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Republicans Need To Understand What Went Wrong If They Want To Win Again

This isn’t how it was supposed to end. With a bad economy, an unpopular health care reform bill, and demoralized supporters, not only wasn’t President Obama not supposed to be re-elected by, assuming he wins Florida, an Electoral College margin nearly as large as the one he earned four years ago, but beating him was supposed to have been exceedingly easy. More than once during the (far too) many Republican Primary Debates, one candidate or another would say that “anyone up on this stage” would be a better President than Barack Obama but that they were better suited for one reason or another. It was an absurd suggestion, really. Did anyone believe that Herman Cain or Michele Bachmann possessed even a fraction of the qualifications necessary to sit behind the Resolute Desk? Republican activists seemed to believe it, though, which is perhaps why Republicans find themselves wondering where the party goes from here:

Mitt Romney’s loss to a Democratic president wounded by a weak economy is certain to spur an internecine struggle over the future of the Republican Party, but the strength of the party’s conservatives in Congress and the rightward tilt of the next generation of party leaders could limit any course correction.

With their party on the verge of losing the popular presidential vote for the fifth time in six elections, Republicans across the political spectrum anticipate a prolonged and probably divisive period of self-examination.

The coming debate will be centered on whether the party should keep pursuing the antigovernment focus that grew out of resistance to the health care law and won them the House in 2010, or whether it should focus on a strategy that recognizes the demographic tide running strongly against it.

“There will be some kind of war,” predicted Mike Murphy, a longtime Republican Party consultant, suggesting it would pit “mathematicians” like him, who argue that the party cannot keep surrendering the votes of Hispanics, blacks, younger voters and college-educated women, against the party purists, or “priests,” as he puts it, who believe that basic conservative principles can ultimately triumph without much deviation.

“We are in a situation where the Democrats are getting a massive amount of votes for free,” Mr. Murphy said.

But the debate will not just be about demographics. Ralph Reed, a veteran of the conservative movement, said that Mr. Romney’s loss would stir resentment among those who believe the party made a mistake in nominating a more centrist Republican who had to work to appeal to the party’s base.

“There’s definitely a feeling that it would be better to nominate a conservative of long-standing conviction,” he said.

(…)

Even as they absorbed Mr. Romney’s defeat, the party’s top elected officials, strategists and activists said they believed that Republicans had offered a persuasive message of economic opportunism and fiscal restraint. While the messenger may have been flawed, they argued, Republicans should not stray from that approach in a moment of panic.

“The party has to continually ask ourselves, what do we represent?” said Senator Marco Rubio, the Florida Republican seen as a top White House contender in 2016. “But we have to remain the movement on behalf of upward mobility, the party people identify with their hopes and dreams. People want to have a chance.”

Matt Kibbe, the president of the Tea Party-aligned group FreedomWorks, acknowledged there would be a natural struggle for the identity of the party in the election’s aftermath. But he argued that in some respects the fight had already been waged and won by the energized grass-roots forces that have shaped the contours of Republican politics in recent elections.

“You are going to see a continuation of the fight between the old guard and all of the new blood that has come in since 2010, but I don’t know how dramatic it is going to be,” he said. “It is getting to point where you can’t reach back and pull another establishment Republican from the queue like we have done with Romney.”

This is the usual argument we hear from the right after a Republican candidate loses. The GOP lost, we’re told, not because it’s message didn’t resonate with the public, not because it is out of step with the electorate, but because its candidate wasn’t conservative enough. The people who make this argument typically cite Ronald Reagan and the 1980 Election as proof of their assertion, although they do so without realizing that Reagan was not the most conservative candidate in the 1980 Republican field, that distinction would have belonged to Illinois Congressman Phil Crane. Moreover, during the General Election, Reagan didn’t campaign has a hard right conservative, which is apparently one of the complaints that some people on the right have already started making about the Romney campaign’s performance during the just completed cycle. It’s also amusing to see activists repeat the same old tired arguments about the GOP Establishment. Sorry guys, but in the modern GOP the conservatives are “The Establishment.” You can’t blame some mystical cabal of moderates in a Corporate Boardroom in New York City for what happened this year.

Mitt Romney didn’t lose because he wasn’t conservative enough. If that was the problem then, why, exactly did he manage to make it all the way through the Republican primary fight with nothing that could be characterized as a serious challenge? Yes, there were base activists who rallied around candidates like Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum, but it became painfully obvious very early on that none of those men was the least bit prepared to be President of the United States and none of them had any realistic chance of beating Barack Obama in a head-to-head match-up. Since the Republicans had largely rejected candidates like Jon Huntsman, only finally noticing that he was running for President and might actually make a good standard bearer for the party until it was far too late, Mitt Romney was the inevitable nominee. If he wasn’t “conservative enough” then he never would have made it through the Republican primary.

The second flaw with this argument is the idea that picking a hard-core conservative is the guaranteed route to electoral success. Despite the fondest dreams of activist conservatives, there’s simply no evidence to support this assertion. For one thing, the United States is, at best, a center-right nation and perhaps not event that anymore. The suggestion that a candidate who was not only a strident hard core conservative but campaigned as one would have any chance in a nationwide election simply doesn’t comport with reality as we know it, and it definitely doesn’t comport with the results of Tuesday’s election. Once again, those who advance this argument point to Ronald Reagan to support their argument but, again, the actual evidence doesn’t support them.  For one thing, Reagan was a conservative, but he certainly was not the same kind of conservative as, say, Santorum, Bachmann, or Cain. For another, in 1980 Ronald Reagan did not explicitly campaign has a hard core conservative. Rather, he campaigned as the man who could bring the country together, fix the economy, and restore our place in the world. It was Reagan’s opponents who tried to portray him as a hard core conservative, because they knew it was an image that could be harmful to his electoral chances.

So, the idea that picking more conservative candidates is the answer to the GOP’s problems doesn’t stand up to the evidence. Yea, pick conservative candidates if you want, but you can’t expect them to campaign as if they were calling in to the Rush Limbaugh show. Running for President is a national campaign, and not everyone in the United States is a hard core conservative. Far from it as a matter of fact.

Other Republicans, who have actually looked at the election returns, are more concerned about the demographic problems that party faces in the wake of the election:

BOSTON — President Barack Obama’s thrashing of Mitt Romney exposed glaring structural weaknesses in the GOP that will shut the Republicans out of the White House until they find a way to appeal to a rapidly changing America.

