Home » Nooze » Republicans’ Crash & Burn

Republicans’ Crash & Burn

How bad can it get for Republicans?  The short answer is “much worse”.  The long answer is “much, much worse”.

There are many ways that the party of Reagan is screwing up right now, and any one of them would cause the Gipper to shake his head in shame.  Taken together, however, it is just about impossible to recognize the party itself – let alone a path to victory.

With nine months left until the election there is always a chance they’ll get it together, of course.  There’s also a good chance that we’re about to see nine months of unscripted slapstick passing itself off as “politics”.  Here is a list of what is going horribly wrong:

Irrelevance: When Karl Rove assaulted the Clint Eastwood Superbowl ad, it seemed reasonable that this was one old guy who has lost his touch saying something very stupid.  Not so.  The theme has been picked up and yet another fake issue has been created for the War on Reality – except the right didn’t pick it very well.  As they descend into a very Marxist belief that everything is political they have driven a wedge between themselves and reality that is very big and obvious.

Medieval Beliefs:  Are we honestly debating the availability of contraception in the year 2012? Doesn’t anyone in the party understand that women have the vote and have a tendency to show up in greater numbers than men?  This has to be the stupidest manufactured issue ever – at least the downside on Clint Eastwood is silliness, not actual harm. Besides, the arguments being used right now ultimately make the case for universal, national health care better than anything else if pushed too hard – why, indeed, should an employer get stuck for the tab?

Mitt:  People hate Mitt Romney.  No one knows exactly why, but there are many small reasons that add up to a lot of nothing.  As the joke goes, “A conservative, a moderate, and a liberal walk into a bar and the bartender says, ‘Hi, Mitt!’.”  This is a man with perfect hair who says anything people want to hear and has a record of making zillions of dollars ripping companies apart – not exactly a struggling entrepreneur or working stiff.  In many ways, he has the worst qualities of Mike Dukkakis and George HW Bush all rolled into one – a losing combo if ever there was one.

The Establishment:  Of the $67M raised by PACs so far, 22 people contributed half of it (video: Colbert).  They are the ones who are running this election – and they have apparently picked Mitt Romney to be the party’s nominee.  The actual “establishment” is probably more like 50 – 100 people in total, most of whom have been nameless.  They are in the process of being flushed out into the open by a population that is sick of feeling powerless.  The result will give us actual personalities to demonize, making it much easier to run against them.

Blowback:  Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were fought against US  armed groups that turned on us, apparently a Republican specialty.  The “Tea Party” movement was largely created by the Koch Brothers in order to harness rank-and-file fervor – but is certainly helping to crystallize opposition to the Establishment (well personified by the Koch brothers).  This may only be starting.  Look for it to go insurgent by this summer.

The Blahs:  This might all turn around if sensible Republicans, probably the vast majority of the party, stood up and took action.  Instead, they are staying home and not bothering to show up for primaries and caucuses.  One survey suggests that 20% of them are already leaning towards re-electing Obama.

Things are Getting Better:  While a narrow majority of Americans already believe the Republicans are trying to tank the economy, it continues to turn around anyways.  Re-election campaigns for any President are largely a referendum on their performance and little else – and Obama might be in the process of bumping up his grades by getting some overdue homework done before the end of the semester.

No Plan:  This may seem trivial in light of all the other terrible screw-ups, but at some point any voter still thinking about voting Republican will probably have to answer questions from family or co-workers as to what they stand for.  Opposition to Obamacare is not a plan, and automatic budget cuts simply didn’t happen.  Republicans have come to stand for absolutely nothing lately – other than Obamaphobia.

Can this all be turned around and a credible election campaign mounted by November?  In the USofA, anything is possible. Some things, however, are pretty damned unlikely.  With this much against the Republicans, betting money is on a complete rout and catastrophic collapse. Stay tuned!

