the true wingnuts.

The one person who might rescue the GOP is Newt Gingrich. Not as a candidate, but as an idea man. He could provide a new framework for the GOP that acknowledges 21st century challenges and how those challenges might require changes to tried and true conservative practice, but not conservative principle. The trick will be convincing the yahoos that cutting taxes, hating on non-whites, deregulation, etc. are not principles, but in fact practices.

Watch Newt.

Posted by: lobbygow on November 3, 2008 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

I love the die hards who insist this intolerance is merely a rejection of Obama, going as far to say that the party could nominate Bobby Jindal in 2012 to run against Obama in a match-up of 'Tiger Woods''.

This is laughable and racist on it face, plainly highlighting the GOP's concept of racial equality.

I am with those who find pleasure in the downfall of such an ugly party (to many ignore the party's hateful past).

To those who think the numbers add up for a viable third party to take it's place, get real. The GOP has had success due to the coalition of conservative bases, not one or two:

two-fifth's evangelical et. al. socio-conservatives.

two-fifth's fical conservative (though this is really an oxymoron; government grows at much faster rates under republican rule than democratic - another bass-ackwards GOP argument)

one-fifth extreme warmonger conservatives.

None of these subsets can survive in a political atmosphere without the others.

Posted by: ThatGuy on November 3, 2008 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

Monty at 11:34 is correct. We can expect increased violence from the right wing. But politically the constant attacks on Clinton for eight years are a mild sample of what Obama can expect. In addition they are going to do everything possible to obstruct any effective responses to the economic crisis.

Mustang Bobby at 11:18 AM is also quite right. They are not going to recognize that their free market let-the-invisible-hand-work policies are what have created the economic mess.

America is entering the worst economic period since the Depression, and it is going to be saddled with a super reactionary angry right wing party who refuses to admit they caused much of the economic crisis. They will also attempt to block any effective efforts to resolve the economic problems they have left after Bush/Cheney leaves office.

It's tough enough to fix a bad mess when things break down anyway, but it's a lot harder when someone slaps you every time you try to pick up a tool to fix the mess and tells you "It'll fix itself!" That's the future of the Republican Party, though. Slapping anyone who tries to fix the disaster they left behind them and always blaming others for the problems they caused themselves.

Posted by: Rick B on November 3, 2008 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

"That said, Krugman's view of the Republican reaction is probably not dark enough. Get ready for 4 to 8 years of screeching insanity and hateful demagoguery."

But it didn't work this time. That's what is noteworthy. In the past the arch-right and extreme christian element used fear and guilt like a blunt force weapon, but this time it didn't work. Yes, they will screech and scream, but time has passed them by and they are falling farther and farther out of the mainstream.

What is very worrisome is the really dark elements that will be attaching themselves to what remains of the Republican "base." I think we've already seen it sniffing around the edges of the Sarah Palin rallies. I'm afraid we may see some people not content with just screeching and screaming.

Posted by: Saint Zak on November 3, 2008 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

Most idiot Republicans I talk to see this election as setting up the GOP for the next Ronald Reagan. Just as the Democratic Party was dead and buried four years ago, the Republicans will be back the very instant they find someone who can lead them to victory.

It won't be Newt, he'll be behind the scenes. It won't be Sarah Palin, because she'll be taking the fall for this go around. But, it'll be someone from out of the blue [so to speak], that will court big business enough to get the money they need and win over people still sweating the economy [good luck fixing it in four years!], and it will touch on enough "values" issues to make the nutjobs quiet down.

But mostly, it'll be a charismatic asshole who can easily lead the country backwards, pull off invisible acts of international crime, puff up the military, and sooth the tears of the GOP with sweet, sweet teflon talk.

Posted by: chrenson on November 3, 2008 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

What happens to Rush and his type of GOP propagandists? Rush has been sounding more and more desperate on the radio lately. Of course, he will attack the Obama Admin at every turn, but what will he do to revive his on party. Renounce the theocons seems to be the only way, return the days of RR? We shall see. But I know this, the theocons will not go easily.

Posted by: The fake fake al on November 3, 2008 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

I posted this in an earlier thread, before I read the comments here, but I'm going to start by repeating it, even though it duplicates a lot of earlier comments.

