Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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November 13, 2008

QUOTE OF THE DAY.... Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) described the Republican Party's troubles while speaking to the RGA yesterday.

"We cannot be a majority governing party when we essentially cannot compete in the Northeast, we are losing our ability to compete in Great Lakes states, we cannot compete on the West Coast, we are increasingly in danger of competing in the mid-Atlantic states, and the Democrats are now winning some of the Western states," Pawlenty said. "That is not a formula for being a majority governing party in this nation."

As if that weren't enough, he ticked off a few more challenges.

"Similarly we cannot compete, and prevail, as a majority governing party if we have a significant deficit, as we do, with women, where we have a large deficit with Hispanics, where we have a large deficit with African American voters, where we have a large deficit with people of modest incomes and modest financial circumstances. Those are not factors that make up a formula for success going forward."

Hmm. Republicans can't compete in the Northeast, the Midwest, the Sunbelt, or the Pacific Coast. They also can't win support from women voters, Hispanic voters, African-American voters, or working class families. (He forgot to mention young voters.)

Five years ago, Zell Miller wrote a book called, "National Party No More." If only he'd gotten the party right, he would have been a visionary.

Steve Benen 10:50 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (39)

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Comments

What if they just focused on making sense, just for more than two full sentences? That might actually help.

And outright lying is probably not a good idea, at least not if it's so obvious that everyone catches on. When the evening talk show hosts are having fun with your press statements and actual policy, that's when you know you're screwed.

And mayors who did dingbat nothing and screwed up their polica and fire response efforts, pre 9/11, shouldn't develop 9/11 Tourettes. Just saying.

Posted by: SteinL on November 13, 2008 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

if the gop had only asked me 4 years ago, i would have told them, as i mentioned in comments sections any number of times, that in 2004, bush won the states of the old confederacy by 5.5M and lost the other 37 (including some presumptively red ones) by 2.5M.

bush did manage to just hold on thanks to ohio, but the writing was on the wall....

Posted by: howard on November 13, 2008 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

As long as they keep passing over Realists like Pawlenty for "celebrity" and the appealing to the loony 30% . Just think of the campaign McNasty could have run as a serious candidate.

Posted by: John R on November 13, 2008 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

sounds like they need a '50-state' strategy. I hear Howard Dean is going to be free...

Posted by: kp on November 13, 2008 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

Worth Repeating sez it all - the new face of the Republican Party

statement by Sarah Palin means:


"Sitting here in these chairs that I'm going to be proposing but in working with these governors who again on the front lines are forced to and it's our privileged obligation to find solutions to the challenges facing our own states every day being held accountable, not being just one of many just casting votes or voting present every once in a while, we don't get away with that. We have to balance budgets and we're dealing with multibillion dollar budgets and tens of thousands of employees in our organizations."

Posted by: John R on November 13, 2008 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

According to the LAT Democrats are looking at the Texas. Now if Texas were to leave the fold, the Republican Party would be as good as over.

Posted by: wmmbb on November 13, 2008 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

Marty di Bergi: Why do you think Spinal Tap has become less popular?

Ian Faith: It's not that I think Spinal Tap have become less popular. I think their appeal has just become more selective.

Welcome, GOP, to the world of self-parody!

Posted by: chrenson on November 13, 2008 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

Notice that Pawlenty omits the biggest domographic missing from the Republican faithful - people with education. Somehow, I don't think it was an oversight.

Posted by: Danp on November 13, 2008 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

Any comment attacking Zell Miller is a good start.

Zell represents the very worst of the Democratic Party; the only party he is really comfortable with is populism: he was first-class segregationist when that was in vogue; a liberal when that was useful; and a world-class Bush fluffer when Georgia turned Republican.

Underneath it all is a level of unbridled rage against anyone he views as a threat to him and "his people". Of course "his people" is a shifting population.

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

Well hey, I actually think this is a pretty good strategy for them to be able to gain a permanent national majority, assuming they can just convince the South to secede again, They'd totally own that country and could go as crazy as they wanted to be.

I wonder which side Alaska would take...

Posted by: Doctor Biobrain on November 13, 2008 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

Yes they "can"

Republicans can't compete in the Northeast, the Midwest, the Sunbelt, or the Pacific Coast...