Battling a wheezing economy and a deeply motivated opposition, Obama still managed to retain much of his 2008 map because of the GOP’s deficiencies with the voters who are changing the political face of once conservative-leaning Virginia, Florida, Colorado and Nevada.

Republicans face a crisis: The country is growing less white, and their coalition has become more white in recent years.

In 2004, George W. Bush won 44 percent of Hispanics. Four years later, John McCain, the author of an immigration reform bill, took 31 percent of Hispanics. And this year, Romney captured only 27 percent of Hispanics.

“The conservative movement should have particular appeal to people in minority and immigrant communities who are trying to make it, and Republicans need to work harder than ever to communicate our beliefs to them,” said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who will immediately be looked to as a potential 2016 presidential candidate.

But the GOP’s problem is more fundamental than one bloc of voters. For the second consecutive presidential election, the Republican got thumped among women and young voters in the states that decided the election.

“Our party needs to realize that it’s too old and too white and too male and it needs to figure out how to catch up with the demographics of the country before it’s too late,” said Al Cardenas, the head of the American Conservative Union and a longtime GOP leader. “Our party needs a lot of work to do if we expect to be competitive in the near future.”

This, in part, is the argument I touched on yesterday in the discussion about immigration and the Latino vote.  The GOP has increasingly become the party of whites, and specifically white males, and this is a segment of the population that is becoming a smaller and smaller part of the voting population while African-Americans, Latinos, and Asian-Americans are becoming a larger and larger part of the population. Unless the party does something to reverse this trend by becoming more attractive to non-white demographic groups, it is going to find itself increasingly shunted to the side in national elections. Party leaders like Jeb Bush, and his protege Marco Rubio, recognize this and have been urging the party to take steps to deal with this issue before it’s too late. Before now, they’ve been largely ignored and anyone who suggests that the party needs to consider backing reform of the nation’s Immigration laws is denounced as favoring “amnesty.” Now, though, it seems as though this message is finally starting to get through, at least in these initial days after the election.

There will be plenty of resistance to any suggestion that the party change its position on immigration, no doubt. While the Tea Party claims that it is solely concerned with economic issues, there has always been a decided anti-immigrant, nativist, tinge to its policy pronouncements, and I’m already seeing people in that wing of the GOP threatening revolt if the party leadership in Washington gives even a single inch on this issue. The fact that such a modification is in the long-term interest of both the GOP and the nation doesn’t seem to phase them one bit. Whether Boehner, McConnell and the others will be able to maneuver around this force without causing trouble for the party is something that remains to be seen.

The other problem that the GOP faces, of course, lies in the area of social issues. Two Senate seats that the Republican Party should have won on Tuesday night, in Missouri and Indiana, went to the Democrats largely because of comments that the Republican candidates in those states made regarding abortion and rape. Some on the right have said that Akin and Mourdock doomed their own candidacies by their own stupid gaffes, but I don’t think that’s entirely correct. What those two men said wasn’t stupid so much as it was something that they both honestly believed that large numbers of people, most specifically women, found to be offensive and stupid. More importantly, the fact is that the position they hold, that there should not even be an exception to an abortion ban for victims of rape and incest, is one that is held by a large number of hard core conservative activists and politicians, including Mitt Romneys former running mate Paul Ryan. If Akin and Mourdock made a mistake, it was the mistake of telling the truth and revealing to the voting public just how conservative the wing of the GOP they represent actually is. The fact that it led to their defeat is something that anyone who’s been interning on a political campaign for more than a week could have predicted.

The GOP’s social issues problem goes beyond Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock, though. It was only a few months ago that Republicans in Virginia were pursing a bill that would have mandated invasive trans-vaginal ultrasounds for every woman in the Commonwealth who wanted an abortion. That led to a national backlash that forced Virginia legislators to revise the bill significantly and drop plans to pursue a controversial bill that would have defined all life as beginning at conception, resulting in a ban not only on abortion but also on most forms of In-Vitro Fertilization. A month later, when a woman named Sandra Fluke testified before Congress regarding the PPACA’s insurance mandates as applied to institutions run by religious organizations, one of the most prominent figures on the right called her a slut and not a single prominent Republican politician rose up to denounce him. According to exit polls, women made up 53% of the electorate on Tuesday and they went for President Obama over Mitt Romney 55% to 44%. After everything that has happened this year, is that any surprise?

Republicans face quite a task ahead of them in the wake of Tuesday’s election, but what all of the above makes exceedingly clear is that it’s going to take more than cosmetic changes and marketing techniques to fix their problems. They are going to have to decide what kind of party they want to be. If they want to be a national party, then they are going to have to appeal to more than just a segment of the population that is shrinking in its relative influence. If they want to be a party of limited government, they are going to have to realize that social conservatism of the type expressed by Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock, and those who agree with them is simply not compatible with a modern political party in a nation where women make up a higher percentage of the voting population. Alternatively, of course, they could simply decide to double down on  what they’ve been doing and suffer the consequences. The choice is theirs.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Ron Beasley says:

    Conservative Rick Moran:
    Can the GOP Win Without the Crazies?
    Rick doesn’t think so!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  2. Ben Wolf says:

    Glenn Greenwald posted a few paragraphs I thought neatly encapsulated the Republicans’ situation:

    The greatest and most enduring significance of Tuesday night’s election results will likely not be the re-election of Barack Obama, but rather what the outcome reflects about the American electorate. It was not merely Democrats, but liberalism, which was triumphant.

    To begin with, it is hard to overstate just how crippled America’s right-wing is. Although it was masked by their aberrational win in 2010, the GOP has now been not merely defeated, but crushed, in three out of the last four elections: in 2006 (when they lost control of the House and Senate), 2008 (when Obama won easily and Democrats expanded their margins of control), and now 2012. The horrendous political legacy of George Bush and Dick Cheney continues to sink the GOP, and demographic realities – how toxic the American Right is to the very groups that are now becoming America’s majority – makes it difficult to envision how this will change any time soon.