"As for the question of the 'Republican future,' either the Republican Party moves back to where there is an influential block of moderates and 'honorable' conservatives to keep the crazies and crooks in check, or they will go the way of the Whigs, and there will be a new, Center-Right Party slowly spinning off from the Democrats.

The first option would be the 'better' one, but I don't see it. For the most part, it is the crazies that are most likely to win re-election, the Inhofes, Enzis, etc. seem in safe seats. Except for Collins, the most centrist Republicans in safe seats are Lamar Alexander and Lindsey Graham.

And of the rest, the few Republicans who come close to representing what I'd like to see, Lugar, Specter, Hagel, even Grassley and Cochrane are all either retiring or are in their mid-seventies.

The same in the House. A few crazies will be losing -- Bachmann and, I hope, Sali -- but the other losses will come mostly from the 'moderates,' because if a district was centrist enough to elect a moderate, Bush has driven it to the democrats, and to voters who want to punish anyone with an (R) after his name.

The Steve Kings come from Districts that can't be reached by sanity so after the 'wipe-out' tomorrow, they'll represent a much larger proportion of the survivors."

As soon as I get a chance I'll reply to -- and maybe change my mind because of -- some of the above comments.

Posted by: Prup (aka Jim Benton) on November 3, 2008 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

Another party will form. Maybe a truly conservative party, with real principles, will emerge from this debacle.

The Republican party is finished. The lunatic fringe has control of it and they aren't giving it back. They'd rather kill the party first.

Posted by: jeff on November 3, 2008 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

After FDR came Truman, and then Eisenhauer.

After Kennedy came Johnson, and then Nixon.

After every great Dem statesman came a mediocre, unpopular Dem pres, and then a opportunistic, moderate avatar of the right.

One could predict the same will happen with Obama, assuming that the Dems don't fuck thing up too bad. (To see how they could, see Illinois under Blagojevich.) He will be succeeded by a mediocre Dem, who will be succeeded by a moderate Republican.

Posted by: goethean on November 3, 2008 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

I always thought (maybe it was hoped for) a third party would emerge from the left. Now I see the the greater possibility of a viable third party emerging from the right since extremists have taken over the Republican Party.

Of course we still need a truly progressive party since the Democrats are moderate to the left and right-leaning in the middle.

Wouldn't it be grand if we the people had a real choice between the Democratic, Republican, Progressive, and Conservative Parties. This scenario, in turn, would empower the Green and Libertarian Parties as the electorate would be more spread out.

The true winner in this scenario would be "the people" who would finally get "true" representation since no party would be ruling by majority and all voices would have to be heard as parties were forced to work together.

We can only hope!

Posted by: ej on November 3, 2008 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

"A lot of this will depend on Obama's presidency"

I agree. I think should Obama be successful in accomplishing many of the goals he's set forth and helping the country regain its standing both here and abroad, the result will be these right-wing factions will continue get splintered and more desparate in their actions.

It will be intresting to see if corporate media will fan the flames on this issue. I figure their reaction will be one of two possibilities -

1) The country is hears a lot about this endlessly the next few years, to the point that it will become a distraction.

2) They don't talk about it at all, preferring to raise as many issues about Obama and his administration as a way to deflect attention.

I also agree with the various sentiments about the right-wing. Upon an Obama victory, various elements of the right-wing will be around for some time. I'm speculating that many factions that exists as part of the coalition that exists in the Republican Party will either try to fight for its control, or break away and engage in more illegal and violent activity, much in line the extremist, militia and hate-groups.

I'm not under any illusions either. These groups are out there. The key for the rest of the country is to be vigilant, and work together to solving the country's problems over the next few years.

Posted by: Mathew on November 3, 2008 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

Reactionary is now a valid nom de guerre? I always thought it was backwards ass thinking...so they want to be reactive vs. pro-active....

kind of like Communists, Fascists and Nazis, imho.

Posted by: RememberNovember on November 3, 2008 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

David Brooks and David Frum and Peggy Noonan are dead people in the Republican Party.

Actually, EVERYONE in the Republican Party are dead people in the Republican Party. They're all running on that post-Korean War technology from the Disney Animatronics Lab (which explains why they always look like motorized department-store mannequins on YouTube)....