But Sarah and Todd sure look nice in their spray can tans.
Image is everything, isn't it?

Posted by: koreyel on November 13, 2008 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

Shorter Pawlenty: we need to broaden our appeal to those outside the real America.

Posted by: JeffPDX on November 13, 2008 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

Whatever the case is . . . SNL will have a field day with the GOP primaries in 2012. Can't you just see Steve Carell as Pawlenty, admitting defeat to Tina Fey's Palin in a mock debate?

Posted by: The Caped Composer on November 13, 2008 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

The GOP can still compete with real Americans, and always will.

Posted by: Al on November 13, 2008 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

They are this close to realizing they are losing their appeal with the human race. And by "this close" I mean really, really close.

Posted by: chrenson on November 13, 2008 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK
The GOP can still compete with real Americans, and always will.

Yes, but the question is, will the real Americans continue to win?

Posted by: noncarborundum on November 13, 2008 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK


Pawlenty says ""we cannot compete, and prevail, as a majority governing party ... where we have a large deficit with people of modest incomes and modest financial circumstances."

Translation: "Wow! We really are just a bunch of rich people in this party!"

Took them a while to figure that out, eh?

Posted by: ctrenta on November 13, 2008 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

It's obvious that Tim Pawlenty is palling around with terrorists, believes there is no God, and wants to impose socialism — and Gay Marriage — on the Real America. The GOP needs to drive subversives like him out of the party, and turn the reins over to real patriots like Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann. Only then will the Republican Party truly realize its destiny.

Posted by: bluestatedon on November 13, 2008 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

While I tend to agree with all this, I'm a bit concerned (trollish terminology noted) that we're extrapolating a little too far with the victories in 2006 and 2008. I'm most encouraged by the demographic trends for the democratic party, with the increasing Hispanic and African-American populations, along with the voting trends of the younger population, the GOP is definitely in trouble. Still, I think the results from the last two elections may reflect the complete incompetence of the GOP, rather than an ideological shift in the population at large. That said, if the GOP fails to "Carter-ize" Obama, and the current dems in charge can demonstrate solid policy-making over the next 4-8 years, we could see a huge, lasting shift in the political landscape.

Posted by: Crusty Dem on November 13, 2008 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

He mentioned everyone else so as not to say they were doing well only with Southern whites ...
Steve! I get the straight-man act, but make the point now and then just to prove that you can ...

Posted by: Neil B on November 13, 2008 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

Republicans can't compete in the Northeast, the Midwest, the Sunbelt, or the Pacific Coast.

So what does that leave: The Bible Belt

Posted by: Marko on November 13, 2008 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

The GOP can still compete with real Americans, and always will.

Posted by: Al on November 13, 2008 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK
_____________

I await, with oh-so-baited breath, your definition of "real Americans."

Not to mention your definition of those who voted for Obama since they apparently are not "real Americans," otherwise the republicans would've been more competitive in getting their votes.

Posted by: slappy magoo on November 13, 2008 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

He forgot (?) to mention their deficit with gay voters. Guess he's comfortable with that one.

Posted by: cal hattrick on November 13, 2008 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

I'm heartened to see somebody in the GOP actually pointing out real problems with the party, but I kinda suspect it's all talk. Just look at this:

Although some polling at the end of the campaign suggested Palin was a drag on the ticket, her fellow governors treated any question about her gingerly. They praised her for energizing the base, and moved quickly to extol Obama's speechmaking skills and his extraordinary fundraising advantage.

If they still can't flat-out say, "Palin has no understanding of national issues - she should never have been nominated", the rest of it is nothing but hot air.

Posted by: Robin Z on November 13, 2008 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

The good folk of Texas will bolt when they realize the only "Real Americans" live in Oklahoma.

