A Party on the Brink

Are the Republicans the party of Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, and Newt Gingrich? Or a viable contender for the White House?

Andrew Sullivan articulates an argument that has been swirling around the OTB comments section for quite some time:

The Republican Establishment is Rush Limbaugh, Roger Ailes, Karl Rove, and their mainfold products, from Hannity to Levin. They rule on the talk radio airwaves and on the GOP’s own “news” channel, Fox. They have never quite reconciled themselves to Romney since he represents a gray blur in a stark Manichean universe they have created for more than a decade now.

[…]

This is the current GOP. It purges dissidents, it vaunts total loyalty, it polices discourse for any deviation. If you really have a cogent argument, you find yourself fired – like Bruce Bartlett or David Frum – or subject to blacklists, like me and Fox. You can find Steve Schmidt lamenting Gingrich for very good reasons, and then you realize that it was Schmidt – a moderate, sane, level-headed professional – who helped pick Sarah Palin for the vice-presidential nomination. Because he correctly realized that she would actually add base votes and prevent a total Obama tsunami. In the end, he knew what he had to do. In the end, the “establishment” knows the party they have created.

This now is the party of Palin and Gingrich, animated primarily by hatred of elites, angry at the new shape and color of America, befuddled by a suddenly more complicated world, and dedicated primarily to emotion rather than reason. That party is simply not one that can rally behind a Mitt Romney.

As I’ve noted in several recent posts, I fear that Sullivan is correct here. The permanent campaign occasioned by talk radio, 24/7 cable news, blogs, Twitter, and so forth  has ended the concept of a “honeymoon” for new presidents and a period of calm and compromise between election cycles. The red meat that was once used to fire up the base and get them out to vote has become a constant fixture of American political life. The consequence is a polarization of the citizenry and a sense that those in the other party are a genuine threat to the country and a way of life–a set of reinforcing cleavages that the comparative politics literature used to point to as typical in the developing world.

If Newt Gingrich wins the Republican nomination–a notion that seemed absurd to anyone not named Newt Gingrich two weeks ago–the trend will have reached its logical conclusion. And the GOP will be where the Democratic Party was during the period from 1968 to 1988, a niche party out of touch with America and unable to win the presidency in anything but the most exceptional circumstances. Obama-Gingrich would likely be a landslide akin to 1984 and 1988.

On the other hand, the odds are still at  least 50-50 that Romney rallies to win the nomination. While he’s bland, unexciting, too bashful about his wealth, and plagued a history of inconsistent stances of key political issues, he’s not a self-destructive egomaniac with a history of melting when he gets too close to the sun.

What then? Would it prove that the Republican base is something other than the party of Limbaugh and Levin? That it’s actually interested in nominating sane candidates who can govern? Or would it simply be written off as Romney’s good fortune in having particularly weak opponents?

To a large degree, it would depend on what happened in November. If Romney manages to somehow oust Obama, he may have the ability to pull the party back from the brink. Presumably, the Limbaughs and Levins and Hannitys would feel the duty to carry his water, as they did for George W. Bush. If he goes down in defeat–the more likely outcome, in my estimation–then it will be taken as yet further evidence that nominating “moderates” is a recipe for disaster.

If that happens, we’re likely to see  a more radical nominee in 2016. One who will almost certainly lose to the Democratic nominee, whoever that might be, both because of ideology and what will presumably be a much stronger economy. Would three straight losses and twelve years out of power be enough to create a Republican version of the Democratic Leadership Committee and Bill Clinton’s “New Democrats”? Or will it take four straight losses and sixteen years out of power?

At some point, a younger generation of Republicans will take over and abandon a social agenda that’s increasingly out of touch with mainstream America. But it could be a long time in the wilderness before that happens.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. James says:

    The George W. Bush presidency, and the attendant Republican dominance of the federal government during much of it, was a monstrous failure in both policy and political terms. Until party members get that, and make an honest reassessment of how to better govern, I don’t see how things are going to improve for the GOP in national elections.

  2. superdestroyer says:

    The Republican Party is just stuck with the decision of how its own demise will occur.

