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Tilting at Windmills

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July 25, 2010

A 'SLAP IN THE FACE' -- IN 1981.... Charles Krauthammer had a surprisingly interesting column a couple of weeks ago, some of which I even found vaguely persuasive (an odd feeling given its author). But one paragraph in particular got me thinking.

The net effect of 18 months of Obamaism will be to undo much of Reaganism. Both presidencies were highly ideological, grandly ambitious and often underappreciated by their own side. In his early years, Reagan was bitterly attacked from his right. (Typical Washington Post headline: "For Reagan and the New Right, the Honeymoon Is Over" -- and that was six months into his presidency!) Obama is attacked from his left for insufficient zeal on gay rights, immigration reform, closing Guantanamo -- the list is long.

Just six months after Reagan's inauguration, was the "honeymoon" really perceived as over between him and the "new right"? A friend of mine dug up the article Krauthammer referenced, and it's almost amusing to read nearly three decades later.

It ran on July 21, 1981 (obviously, no link available), and it came in response to conservative outrage over the nomination of Sandra Day O'Connor to the U.S. Supreme Court.

For some of the most vocal leaders of the New Right movement, the nomination was the latest in a series of slights and insults they have suffered from Reagan advisers which raise questions in their minds about whether the president is really their kind of conservative.

"The White House slapped us in the face," says Richard A. Viguerie, the conservative direct-mail expert. "The White House is saying you don't have a constituency we're concerned about. We don't care about you."

The "New Right" was defined, at the time, as breaking with the Goldwater old-guard and expanding the GOP with outreach to the fledgling religious right and use of "sophisticated campaign techniques," such as direct mail.

And six months in, the leaders of this faction weren't happy. The O'Connor nomination made them livid, and conservatives grew all the more frustrated when, despite an aggressive campaign involving "letters and telegrams," the right couldn't even find Republican senators willing to come out publicly against the nominee. (O'Connor was confirmed 99 to 0.)

But the anger and frustration was more expansive than one high court nomination. "In terms of having any real influence with the Reagan administration, we just haven't had any," Howard Phillips, at the time the head of the Conservative Caucus, said. "All they've done is throw us a few bones to keep the dogs from biting their heels."

The right was angry when George H.W. Bush, perceived as a moderate, was added to the 1980 ticket. Conservatives were angrier still when James Baker became Reagan's chief of staff -- a man activists on the right considered overly pragmatic and insufficiently conservative.

And by this time 29 years ago, conservatives could hardly contain their disappointment. Leaders on the right began complaining regularly that they "won the election, but lost the White House." Paul Weyrich questioned whether the relationship between his conservative allies and the Reagan administration was "salvageable."

And all of this came before Reagan raised taxes, extended "amnesty" to undocumented immigrants, expanded the size of the federal bureaucracy, tripled the deficit, negotiated with our most hated enemy without preconditions -- and became the single most revered figure in Republican circles of the 20th century, up to and including the RNC describing him, in all seriousness, as Ronaldus Magnus.

I guess the moral of the story is that perceptions can change over time.

Steve Benen 12:20 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (60)

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Comments

Oh for Jeezus H. Chri...

how many fricking "something happened in the past that I'm hoping Obama can replicate so therefore whatever Obama is doing now must be good despite my lyin' eyes telling me otherwise" posts can one person write in their lifetime?

For the record, as history would show, the hard right cons were *correct* about their apprehension with O'Connor.

And, also for the record, Reagan brought in the "deficits don't matter" crowd that stole billions from the middle class and also brought in the Greenspan "compromise" on Social Security that is about to steal your or your parents retirement money courtesy of an Obama catfood commission bank shot 25 years later.

Posted by: Observer on July 25, 2010 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

History tells us that Nixon could not get nominated by today's Republican party.

Apparently the same holds true for 'Former Democrat' Ronald Reagan.