Posted by: berttheclock on November 13, 2008 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

Still, I think the results from the last two elections may reflect the complete incompetence of the GOP, rather than an ideological shift in the population at large

Crusty - But that's not the problem, because the population hasn't shifted. They were NEVER very conservative. Conservatives only won because their rhetoric was empty and ambiguous, and thus could appeal to a large segment of the population. It was all about "family values" and "personal responsibility," and other feelgood platitudes that were entirely meaningless. But whenever they tried to actually pass conservative policies, they got nailed. That's why a Republican Congress with a Republican Whitehouse could never cut spending, because people actually like high spending. They actually WANT their government to work. And if conservatives had actually ran on their true positions, they'd never have gained power. That's why they had to stay vague.

The truth is that America is a fairly liberal nation that got sold on empty conservative rhetoric. It became uncool to self-identify as liberal. But when you actually get down to what most people want, it's obvious they're liberals; including many so-called conservatives. And after many years of conservatives proving what unpopular fiends they are, all that's required is for liberals to prove how capable they are of doing things. And that'll be the nail in the coffin.

Conservative incompetence isn't a short-term situation that's helping us now. It's always been the case. It just took awhile before that incompetence became so apparent that even the empty platitudes couldn't save them. And the deeper they dig into anti-liberal crazytown in their attacks against us, the more marginalized they'll become. This isn't a temporary reprieve against a conservative onslaught. This is America getting back to normal.

Posted by: Doctor Biobrain on November 13, 2008 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

bravo AL!
Keep talking. With the real American ideology you are insuring the permanace of your minority status for a long time.

I personally support the GOP's intolerance of ideas, science, and inclusion. With that they will continue to marginalize themselves until they are nothing but a few Al's in a room wondering where everyone else went.

Keep talking, keep spewing hate. Keep losing. We love you.

Posted by: cboas on November 13, 2008 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, white men. Hate to break it to you, but you're not now, and have not been for a long time, the majority of voters in this country.

See how you like it to be marginalized.

Ha ha.

Posted by: Cal Gal on November 13, 2008 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

Pawlenty is a moderate Republican and therefore is too liberal for today's right-wing GOP.

Although he's just fine for a moderate state such as Minnesota, he never would have made it out of the Republican primary in places like Alabama, Idaho, or Oklahoma.

Posted by: mfw13 on November 13, 2008 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

IF they GOOPers could pull together the hockey-mom vote, the pro-america american vote, and the plumber's guild vote ... they could pull it off in 2012. Keep the nutty, angry, small-tent philosphy alive!

Posted by: Foobar on November 13, 2008 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

bluestatedon:

"It's obvious that Tim Pawlenty is palling around with terrorists, believes there is no God, and wants to impose socialism — and Gay Marriage — on the Real America. The GOP needs to drive subversives like him out of the party, and turn the reins over to real patriots like Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann. Only then will the Republican Party truly realize its DENSITY."

There, fixed it.
Mark

Posted by: Mark on November 13, 2008 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

The height of the Republican southern strategy (though not confined to the south but most pronounced in the old Confederacy states) was 1972 when Nixon trounced McGovern in Mississippi 78% to 19%, in Alabama 72% to 25%, Georgia 75% to 24% and South Carolina 70% t0 28%. The margins by which Republicans prevail over Democrats among white voters has been decling erer since than.

Obama lost all these states but by much closer margins: Mississippi M 56% to O 43%, Alabama 60% to 38%, Georgia 52% to 47% and South Carolina 54% to 49%.

Granted Obama was helped by the financial turmonil but its also true that McCain was helped by his ability to put some (albeit small) daylight) between his and Bush and Obama race.

But the key distinction is that the ability of parties to use racial differences is slowly but surely fading. It was dispicable when Democrats did it prior to the 1940 and its dispicable that Republicans have used it since then.

Posted by: Allan on November 13, 2008 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

So the real question is how will the U.S. funciton as a one party state. Image in 2016 when the presidential election will be decided sometime between the Iowa Caucuses and Super Tuesday.

Posted by: superdestroyer on November 13, 2008 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

hey just a word of caution: this was us four years ago and eight years ago. this was us in 1984. we will hold the white house and congress only as long as we govern well. we won this election for a lot of reasons other than ideology: an incredibly inept administration and an incredibly inept candidate; one of the worst economic messes since the 1930s; an exceptionally strong candidate on our side. to get caught up in hubris is a mistake. the election was the easy part; running the country is the hard part. let's hope we do it well.

