Is Jon Huntsman the Future of the Republican Party?
The former Utah governor will almost certainly never be the GOP nominee. But someone like him will be soon.
We here at OTB have spilled a lot of pixels already on Jon Huntsman, the major Republican candidate for president least popular among Republicans. But the former Utah governor’s comments to Politico‘s Jonathan Martin (“Trailing in New Hampshire, Jon Huntsman takes the long view”) reveal the real strategy behind the seemingly Quixotic run.
Huntsman already is sounding like someone taking a longer view of his own presidential fortunes and the political party he’s always called home.
In an interview Friday, the Utah governor turned China ambassador said bluntly that the GOP had lost its equilibrium in the Obama era but predicted it would eventually return to its bearings — and vindicate his own brand of pragmatism.
“I believe in the ideas put forward by Theodore White, the cycles of history,” Huntsman told POLITICO. “I believe we are in one such cycle. I think that cycle ultimately takes us to a sane Republican Party based on real ideas.”
Suggesting that the GOP currently is something other than sane isn’t the best way to win the support of Republican voters and may stir speculation that he’s preparing to launch a third-party bid. But Huntsman increasingly appears less focused on the political landscape of 2012 and more fixated on what his party will look like post-Obama — and what role he could have in it, come 2016.
Citing the cyclical theory of American political history — he’s confusing White for historian Arthur Schlesinger — Huntsman said the GOP’s transition away from its current moment of conservative purity may take years. ”[It’s] hard to know, but cycles never come about quickly, there’s an arc to them,” he said when asked when the Republican Party would shift. “But I suspect that what I’m talking about now and what I am putting forward as remedies for the economic deficit and for the trust deficit ultimately will be the core of our Republican Party — a governing majority.”
He adds: “It could be this time it could be two, three, four years from now — it’s hard to know.”
In a Twitter conversation Friday with Matt Duss and Dave Roberts, I observed, “I hold out small hope that Huntsman represents what the GOP could become again. Very small hope.” Apparently, so does Huntsman.
It seems fanciful right now, I know. The Republican Party seems to be dominated by an alliance of religious extremists and warmongers. It’s a longstanding trend but one that captured the leadership of the party only with the 2010 elections.
Ronald Reagan, the great hero of the modern GOP, was perhaps the origin of the problem. He was a master of rhetoric and whipping up the crowds with red meat. While Richard Nixon helped start it, it was Reagan who cemented the coalition between anti-Communists and Southern white evangelicals. The Soviet Union was the Evil Empire; anti-Communist rebels everywhere could count on American support (the Reagan Doctrine); and abortion, school prayer, and Family Values–with the implication that Democrats were baby killers who didn’t love Jesus– were central to political campaigning.
The difference, though, is that Reagan fundamentally understood the difference between campaigning and governing. While he continued Red baiting, he immediately seized the opportunity to work with Mikhail Gorbachev to reduce the threat of thermonuclear war and generally ratchet down tensions between the two superpowers. While he continued flogging Jimmy Carter, Teddy Kennedy, and other Democratic villains in campaign speeches, he did so while working with Tip O’Neil and other Democratic leaders to get as much of his agenda passed as possible–and willingly compromised away the parts that he didn’t have the votes for. And, while abortion remained part of his stump speeches, he understood that the combination of a Supreme Court that held it to be a fundamental Constitutional right and a Democratic House of Representatives meant that it wasn’t worth wasting much political capitol doing anything about it. Ditto, for that matter, school prayer and other hot button social issues of the day.
Over the years, though, the party got captured by the people Reagan’s speeches were aimed at. Long people at the margins of American politics, they took over the grass roots of the Republican Party. Typically, Republicans had turned to candidates who had successful careers in some other business and then entered elective politics running for major offices: Congress, state governorships, or the US Senate. Indeed, one reason Democrats had dominated the House for decades was that they had a much stronger grass roots of candidates who had come up the hard way, through the school boards, county commissions, state legislatures, and so forth. That started to change, especially in the South and rural areas, with evangelicals taking over local school boards and running candidates for those low level offices Republicans had previously eschewed.