    The Republicans can try to be the ideological pure party (even though elected Republicans refuse to government or pass laws that are based on conservative principles) and let demographics eliminate them over the next couple of decade. This is the Limbaugh/wing of the party.

    Or the Republicans can try to become the second liberal, big spending, big government, me-too progressive party that would be a version of political suicide. This is the Bruce Bartlett/David Frum version of the political party and is why the conservatives do not like them.

    In the end there is just no place in the U.S. for any form of conservative party (I think that Frum has finally realized this and why people like him have becomes liberals) and the real question is what happens when all of the former Republicans start voting in the Democratic primaries and what happens to general election when there is no competitive elections.

    If one were going to advise a high school senior of what career path to enter, I would say either get yourself admitted to an Ivy league who you have a shot of prospering in the future or get yourself a government job because those will be the only good jobs for the middle class in the future. ,

  3. Grommitt Gunn says:

    I have no idea whether my story is typical or atypical, but I grew up in a New England / Rockefeller Republican household, but I haven’t voted for a Republican since the late 90s. Watching people like Christie Todd Whitman, Chris Shays, and Bill Weld get shown the door, and others like Snowe having to tack far to the right, have pretty much shown me that the party left me.

    Among my close family, there’s a clear generational line: the retirees have gone full Fox, while anyone under 50 is now a Dem or voted with them. Even though the Dems drive me crazy sometimes, if its a choice between a party that attempts to govern versus a party that wants to dismantle government, I have to go with the party that wants to govern.

  4. gVOR08 says:

    If Republicans “abandon a social agenda that’s increasingly out of touch…”, how are they going to get anybody to vote for them?

  5. Brummagem Joe says:

    Of course Sullivan is broadly correct. The GOP has been heading into a canyon for years for two basic reasons. On the one hand political operatives like Rove have seen maximising base turnout as the only viable strategy in a society where demographic and generational shifts have made the increasingly fundamentalist (in the widest sense) agenda of the GOP less attractive. And on the other a group of conservative (maybe) media professionals have turned the political process into a for profit branch of the entertainment industry. The result is the total fiasco that has been the Republican nominating process carnival which is without equal in my memory which goes back to Ike. As of now it’s essentially impossible to predict who will be the winner but if it’s Romney and he loses as he probably will then civil war is a distinct possibility. This election is going to hinge on turnout. If it’s over 125 million Obama will win, if below then his victory is more problematic. If turnout is over 130 million Obama wins and the Dems have a shot at taking the house back.

  6. superdestroyer says:

    No one wants to face the question is how does any conservative party survive in a country that is less than 50% white.

    Reagan said that Hispanics were natural Republicans but just did not know it. In reality, Hispanics are natural Democrats who have zero interest in conservative issues. Even Hispanics in the Republican Party are to the left of everyone else.

    There is just not enough people interested in conservative issues for a conservative party to survive. Even the old Rockefeller Republicans in New England now believe that they are clever enough to get the benefits of massive government spending while sticking someone else with the bill. As long as most people believe that they can more out of the government than they pay in, no conservative party will survive.

  7. Brummagem Joe says:

    Btw Jim, the notion that elected Romney would pull the party back from the brink is laughable.

  8. mattb says:

    But… but… Gallup says that that conservatives represent the largest ideological group in the US at 40%! (http://www.gallup.com/poll/152021/Conservatives-Remain-Largest-Ideological-Group.aspx)

    (Of course that’s also self identified conservative — so it tells us very little about what is meant by “conservative.”)

    Also Gallup has found that the majority of Americans favor legalization of gay marriage (http://www.gallup.com/poll/147662/first-time-majority-americans-favor-legal-gay-marriage.aspx) and that a slight majority of Americans want Obama, rather than the GOP to set the political direction this year (http://www.gallup.com/poll/152027/Slightly-Obama-Set-Course-GOP.aspx).

    I am so confused!

    (great post JJ!)