31 thoughts on “Republicans’ Crash & Burn

  1. This reminds me of Minnesotans’ way of dealing with winter (present “winter” perhaps excepted–or maybe not). We get through to March, the snows have fallen, and there’s one more big one. It is cleared away and we have a few days of sun and mild temps–and evryone is out there saying “We made it through another one!!!” Then on April 4th, 23 inches and -19 wind chill that does not resolve until the 23rd (Shakespeare’s birthday). In other words–Yes there are such peple who believe such things; there are such people for whom science is a commie plot; etc etc.

    • Yes, we should know who we are dealing with by now. But …. they are usually so much more competent than they have been lately. It’s laying things awfully bare (like this Winter, not last!).

  2. This thing about contraception coverage is the last straw. But there have been so many last straws over the last 3-4 years that I lost count. I probably should be a conservative by any measure but there is no way I could be a Republican. They are totally crazy and this mysterious establishment that apparently exists but no one knows who they are is not helping anything at all. They let the crazies run loose as long as they get their tax cuts I guess. None of this makes any sense since we have so many real problems that no one wants to talk about. It is so maddening I don’t know where to begin most of the time.

    • That is the real goal here – to deal with what we should be dealing with rather than BS like Clint Eastwood or attempting to roll back contraception availability. But at some point we have to acknowledge why it’s been so hard to deal with real issues. However, the Republican machine is very broken right now and I do think it’s time to seize the opportunity and work towards real reform.

  3. White men and white women displayed the gender gap in 2008.

    Obama McCain
    White Men 41% 57%
    White Women 46% 53%

    Obama has shown he can win without a majority of white men. The question is what Obama’s majority with women will be. That will be a factor.

    White men are more Republican because they fear higher taxes will leave them less to provide for their family.
    White women are more Democratic because of equality issues and because of social welfare issues.

    • That has been correct, but things may be changing. However, with the Komen Foundation PR disaster along with contraception becoming an issue is an awful lot and will poltiicize / engage many women who otherwise would never care. A few more issues through the summer and we could see women voting 2:1 for a straight Democrat ticket. That’s the problem I see for the Republicans at this point.
      But yes – I think keeping an eye on Women, Ohio, and Latinos should tell us where this election is going. So far it’s more a question of turnout and enthusiasm, which is pretty low on both sides. That may change if women’s basic rights appear to be under full assault. That’s what’s so poisonous about this for the right.

  4. What you didn’t say is what the Democrats stand for – also nothing. We need at least 2 parties to have the system work and right now we have maybe a half of one at best.

    • I completely agree, and could not have put it better!

      I do not want to take too much joy in the decline of the Republican party, but I have to take some in the decline of what Anna called “The Crazies”. They are different from the vast majority of reasonable and intelligent Republicans. I want them to take over their party again – and if that means they wind up kicking Democrat butt then so be it!

  5. Perhaps people and the press are just sick of the old routine. I don’t know that anything really has changed. Republicans were not all that happy with McCain in 2008 and they apparently were right to be concerned. The rest of it seems about like business as usual. Except there is more outrage at the sideshow today.
    Newt Gingrich is a real challenge to the establishment and that might be the one big difference. If that is true you got to give him credit.

    • Interesting point. This has been brewing since at least 2008 and the failure of the McCain campaign, which was generally not seen as “conservative” enough. That’s where Palin comes in – an attempt to appeal to the conservative base and women at the same time.
      I guess the question that matters is whether the press really is portraying this differently or not. I think so, you think so, so perhaps that is indeed what has changed – it’s all worn thin over time.
      Newt appears to be a dead issue by now, so if you were counting on him you may want to find something else.

  6. The ethereal group commonly called “The Republicans” is far from representative of all the Republicans in this country. Big money has taken charge, lobbyists now control the political system, and Super PACS control the election process. What bothers me the most, among a very long of things, is that the Repubs are burying their party and assuring an Obama re-election. Guys like Ron Paul and Buddy Roemer don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of ever having their voices heard in this country. And with the passage and signing of bills like NDAA already on the books, methinks we’re headed for political and economic chaos that will rival Greece.