Posted by: DAY on July 25, 2010 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

Hard to take Krauthammer seriously when he writes a sentence as fundamentally dishonest as this ;

"just as President Ronald Reagan cut taxes to starve the federal government and prevent massive growth in spending"

Posted by: gray on July 25, 2010 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

observer: ...whatever Obama is doing now must be good despite my lyin' eyes telling me otherwise"

It's a known fact that people very often see what they want to see, bias distorting objective reality. Your eyes may indeed be "lyin'."

As for "whatever Obama is doing now," please refer to Benen's first post today and the rather lengthy list of Obama accomplishments.

Posted by: cr on July 25, 2010 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

The right made Reagan into a saint because they had nobody else. Eisenhower eschewed red meat and Nixon had been revealed as the criminal he was. Before them, there was Hoover.

Posted by: dalloway on July 25, 2010 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

Every president who presided over a realignment endured vicious, vitriolic criticism from what we now call "the base" of his party. Jefferson got it from Burr's faction, Jackson got it from the pro-slavery Democrats, Lincoln got it from the Radical Republicans, FDR got it from the old left, Reagan got it from the New Night, and now Obama gets it from "Progressives."

Jackson probably got a little less because he had a reputation for killing people who crossed him.

And in every case, history remembers the president in question as a larger than life figure who brought monumental change to the nation and the world. And it remembers the critics as small-minded myopic Lilliputians, people who had neither the vision to see what was unfolding before their own eyes nor the sense of history to grasp the place they were making for themselves as annoying, ignoble little parentheticals in the textbooks of the future.

Posted by: Steve (Not that one) on July 25, 2010 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

What strikes me the most of all of this is the 99-0 vote for O'Connor. Does anyone really think Elena Kagan is any less qualified? Is there any chance she receives anywhere close to such unanimity? Obama may not be doing everything I want him to (and lord knows I wish he would realize that the Republican Party he faces is nothing like a reasonable negotiating partner) but the level of obstructionism, the hatred for democracy and desire for political victory over doing what's best for the country hasn't apparently been like this since the 1860s. Good grief.

Posted by: kitsune on July 25, 2010 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

The right-wing propaganda machine turned Reagan into a one-dimensional, cartoon comic-book stereotype of a Great Conservative Hero.

And the right-wing propaganda machine has turned Obama into a one-dimensional, cartoon comic-book stereotype of a Great Socialist Villain.

The right-wing propaganda machine does this because it has spent a generation using the most powerful brainwashing techniques ever developed by Madison Avenue to aggressively and systematically degrade the cognitive capabilities of "conservatives" until they turned into weak-minded, ignorant, gullible Ditto-Heads who are incapable of dealing with reality except in terms of one-dimensional, cartoon comic-book stereotypes, and are thus easily manipulated by such drivel.

I certainly hope that "liberals" and "progressives" neither need to think in terms of one-dimensional, cartoon comic-book stereotypes, nor are they as easily manipulated by such things as the Ditto-Heads.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on July 25, 2010 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

Can yours?

Posted by: Michael7843853 on July 25, 2010 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

Jackson probably got a little less because he had a reputation for killing people who crossed him.

I hear Rahm's looking for a couple of people with "special skills."

RUN, GLENN, RUN!!

Posted by: cr on July 25, 2010 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist, are you suggesting that moderates are not susceptible to simplistic, unrealistic perspectives?

Posted by: Michael7843853 on July 25, 2010 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

I think Krauthammer's point is that change in retrospect looks different from what it feels like when it's happening, and that change is more the sum total of a lot of little things than any one big thing.

Cue up "turning ocean liner" metaphor. It's the real world!

As for his comment on Obama's ideology, I call BS, as the point of liberals is that they are after outcomes and are flexible about how to use government to achieve them. For the other side, the role of government is a matter of ideology and their view of what comes from certain sizes or roles of government is a matter of dogma. Liberals approach the question pragmatically.

Posted by: threegoal on July 25, 2010 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

as thd old saying goes, time wounds all heels.

Posted by: skippy on July 25, 2010 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

"Ronaldus Magnus"?