  9. Brummagem Joe says:

    @superdestroyer:

    CT is a net payer not receiver of federal income. Many of those in CT contributing to this situation are comfortably off Rockefeller Republicans. I should know because I’m one of them. The net recipients of federal largesse are by and large red states.

  10. Brummagem Joe says:

    @mattb:

    All countries are naturally conservative (ie. resistant to change). The Soviet Union was a conservative country.

  11. Rob in CT says:

    Remember, folks: your skin color/ethic background determines your politics. I know that’s true. Look at me, I’m a Repub… oh, wait.

    If you assume Conservatism can never appeal to non-whites, Conservatism will never appeal to non-whites. Simple as that.

    It’s funny… people on both the Left and the Right talk about the possible demise of the GOP. I remember talk of a “permanent Republican majority” about 10 years ago. Remember that?

    The demographic shifts pose a challenge (due in no small part to choices the GOP has made and now must live with or live down), sure. Now, you can either curl up in a whiny ball of spite like superdestroyer, or you can buck the hell up and figure out how to sell Conservatism to non-white Americans. If your ideas are good, this shouldn’t be an insurmountable challenge, even with the unfortunate history you’re up against.

  12. @superdestroyer:

    You know, when you paint the choice as “insanity or big government,” there is a bit of an implication (about the size of government in modern, complex, societies).

  13. Hey Norm says:

    Romney is not completely free of the GOP talk radio virus. The guy lies with incredible ease…and while the other three guys currently riding in the clown car let him get away with it…you can bet Obama is not going to stand on the stage and let Romney claim no private sector jobs were created by the stimulus. Or that he has weakened the Navy. Or appeased whoever he is supposed to have appeased. Maybe Romney doesn’t have the bombast of Limbaugh…but he is toeing the Talk Radio Lines.

  14. @superdestroyer:

    LOL. Shouldn’t you look for “white” politics in the more “pure” northern european countries?

    I think you need to be a certain kind of compassionate socialist, if you really want to be true to your genes.

  15. Rob in CT says:
  16. @mattb:

    But… but… Gallup says that that conservatives represent the largest ideological group in the US at 40%!

    Especially if you use conservative goggles to see the way they “lean!”

    (sorry, jim)

  17. mattb says:

    @john personna:

    LOL. Shouldn’t you look for “white” politics in the more “pure” northern european countries?

    Actually I’ve been wondering it that for a while… Given than Superdestroyer doesn’t seem to have any hope for the future of the republican party, the future of government the future of freedom, the future of American culture, or the future of our demographic mix, what’s left for him here?

    I mean at least Eric and others seem hopeful that once a Real Conservative(TM) stands for election then the conservative revolution will finally come and all us non-Real Conservatives(TM) + the RINO’s will finally have our backs to the wall.

    Perhaps SD is just sticking around for the inevitable race/religious war so he finally gets to live out his fantasy of going postal on brown and yellow folks, academics, hipsters, and, of course, the juh-hews and moose-lems!

  18. mattb says:

    @Brummagem Joe:
    Nuh huh… them soviets were state-fascist-communist-nazi-heathan-progessive-lib-islamo-kenyan-commies!

  19. Jay Dubbs says:

    It strikes me that the GOP time on the wilderness may be longer rather than shorter because the “minor leagues” of state legislatures and the House still are stocked with “true believers.” On a state and local level, the Party of Limbaugh seems to be thriving.

    The moderate GOP is pretty much a thing of the past, outside of a few old holderovers, like the Senators from Maine. Maybe someone like Christie could try to steer the ship away from the shoals, but at this point moderates seem more likely to just abandon ship.

  20. mattb says:

    James wrote:

    If Romney manages to somehow oust Obama, he may have the ability to pull the party back from the brink.

    I suspect, that if Romney wins, it will, at best leave the party suspended on the brink. The party may not go over, but I don’t see it moving to the left for two reasons:

    1. Romney’s VP — Chances are Romney is going to have to choose a more conservative VP in order to appease the sections of the base he cannot win. I suspect that choice will be someone who will be able to stand for election in eight years. This will at least give the illusion that the conservatives/tea party will continue to be pandered listened to. That will only empower them.