    • I have been a fan of Buddy Roehmer back when he was a Democrat. I have a Mardi Gras coin from when he became governor (88?). Great guy, deserves at least a hearing – got bupkiss.
      We do need real Republicans and a real Republican party. We could also use a real Democratic party, but I’ll get on that later. We’re just really complacent, which may be a harder problem to solve (if less spectacular at the end).

  7. Just wanted to chime in that I was happy and proud to vote for Senator John McCain for President in 2008. He received the vote of 78% of conservatives–10% too low.

    From purely the campaign managers’s point of view, it is important to emphasize that McCain lost the moderate vote 40% to 60% (Obama). Obama is going to lose more of the moderate vote just due to the retrospective nature of moderate voters.

    The Latino vote is not going to be a deciding factor. The exit poll shows they voted for Obama 67% to 31% (McCain). Latinos are not the undecided nor a large share of the electorate.

    Women living in central cities vote Democratic. By big numbers. It is women in the suburbs exurbs who will be deciding. We know how women in rural areas vote –they are the ones going to Walmart, the ones who are evangelical Christians, the ones who run the small town businesses and city government.
    We need to remember the triumph of civil rights in the 1960s meant that that parts of the South became permanently Republican. On the other hand President Obama put together the Rainbow coaltion that Jesse Jackson spoke of in the 1980s.

    • Hey, the first hurdle I always have for Republicans is, “Can I imagine votoing for him/her?” In the case of McCain, the answer was solidly “Yes”. I actually read his book, too – pretty interesting. This year, the only Republican I could say that for was Huntsman (actually, I could see voting for him over Obama even – but don’t tell anyone!).
      good point on the Rainbow Coalition – it is kind of what we are. I still want more intellectual bottom to it, tho. In the end, we do have to stand for something pretty straightforward and easily described, IMHO.

  8. Democrats do have core values and principles, but unfortuately, today’s Democratic Party encompasses a very wide spectrum, wider than ever in the post-Civil Rights era, thanks to the Republicans’ sharp turn to towards Fascism. We encompass members from the Blue Dogs on the right to Kucinich-Wing to the left (and even some to his left). Blue-Dog Democrats represent the former moderate wing of the Republican Party as there are no longer many self-identifying moderate Republicans.
    Prior to the Civil Rights era in the 60’s, the Democratic party was divided North & South, with Southern Democrats generally opposing civil rights and Northern Democrats, firebrand Hubert Humphrey leading them, firmly set agains the Jim Crow South. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the The Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the candidacy of Berry Goldwater in 1968, began the change of the Republican Party. his primary delegation from the South was made up of white segregationists. He won his party’s nomination.
    Goldwater’s campaign emphasized “Law & Order” & “State’s Rights” (both segregationist code words), and as a result, he became the first Republican since Reconstruction to win the Deep South (Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina), but little else and was defeated in a landslide, winning only the Deep South & his home state, Arizona.
    There began an exodus of Democrats: Senator Strom Thurmond switched his party registration to Republican in 1964. Jesse Helms switched his party registration to Republican in 1970. Phil Gramm of Texas switched his party registration to Republican in 1983.
    I don’t share the cynicism I see expressed here today mostly because I believe the “Great American Middle” will find whichever Republican is nominated to be too extreme to elect.

    • Excellent points all around. I think this nation is generally more diverse than it has been since WWII at least, but I’m not sure about that. So the idea that the Democrats are a big huge coalition is not surprising, nor is the fact that the Republican one was doomed to become more … well, like the Democrats.
      But yes, this is not the first change in the parties in your lifetime (and mine, sort of, but I was a kid for most of that) so some “creative destruction” is likely to happen. Mitt Romney says it is a good thing, too! Oh, wait, that was when he was referring to other people’s jobs. :-)
      Good post dressed up as a comment, tho. :-)

  9. Excellent post! But I’m thinking that Bush II said almost equally stupid things and won twice…. It may be that the Kochs, et al, have set the ideological furies loose and won’t easily be able to call them back into the barn.