More like Ronaldus McDonaldus. A stupid old clown, in way over his head. Worst president of the 20th century. Worse than Hoover. At least Hoover had redeeming qualities as a humanitarian both before and after his failed presidency. Reagan's first act as a former president was to rake in $2 million for two twenty-minute speeches in Japan.

Posted by: Screamin' Demon on July 25, 2010 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

Reagan's presidency was a disaster for this nation if we look at the long-term insolvency and income inequality it unleashed. But it was remarkably successful on its own terms because of Reagan's personality. He was the perfect Rorschach president, fulfilling multiple images of goodness. Krauthammer, obviously, will distort history to make him into his ideal. It's what people do. Ultimately, Reagan was lucky that he still presided over a nation still rich enough to weather his administration's incompetence. But nearly everything about his well-directed movie/presidency was magical.

Posted by: walt on July 25, 2010 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

You didn't mention, as one of Ronaldus Magnus' many accomplishments, the Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages deal. Reagan was supposed to get tough with the Ayatollah, unlike that wimp Jimmy Carter.

Posted by: rachelrachel on July 25, 2010 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

Ronnie was our nation's first acting president :o)

Posted by: genome on July 25, 2010 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

Anybody heard anything about the latest FOX news conspiracy, tonight at either 8pm or 9pm they are planning a program of propaganda about the president that is supposed to take him down!!!!
I think there is something on DU about it.
If this is true it sounds like Rove's billionaires have started their ugly campaign.

Posted by: JS on July 25, 2010 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

Of course, the House for Reagan's entire presidency was controlled by the opposition party, so the analogy is not completely apt.

Pace Benen, cr, and others, there was one brief moment when Obama came to office in which he could have tried to turn the course of the country, but, for whatever reasons, didn't and now the opportunity has gone.

Posted by: pereubu77 on July 25, 2010 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

Cr: It's a known fact that people very often see what they want to see, bias distorting objective reality. Your eyes may indeed be "lyin'."

Those 10% unemployed, highest since the Reagan years, must really be living in the Matrix then. They should have taken the blue pill?

The "objective reality" is bad. You should acknowledge that.

The Obama kool-aid crowd simply does not. That is also bad, but for different reasons.

Posted by: Observer on July 25, 2010 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

I remember so clearly weeping in front of the tv as reagan was being sworn in. We could have been spared so much grief had things gone otherwise.

Posted by: fleeting expletive on July 25, 2010 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

The New Right movement people sure sound an awful lot like the Tea Party movement people.

Posted by: Baldrick on July 25, 2010 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

"just as President Ronald Reagan cut taxes to starve the federal government and prevent massive growth in spending" ~krauthammer~

tax cuts dont stop government spending. i get so tired of these rope-a-dope canards.

Posted by: Kill Bill on July 25, 2010 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

"Anybody heard anything about the latest FOX news conspiracy, tonight at either 8pm or 9pm they are planning a program of propaganda about the president that is supposed to take him down!!!!"

How does that differ from their normally scheduled programming?

Posted by: rachelrachel on July 25, 2010 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

i heard about the fox news expose over a week ago while that was supposed to air, expose obama, make topple him, blah blah and never did. I think its some new fox promotion gimmick to increase viewership.

Posted by: Kill Bill on July 25, 2010 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

Reagan had the same (but different than described here) problem as Obama - jobs, jobs, jobs.

Reagan spoke on the phone to one of the early artificial heart recipients in red state Indiana or Kentucky and the guy was, frankly, rude to Reagan.

1980 recession did in Carter. The 1981 recession was challenging Reagan. His tax cut bill passes in July, but in November of 1981 unemployment was higher than it ever was under Carter and David Stockman exposes supply side as re-packaged trickle down economics.

November 1982 unemployment is even higher. Democrats pick up 26 seats in the House.

But the tax cuts had been passed and aren't repealable, since the Republicans still have the Senate and Reagan veto.

January 1983, Reagan approval at 35%. October, 1983 Reagan is ineffectual in Beirut, 241 Marines die.

But we all know that Republicans worship at the temple of money, and the rest as they say is history.

