Monday, May 04, 2009

Where To Republicans?

There has been a lot of talk and punditry about where the Republicans go from here and what they need to do to get somewhere. They do have a real problem, it's called the Democratic Party. That could be taken as silly partisanship, it isn't.

The problem Republicans have is what to offer and what that would be that isn't Democratic if it isn't what they've got now. Try it as an exercise, come up with some political points for them to use that would appeal to a sufficient number of voters to be competitive in a Presidential race held now without a (D) being required after the name of the candidate. The whole point in having more than one Party is that being a member of one isn't pretty much the same as being the member of the other one.

A 20% base is a real problem because it leaves a heck of a lot of ground to make up with those who aren't just your own. It gets even worse if you toss most of that 20% overboard even if they drive you into a ditch with a huge chunk of the electorate. Bases are real important to parties, especially in mid-term elections because they will come out and vote - they care. The hard core base of the Democratic electorate is well left of most politicians but they lack a religious fervor that runs through much of the Republican base.

You, as the imaginary leader of Republicans, have to come up with something that doesn't send the base screaming into the streets and yet not only doesn't offend the middle but actually appeals to them. You now have a real problem. I may laugh at some of the things Michael Steele says, but I also recognize what a hard spot he is in. (no, I don't feel sorry for him)

Presupposing a catastrophe for the Republicans in 2010&12 takes some rather undecided issues as successful for the Democrats and that is a bit of a stretch. The economy and warfare/terrorism are both open questions at this point, but supposing abject failure there is not a good basis for building a Party back. (any more than taking success as granted is a swell idea) The personality of the President and many of the more vocal high ranked members presents additional problems for building the Republican Party.

It's tough to use anger and fear as a basis for political success, it is generally a short term strategy - seen by the current state of Republicanism. The Republican voices are pretty much angry and fearful. Americans have heard a lot of that for about two decades, more if you take into serious account some of the Reaganisms. It involves tiring emotions, it wears and wears, and that is an awful lot of it. Tea Parties weren't about sunshine and flowers, their basis was anger and fear; and worse than that - regarding fake issues. Howling about taxes at historic lows is silliness and fury over socialism in the face of what actual socialism is about seems...well excessive. As a movement it is a complete loss, it appeals to those who wouldn't vote Democratic, ever - it is essentially a tribal ritual.

I am somehow underwhelmed when those who are directly dependent on those government bailouts cry socialism about very limited interference by the biggest investor in their business. As Wall Street is yanked back up the cliff they've driven off of they yowl about the undeserving getting breaks, penalizing success, and governmental interference. Biting satire can't do justice to the howlingly funny aspect of them advocating policies for everyone else that would have put them into the poor house - or at the short end of a lynching rope and the entire economy into chaos. Worse yet, Republicans wind up yoked to the Libertarians and that is sufficiently looney-tunes to be real off-putting to ordinary voters.

It isn't a good bet that an unfettered Democratic Party won't make stupid mistakes like re-igniting a seriously based gun rights fight. Currently there is no stomach for it; sorry NRA your Republican allies are full of it and so are you. Some time ago the NRA ceased to be a Second Amendment organization, they dumped their credentials some time ago and became a right wing noise machine with gun pictures. I was a member forever and a day but not anymore, I can't take a Glen Beck whoredom seriously. The Second Amendment isn't about left and right, it's all about authoritarianism and I'll have that fight but not on their terms.

The point of these examples isn't to make fun of Republicans, it is to point out that today they are dependent on nearly complete failure and stupidity by Democrats. That isn't a positive position, it is entirely negative - The Party Of No. That just won't do. The Confederate Party of Republicanism won't do. Counting on the Democratic Party breaking up into pieces won't do. Politics demands action, things that can be perceived as positive in direction. One part of the Republican Party could re-brand as the Christian Republican Party and probably keep much of the base and cast loose the business oriented wing though I have no idea where civil libertarians would go (the few who haven't already bailed). A business oriented arm could peel off some of the Blue Dog Democrats maybe called the Republicans. (I bet the Christian wing keeps the name, though) Folks like Ben Nelson are already under some strain as Democrats but the religious wing is too much strain for a switch now.

The real battle ground is the non-affiliated voters, sometimes called Independents. A real problem the Republicans are running into is that their religious base scares them or offends them, beyond the failure of the capitalistic agenda policies just in the past. Given the nature of the current Democratic Party it is hard to see how they over-reach and offend the middle in that regard. It is a problem for Republicans that statistically more Democrats are church going and their marriages last longer. Tossing in being The Torture Party doesn't help much in that regard.

So, Republicans where do you go or does it have to be done for you?

****Want a nightmare for Republicans? People have four years to get used to a black guy President, the economy recovers strongly, and diplomacy is relatively successful - ouch.


realbtl said...

"The point of these examples isn't to make fun of Republicans...". Aw Chuck, don't be a killjoy. I'm enjoying this.
Anyway nice post. They do seem to be stuck in a mess of their own making. Will be interesting to see what happens and how long it takes.

Chuck Butcher said...

I know, but it's sooooo easy; some challenge should be present to make things really funny.