Over time, then, the Republican candidate base began to shift from the Chamber of Commerce types who had dominated the elite level of the party for decades to this new crop of ideological true believers. Beginning with the so-called Republican Revolution of 1994, they emerged in force in national politics and became the feeder system for not only the House but also the Senate and governorships. And, eventually, the presidency.
Thus far, they haven’t quite taken over the very top of the party. At the presidential level, they’ve still nominated the likes of Bob Dole, George W. Bush (who seems extreme in hindsight to some, but is considered a RINO by most Tea Party types), and John McCain. Currently, Mitt Romney is the frontrunner for 2012 but it’s not inconceivable that social conservatives could rally against Rick Santorum and put him over the top. At the congressional level, John Boehner and Mitch McConnell are traditional Republicans ideologically–albeit pushed to scorched earth tactics politically by a caucus that they can barely control. But Eric Cantor and Jon Kyl are knocking at the door.
It’s pretty obvious to dispassionate observers that the trend of the last twenty years or so is unsustainable if the GOP is to remain a nationally competitive party. Cultural and demographic changes are such that relying on Southern whites and a social message stuck in 1980 will mean permanently ceding the White House and the Senate to Democrats. While Ron Paul-style isolationism will never appeal to a majority of Americans, neither will perpetual war. While safeguarding our borders and enforcing our laws will remain popular, policies and rhetoric that come across as anti-Hispanic will not. And, as the younger generation supplants the older one at the ballot box, anti-gay, anti-science talk will come across as positively alien.
Now, while I happen to like Huntsman and would prefer him over all the candidates running this year, he’s almost certainly never going to be the Republican nominee. He’d make an excellent prime minister but he doesn’t have the campaign chops to come out on top in our presidential nominating system and wouldn’t even if the Republican nominating electorate were more moderate; he’s just not very charismatic on the stump. (True, that was also true of George H.W. Bush, the last Republican nominee in the Huntsman mold. But he likely wouldn’t have gotten the nod if he hadn’t been Reagan’s obvious successor.)
Whether someone like Huntsman will be the Republican nominee in 2016 depends almost entirely on what happens these next ten months. If Romney wins the nomination and loses to Obama–both of which seem likely right now–then we’ll likely see a swing to the right in 2016, as it would reinforce in the nominating electorate the notion that nominating moderates is a recipe for disaster. If Romney wins the nomination and beats Obama, he will, barring tragedy, be the nominee in 2016 and 2020 will proceed along something like the current path, with no lessons being learned.
The only real way to speed up the learning curve–and it might take two presidential cycles even then–would be if Santorum were to get the nomination and then lose in an Electoral College landslide to Obama despite a down economy. Were that to happen, it would be hard for the base to tell themselves that they got beaten because they didn’t get behind a Real Conservative. But the base itself would have to transform for them to rally around a Huntsman type in 2016. Nominate another Santorum type in 2020 and lose the White House a fourth straight time, though, and reality would have to set in.
Whether Huntsman is in the race or not, 2016 at least could be an interesting year for Republicans if they don’t win this year. There are a host of potential candidates at the Senate and Governor level that, even now, seem head and shoulders above the field they got stuck with this year. Some of them, like Chris Christie, coming from the more pragmatic wing of the Republican Party.
I agree, though, that a Romney loss in 2012 will be viewed by the GOP base as proof of their assertion that “See nominating moderates doesn’t work.” The fact that they will be completely wrong in their evaluation of why they lost — either in 2012 or 2008 — will be beside the point.
the only people who support Huntsman in the Repubican Primary would never vote for him in the general election.
If Huntsman is the future of the Republican Party, then that future will be the last 15 minutes that the Republican Party exist. Huntsman fails to understand that he had to separate himself from the Democrats.
Running as a Democratic-lite candidate with zero appeal to any of the core blocks of the Democratic Party is a formula for being a part that gets less than a third of the general election vote. Ask the Republicans in New England what happens when there is little to distinguish Republicans from Democrats.
In the long run, the cheap labor Republicans like Reagan has determine the course of politics in the U.S.: a single party state where virtually all non-whites vote for the Democrats who promise to tax Republicans (whites) and give the money to the core Democratic groups (blacks, Hispanics, academics, public sector employees).