    Meanwhile, new laws to legalize both same-sex marriage and marijuana use were enacted in multiple states with little controversy, an unthinkable result even a few years ago, while Obama’s late-term embrace of same-sex marriage seems to have resulted only in political benefit with no political harm. Democrats were sent to the Senate by deeply red states such as Indiana, Missouri and North Dakota, along with genuinely progressive candidates on domestic issues, including Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts and Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin, who became the first openly gay person elected to the Senate. As a cherry on the liberal cake, two of the most loathed right-wing House members – Rep Joe Walsh of Illinois and Allen West of Florida – were removed from office.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/nov/07/obama-progressives-left-entitlements

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  3. legion says:

    What Went Wrong is that the GOP moved away from being the party of political conservatism and into being the party of “give more money to rich people” 24×7. They paid lip service to the Evangelicals. They paid lip service to the Tea Partiers & gun nuts. But when you look at the legislation the GOP has actually tried the hardest at, it all boils down to that one principle – more money for rich people.

    Why? Because rich people and grifters took the party over. The GOP is no longer really a political party at all – it’s just a vanity label for billionaires. Take a good, hard look at Republican politicians, candidates, and kingmakers – every single one of them got into politics for one (or both) of a couple of reasons: a) to get back at people or b) to get rich. Not to govern, not to make anything better for anyone (anyone else, that is), not to make the world a better place or change some wrong thing about the world. Just revenge and money. that’s all.

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  4. Geek, Esq. says:

    Math has a distinct liberal bias, so they will just ignore these numbers.

    Just like the Romney campaign used the Dean Chambers method to conduct their internal polling.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  5. Rob in CT says:

    Greenwald is entirely too triumphant there. Wow.

    Just saw this over at Sully’s spot:

    “All family and friends, even close family and friends, who I know to be Democrats are hereby dead to me. I vow never to speak to them again for the rest of my life, or have any communications with them. They are in short, the enemies of liberty. They deserve nothing less than hatred and utter contempt. I strongly urge all other libertarians to do the same. Are you married to someone who voted for Obama, have a girlfriend who voted ‘O’. Divorce them. Break up with them without haste. Vow not to attend family functions, Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas for example, if there will be any family members in attendance who are Democrats,” – Eric Dondero, LibertarianRepublican.net

    Now there is a mature reaction.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  6. Ben Wolf says:

    @Rob in CT: I’d suggest reading the entire post if you think Greenwald is celebrating.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  7. superdestroyer says:

    There is nothing that the Repulblicans do to remain relevant in politics. If the Republicans move to the left on social issues, the social conservatives will walk away from them while the Republicans will pick up few voters. Move to the left on entitlement spending and fiscal conservatives have any less reason to vote for Republicans than before. Move to the left on immigration and the Republicans will just be adding millions of additional automatic Democratic Party voters to the roles. The idea of adding millions of third world immigrants to the voters rolls while maintaining set asides and affirmative action for them is politically the most stupid idea that Republicans have.

    What the Republicans have to understand that they are a minority party but any more the Republicans make will lose more votes than it gains. What conservatives should do is probably fold up the Republican Party and start voting in the Democratic Party primary. At least them, conservatives stand a chance of putting a check on the Democrats move to the left.

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  8. mattb says:

    The Republican party currently faces a number of challenges that are going to make change difficult in the short term. A lot of smart people have been listing a number of them over the last few days.

    The Tea Party push towards more “regular people” as candidates, and recent attempts to run strong ideologs for the Senate, keeps thrusting individuals into a national spotlight who don’t have the training or experience to be there. The net result is stupid comments that end up damaging the brand on a national level. You can get away with saying a lot of crazy crap in a house race (or as a member of the House) that, as we’ve seen, will get you killed in a Senate race. This is part the result of Gerrymandered districts.

    Beyond that, there are a lot of people (both pundits and base) who admit that there is a problem but are wholly incapable of understanding what the problem is. We saw a wonderful micro example of that with @Jan’s concession comment yesterday. She admitted that all of her sources got it wrong, and then immediate expressed her relief that no one rioted as, those very sources that got everything else wrong, predicted.

    Honestly, I don’t want the Republicans or Conervatives to try to accomplish immigration reform in order to pander to hispanics. That’s akin to the choice of Michael Steele as party chair in order to prove that they’re not racist. Do it right, because you believe in it, or don’t do it at all.

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  9. Kit says:

    No matter how you slice it, the GOP is just rotten through and through. I honestly think a crushing defeat in 2016 and 2020 would be best for all concerned. By then an entire generation that has never known Republicans to be anything other than wacko will be entering mid-life. The Boomers will be dropping like flies. The GOP will not look in the mirror and decide that it finally needs change it can believe in, the change will happen organically. Coming up 1% better next time will consume the party elders for the time being.

    Also, it is not like the Democrats leave a lot of empty space between the two parties on the political spectrum. Climate change? Guns? Abortion? All left unsaid on the stump. But as demographics start to bite and the Democrats start to rise, we will see them move to the left. This will create an opening, at some point, for a re-vamped GOP to stake out new ground.

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  10. Rob in CT says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    Well, it’s Glenn, so I’m sure it’s chock full of his usual complaints (which I mostly find valid). Rephrase: his argument re: the ascendency of liberalism (remember, not just the Dems, but liberalism) is overblown.

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  11. MM says:

    @Rob in CT: The best part is that Dondero is leaving his cell phone number in the comments. If you text him your address, he will come by, spit on your sidewalk and shame you. It might be the greatest temper tantrum I have ever seen.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  12. superdestroyer says:

    @Kit:

    Do you really think there will be anyone left in the Republican Party by 2030. If someone is in the 20′s today and is interested in politics, they have to be a Democrat. Why go into politics as a Republican when there is no chance of effecting policy or governance. I wonder if more than 5% of the students in the Ivy league are Republicans. And since that is were the politicians will come from the future, there will be no one left to rebuild the Republican party.

    The bigger question for politics and governance is what is going to happen when virtually all politicians have the same world view, the same training, and the same ambitions. Can the U.s. function as first world country if all of our elected leaders are people like Sandra Fluke?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 7

  13. Rob in CT says:

    @mattb:

    Holy. Shit.

    Thanks for the link.

    Wow. “My info was wrong, yours was right, glad there weren’t race riots (predicted by loonies that she just admitted were totally wrong). The mind boggles.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  14. David M says:

    I know everyone wants to start thinking about 2016, but if the GOP doesn’t change at all, isn’t it likely the Democratic candidate starts with a 253-180 advantage?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  15. Woody says:

    Particularly well-written essay, Mr. Mataconis. I’m especially impressed with the fact you referenced Ronald Reagan without rose-colored glasses (something Joe Scarborough really does need to work on).