So higher unemployment than Carter, more dead Marines than Carter, lower approval than Obama at the same point, but they love Reagan because he made it happen for rich people and got jobs for most of the folks caught in the peak unemployment following the 1981 recession.

And if Obama can do the same by 2012 he'll be rewarded like Reagan and Clinton. If not, he'll be like Bush I and Carter.

And the base aint got nuttin to do with it.

Posted by: LosGatosCA on July 25, 2010 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, I see the moral of the story is conservatives were not willing to accept mediocrity after being responsible for his win. And they made it known loud and clear. And guess what, 29 years later, the conservatives are still reaping the rewards of their focus and principled stand, even if it went against their party.

I think that is an important lesson.

Was that your point?

Posted by: Justmy2 on July 25, 2010 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

"It ran on July 21, 1981 (obviously, no link available)"

Really? I thought Al Gore had invented the Internet by then.

Posted by: Al on July 25, 2010 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

DAY,

History tells us that Nixon could not get nominated by today's Republican party.

But it would make one heck of a ‘Weekend At Bernie’s sequel !

Posted by: Joe Friday on July 25, 2010 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

Behold Barakus Obamus!!

Posted by: Mia Malkan on July 25, 2010 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

Remember William F. Buckley saying circa 1987, "Somebody must have done a job on Reagan," for having the nerve to make deals with Gorbachev?

Posted by: Speed on July 25, 2010 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

it came in response to conservative outrage

Nothing will ever placate this ugly element of our society; these people subsist on being "outraged." Reagan could have ordered the mass slaughter of every non-Caucasian person on Earth, outlawed all religions but Christianity and declared himself King of the Known Universe and it still wouldn't have been enough.

Posted by: electrolite on July 25, 2010 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

observer: Those 10% unemployed, highest since the Reagan years... The "objective reality" is bad. You should acknowledge that.

I have no problem acknowledging that the current economy is bad. But anyone who would blame Obama for that is an idiot.

Posted by: cr on July 25, 2010 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

I remember that when Reagan nominated Sandra Day O'Connor, Jerry Falwell was very upset and said, "Every good Christian should be concerned [about the O'Connor nomination]." To which Barry Goldwater replied, "Every good Christian should kick Jerry Falwell in the ass."

Posted by: Mustang Bobby on July 25, 2010 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

Behold Barakus Obamus!!
Posted by: Mia Malkan on July 25, 2010 at 3:50 PM

I'm guessing Latin wasn't one of the languages you took in school, eh?

Posted by: exlibra on July 25, 2010 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

Great article written several years ago about the direction Americans took when faced with tough choices, after having been thoroughly warned:

http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0503-22.htm

Posted by: citizen_pain on July 25, 2010 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, good times...

Posted by: ComradeAnon on July 25, 2010 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

I've been reading this site for a while; when are we going to stop enduring these idiots and put an end to their abuses?

Posted by: Concerned Citizen on July 25, 2010 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

[Deleted}

Posted by: The Masked Defender on July 25, 2010 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

[You seem to suffer from the delusion that you intimidate the regulars and the moderators with your unparalleled understanding of the issues and that is just not the case. You came into our living room and the first thing you did was whip it out and piss on the rug. We decided that you weren't welcome here, and we banned you. A few times, actually. But you just don't get it, or you are a paid troll, because you keep coming back. So we delete your comments. All of them. Automatically. In case you are a paid troll, which given the shifting IPs is at least possible, you won't make much off us. --Editorial Staff]

Posted by: The Masked Defender on July 25, 2010 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

I guess the moral of the story is that perceptions can change in time.

I think the moral of the story is that progressives and liberals who are disappointed by Obama now will vote for the Democrats in 2010, and for Obama and Democrats in 2012.

Consider, for example, Nevada: What liberal or progressive who is disappointed in Obama is going to vote for Angle? Unless the opinion polls show Reid winning by a landslide, the liberals and progressives will show up in large numbers to support Reid. Who among them would want another obstructionist Republican senator?

