Saturday, October 21, 2006

Republican Demise

I believe this statement is a little premature, on two different fronts. If I were a betting man I'd pick one of two scenarios for the midterms, either moderate Dem gains, possibly not enough to control either House or Senate; or an absolute blow-out. I don't think there's a middle outcome and I don't have a bet on either. The religious right has no place else to go, "nuts" comments and the rest of the Republican disrespect, to the side. Here's the rub, these folks for the most part have little besides their religion and they want a voice that's heard. Demonizing Democrats and pointing out the loss of influence may ensure their vote. The critical factors are the Democrats getting out their base, getting a large share of the independent vote and peeling off some disaffected liberal Republicans. Democrats have shown little success with either, previously.

The other front is the more important one, a major loss in this election may bring back to the fore Republicans like John Cole, and his reasoned Conservatism. Make no mistake, John is no friend of leftists, he is a Conservative and these guys are formidable foes. They are not members of the cult of Bushism, they are hard core Conservatives, the fact that George II outrages them may make them friends of American Democracy but certainly not progressive allies. The Bush/Rove machine makes itself an easy target, today, but people like Cole and Sullivan require reason and carefully constructed arguments. The heated rhetoric that works with the current crop just won't do, they won't give you the ammunition and they are waiting in the wings. They want their Party back and for them the best outcome of November's election would be a Democratic blood-fest. That would eliminate or marginalize the nutcases that offend them - and offend many Americans' sensibility.

Would I like to see them back? Yes. It will make politics more difficult, but in long term these people will not harm the country. Heresy? No, whatever blows they might give to the progressive agenda will not create long term harm, maybe some short term suffering but these people do respect the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The real benefit to the left is a requirement for more rigorous reasoning, more persuasive arguments, actual Constitutional stands, and above all, principled behavior. Debating those we respect is a much more satisfying endeavor and the realization that the compromises required will not be unprincipled or stupidly ideological.

We can and should learn something from the disaffected Conservatives, and then apply those lessons beforehand.

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