Posted by: mudwall jackson on November 13, 2008 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

I think the Republican party will have a lot of trouble resolving these issues. To start with, if they don't give up on, as Pawlenty suggests, fundamental social issues, then they are already limited. If you combine this with the contradictions of a party that wants both small government, lower taxes and a huge military, then I see even less of a path forward.

The GOP, in my mind, has three choices:
1. Continue the same strategy and hope that Americans continue to vote against their own interests.
2. Become the party of the religious right.
3. Become the party of actual small government.

Since #2 and #3 are going to happen, it will be very tough to unit the party.

Posted by: inthewoods on November 13, 2008 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

my favorite part of the WaPo article steve linked...

Bobby Jindal said the party must "stop making excuses for corruption." He named Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), who has been convicted of unlawfully accepting gifts but whose reelection race is very tight.

Gov. Dave Heineman of Nebraska was ready to take Jindal up on the challenge. "I think he ought to resign today," Heineman said of Stevens, and asked his fellow governors if they wanted to make a similar statement. "Do we have the courage to do that?"

There was silence at the table.


Posted by: dj spellchecka on November 13, 2008 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

"He forgot to mention young voters."

They'd mostly fall under "people of modest incomes and modest financial circumstances."

Paris Hilton wouldn't. But her family donated to McCain's campaign.

Posted by: Pyre on November 13, 2008 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

I searched this page for any mention of Harpers, Horton, or Rove. Can believe the first two, but no mention of Rove? WTF?


The Southern Strategy Comes of Age
(excerpted from No Comment)
http://www.harpers.org/archive/2008/11/hbc-90003804
"Karl Rove came to Washington in 2000 promising to change the nation’s political landscape. He expected to establish the Republicans as a new natural party of power, with majorities that would lock in control for a generation. At the heart of the Rovian calculus was America’s Southland, which he saw as the ideological and political base of the reshaped Republican Party of the age of Bush. But the very success of this strategy has been the party’s unmaking. It has also marked a complete betrayal of the founding values of the party of Lincoln and Frémont—an act of ultimate political cynicism.

[...]

In the early Seventies, Richard Nixon seized on an initiative popularized by Kevin Phillips called the "Southern Strategy."...

Phillips suggested that a new Republican majority could be fashioned in the eleven states of the Old Confederacy, to which would be added the existing Republican base in the North, Midwest and plains, Mountain West, and Pacific West. The election of 1972 showed that Phillips’s math was right, and in 1980 and 1984, Ronald Reagan pursued an electoral strategy similarly built on the transformed allegiance of white Southerners. Rove altered this grand design, tweaking it by placing the religious right at the heart of the G.O.P. effort (and thereby displacing the more prosperous middle-class voters who had been there before). This strategy succeeded beyond the expectations of its authors. Today it has become an albatross for the G.O.P.

[...]

When the votes have been counted tonight, the G.O.P. will reap the final fruits of its Southern Strategy. The Republican Party will have transformed itself from the Party of Lincoln into the Party of the Old Confederacy... Moreover, surveying the party’s leadership from the last decade, the predominance of white male Southerners will be clear. The 2008 elections will likely see Republicans falling to their Democratic adversaries in New England (which is now unlikely to return a single Republican to the House of Representatives), the Midwest, the Southwest, and the Pacific states...

But whereas England’s southeast was and is the nation’s economic engine, attracting the best and the brightest from throughout the realm, the American South is largely a backwater. And within that region, the G.O.P. is, not coincidentally, weakest among the best educated and most prosperous populations (Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida) and strongest in the areas most beset by social and economic difficulties. The nation’s political pendulum swings constantly, and the Republican Party will reshape itself and will come to power again. But the Republicans hold on to a final redoubt that offers them little sustenance and little hope for an easy rally and return. This reveals the serious miscalculation of a master tactician. ***It is the legacy of Karl Rove.*** (emphasis added)

Well done, Turd Blossom!

Posted by: knowbuddhau on November 13, 2008 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

Speaking of Zell, has anyone actually seen the old bastard lately?

Can't say I blame him for keeping a low profile, but it sure would be nice to watch him eat a little crow.

Posted by: Cervantes on November 13, 2008 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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