Fixing the GOP Redux
Stacy McCain has a tongue-in-cheek rebuttal to my post on the Republican Party’s future in which he notes that Sarah Palin graduated college, some non-Southern states voted for McCain, and than some non-rednecks agree with Palin on some issues.
James doesn’t want the Republican Party identified with redneck opponents of illegal immigration (like that illiterate hillbilly Mark Krikorian) and he doesn’t want the GOP identified with dimwitted foes of abortion (like that inbred peckerwood Pope Benedict XVI). And heaven forbid any Republican should side with a knuckle-dragging homophobe like Antonin “Bubba” Scalia in dissenting against the gay-rights agenda.
There’s a very powerful wing of the Republican party that’s anti-intellectual, anti-science, and anti-education. Highfalutin book learning is a poor excuse for the common sense of Real Americans like Joe the Plumber. Evolution is just a “theory” perpetuated by egghead scientists and should be presented as just one alternative view alongside the idea that God said “poof” and made Adam and, the next day (from one of Adam’s ribs) Eve. Universities are places where librul professors like Ward Churchill seek to undermine the hard work of parents and turn our kids into America hating Commies.
The Deep South plus Texas is the Electoral College base of the GOP now. Yes, we won most of non-coastal states in the West; unfortunately, they have small populations and, thus, numbers of Electors. And we’re losing the intellectual centers even in Red States. Austin, Athens, Research Triangle, etc. are all Democrat these days. (We held Tuscaloosa, however. Roll Tide!) [Correction: Actually, Obama won Tuscaloosa proper overwhelmingly (62 to 38) but lost Tuscaloosa County (44-56).]
The GOP is doing a decidedly hamhanded job of handling illegal immigration, turning a no brainer of an issue — enforcing the damned law — into a cultural war against the 2nd largest and fastest growing demographic in the country. It’s long since cost us California, with which we’d almost instantly be transformed back into a majority party. Reagan, Nixon, even Bush 41 carried California until the anti-immigrant backlash of the late 1980s/early 1990s.
I’m pro life and think Roe a Constitutional abomination. As a matter of law, though, it’s a done deal. The fight, therefore, has to move beyond making it illegal to making other alternatives — including avoiding unwanted pregnancies to begin with — more acceptable. Again, this is a winner of an issue for the GOP but it’s being pursued in the wrong way.
Scalia, ironically, has carved out the proper path for religious conservatives on gay rights, namely, that the judiciary shouldn’t impose its will in preference to society’s judgment on moral issues absent fundamental rights outlined in the Constitution. If society believes that “marriage” is an institution that should be reserved to one man and one woman, then it has a right to withhold its blessing from other unions. Over the medium term, however, I think this is a losing issue in that society is simply not going to see it that way much longer.
More fundamentally, a coalition of Americans who share the most controversial beliefs of Krikorian, the pope, and Scalia is too small to govern. It may be able to win the White House, narrowly, for a while if the stars align properly. But without expanding the tent, it’ll never manage to get beyond the narrow margins of the last eight years.