Posted by: Steve W. on November 3, 2008 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

An interesting question is what will blog sites such as this one spend their electrons talking about. If you go to the front page at any time, topic du jour here has been The Other Guys 4 out of 5 posts. There have been times where you couldn't tell who the democratic nominee was here, all the posts have been about McCain. Should be interesting.

Posted by: SJRSM on November 3, 2008 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

i'm one of those folks who WANT to gop to go "double down" on the hard right.... that'll maginalize their sorry asses for a generation....

there were some people at a WaPo comment thread yesterday lamenting bush's failure as the result of HIM govering like a moderate...."bing it on"

Posted by: dj spellchecka on November 3, 2008 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

" . . .the G.O.P. has become the party of intolerance."

But it seems mostly AT other people. They are so worried about gay marriage, but gays marrying are such a small percentage of the population.

The right has no problem with divorce, although the Bible is equally clear on that point.

But since divorce is as mainstream now among Republicans, that little "sin" is left out of their biblical mantra.

The right is letting society progress, in the areas that most benefit them.

Posted by: Zli on November 3, 2008 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

"...The result, Krugman noted, is the acceleration of the Republican Party's "long transformation into the party of the unreasonable right, a haven for racists and reactionaries."..."

You could see this coming from the past CPAC conferences. These so called republicans have been cultivated by the likes of Hannity, Limbaugh,Coulter, Savage, Beck, O'Reilley,Cheney, Rumsfeld...god the list is huge. This is truly the lowest sickest group of bottom feeders in America gathered in one party. What did the good republicans expect...look at Boehner, Bond and Graham who represent them. this is the America who need healing from the hate rhetoric they've come to live by. This is the cultivated group result and the leader of this "idocracy" is Palin...("what's your bowling score, Moose?")

Posted by: joey on November 3, 2008 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

You know, I truly and honestly respect those commenters who say the Dems shouldn't steamroll over Republicans. And I even agree.

But what makes any of you actually think what's left of the GOP has any interest in working with Democrats?

They have shown exactly ZERO inclination to even speaking with Democrats, let alone working with them on policy. Why would that change?

IMHO, the biggest challenge won't be to reign in a liberal agenda -- Americans have stated time and again a preference for most liberal policies.

The biggest challenge will be a GOP that is pissed, wounded, and willing to toss the entire country into chaos out of spite.

Posted by: Mark D on November 3, 2008 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

That's why very few of my upscale neighbors, respectable, educated professionals all, people who would never attend a Palin rally and who really don't want to associate themselves with the Base, are stil voting for McCain. They want their tax cuts and no matter what they may say about their values that's the only thing that really matters to them.

The ironic thing, of course, is that under a Democratic president with Democratic economic policies, they'd probably net more income after taxes (even higher taxes) than they are with their current tax cuts.

That's what I really just don't get. Why would you rather pay lower taxes on a lower income than pay (slightly) higher taxes on a higher income when you're going to end up with more money overall with the higher taxes/higher income combination?

Posted by: Mnemosyne on November 3, 2008 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

But what makes any of you actually think what's left of the GOP has any interest in working with Democrats?
Posted by: Mark D

This blog has touted regularly the republicans who are voting for Obama. Those people aren't leaving the republican party, they're just voting for Obama. Which part of the republican party do you expect the Dems to work with, and send pork to in the 2009 congress?

Posted by: SJRSM on November 3, 2008 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

How true about the '64 becoming '66 and '92 becoming '94. Following the landslide of '64, Reagan came to power in California, and the Birchers of Orange County and the newly Repug, formerly Southern Democrats living in the San Joaquin Valley threw out the moderates and liberals in '66 and began their push which resulted in the '80s Reagan win.

After '92, came the cry from many about the demise of the NRA, especially, when the Brady Bill was passed in '93. This brought a whirlwind of money raising and the massive emergence of the NRA to sweep many Congressional folks, who had voted for the Brady Bill, from office in '94. Takes a lot to kill rattlers. Beware the off year elections in 2010, when they come out of their holes.

Posted by: berttheclock on November 3, 2008 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

Another interesting fact noted recently by NPR is that if Ielana Ros-Lehtinen and the two Diaz-Balart brothers lose their seats tomorrow, there will not be a single Latino Republican, African-American Republican, or Asian-American Republican left in Congress.

Posted by: mfw13 on November 3, 2008 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK
This blog has touted regularly the republicans who are voting for Obama. Those people aren't leaving the republican party, they're just voting for Obama.