    Obama needs to show some substance, to show that he’s actually learned and grown in the past several years, and might, now, be ready to be a President.

    • You guys are all reminding me that we live in a time of great change, so a certain degree of chaos is to be expected. So … here it is! “May we all live in interesting times”.
      Is Obama ready to actually do something? I hope so. Larry Summers is long gone, so perhaps someone with some real bottom can get in there and talk about stuff like Restructuring and all the rest of the stuff we talk about here in Barataria!

  10. On civil rights a moderate like Sen. Everett Dirksen from Illinois is a hero. Lyndon Johnson and Hubert Humphrey knew who they had to talk to pass civil rights: among them: Senator Dirksen…

    It is really incorrect to say that moderates are a reliable majority for the Democrats. If that was the case, Republicans would not have triumphed in the mid-terms 2010 elections. It just wasn’t right-wing causing the congressional change. They were people who had voted for Obama but were going back to their original inclinations. Look at the Ohio US delegation. It is 13-5, Republicans. That’s not close. As Erik said, they have their reasons. They want an institutional check on President Obama. Let’s see how the moderates will like President Obama’s proposed budget in a few days.

  11. Way too little (or too much), and way too late for Obama. He’s proven that he has too many hidden agendas and masters, and he does NOT know how to turn this country around. I’m nauseous at the thought of him being at the helm another 4 years, but I’m equally nauseous at the Republicans’ puppets/muppets. It’s the ugliest and most depressing political dilemma I’ve experienced in my lifetime. Sorry for the rant, Erik…

  12. Also Ohio elected Republican John Kasich as governor in 2010. That is a triumph because he has national support as a conservative from the different parts of the Republican party. Obama’s preference for US senate in Illinois lost.

  13. For those of you who think Republicans are fascists, I offer the percentage of popular vote the Republican presidential candidate has received since 1968.

    1968: 43.42
    1972: 60.67
    1976: 48.02
    1980: 50.75
    1984: 58.77
    1988: 53.37
    1992: 37.45
    1996: 40.72
    2000: 47.87
    2004: 50.73
    2008: 45.6
    The worst years, 1992, 1996, were against Bill Clinton, a moderate.
    Nixon and Clinton both entered at 43%, showing you get things done even without being close to 50%.
    In only 2 years, 1980 and 2000 , has the Republican vote percent has hovered at 50%. Republicans have won 7 out 11 last elections, 63%. That is a good record. Democrats object to Republican policies but Republicans can win.

    • And it’s up to Democrats who think that there is something seriously wrong with those who vote Republican consistently to explain themselves much better – and to be better. We’re the ones who want to make the case that government can work, so we have to do it. A competitive system should make us all stronger, and I value good competition. I just hate losing so danged much. :-)
      And yes, I’m the first person in my family to call himself anything other than a Republican as far back as any of us know. We have fun political discussion, you know it. :-)

  14. If President Obama wins re-election, he would be showing that Democrats are competitive–and more moderate–at the presidential level. It could be the beginning of a Democratic re-alignment at the presidential level. I mentioned that Latinos will not be a factor. The reason is that the Republican position on immigration is not a generous one and thus Latinos are mostly in the Democratic camp. . I favor amnesty and citizenship. Illegal aliens are our neighbors. I like my neighbors and I like what they add to our culture. The fact that they are illegal doesn’t bother me because they are our neighbors and they are part of our society in any case.

    With an Obama victory, the Republicans would be forced to do some soul-searching and move to the center. I think it is a mistake to say the Democratic and Republican establishments are too similar. That would mean that we would have even more polarized politics.

    • I think it’s only fair that I take a look at the Democrats right now, because the situation is almost the exact opposite. But that does not mean victory is in the works by any stretch – the coalition has to hold. Coalitions are hard to develop the energy necessary to get people to show up, the most important part of this. Downballot, what will happen? Hard to say.

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