The idea that Hunstman is running as a Democrat-lite is silly beyond words.
I think it will get worse before it gets better. The true conservative, whatever that means, candidates in this primary are so weak it is unlikely one gets nominated, meaning Romney is probably the winner. It will follow your scenario with a very hard right candidate in 2016.
It will be very difficult for the GOP to work its way back towards a pragmatic kind of conservatism. The right now has its own media, its own schools and its own reality. Look at Perry last night. You do foreign policy for a living. Can you really believe that a candidate suggested we go back into Iraq today? I also think that the GOP has successfully used cultural, wedge issues to win elections (gays, guns, minorities) and it will be very difficult to change to a party that emphasizes economics and real governing without losing those voters.
Don’t overestimate the GOP primary selectorate. It really is a cocooned and stupefied demographic that’s stubborn beyond belief. With the advent of talk radio and the Internet it’s metastasized into something larger in scope than it ever was.
The likes of Huckabee and now Santorum winning Iowa would have been inconceivable as recently as the Dole election cycle. The likes of Sharron Angle, Ken Buck and Christine O’Donnell would have been inconceivable as recently as the dawn of the 2010 election cycle, yet somehow the party wound up saddled with them. The nuts are getting nuttier and more emboldened too.
Like Dole and then McCain before him, however, Romney is benefitting by the tendency of extreme Protestants to be divided and almost instinctively to splinter off into groups. The not-Romney factions appear incapable of settling on one particular candidate. Romney thus is winning by default.
Romney likely will lose to Obama, true, but it won’t be a complete debacle and there is a material possibility that Romney could win in November. Next time around, however, the GOP might not be so lucky.
The irrational right wing is more than capable of nominating horrific presidential candidates in consecutive cycles and not learning any lessons whatsoever. You could see Palin lose in a Goldwater-style blowout in 2016 and then you could see DeMint as the nominee in 2020. So on, so forth. Simultaneously, even when the rational factions prevail in the primary, the irrational factions in large numbers stay home and don’t vote in the general. That phenomenon won’t stop and going forward probably will be exacerbated. Even in a non-incumbent year a Huntsman-style nominee likely would lose the general election by the margin of wingnuts who petulantly refuse to support him.
In the absence of a Romney victory this cycle, and barring a Carter-style fiasco for the Democrats, we could be observing a watershed change in presidential politics: the elimination of the Republican Party’s ability to win a national general election.
Huntsman agrees with the Democrats on taxes, immigration, financial regulation, environmental regulation, health care, and education.
Why would anyone want to support a political party that would become indistinguishable from the Democrats under the leadership of Huntsman.
Go look at his website and see how Huntsman is more interested in appealing to Democrats than Repubicans. Middle class whites, the core of the Republican Party, would be worse off with Hunstman than even with the nuttiest social conservative tea party types.
James — from your lips to God’s ear. There is a reason to be more optimistic about how soon the party returns to sanity. GOP voters are not just disproportionately Southern, they are also disproportionately senior citizens. If you assume a Tea Party-ish Congress and Tea-Party-cowed Romney Presidency, the policy goal would balancing the federal budget without cutting defense or raising taxes. As you know, there is one and only one way to do that, and it would drive those seniors out of the GOP faster than a stink bomb on Bingo night.
Your response shows you know absolutely nothing about what Huntsman advocates. Especially his tax plan, which was endorsed by that Democratic Party rag The Wall Street Journal
In some ways I think you are right, but in others I wonder. There capacity of the base at the moment to convince themselves as to what the definition of the mythical “true conservative” seems incredibly malleable (we see if here in the OTB comments all the time). Of course this gets to the core of the problem, I think, which is that conservatism is poorly defined at the moment. I fear, too, that much of what drives substantial portions of the base are tribal/identity politics rather than rational policy positions (of which there is an example already in this thread).
My perception of the 2008 election was that the religious extremists (often politely called social conservatives) broke McCain, and made him one of them. That ruined his brand and his election at the same time.
McCain had the warmongering down, though.