    It occurred to me that for the GOP to mend, it must find a leader to break Reagan’s ‘eleventh commandment’ and call out the grifters, the ideological militants, and the absolutist theocrats – publicly and without apology. Sure, it would engender lots of short-term outrage on talk radio and Hannity, but this would actually give that leader credibility with lots of moderates, including centrist Republicans wondering what the hell happened to their party.

    Sure, there are nutball Democrats, but none in leadership positions, and let’s face it, Democrats have much more latitude to criticize each other than Republicans do.

    “The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time . . . ” and so forth would be a better template to use – but I have lots of doubts whether this replacement will happen.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  16. Rob in CT says:

    Supe, since you post the same thing literally every time, you can probably just save the effort and type

    THE USUAL.

    We’ll get it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  17. swbarnes2 says:

    If Akin and Mourdock made a mistake, it was the mistake of telling the truth and revealing to the voting public just how conservative the wing of the GOP they represent actually is.

    But it’s not just their wing, and you know that. There’s no mention of rape or health exceptions in the national Republican party platform. Your guy McDonnell helped to write that platform, so that’s your wing of the party too.

    It was only a few months ago that Republicans in Virginia were pursing a bill that would have mandated invasive trans-vaginal ultrasounds for every woman in the Commonwealth who wanted an abortion.

    Again, your guy McDonnell supported that. So who are these mythical Republicans who are going to change how the Republicans work? Clearly, you are not one, so how many do you expect us to believe there are?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  18. superdestroyer says:

    @Woody:

    Anyone with that much political talent and that much ability would be much better off in the Democratic party. The path to political power and prominance would be much easier. There is no reason to have people yell at you and call you names. And all one would have to do is be the tax collector for the entitlement state. If one keeps enough groups paid off, you can have a tremendous amount of political power and be immune to any failures of policy or governance. And since most leaders in the Democratic Party are massive hypocrites, it does not matter that one’s own beliefs are different than what one says in public.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 8

  19. Mikey says:

    While the Tea Party claims that it is solely concerned with economic issues

    Does anyone really believe this anymore? I mean, besides the “anti-immigrant, nativist tinge” Doug mentions, it seems to me the Tea Party has aligned itself with the whack-o religious far-right fringe. Akin and Mourdock weren’t just GOP candidates, they were Tea Party-favored candidates. Tea Party voters got them over in the primaries.

    The GOP would be a whole lot closer to a Senate majority were it not for the Tea Party, but not only that, they’d be a lot closer to the Presidency. Guys like Akin and Mourdock poisoned the whole barrel, all the way up to Romney.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  20. swbarnes2 says:

    @mattb:

    Honestly, I don’t want the Republicans or Conervatives to try to accomplish immigration reform in order to pander to hispanics….Do it right, because you believe in it, or don’t do it at all.

    Ehh. I don’t care what’s in people hearts. If Republicans want to pass good policies for selfish reasons, that’s fine, if the good policies get made. We need to get the vicious racism and sexism, and crazy irrationality banished from the political table. If Republicans want to help do that, great. I don’t think they will though. Their base eats that stuff up, and too many people will do the Sarah Palin thing and make a living riling up the crazies. They won’t meekly pull the lever for anyone who doesn’t fluff their puerile egos.

    If the Democrats nominate anyone but a white male for President in 2016, the Republican id will be on full display again. And yes, James and Doug will once again innocently wonder why everyone is making such a big deal over transcripts and teleprompters, but everyone else will know exactly what’s going on.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  21. superdestroyer says:

    @swbarnes2:

    Only an insane Republican who want nothing but more cheap labor will support amensty, open borders, unlimited immigraiton, or any form of increased immigration. Amensty has lead to the the Republicans in California becoming totally irrelevant. Another amenity will just cause the national Republican Party to become irrelevant.

    Importing millions of third world immigrants who will be eligible for government entitlements, set asides, and affirmative action will just create millions of additional Democratic Party voters who will want higher taxes, bigger government, and more government goodies. In addition, open borders and unlimited immigraiton will lead to poorer schools for the middle class, higher insurance bills, higher crime, and a lower quality of life.

    Why would any Republican want to support a policy change that does nothing but harm the most faithful Republican Party voters while rewarding the most progressives segments of the Democratic Party. After 8 years of the incompetent Bush Administration, one would think that Republicans would learn not to do anything that benefits the Democratic Party but does nothing for the core Republican voters.

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  22. John Thacker says:

    @Mikey: Akin was a moron, but not actually a Tea Party candidate. The Tea Party groups in MO actually endorsed his two opponents in the primary. He won because of his social conservative base plus McCaskill being fairly clever in spending money during the primary to attack the other candidates but not him. Plus Missouri not having a primary runoff.

    Though the GOP had some non Tea Party failures. Berg in ND and Rehnberg in MT– both states where Romney won handily, and both were statewide at-large House members. Berg was even running for an open seat. Rehnberg had voted against Paul Ryan’s budget twice. And they both lost. Tommy Thompson isn’t that conservative, had been governor of WI four times, and he lost to the quite far left Tammy Baldwin.

    All in all a bad night for lots of Republicans. Partially because you can be conservative or moderate, but if you give the impression that you don’t care about a huge 47% of the electorate, you’re not going to win them. The most moderate policies plus an impression that your policies are selfish and only for the top 53% isn’t going to win.

    Reagan did run as fairly conservative– but as a conservative who was convinced that conservative policies would help everyone, not just the rich but also the poor, by spreading prosperity. Romney didn’t even try to make that case, characterizing those people are parasites and takers on food stamps– as did lots of other Republicans and Republican commentators.

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  23. Stan says:

    @superdestroyer: Or maybe they could foment a military coup. As an alternative, and this may be too outlandish for somebody like you, they could start acting like a rational political party.

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  24. Whitfield says:

    Years ago, probably in the early 1980′s people were predicting the death of the Democrat party. Indeed, Republican registrations went up in almost every state. Republicans dominated for a long time. Look at the changes: New England at one time was a Republican stronghold. The south was solid Democrat and the Republicans could not fill the ticket with candidates. This country goes through these cycles and will again.

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  25. Graham says:

    When one party prides itself on being against “demographics” like women, immigrants, brown folks, and even homosexuals, then yes, those “demographics” are going to naturally be against them.