After winning, they'll all go back to complaining about how disappointed they are. Unless the Dems lose too many swing voters, that is. When Dem candidates lose, they'll blame the voters for stupidity.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on July 25, 2010 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK

Could someone please explain what the hell Masked Defender was going on about a couple posts up?

I think it's maybe over my head.

Posted by: emjayay on July 25, 2010 at 6:25 PM | PERMALINK

I would like to know what that guy is defending and why he thinks he needs to wear a mask.

Posted by: Ron Byers on July 25, 2010 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

I guess the moral of the story is that perceptions can change in time.

Maybe the moral of the story is that the conservative right will deliberately and shamelessly rewrite history to suit their present needs, OR Conservatives are the mentally fragile segment of our society that needs to rely on delusion to be able to participate in policy decision making, because they never learned critical thinking skills.

Likely, it is a combination of the former using the latter.

Posted by: jcricket on July 25, 2010 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

I would like to know what that guy is defending and why he thinks he needs to wear a mask.

He's one of the delusional. And he's ugly.

Posted by: jcricket on July 25, 2010 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

emjayyay, don't worry about it. MaskedD just flings icky words around like bits of poo with little understanding for how they relate to the landscape.

Posted by: snicker-snack on July 25, 2010 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK

I was there. Reagan's governance stank then and his record still stinks now.

Is this some really freaky weird Republican way of defending Obama?

Why do I feel like we're all being asked to stop thinking, stop questioning, and stop being citizens who put country ahead of party and start acting like Republicans?

Posted by: Glen on July 25, 2010 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

I hear Daffy Duck as: The Masked EEEEEEE VEN GERRRRR!

Posted by: S. cerevisiae on July 25, 2010 at 10:53 PM | PERMALINK

I have no problem acknowledging that the current economy is bad. But anyone who would blame Obama for that is an idiot.

When Obama and the Dems pushed for the stimulus, the worst case scenario was "with no stimulus there'd be 10% unemployment".

Less then 8 months later by Sept 2009 that level was hit. If it never got that high, Obama would have taken the credit. The Fed now projects 9% unemployment for the remainder of Obama's term,

So let's blame Bush for the first 7%.

Two questions:
Q1) who's to blame for the next 3% (from 7% to 10%)? (Follow on questions: If the answer is "Bush is also to blame for the next 3%" then A) what was the point of the stimulus and
B) what is the unemployment rate where the next point belongs to Obama?)

Q2) Given the Fed's estimates and considering Sept 2009 when it hit 10%, at what calendar month can Obama start to be blamed for not *lowering* the rate? If the answer is "never" then follow on question C) what's the point of electing Democrats and D) can government solve any problems?

I'm pretty sure these C & D are being asked a lot right now by many voters. Especially the unemployed ones.

Posted by: Observer on July 25, 2010 at 11:44 PM | PERMALINK

Reagan could not afford to be staunchly conservative because he was elected largely by reagan democrats and had to deal with a democratic congress. Obama, on the other hand, had the largest democratic congressional majorities in quite some time.

Note the HAD, which further signifies one of the lefts frustrations: If Obama couldnt do solid liberal things with the strongest political winds at his back, what the hell is he going to accomplish after the midterms when his party loses seats? Unlike Reagan, Obama's best chance to enact a liberal agenda was to strike hard and fast, and that didnt happen.

Posted by: cramer on July 26, 2010 at 12:28 AM | PERMALINK

The other lesson is that the Democratic supporters now are overreacting as the Republicans did with Reaan. But let's really look at (A) The current debate, and then look at (B) What's happening to the Republican Party:

(A) The current debate: Here come two big differences between the Democrats and the Republicans in the near future: (1) Are you going to extend the Bush Tax Cuts beyond their expiration date into perpetuity? (2) Do you uphold the ideal of universal healthcare?

The parties are quickly moving into diametrically opposed positions, on both. They are being pushed there by their netroots.

Let's look at (1) the Bush Tax Cuts. As of this moment, the long-term budget is roughly in balance, if the Bush Tax Cuts expire as scheduled.