In general, this is obviously a case of the speaker (Huntsman and/or Joiner) hoping that the party will wise up and get with their minority (within the party) position.
Heh, us ex-Republicans have all been there.
Oh, on “it didn’t happen until 2010,” I think we should also note that the metamorphosis of GWB was from what many hoped wast the Reagan model (more using the religious right than being part of it) to .. well let’s face it, wars that were missions from God.
Huntsman’s plan is for higher taxes now by the elimination of most deductions while promising lower rates in the future. Any plan that is based upon lower rates in the future is a lie. The rates will eventually go back up (See Reagan) while the deductions will slowly be added back in (Also see Reagan)
Huntsman’s tax plan is a total win for the Democrats. More taxes, more spending, more government, smaller private sector.
A real plan for conservative is to immediately raise taxes to cover all government expenses. That would mean a doubling of income taxes. Then let the legislature cut spending while matching tax cuts with spending cuts. That would give virtually everyone an incentive to cut taxes and spending now instead of the future. Government borrowing with future promises is a formula for failure.
You need to be schooled:
When you nimrods on the right avow that any future thing, tax, or spending, or cut, is false because it is in the future you (a) are nuts, and (b) prolong the breakage.
The “nimrods” are those who believe that today’s Congress that do anything that is binding on any future Congress. Making deals with the future is also known as “kicking the can down the road” and has been one of the major causes of government failure.
The only way that conservatives can ever hope to affect the voting behavior of any of the automatic Democratic Party votes is to make those voters feel the pain today. Any thing other than what is happening today is just smoke and mirrors.
There is no growing your way out of debt. There is no increasing immigration to offset entitlement spending.
There is only taxes today and spending today. And the conservatives need to focus on those subjects. That is why all Keynesians are liars.
You are arguing yourself in circles. You can’t commit to a future plan because any current plan can be overthrown?
The answer is committing to a future.
in the absence of a true conservative, yes, that is the future.
we are screwed. Both as a party, and as a country.
But that is manifestly untrue. Coming out of WWII, our debt to GDP ratio was far higher than it is today. We “paid down” that debt over the next decades by simply growing the economy to such an extent that the debt became an ever smaller part of the equation, until it was gone. And that was done with an ever-increasing size of government, and high tax rates that would be inconceivable today.
Perhaps if the nimrods started settling and compromising on ideological values in order to get the more pragmatic and politically-tenable aspects of their preferred policies legislated, they wouldn’t need to submit to the uncertainty of the decisions of future Congresses. That’d be because they’d be in future Congresses, depending on how successful their policies are.
Well, we know in the future Huntsman’s many offspring take over an entire planet:
Excellent analysis, James.
I think there are bigger problems still for the GOP. The GOP exists to pander to social conservatives, making promises that will never be kept. And to turn government into a wholly-owned subsidiary of big business. At that second thing they’ve done very well.
But the seeds of destruction have been sewn in the very successes of the GOP. There is a growing skepticism and even hostility toward big business. The GOP will remain loyal, of course, but big business will find a way to disassociate from the GOP because in the end, association with a socially conservative party is bad business. The GOP alienates the people to whom companies must look for growth.
Do Google or Apple or the start-ups in Silicon Valley wrap their arms around the GOP? Or the Starbucks and Targets of the world? The entertainment industry? Of course not. People like the Koch brothers are the GOP supporters — men of the past, men who make fertilizer. The GOP’s big business alliance smells of mothballs: old men in fading industries.
So the GOP will grovel to big business but big business will increasingly withdraw from the romance.
If the GOP distances itself from the SoCons in order to remain the party of business they’ll be left with no way to win elections.
You can square the circle between SoCons and the Koch brothers. You can’t square the circle between SoCons and Google.
@Tsar Nicholas II:
This seems to me to be a bit of selected history considering that Pat Robertson got the same percentage of votes as Santorum back in 1988.
The U.S. was able to grow their way out of debt because the economy is the rest of the world had been bombed into ruin. The value of factories in the U.S. in 1948 was huge because most of the rest of the world did not have functioning factories or means of production.
The biggest problem that the U.S. had in the 1950’s was confusing world condition and how the affected the economy with the level of the ability of the U.S.