And how many of those Republican actually serve in Congress?

Answer: Few.

Which part of the republican party do you expect the Dems to work with, and send pork to in the 2009 congress?

Um ... the ones who are actually in Congress, not the ones who are retired or never served (nor currently serve) in Congress.

And you're confused about this ... why, exactly?

Sorry, but most of the GOP in Congress has shown a stunning unwillingness to pass policy. In fact, they've spent the past year blocking everything -- they even voted against Mother's Day simply to obstruct the people's business.

Not sure why that'd suddenly change with what will be left of the GOP. Especially since so many are so dumb and out of touch that they think the problem is that they weren't conservative enough.

Posted by: Mark D on November 3, 2008 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, but most of the GOP in Congress has shown a stunning unwillingness to pass policy.
Posted by: Mark D

Interesting comment, seeing as how the Dems hold both houses and set the policy agenda. Who exactly is it that can't close the deal on policy? On the most important vote we've had in recent times, the Dems couldn't close the deal although in the driver's seat, insisting that the republicans (riding in the back) drive the show.

Next 4 years will be interesting.

Posted by: SJRSM on November 3, 2008 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

"Jim Nuzzo, a White House aide to the first President Bush, dismissed Mrs Palin's critics as 'cocktail party conservatives' who 'give aid and comfort to the enemy'. He told The Sunday Telegraph: 'There's going to be a bloodbath. A lot of people are going to be excommunicated. David Brooks and David Frum and Peggy Noonan are dead people in the Republican Party.'"

Excellent.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on November 3, 2008 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

the religious right destroyed the republican party. But it took americans 28 yrs to figure it out. a new party must evolve.

Posted by: jr on November 3, 2008 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

Remember, conservatism never fails, it is only failed.

Posted by: jrw on November 3, 2008 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK
Interesting comment, seeing as how the Dems hold both houses and set the policy agenda. Who exactly is it that can't close the deal on policy? On the most important vote we've had in recent times, the Dems couldn't close the deal although in the driver's seat, insisting that the republicans (riding in the back) drive the show.

Thank you for proving to everyone here that you have no clue about how Congress actually works. Not surprising, given the GOP's tendency to trash the Constitution and be generally clueless on how the government functions, but still.

Do yourself a favor and read up a bit on the following terms: "filibuster," "cloture," and "obstructionism."

Once done, read your comment again and explain to us all how it makes any fucking sense whatsoever. Because for those of us who actually know how our legislative process works, it doesn't.

Next 4 years will be interesting.

Well, that depends on whether or not the GOP will spend that time attacking Obama over utter horseshit (like it did Clinton), or if the GOP will look itself in the mirror, realize its failings, and realign itself to better match reality.

I'm expecting the former, and have no faith in the latter.

Posted by: Mark D on November 3, 2008 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

The republican party of today have made the democratic party look like independents.

Posted by: Fela on November 3, 2008 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

Didn't see this above, but don't forget the explosive growth and swing to the left of the Hispanic population. Here's a cohort that's going to (knock on wood) come into adulthood under 8-12 plus years of extremely effective and responsive governance (knock knock knock on wood). This is going to have a huge effect on the long term direction of politics in this country.

Posted by: Conrad's Ghost on November 3, 2008 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

Mr. Nuzzo, Ms. Palin, Mr. McCain, Mr. Rove, et.al.;
To the woodshed. Now. School's back in session. And you're about to get the proper whuppin' you deserve for tellin' the teacher that "the dog ate my homework" for the last 14 years. And stealin' the poor kids' lunch money! You should be ashamed.
The belts that will be tightened will now include those of you and your billionaire buddies. After we get done applying them to your miserable behinds! Then it's the corner, dunce caps on, for the next 8 years. And every day, you will write "I will not steal elections and govern by fear" on the blackboard until you forsake these tactics. Or it's the metal ruler for handwriting lessons!
They aren't gonna be able to sit down for months....

Posted by: Chill Rob G on November 3, 2008 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

Obama can not be president of the United States because he was not born in the United States,he is a fraud and should display his birth certificate that he talked about in his book he wrote.Evidently he must carry it with him so make him produce the birth certificat or a vault copy from where he was born.

Posted by: Dolores Fleming on November 4, 2008 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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