    2. Solidifying the base – Romney would need to do this to win. There’s no other way. This election will be very much making sure that Republicans/Conservative/Tea Party “Independents” vote. The only way to do that is to feed a lot of red meat. And that’s going to become increasingly important, especially for the 2014 congressional elections (if Romney wins).

    Romney may not take it over the edge. But any Republican win is going to sustain this movement for a while.

    And chances are the only thing that would stop it would be a devastating defeat of Gingrich. But I’m honestly not sure that would happen. I don’t think Gingrich will win. But I suspect that things are currently so entrenched that it won’t be the route that pundits predict and dems hope for.

  21. Fiona says:

    The truly cynical part of me suspects that the Limbaugh wing of the party is secretly wishing for a second Obama victory. The first one has certainly been profitable for them. How many millions have various wingnut pundits made selling the base on the idea that Obama is some kind of Muslim Marxist usurper who is simultaneously putting America on a path to destruction and is yet an utterly incompetent president and leader. A Newt candidacy would suit them fine as, barring some kind of epic disaster, there’s no way he wins–a bonus for them on two levels. First, they can go on fomenting anger and resentment and raking in the big bucks. Second, as Sullivan also rightly points out, this is a part of the party that has no interest in actual governance, only power. Look how badly things worked out during the Bush administration and yet all of the candidates are still doubling down on the stupid ideas that helped wreck the economy and drive up the deficit in the first place.

    It’s far easier to stir up controversy and anger from the outside than to come up with working solutions to the difficult issues that confront the country. That path would require compromising with Democrats. Heaven forbid.

  22. Tillman says:

    It’s been said before in this very thread already, but “Republican moderates” are now Independents and conservative Democrats. Your party has left you – start using the appropriate label. I mean, why else would “Independents” be the fastest growing political identification in the country? “Republican” is being perceived by popular media outside of Fox as an embarrassing social identity to have, and it’s entirely the fault of these circuses you’ve been calling debates.

  23. ed says:

    @James:

    The George W. Bush presidency, and the attendant Republican dominance of the federal government during much of it, was a monstrous failure in both policy and political terms.

    It certainly was in terms of policy, but not entirely for the political. They got a lot of lifetime political appointees–right wingers devoted to The Cause–embedded. The Bush tax cuts were disastrous policy, but a shrewd political move, as they are now difficult to deal with for the Democrats. And tax cuts for the wealthy would seem to be the number 1 item on their agenda. That Obama has continued many of the awful foreign policies and extended ideas like infinite detainment of U.S. citizens suggests that the Cheney Administration succeed in political terms.

    (To be clear, I think these policies are disastrous and wildly unfortunate, but not entirely so in terms of the previous Administration’s goals.)

  24. There is a pretty good Will Wilkinson piece on Gingrich, South Carolina, and “expressive voting” at the Economist.

    By “pretty good,” I mean “what I’ve been saying,” of course. 😉

  25. Hey Norm says:

    @ Norm 8:46 comment…
    Just to follow up…The Daily Intel notes that Romney said the following last night:

    “…We’re headed to a Greece- type collapse, and [Obama] adds another trillion on top for Obamacare and for his stimulus plan that didn’t create private-sector jobs…”

    That’s 3 bald-faced lies in a single short sentence.
    Allowing Romney’s blandness to obscure his full-on Fox Campaign is a mistake.

  26. @Hey Norm:

    I guess the question will be “how many Americans can read charts?”

    Well, that, or we just accept the “expressive voting” thing.

  27. John D'Geek says:

    Certain bits of history seem to be missing from selective memories. One of GW Bush’s greatest strengths (in the beginning at the very least) was his appeal to Hispanic voters. I remember (with a grin now) the general hysteria among Democratic talking heads at the time. “If the Republicans ‘lock down’ the Hispanic vote like the Democrats have ‘locked down’ the Black vote ….”

    There is no reason that the Republican Party can’t attract Hispanic and Asian voters.

    In my admittedly limited experience, both Hispanics and Asians are very success oriented as a group. Republicans are supposed to be the party of success. If the party platform was “Opportunities for Success — for everyone, regardless of background” we would clean up.