Huntsman is absolutely blind to demographics, is blind to a global economy, and refuses to face reality, If Huntsman is the future of the Republican Party, then the Republican Party will collapse faster than demographics was dong to cause anyway.
However, in today’s modern, global economy along with today’s level of entitlements, the idea of growing an economy out of a massive debt is idiotic, especially as the U.S. become a one-party-state where most people are wedded to a government check.
The pro-Democratic Party business are the business of few emloyees, out-sourcing, global economy. Everyone from the New York Times to the Atlantic has written how the pro-Democratic Party business have zero loyalty to the U.S., to their employees, or to anything other than an elite group of mangement and ownership.
You are right that the future is a one-party-state future but the question is what kind of future will it be. If it is the future of Hollywood, Apple, and Starbucks, it will be a future where one needs a masters degree to work in retail and an Ivy league degree to live above poverty levels.
I would dare to suggest that Romney still being unable to come up with better numbers than 25% suggest that nominating moderates doesn’t work.
Were our founding fathers, moderates? The obvious answer is no, they were radical. They were revolutionaries. King George considered moderates to be his subjects. So, can anyone explain to me the value of being a moderate? I ask, because I seen none.
Why is it that we never hear that the left most moderate its views? It is always the “radical right” that must alter its views. Why is that? Is it because the dominant media is more leftist than they would leave us believe? pick your favorite leftist. Barney Frank. Maxine Waters. Obama. Why is it we never see them being told that they must lean to the center? Here’s a possibility that not many of thought of; it is because there is a serious attempt afoot to relabel the far left as the center.
I voted for my first Democrat in 2004, though I came close to voting for Gore in 2000.
Them people is crazy and thinking they’ll change their stupid, greedy and violent ways is just wishful thinking.
Pull the ripcord before you lose your soul, James.
P.S., as someone who campaigned for Reagan, his campaign was nowhere near as negative as you portray it.
@Eric Florack: If you look at the Democratic Party objectively (yes, I know), you will find that it, as a whole, has moved rightward.
You need look no further than taxes. If Obama, to take that example, was as leftist as you claim, he would never have agreed to allowing the Bush tax rates to be extended.
Indeed, as I have argued on multiple occasions, the fact that we are debating about an upper bracket of less than 40% (and that is the mainstream “liberal” position) makes my point.
Your fantasy of a single party state is nonsense of course. No party is eternal, if the GOP fails then another sort of party will take its place.
As for there being fewer jobs in the future for less-educated folks, yes, I suspect that’s true. And there will be more redistribution. Another reason the GOP’s philosophy will fail.
Incidentally, a quick glance shows that Koch industries employs about 70,000 — less than half the number employed by Starbucks alone.
With the party’s current political trajectory, Strom Thurmond, or perhaps John C. Calhoun is the future of the Republican Party. Or Jefferson Davis.
Koch employs more than Apple computer. A company to look up is Cargill that is employes over 140K employs Cargill is the largest limited partnership in the U.S.
In the future, the Democrats would love for companies like Koch and Cargill to cease to exist and everyone become freelance writers, play producers, or night club promoters. Of course, there will be few left to actually to the work of the country but to Democrats, that is what immigrants are for.
The demographics groups that are the core of the Democratic party are growing. Do you really think that someone like Jon Huntsman can ever appeal to public sector employees, blacks, Hispanics, Jews, academics, or even Asians? What group is going to walk away from the $3.5 trillion controlled by the Democratic Party to join some new party that will be totally non-competitive in most states?.
Who is going to walk away from the total domination of the Democrats in California, New York, Mas, Maryland, Illinois to run for office and lose. The Republican Party today cannot find enough people to run for office and a large number of Democrats live in states and districts with no competitive elections and all automatic Democratic Party wins. Do you really think that a party of upper middle class whites will ever be able to compete against the core groups of the Democratic Party?
Progressives keep making the mistake that social conservatives are the same as blacks. Blacks will vote for the Democrat no matter what and no matter how bad the economic is or how bad the standard of living. Yet, social conservatives will revolt against a Republican Party who pays more attention to what they want. See the Tea party types so see what happens to Republicans who pander more to Hispanics and big government public employees than to conservatives.