Democrats might go for a short extension because the recession is bad -- but not a permanent extension, because that will make a new long-term deficit. On the other hand, Republicans are sticking to the line that a permanent extension is okay without spending cuts, because tax cuts "pay for themselves".

Well no, they do not pay for themselves. And the Republicans are now on notice. Greenspan just said there should be no permanent extension of the Bush Tax Cuts last week, and Bernanke mentioned tax cuts only in the context of a short-term stimulus, a few days ago.

Let's accept genuine concern about the accumulated debt. Let's encourage more and more citizens to start exercising their RIGHT to INSIST that any long-term (i.e., permanent) tax cuts be offset in the SAME Congressional bill with long-term (permanent) spending cuts. Then: we all get to discuss it, before they pass it.

The political bottom line is, if the Republicans want permanent Bush Tax Cuts, they are going to have to DO the entitlement cuts. And that won't go over well. As the old tea-partyer said, "Keep your government hands off my Medicare!"

This is a political disadvantage that the Democrats do NOT have: They merely have to stick to paygo. They just balanced the long-term budget, so maybe the debt can start to be paid down. They can point out that everything will be worse, if the Republicans get their tax cuts. The CBO just said they can save more spending, by getting a non-profit public option. Well then: save it, and give a little permanent Obama Tax Cut. Further, the Administration just signalled that they are going to co-opt even more of the Republican thunder with a temporary extension of some of Bush's tax cuts.

Let's look at (2): whether we are going to honor the new law to have universal health coverage. "Universal healthcare" (of whatever shape) was the last remaining liberal goal, and it has just been accomplished, in theory. At this point, anything the Republicans do to harm Obamacare can be referred DIRECTLY to the question of whether they support the idea of universal access to healthcare. This is a another disadvantage for the Republicans.

For example: Do they want to end the mandate? Well, that means they have to release the insurers from providing universal coverage, such as by allowing the insurers to rescind coverage and deny coverage as before -- or else the insurers go bankrupt, because the mandate is put in there to give them a larger, therefore, better risk pool. So: M. Congressperson, are you against universal coverage?

The problem for Republicans here is that ObamaCare's main parts are an interlocking set of institutions that (a) provide universal coverage, (b) manage costs, and (c) highlight the next problems we have to take care of. If you start pulling it apart, then you start having to explain yourself, even to little kids. It is clever stuff -- the fruit of about 20 or 30 years of Congressional discussions, and 1/2 (one-half) composed of Republican ideas.

Now I'm guessing that the mainstream Republican leadership wishes that THEY were the ones to give us universal healthcare -- they rammed through Medicare Part D under Tom DeLay, for heaven's sake... You could see this sinking wistful feeling in their faces at Obama's televised healthcare summit.

Combining (1) and (2), status of the debates about the Bush Tax Cuts and about universal health coverage, I would say that the Democrats have been pushed by their clever base into balancing the long-term budget while adding an entitlement, and on the other hand, the Republicans have been pushed into the position of explaining their rhetoric, i.e. explaining to the INDEPENDENT VOTERS why they want to recreate a long-term deficit and why they won't guarantee universal access to healthcare.

Put another way, the Democrats have instigated an epoch wherein they have basically locked the budget and can administer the welfare state, while the Republicans have to find spending cuts to justify their campaign promise of tax cuts.

Of course these issues may not be coming up in the very next election. But they are inexorably programmed to come up, and they are just on the horizon.

And this gets us to (B): What is really happening to the Republican Party?

It looks to me like the Republicans are breaking up. They were born of a break-up, the Whigs, and they had a good run. Now they are in big trouble -- two different kinds of big trouble:

(i.) Their economic ideology has imploded -- we've been discussing various aspects of it here for years. Nobody really believes that tax cuts "pay for themselves" and even Greenspan is frightened. If the Republicans retake the House, they'll move into full obstruction mode because they don't have much else to say.

(ii.) At this same moment, the party is splitting up because the hardcore tea party 27%, goaded on by the likes of Limbaugh, has gone completely populist and is replete with crackpots, and loathes the mainstream Republican leadership. This gives you the second reason why Boehner doesn't want to say what the Republicans are going to do until after the election.