    But we’re not.

    Frankly, I’m not entirely sure what Republicans stand for right now. And that’s the problem.

  28. Hey Norm says:

    @ Fiona…

    “…The truly cynical part of me suspects that the Limbaugh wing of the party is secretly wishing for a second Obama victory. The first one has certainly been profitable for them…”

    No doubt.

  29. WR says:

    @John D’Geek: “Frankly, I’m not entirely sure what Republicans stand for right now. And that’s the problem. ”

    But they state their platform over and over and over again — they stand for tax cuts for rich people. It’s the only thing they’ll fight for, and they’ll fight to the death. And that’s the real problem.

  30. anjin-san says:

    There is no reason that the Republican Party can’t attract Hispanic

    Well, they would have to stop shouting “we hate Hispanics” from the rooftops first…

  31. Rob in CT says:

    @anjin-san:

    Which John said. He’s not the problem here

  32. Groty says:

    This is the most idiotic post masquerading as some kind of deep analysis I’ve read in ages.

    Just turn every point made around. Instead of saying Rush Limbaugh and Roger Aisles are the “Republican establishment” it’s at least as accurate to say George Soros, Keith Ogremann, and Ed Schultz are the “Democratic establishment”. Ogremann and Schultz are constantly shilling for Democrats (or more accurately, demonizing Republicans) while Soros (and other billionaire friends of his like Peter Lewis and Herb and Marion Sandler) fund virtually every far-left kook organization in the country through Soros Open Society Foundation and the gigantic fortunes of that Lewis and the Sandlers accumulated in their lives.

    In Congress, the “progressive caucus” has risen from a grand total of 6 members in 1990 to over 80 today – they have achieved this rapid growth by systematically purging themselves of those pesky Blue Dogs who, you know, were actually interested in sometimes compromising with Republicans. The Democratic Party can’t even sustain Clinton’s Democrat Leadership Council because the rank and file of the party are now so far left they won’t support moderation. The Democratic Party is far more extreme than it’s ever been in recent history – at least since the days it supported segregation and Jim Crow laws.

    This false narrative that the Republican Party is now more far-right than ever is simply wrong. I mostly vote Republican, and my positions have not changed in 30 years: I want more individual responsibility, less government dependency, less government intrusion in the economy, and a reasonably strong defense. Thirty years ago I was called “center-right”. Then they started calling me “far-right”. Now they call me a “far-right wing extremist nut”. But not one position has ever become more extreme. The only thing that’s changed is the vile language used by the left to demonize their political opponents.

  33. James says:

    @Groty:

    I want more individual responsibility, less government dependency, l less government intrusion in the economy, and a reasonably strong defense.

    Basically you want everything you think you’re entitled to, without any concern about how to pay for it. Or how other’s might disagree with you.

    Defiantly spoken like a 3 decade GOP partisan.

  34. Brummagem Joe says:

    @John D’Geek:

    “One of GW Bush’s greatest strengths (in the beginning at the very least) was his appeal to Hispanic voters.”

    This was largely an urban myth. He marginally improved Republicans position but that was a lifetime. His own party rejected his immigration overhaul. Either way this is ancient history. The Republicans have lost the hispanic vote for a generation at least perhaps even longer since they show no sign whatsoever of a shift on pursuing policies with a nativist bent. In fact they are heading further down that road. In this climate the “ethnic” vote is effectively democratic.

  35. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Groty:

    “they have achieved this rapid growth by systematically purging themselves of those pesky Blue Dogs who, you know, were actually interested in sometimes compromising with Republicans”

    Actually they were purged by Republicans…who took their seats!

  36. @Groty:

    And yet now we think of Nixon being far left of you, correct?

  37. Russell says:

    We will always have at least two viable parties in the US. Even if the current republican party completely self immolates rather than simply morphing (switching places with the dems? It has happened before) that would just mean that the dems, lacking a viable enemy to coalesce against, would fracture into a “conservative” democratic party and a “progressive” democratic party. Just look at the rhetoric on the democratic side criticizing Obama for his overly conservative policies

  38. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Russell:

    While I agree that in a first past the post electoral system the inevitable outcome is two parties the notion that there is any hint of a serious schism in the Democratic party is a bit far fetched. The Republican party on the other hand has at least one arguably two (the Paulites) schisms.