    I’ve never been a huge fan of the Democrats and have always been more a third-party/none-of-the-above voter, but the kind of overt racism, classism, and sexism demonstrated by the mainstream GOP since Obama’s election is frankly shocking. It’s the death throes of a bunch of scared, old white men who see the world as they imagined it slipping from their grasp forever. Good riddance.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  26. bk says:

    @Whitfield:

    Look at the changes: New England at one time was a Republican stronghold.

    I grew up in Connecticut, and I am old enough to remember that the Republicans that made New England a Republican stronghold would not recognize today’s GOP.

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  27. michael reynolds says:

    I think the GOP needs to look at small ‘l’ libertarianism with a heart.

    Shed the religious nuts, give up on turning out your angry 65 year old white males and start looking at the 20-somethings coming up. They are secular and tolerant but also suspicious of government.

    If you get rid of the racist/religious voters – abortion is the key – you have a shot at the future by pushing the idea of restrained foreign policy and rigorously rational government: as little government as we need but no less. Be the party that pays its bills, be the party that rejects magical thinking. Be the ‘Daddy’ party but not the ranting, crazy drunk daddy. Be the party that says, “How do you kids think you’re going to pay for all this?”

    Basically it will get worse before it gets better, but the GOP has to leapfrog from its wrinkly racists and bible thumpers to the Reddit demo. You can’t hope that the 30-somethings and 20-somethings will age into Republicanism as it is now, that ain’t happening.

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  28. george says:

    @Whitfield:

    Pretty much. Parties change – or split into new parties, one of which goes where the votes are. The Republicans in ten years won’t look like they do now – or if they do, they’ll be a rump party, and a new challenger will have come up to take their place, probably looking a lot like some variant of fiscal conservative/socially liberal (and no, not the libertarians, who are ideologues rather than pragmatists).

    Of course, that won’t include social conservatives , but I often think they’re pretty much happiest when complaining anyway.

    For some reason, Monty Python’s “Life of Brian” keeps coming to mind – “Splitter”.

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  29. David M says:

    Don’t forget the other problem the GOP will soon be facing in their favored demographic, older voters. All 2010, and a little in 2012 there has been talk about how Democrats and Obama cut Medicare by $500 and $700 billion/ Well in another couple years, those reduced payments and Obamacare will be in effect, and the world won’t end. Assuming the Democrats can start being correctly seen as the defenders of SS & Medicare again, even that demographic shouldn’t be as much a lock for the GOP in the future. (I know asking the Dems to competently get their message out is a stretch.)

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  30. Spartacus says:

    Everything Doug wrote is true, but what policy proposals can the GOP come up with that are both (1) rational and (2) distinct from existing mainstream Democratic policy proposals?

    I may be missing something, but I just don’t see how the GOP can fix its problems without first acknowledging that Democrats are right on some of the biggest issues out there (taxes must be raised, people want healthcare, gays should be allowed to marry the persons they love and a rape victim shouldn’t be forced to bear the child and share parental custody with the man who raped her). Until they reverse course on these issues, they’re doomed to lose national elections so long as the Democrats nominate anyone who’s half-way serious.

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  31. bookdragon says:

    The first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem.

    I see lots of thoughtful moderates (people the base would call RINOs) doing this. What I don’t see is the leadership or even the media mouthpieces doing it.

    On NPR this morning there was an interview with one of Boehner’s people. He was holding that because the GOP hadn’t lost seats in the House, they had a mandate – apparently for refusing to even consider returning taxes on the wealthy or on investment income to Reagan-era levels. Then there’s Karl Rove, who earlier today claimed that Romney only lost because Obama had suppressed the vote by turning voters off with a negative campaign! (This such low-hanging fruit that I’ll be astounded if it isn’tthe featured mockery on The Daily Show). And finally all of the many, many commentators talking about either ‘going Galt’ or claiming that people only voted Dem because they are spineless, greedy losers who ‘want stuff’ from the govt.

    I truly hope the GOP reforms. I really do, because single-party dominance is never good for anyone. Without real competition the Dems will have nothing to hold back their own brand of crazy. But unless someone can resurrect Teddy Roosevelt, I just don’t know how it will happen.

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  32. bookdragon says:

    The first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem.

    I see lots of thoughtful moderates (people the base would call RINOs) doing this. What I don’t see is the leadership or even the media mouthpieces doing it.

    On NPR this morning there was an interview with one of Boehner’s people. He was holding that because the GOP hadn’t lost seats in the House, they had a mandate – apparently for refusing to even consider returning taxes on the wealthy or on investment income to Reagan-era levels.

    I truly hope the GOP reforms. I really do, because single-party dominance is never good for anyone. Without real competition the Dems will have nothing to hold back their own brand of crazy. But unless someone can resurrect Teddy Roosevelt, I just don’t know how it will happen.

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  33. mattb says:

    @Spartacus:

    Everything Doug wrote is true, but what policy proposals can the GOP come up with that are both (1) rational and (2) distinct from existing mainstream Democratic policy proposals?

    This touches on a significant, but not insurmountable challenge, for Republicans. To Michael’s point, I think the Republican party could make national inroads if it refocused itself on paleocon and “small l libertarianism” values. The question is, how to do it.

    For example, they party could embrace modern Federalism and turn more control back to the States. So, for example, abandon DOMA, attempts to nationally ban or regulate abortion (i.e. over turn Roe v. Wade), and social con friendly constitutional amendments.

    The problem with this option is that while it might help the National Republican image, the actions of Republican politicians on the State level will probably still hurt the party’s national prospects. As Doug points out, it’s State Republicans actions on issues like Abortion and Immigration that are causing the real problems for the Federal Party.

    And as long as Social Cons are a key component of the Republican base, there’s no getting around most hot button issues. The problem for Social Cons is it’s clear the country is leaving them behind.

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  34. An Interested Party says:

    Now there is a mature reaction.

    Actually, that reaction is the perfect encapsulation of how childish Libertarianism really is…

    This country goes through these cycles and will again.

    This is certainly true, but the GOP as it currently stands will need to have some form of a lobotomy, particularly where social issues and ethnic relations are concerned, if the party is to have any national success…

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  35. mattb says:

    @John Thacker:

    Reagan did run as fairly conservative– but as a conservative who was convinced that conservative policies would help everyone, not just the rich but also the poor, by spreading prosperity. Romney didn’t even try to make that case, characterizing those people are parasites and takers on food stamps– as did lots of other Republicans and Republican commentators.

    [emphasis mine]

    BINGO!