An immediate tactical question for Washington Republicans is how successfully and cleverly they can co-opt a teapartyer like Rand Paul without his true-believer supporters noticing. While teaching him all their theatrical dialogue about how the system really "works". Perhaps they hope that Karl Rove can come up with a cunning plan! After all, he just got 4.5 million from four billionaires for a "grassroots" "shadow RNC." Good luck!

Another prediction: look for a few more mainstream Republicans to jump from the party, like Crist.

Is this the end of the Republican Party? Notice that they formed in the ashes of the Whigs, who basically split over an intractable moral economic rights issue: whether new states in the union should be Free or Slave -- it was a labor issue; the white workers didn't want it. (On the other hand the Democrats were by far the worst racists, at least up through the time of Ulysses Grant, as far as I have read. See the terrific new book on the astonishing Grant by Joan Waugh.)

Ironic, if what kills the successor to the Whigs is an intractable moral economic rights issue like the passage of universal healthcare, the acceptance of a big legitimate structural safety-net budget, and the necessary realignment of the society to accommodate it.

Posted by: Lee A. Arnold on July 26, 2010 at 12:44 AM | PERMALINK

The frustration with Obama is more with the way the administration has made everything so much harder than it had to be by its insistence on a bipartisan pipe dream that will never happen and couldn't happen, and its unwillingness or inability to believe the far right when it says it want him to fail. Yes, Obama has made statements that refer to their sabotaging intent, but the WH still behaves as if conservatives will respond to reason and higher principles. When pigs fly.

Posted by: Varecia on July 26, 2010 at 1:24 AM | PERMALINK

varecia: The frustration with Obama is more with the way the administration has made everything so much harder than it had to be by its insistence on a bipartisan pipe dream

What a load of crap. At what point did Obama have a sure sixty Democratic votes in the Senate for more liberal legislation than was passed? When and who?

Posted by: cr on July 26, 2010 at 9:18 AM | PERMALINK

@observer

Your implication that a economy ruined over eight years should have been fixed in one is ridiculous on the face of it. To go further and claim that Obama's inability to predict exactly how bad things would get or exactly when they would begin improving (despite his many caveats of "this is going to take a long time to fix"), is an intentional denial of reality.

I hope it makes you feel good to bitch and moan, because if the left's over-the-top criticism of this administration costs us the congressional majorities, you're going to have a hell of a lot more to bitch and moan about.

Posted by: cr on July 26, 2010 at 9:31 AM | PERMALINK

One reason that Reagan is beloved is because he talked like a conservative, even if he didn't (or couldn't) act like one. He shifted the ideological goalposts rightward through rhetoric.

Obama talks like a neo-liberal/conservative, so I don't think the comparisons is particularly apt.

Posted by: Mike the Mad Biologist on July 26, 2010 at 9:56 AM | PERMALINK

re: Obama's achievements, I refer you to Rachel Maddow's brilliant listing of them from a while back. To summarize, as she puts it, "the last time a President did this much in office, booze was illegal."

http://kaystreet.wordpress.com/2010/07/03/rachel-maddow-president-obamas-achievements/

Posted by: Zorro on July 26, 2010 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

mike: One reason that Reagan is beloved is because he talked like a conservative, even if he didn't (or couldn't) act like one. He shifted the ideological goalposts rightward through rhetoric.

If by "talked like a conservative" you mean "lied and obfuscated the truth," then you are correct. Are you suggesting that Obama should do the same in order to shift "the idealogical goalposts" leftward?

Posted by: cr on July 26, 2010 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

Please see the Wikipedia article on Confirmation Bias.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias)

It was the article of the day last Friday. It's all you need to know about today's political discourse.

Posted by: Crgabe on July 26, 2010 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder how long it will take for the teabagging/gop to start attacking reagan again?

Posted by: Judy on September 5, 2010 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

Sorry for off topic, but 2012 is close, is this really matter?

Posted by: Nostradamus on November 28, 2010 at 9:45 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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