  39. mantis says:

    Instead of saying Rush Limbaugh and Roger Aisles are the “Republican establishment” it’s at least as accurate to say George Soros, Keith Ogremann, and Ed Schultz are the “Democratic establishment”.

    Just because the wingnut blogs you read hate those people and prop them up as all-powerful boogeymen, doesn’t actually mean they are influential in any meaningful way. Rush, Palin, Fox, and other Republican media personalities actually set the Republican agenda and control the base. This is nowhere near true with the Democrats and the people you mention.

  40. anjin-san says:

    Which John said.

    Not really.

    The GOP has made anti-hispanic bigotry one of its core messages. Border fences, bodies of beheaded Americans buried in the desert, and so on. They show zero inclination to move away from hysteria to a more moderate message. So there is a pretty compelling reason why they can’t attract Hispanic voters.

    John sounded reasonable in that comment, just as James tends to sound reasonable. On the other hand, they both sound like they have their heads in the sand when it comes to facing the ugly reality of what today’s GOP is really about. I do know what the GOP stands for, that’s why I am a Democrat. It’s not because I think the Democratic Party is just swell.

  41. Russell says:

    @Brummagem Joe: I agree that there does not currently exist as well defined schism in the democratic party, but I expect that one would quickly develop if an external enemy (currently the republican party) ceased to be a viable threat. Factions would then be free to form. Given the rather loose central party control of the democrats this wouldn’t Be hard to extend into a complete party split.

    It’s interesting that the republicans, usually portrayed (with reason) as far more centralized and disciplined are in many ways more fractious, at least currently.

  42. Rob in CT says:

    @Russell:

    I agree with this. If you posit a scenario in which the GOP just face-plants, the Dems would crack up. The “Blue Dog” types would meet up with a bunch of James Joyner/Bruce Bartlett/Andy Sullivan/etc types and form a new Conservative party.

    That’s one possible division. I’m sure others could be possible. But the scenario is far-fetched, because I doubt the GOP will really go the way of the Dodo. That’s pretty rare in US politics (hasn’t happened since the Whigs cracked up).

  43. James Joyner says:

    @Rob in CT: Right. The structural and institutional makeup is such that something called The Republican Party will almost surely survive and, in the medium term at least, become a routinely viable contender for the White House.

    The Democratic Party of 2012 is simply not the party of 1988, much less 1968. Even having lost most of the Southern conservatives that kept it viable in the House, it is at the presidential level a much more centrist party than it once was. That was the product of losing five of six presidential elections.

    The GOP has little short term incentive to change, having won back-to-back presidential elections (* or no) as recently as 2000 and 2004 and having an off-year surge as recently as the most recent election. Eight years of Obama followed by a Democratic hold in 2016, though, and an uprising against the Southern Evangelical wing’s control will take place.

  44. Jib says:

    @Rob in CT: Agree. The winner take all structure of US politics means you always are going to have 2 large coalition parties. Basically this means that once a third party movement starts, it will either take over or be absorbed by one of the existing parties. In the end the parties might be completely different than they are today (look how the south went from solid dem to solid repub) but they will always be named Democratic and Republican.

  45. Septimius says:

    @ James: I love columns like these. Analysis that has absolutely zero basis in fact. What exactly is this social agenda that’s increasingly out of touch with mainstream Americans? I know it may be hard to understand, but just because someone disagrees with you, doesn’t mean that they are out of touch. Abortion? The electorate has been trending pro-life, not pro-choice in recent decades. Currently, Americans are pretty evenly split on the issue. Same-sex marriage? I agree that the electorate is much more supportive of same-sex marriage now than even a few years ago, but certainly not to the extent that opposition is extreme or would render a candidate unelectable. Like abortion, the electorate is about evenly split on same-sex marriage. And, contrary to the media coverage, same-sex marriage is just not very important to most people. In order to become an issue that really effects electoral politics, same-sex marriage would need a lot more widespread support. And, the more support it receives, the less significant it will be as a political issue. These culture war battles (aside from abortion) come and go. Sometimes the conservatives win (equal rights amendment, death penalty) and sometimes the liberals win (school prayer, Terry Schiavo). But, they don’t signal the death knell of the political parties. The parties move on and the issues change and the battles are fought all over again.