    And that last point has become the talking point among a lot of right wingers for why they lost the election. It appeared in NRO posts within hours after things were called, Limbaugh used it as his general argument on Wednesday (you can’t beat Santa Claus), and it’s been posted and reposted on comment threads across multiple Right Wing Media Sites. @bill used it on OTB here.

    Get used to it. It’s the new talking point and will be with us for a while.

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  36. Whitfield says:

    @bk: You’re certainly right about the New England Republicans of ages ago – one that comes to mind was Margaret Chase Smith. We’re talking about a completely different breed of Republicans. Most people today would not know about them; they had a certain kind of class in the way they went about politics. Great reply.

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  37. swbarnes2 says:

    @Spartacus:

    I may be missing something, but I just don’t see how the GOP can fix its problems without first acknowledging that Democrats are right on some of the biggest issues out there (taxes must be raised, people want healthcare, gays should be allowed to marry the persons they love and a rape victim shouldn’t be forced to bear the child and share parental custody with the man who raped her).

    I think you have it backwards. About 27% of the population violently disagrees with all those things, and that’s pretty much an immovable fact. There will always be a party that will service that constituency. The Democrats can’t be that party, and they have no reason to be; they win elections by supporting all that good stuff. In a two-party system, that party then has to be the Republicans. Republicans can not win elections without those people, but they certainly can win with them in lots and lots of localities.

    If they had the ability to maintain an iron grip on all Republicans, keep people like Sarah Palin and Trump from becoming icons by pandering to the filth, maybe they could have ceased to run on the awful stuff, and those crazy 27% would have voted for them anyway because, hey, at least Republicans won’t give government money to black welfare moms.

    But Republicans can’t do that. Palin and Trump, and all those other extremist wash-ups can make good money and get good publicity telling the base what they want to hear, and the base now expects their professional politicians to do the same. And they can get it, too, at the state and lower levels.

    Romney cracked a birther joke at a rally, and the crowd ate it up. How can Republicans resist that dynamic? I don’t think they can, not until a whole lot of old white men die.

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  38. de stijl says:

    @Rob in CT:

    Eric Dondero, LibertarianRepublican.net

    I am extraordinarily proud of the fact that I dubbed Eric Dondero as “Canyonero” on Reason’s Hit & Run blog back in 2006. The really cool bit is that it stuck. It was my very own mini-meme.

    Every time he commented some stupid dumb-ass shite like the above quote, people would chime in with stuff like:

    12 yards long, 2 lanes wide,
    65 tons of American Pride!

    Dondero! Dondero!

    I know it is juvenile – puerile, even, but I freaking laughed my head off every single time. I plotzed. I schadenfreuded.

    PS – Google “canyonero+simpsons+youtube” if you don’t know the reference.

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  39. Graham says:

    @george: Of course the Libertarians are ideologues. Same with the Greens or whatever other silly third parties are out there. There’s no incentive for a third party to be pragmatic when they can’t hope to win. Third parties are about raising awareness and potentially shifting the discussion around their pet issues, not electoral victories.

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  40. John Thacker says:

    @swbarnes2: That’s very true.

    Now, Republicans will complain that Democrats have their own crazy element to their base, and complaint about winks and nods given to 9/11 Trutherism and other insanity by elected Democratic Party politicians. But for the most part (and especially disciplined politicians like President Obama), Democratic Party politicians have limited themselves to accepting the support of those people, maybe meeting with and posing with some of the celebrities, but not repeating the craziness.

    There will always be extremists on both sides, and in a two party system it behooves parties to somehow get the votes of the crazies while getting them to support relatively sane compromise policies instead of endorsing the craziness that they really want to hear.

    (Although as far as “taxes must be raised,” I think it’s pretty nearly impossible to deal with the long term budget without violating the President’s own pledge to avoid raising taxes on those making less than $250k instead of just raising taxes on those making more or making cuts to programs that the Democrats don’t want to cut either. And, of course, cutting military spending as well. The Democrats may perhaps be closer to reality, but they’re not really facing reality either.)

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  41. Janis Gore says:

    @John Thacker: I agree, Mr. Thacker. We all need an investment in the “system”.

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  42. Spartacus says:

    Mattb wrote: “For example, they party could embrace modern Federalism and turn more control back to the States. So, for example, abandon DOMA, attempts to nationally ban or regulate abortion (i.e. over turn Roe v. Wade), and social con friendly constitutional amendments.”

    I think a platform like this could be politically successful, but only in times of peace and prosperity (e.g. 2000). However, if the country is facing any kind of large, persistent problem, the GOP is in trouble. All of its policy positions have proved to be terrible failures.

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  43. Steve M. says:

    All this bashing of the Religious evengelicals is sickening. We care about our country as well, from fiscal matters to more imortantly social matters. Sorry if it offends you but we Christian’s on the right really believe that abortion on demand and Gay marriage is an attack on the fundemental principles of civilized society.

    If you purge us from the GOP where do we go? Do you honestly think a Socially liberal, fiscally conservative person ever has a chance to win a national election?

    I am not the smartest man in the world but I honestly believe splitting the base would hurt far more then electing a left wing republican. We need someone who can articulate that true conservativism is great for all involved (like Reagan) and try to keep social matters out of the mainstream. I don’t know who that person is but in my opinion we need someone who is both fiscally conservative and socially conservative (but not overtly so).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 10

  44. Spartacus says:

    @swbarnes2:

    “About 27% of the population violently disagrees with all those things, and that’s pretty much an immovable fact. There will always be a party that will service that constituency.”

    I agree. I’ve argued before that the SoCons are the only ones keeping the GOP viable in the short term. The religious right will never be persuaded to abandon its positions on abortion and same-sex marriage and so it will stay with the GOP no matter how badly the GOP screws up the economy or foreign policy. However, most other informed voters will not go along with the GOP until it stops preaching tax cuts and war everywhere.

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  45. Janis Gore says:

    @Steve M.: Interesting, Steve, I read you for a good while at No More Mr. Nice Blog. I’d no idea.

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  46. Steve M. says:

    @Spartacus:

    Dont agree with tax cuts everywhere, I definetly wouldn’t mind seeing millionaires (like Hollywood elites, Hedge Fund Managers and sports athletes) taxed but I have an uncle who owns his own business (construction with 40 some employees) and is moderatly wealthy (slightly over 250k a year) and he has said any tax increase is a burden on him and his business.

    Besides doesn’t the United States have the highest Corporate tax rate in the industrilized world? What we need is fair regulation and higher tariffs from cheating countries like China.

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  47. Steve M. says:

    @Janis Gore</a

    Thats not me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  48. David M says:

    @Steve M.:

    Sorry if it offends you but we Christian’s on the right really believe that abortion on demand and Gay marriage is an attack on the fundemental principles of civilized society.

    If you purge us from the GOP where do we go? Do you honestly think a Socially liberal, fiscally conservative person ever has a chance to win a national election?

    I won’t touch the abortion issue, but actively opposing gay marriage will cost the GOP nominee votes in 2016 and beyond. Like it or not, that’s today’s reality.

    As far as socially liberal / fiscally conservative goes, Obama was just re-elected.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  49. de stijl says:

    @Steve M.:

    Do you honestly think a Socially liberal, fiscally conservative person ever has a chance to win a national election?

    Yes. One just did so.

    Keynesian stimulus is the proper, conservative path out of a demand recession.

    You will obviously disagree, but “fiscally conservative” has been popularly redefined and twisted into an amazingly weird shape recently.

    Austerity measures in the face of a demand recession is not fiscally conservative, it is fiscally radical; it is massively overweighting deficit reduction while absolutely killing growth. You cannot shrink your way out of a demand recession.

    Cutting government spending when there are too few dollars available to grow the economy makes a bad situation worse. In fact, it is irresponsible, radical, and alarming – it means that the people in power care more about their unproven ideology than how their actions affect living, breathing people. That the vast majority of austerity proponents and deficit alarmists came to that position only after losing the White House is, frankly, appalling.

    Knowing the proper time to check spending and when to juice spending is the conservative position; knowing when to reduce government revenues and when increase them is the conservative position.

    Republicans like to argue that we, as a nation, are a center-right people and deserve a political party that is also center-right. Well, we do have a center-right party and they are called Democrats.

    (BTW, Obama is not as socially liberal as I would prefer, but I understand that things like DOMA and DADT take time-consuming & delicate handling so as to not perturb the 27%ers too much.)

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  50. george says:

    @Steve M.:

    I don’t know who that person is but in my opinion we need someone who is both fiscally conservative and socially conservative (but not overtly so).

    Does that mean someone who’s personal politics are socially conservative, but doesn’t think those socially conservative positions should be put in law? If so, that could work. Canada has had several Liberal Party leaders (and in fact the current Conservative leader, Steven Harper)who, for instance, were personally against abortion, but who thought that it should still be legal – ie they didn’t believe their personal decisions should be law (or at least, recognized that the majority of the population didn’t agree with their personal politics).

    The old Liberal Party in Canada (which fell apart because of scandals, but which ruled the country for most of the last half of the 20th century) was fiscally conservative, socially liberal, and it did very well electorally. It even had a number of personally socially conservative leaders (good Catholics), who simply refused to impose their social views on legislation.

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  51. superdestroyer says:

    @Stan:

    I take it that rational means act just like the Democratic Party. No one who is on the left and claims that the Repulbicans are insane ever bothers to defien what would be sane but not identical to the Democrats.

    Of course, the same progressives believe that tougher environmental regulations coupled with unlimited legal immigration is the height of sanity.

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  52. superdestroyer says:

    @Whitfield:

    The Democrats held the House through the enitre 80′s. Tip O’Neill was so powerful that in November of 1984, he said that the re-election of Reagan did not mean anything. I doubt you can find a single cite that says that people thought the Democrats were going to go away. What happened in the 1980′s is that the Republicans returned to some level of poliical power and middle class whites started moving to the Repulbican Party instead of voting for the high unemployment, high inflation, high crime party.

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  53. superdestroyer says:

    @michael reynolds:

    How does the more conservative party get better in a country when more than 50% of the populaiton will be non-white, eligible for special government programs, and demanding higher levels of entitlements? The idea that there are more than few libertarians is foolish. Dumping most of the Republicans supporters to chase a few white 20 somethings is a foolish strategy. It loses more voters than it gains and does nothing about the massive demographic advantages that the Democratic Party has.

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  54. superdestroyer says:

    @de stijl:

    There is nothing fiscally conservative about a $4 trillion dollar budget. There is nothing fiscally conservative about the Dream Act. There is nothing fiscally conservative about growing entitlements in the form the Affordable Care Act. There has been virtually no domestic spending cuts in the first four years of the Obama Administration and I doubt that there will be any cuts in the next four years. The is nothing fiscally conservative about increasing taxes and higher long term spending.

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  55. superdestroyer says:

    James,

    I am sorry that I did not see your message on the other thread. I will find a way to discuss the state of politics in the U.S. while ignoring the current state of the two main political parties. I guess the easiest way is to ignore the Republican Party and just discuss what the Democrats should be doing in the future rather than what they will be doing.

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  56. Whitfield says:

    Republicans need to stay away from social issues that detract from the main concern of everyone, which is: money.

    One key word: pragmatism. NIxon and Reagan got it. Obama doesn’t. You can’t run the country from the socialist left without taking the country into total ruination. See Greece.

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  57. jukeboxgrad says:

    Speaking of “What Went Wrong,” last night David Corn asked a question I find intriguing and relevant:

    Did Team Romney Believe Its Own BS? … Not that it matters much, but one of the questions lingering after President Obama’s decisive victory on Tuesday is this: did Team Romney believe its own bullshit? … there were several signs of profound denial emanating from the Romney camp … For weeks, the Romney campaign had peddled the myth of Mittmentum. Was that a cynical ploy or an act of self-delusion? Either answer is hardly flattering.

    He says “not that it matters much,” but I think it does matter. The broader and continuing issue here is that the GOP is at war with reality. I think people both inside and outside the GOP have an interest in understanding that problem in a deep way.

    I think it ties in with this article by Conor Friedersdorf: “How Conservative Media Lost to the MSM and Failed the Rank and File:”

    Before rank-and-file conservatives ask, “What went wrong?”, they should ask themselves a question every bit as important: “Why were we the last to realize that things were going wrong for us?” … I see a coalition that has lost all perspective, partly because there’s no cost to broadcasting or publishing inane bullshit. In fact, it’s often very profitable. A lot of cynical people have gotten rich broadcasting and publishing red meat for movement conservative consumption.