  46. tyndon clusters says:

    @Groty, are you on crack? Because this statement of yours, that there is a “false narrative that the Republican Party is now more far-right than ever is simply wrong.”

    Really loon? In 1986, Reagan gave amnesty to 3 million mexicans and raised taxes. Obviously, he was very much in touch with the conservative values you and your cohort espouse, right?

    And somehow I don’t recall in the 50s, 60s and 70s, right wingers debunking Darwin’s theory of evolution as “wrong” or that tariffs and not slavery were the cause of the civil war or that FDR “was responsible” for Japan bombing Pearl Harbor.

    I don’t recall conservatives wanting to get rid of OSHA or the Clean Water Act or wanting to abolish Social Security.

    In short, your warped opinion that nothing has really changed is absurd and is one of the “most idiotic post masquerading as some kind of deep analysis I’ve read in ages.”

    Like I said, you may want to put down the crack pipe the next time you post.

  47. An Interested Party says:

    People like Groty and Septimius can contiune to be delusional if they like, but as long as the GOP offers presidential candidates like Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, the party will never win presidential elections and will be about as relevant in the presidential arena as the Democrats were in the 1980s and as long as leading Republicans have to grovel at the feet of Rush Limbaugh every time they dare to criticize or disagree with him or follow the directives of the Tea Partycrowd, the party will be viewed as beholden to ridiculous fringe types and not be taken very seriously…

  48. superdestroyer says:

    @john personna:

    Northern European countries have multiple relevant politics parties because when there is little diversity, politics is about issues and governance.

    But as the U.S. becomes very diverse politics will be about extracting wealth from the government and policy or issues become irrelevant. See California how hard it is to government is a diverse, one-party-state.

  49. superdestroyer says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    The federal government spends over $12K per person per year and pays about $11K per year per person. http://www.census.gov/prod/2011pubs/cffr-10.pdf

    When the federal government is running a trillion dollar deficit, no one is paying more than they receive. The Rockfeller Republicans cost more per person in federal spending than all of those blue collar whites in Texas.

    Of course, the real question is what is government spending $12K per person on in CT.

    If progressives were really concerned about the differences in what states receive in benefits, those progressives would support a flat tax. However, since progressives support higher taxes on the rich, the CT will have a smaller margin between taxes paid and spending received.

  50. @superdestroyer:

    Northern European countries have multiple relevant politics parties because when there is little diversity, politics is about issues and governance.

    So, are you willing to try?

    This always seem a correlation that is assumed to be causation. That is, those happy northern European countries have high homogeneity, and therefore homogeneity is necessary for happy left leaning governments.

    Who says this? People never willing to try a left leaning government, of course.

  51. (That is a very common argument, but really parse it. “I’d never be willing to try Nordic styled solutions, but we can’t anyway, because we aren’t Nordic, or are are too diverse, or it’s too cold here, or too warm …”)

  52. David M says:

    @superdestroyer:

    See California how hard it is to government is a diverse, one-party-state

    You really believe California’s problems are due to diversity and a lack of elected Republicans? The Democratic majorities in CA are large, but not large enough the GOP can’t obstruct things, so it really isn’t a one party state. There’s also the lingering problems from Prop 13 and the willingness of the voters to pass initiatives requiring spending without raising revenue. All in all, a pretty bad example for you to use.

  53. superdestroyer says:

    @David M:

    The Democrats control every state wide office in California, control both houses of the state, and have dominated the state for a couple of decades. Yet, the one compliant that progressives have in California is that they cannot raise taxes enough even though the state has one of the highest combined tax rates in the U.S.