    The little people in the GOP were fed bullshit, and lapped it up. They were delusional. No news there. But it never occurred to me that the people at the top were just as deluded, and that each time they spouted their bullshit it was “an act of self-delusion.” And we see various signs (not bothering to prepare a concession speech, appearing to be genuinely “shellshocked“) that Mitt himself was wrapped in self-delusion.

    The comments in this thread mostly focus on different issues (which I agree are interesting and important), but I’d love to read a thread that focuses on the question Corn asked.

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  58. jukeboxgrad says:

    And on the subject of “self-delusion,” these references are helpful:

    WP, “Faulty predictions for Election 2012.”
    Slate, “Slate’s Pundit Scorecard.”

    I am also reminded of this:

    The aide said that guys like me were “in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” … “That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.”

    PS: I should mention that the article I cited above by Friedersdorf was discussed by James a couple of days ago, here.

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  59. alanmt says:

    @steve m:

    Sorry, man. It’s not that you and your fellow evangelicals should leave the GOP. It’s that you should stop trying to achieve the advancement of your religiously based socon concerns through the political system, i;e; theocratically. You will never be able to do that now. Never. And trying to do so hurts you, makes you seem mean and unAmerican (hence why you are subjected to such withering criticism) and is beginning to take a toll on the Republican party’s national viability.

    Stop thinking that government is the tool for the imposition of your religious values on others. This is America. That is not how we do government here. The religious right’s masturbatory idea that the separation of church and state wasn’t intended by the framers and isn’t essential to our polity has had its brief morning in the sun, but the afternoon shadows are beginning to lengthen.

    Stop acting theocratically, you philistines, and become true evangelicals, if you feel that is what your religious calling is. Reach out to actual people in the world and convince them one on one. Change your message from one of exclusion and oppression to one of love and hope. Maybe you will change some other people. Maybe you yourself will change for the better.

    Oh, and one ifnal point. Re the chicken little-ing the sky is falling because of gay marriage and abortion as its the end of civilization as we know it. Stop being such a drama queen. Calm down and get a sense of perspective. It’s not the end of the world, and people are still basically good, and a belief in reproductive rights and marriage equality does not and has not led to abandonment of any other moral principles by their holders. Most people I know who support these positions still believe it is wrong to steal, to torture, to assault, and aren’t channeling the great deceiver in naked moonlight rituals in which the blood of sacrifices pours out over cold stone. Man up, dude. And take a real look at he world around you. It’s not as bad as your overwrought fears would have it.

    Sheeesh. I feel like Gandalf speaking to Theoden.

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  60. Scott says:

    I happen to think that growing income inequality is the greatest threat to our country. A strong middle class has been the basis of democracies since its rise in the 1600s. I look to the late 1800s for an analogy. The Gilded Age was similar to today with growing instability between the classes. It took a “class traitor” Teddy Roosevelt to start to balance society out again. Maybe we are in a similar situation and it would take a leader with a similar background. Romney could’ve been that guy but I think he was too limited. The only other individual I can think of is Bloomberg but who knows. All I know is that the middle is not holding and that’s bad.

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  61. Rob Prather says:

    Doug,

    Great post, but you’re thinking too much! This won’t go down well with conservatives.

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  62. mattb says:

    @Steve M.:
    The issue with Religious Conservatives is typically an inability to compromise on most social topics. You hinted at it with your own comment:

    We care about our country as well, from fiscal matters to more imortantly social matters.

    [Emphasis mine]

    The vast majority of social cons put social above fiscal. As one fiscal (but not Social Conservative) put it on another site: I’m sick and tired of having to support anti-abortion candidates because social cons won’t vote for a fiscal con who’s pro-life or gay marriage.

    The broader problem is that even if one steps back and finds points of agreement — i.e. we should work to reduce abortions — the best solutions (sex ed and contraception) often run afoul of other Social Con values and end up preventing any common ground being reached (i.e. abstinence only sex ed, which has been proven time and time again not to work).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  63. john personna says:

    @Steve M.:

    I have an uncle who owns his own business (construction with 40 some employees) and is moderatly wealthy (slightly over 250k a year) and he has said any tax increase is a burden on him and his business.

    The problem with these simple stories is that (a) taxes are on profits, not sales, and (b) there are actually a lot of ways to hide reduce profits.

    Why do you think most Mercedes ads quote lease prices? That Mercedes you see the wife driving is probably a business expense, pre-tax.

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  64. mattb says:

    oops that should have been ‘pro-choice or pro-gay marriage’

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  65. James in LA says:

    @superdestroyer: Why are you speaking for “conservatives?” You are an extreme racist. That is not a conservative value.

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  66. michael reynolds says:

    @alanmt:

    Very nicely done.

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  67. alanmt says:

    Thank you, Michael.

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  68. Graham says:

    @Scott: I’m not so sure on Bloomberg. He’s absolutely the worst kind of “moderate”. I sure hope that America still has enough faith in liberty that the masses won’t unite behind the kind of petty, paternalistic tyrant who thinks it’s his job to tell people the maximum size of snacks they must consume.

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  69. A Reasonable Solutionist says:

    @superdestroyer:

    “If the Republicans move to the left on social issues, the social conservatives will walk away from them while the Republicans will pick up few voters.”

    I disagree strongly.

    If they move left on social issues, I and a great portion of Obama’s other voters would vote Republican. Fiscal, and Military Conservative AND Social liberal IS the winning coalition!!! It got Arnold elected in CA.

    I make $250K+/year. But I can not abide a USA controlled by Religious Fanatics who crush individual rights and much worse are “cheerleaders for Biblical “end of the world” in foreign policy. So I personally pay more taxes to support lazy liberal parasites as a better alternative. GOP get rid of your hard line social conservatives!!!

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  70. Mikey says:

    @John Thacker: Akin is a member of the House Tea Party Caucus, I’m not sure how you get more Tea Party than that. But you are correct that the other Missouri candidates got support from parts of the Tea Party. Also, one Tea Party group called on Akin to drop out after his stupid rape comment.

    Though the GOP had some non Tea Party failures.

    Indeed they did, but even those could be traced back to the negative influence of the Tea Party. Statements like Akin’s and Mourdock’s weren’t seen as guys going “rogue” and speaking out of turn, they were seen as representative of GOP thinking. And no doubt they are, to some extent anyway. So even those candidates who disagreed with Akin and Mourdock got slammed by association.

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  71. Mikey says:

    @michael reynolds: This is exactly what I’ve been saying for a while now. It’s great to see it said by someone of a more liberal bent.

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