    As the U.S becomes more like California, politics will be more like California where it is the public sector, the ethnic groups, and the academics all fighting over the spoils of the government while everyone else is trying to avoid paying taxes. The middle class will continue to shrink and the state will depend of the income taxes paid by a small percentage of wealthy who dominate Silicon Valley and Hollywood.

  54. superdestroyer says:

    @john personna:

    You may want to ask Spain, Portugal, Greece, or Italy what happens when you try to Nordic style socialism without the Nordic style culture. You can even look at England to see what happens.

    A low trust society trying to implement social policy that requires a high trust society will result in disaster.

  55. @superdestroyer:

    You may want to ask Spain, Portugal, Greece, or Italy what happens when you try to Nordic style socialism without the Nordic style culture.

    A debt culture is not “Nordic.”

  56. Just to be clear, the Nordic countries score high on “economic freedom,” while being higher tax and higher spending than the US. They do spend more, but they tax to support it.

    They disprove that higher tax leads to ruin. And the explanation “but they’re white” is both insane and insulting.

  57. superdestroyer says:

    @john personna:

    But a culture that demands much from the government but then cheats on their taxes, hides incomes, or scams others is much more likely than the Nordic culture. The scandanavian countries are small with little population growth and little mobility. The largest city in Finald is the capital and the second largest city is a suburb of the capital. In Nordic countries as much as a third of the population lives in a single metropolitan area. It is easier to have their culture in such situations.

    Given that the U.S. is far away from the Nordic countries in virtually every statistic means that what works there will not work elsewhere. It is the same idea that suburbs kids and urban kids have attend schools that are organized the same way, have the same textbooks, and teachers educated at the same schools but the outcomes are very different.

  58. superdestroyer says:

    @john personna: @john personna:

    Louisville Kentucky tried to organized their schools to prevent black culture from dominating http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jefferson_County_Public_Schools_(Kentucky)#Merger_and_desegregation

    If you can truthfully ask the question of why schools are the majority black or Hispanic massively under-perform versus schools that are majority white or Asian even when correctly for parental income and education, then you will begin to face how policy should work in the U.S. That is not to say that blacks should be treated differently but that if you treat blacks and Hispanics the same as whites, the outcomes will be different.

  59. Rob in CT says:

    They’ve never been treated the same as whites. That’s part of the problem.

    And don’t even pretend you don’t want to treat blacks/hispanics differently. It’s an insult to everyone’s intelligence.

    since progressives support higher taxes on the rich, the CT will have a smaller margin between taxes paid and spending received.

    Yes, indeed, and liberals/progressives accept this. The reason it is brought up, however, is to point out to whiny conservatives who don’t want to pay their taxes that, very often, their states are being subsidized.

  60. John D'Geek says:

    @anjin-san:

    Which John said

    .

    Not really.

    No, Anjin-han*, that really was my point.

    G.W. Bush was doing very well with the Hispanic groups. All the Republican Congress had to do is — not screw it up.

    The original premise was that Republican’s can’t attract Hispanic and Asian votes. My response is “Sure we can. GW Bush proved it.” He was leading the way quite nicely before the last Republican congress derailed the train.

    Or to quote Mark Twain: “Suppose I was an idiot, and suppose I were a member of congress — but I repeat myself.”

    * – Kyoto dialect. Couldn’t resist.

  61. Brummagem Joe says:

    @superdestroyer:

    What are you talking about? Some states are net contributors in terms of federal taxes paid out of them and subventions received and others are net recipients. Go google it. A comfortable majority of red states are net recipients as is fairly well known.

  62. superdestroyer says:

    @Rob in CT:

    I would love for anyone to provide the link where I called for the government to treat blacks and Hispanics differently from other citizens. I am usually called a racist when I call for the government to treat everyone the same.

    Maybe that is why progressives have so many problems with policy. If they refuse to face reality, then have can they govern.

  63. superdestroyer says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    The other number to look up is per capita federal spending by state. DC, Vermont, Conn., NY, and Alaska are at the top. Not the red states like Nebraska.