Your racism makes you stupid.
People always vie for power. Always. They do it even when death is the likely reward, let alone when the only penalty is an exile to Gucci Gulf.
So your “single party” notion is quite frankly idiotic. Factions always develop. Opposition always forms. Always.
Serious question for you Eric:
Other than Regan, can you identify any other “real conservative” Presidents in the last Century or so? Along those lines, when have there been “real conservative” Congress prior to 1994 (I’m assuming the Contract with American folks counted as real conservatives)?
It seems to me that by your description, the US has been in a death spiral (with a brief Regan blip) since… umm… Hoover?
Granted that he doesn’t appeal to you. But what Romney might have going for him is the idea that he’s managing to win without having to tack to the hard right. That means that in the general he has a better chance of getting the moderate/independent vote than say — a Santorum or Gingrich.
Now that alone doesn’t mean anything by itself if he can’t capture the base. However, given that most of the base seem to think that Obama is the second coming of Lenin/Marx/Hitler/Satan/BinLaden/etc and this election is ‘the most important in human history with the fate of that nation hanging in the balance” his folks are betting that Republicans will fall in line with the candidate.*
Seriously Eric, if Romney was the candidate, are you going to hold your nose and vote for him? Are you willing to risk the “damage” of four more years of Obama?
In that respect, Romney’s entire strategy could be far more dangerous to Obama than anything Gingrich or Santorum would ever offer.
* – Note that the same thing is generally true about Democrats, though traditionally party unity has been a very discussed value amoung Republicans.
Have factions developed in Chicago. Has anyone challenged the power structure in Maryland? How many members of the Congressional Black Caucus face real opponents?
Very few races in the U.S. are competitive since only one party has a chance to win and the incumbents almost always wins the primary.
How many people have been cut off from being in elected office because CBC members like Charlie Rangel have been around for decades?
Actually a fairly convincing argument can be made that the Founding Fathers were moderates. War was a last resort after years of attempted diplomacy failed. They compromised principals in order to reach a consensus.
The French Revolution was far more radical…and much more in line with today’s Republican party….than the American Revolution.
“Are you willing to risk the “damage” of four more years of Obama?”
Uh oh. He’s trotting out the scare quotes. Watch out everybody.
Throw in some patented Obama-esque straw men attacks, and then you might convince me…
Um, yes, there are factions in Chicago. Was that supposed to be a serious question?
You lump African-Americans, Hispanics, Jews, Asians and intellectual academics together as though they were inevitable allies. It’s nonsense. Let’s take Jews. In fact, let’s take Jews in Israel: united? Factionless? What? For that matter, take Jews in New York City. You don’t see a bit of a gap between a Lubavitcher rabbi and say a gay choreographer?
Or let’s look at the overlap between African-Americans and academics. Do they agree on gay rights, for example? How about on the role of religion? How about on the importance of environmental concerns? Anyone looking rationally at the situation could not help but notice that African-Americans are much closer culturally to white social conservatives than they are to, say, your Stormfront parody of Jewish intellectuals.
The unity you see in voting patterns is a consequence of the failure of the GOP to offer an alternative. The GOP can’t offer an alternative because they are still reliant on racist voters like you to win elections. People like you impose an alliance that you now whine is going to destroy you. Here’s a thought: stop being a racist. Pull your head out of your ass, free the GOP to begin dealing rationally with minorities, and guess what? The GOP will attract black votes. And Hispanic votes. And Jewish votes.
You’re whining about the symptoms when you yourself are the disease.
Once again, we see ideology as the great crippler of minds. You’re a potentially intelligent person who has performed an act of intellectual self-mutilation. It’s sad.
I don’t see how you get there from here, James.
Ah @Miscreant, the name changes but the writing/argumentative style remains the same… actually, the quotes are there for two reasons:
(a) if you have been reading OTB for any amount of time, you’d know that Eric likes to comment about how Obama is causing near-irreparable damage to the US on a daily basis. And not just him, but this is what Rush, Beck, Red Stater’s and most of the candidates for the Republican nomination are saying.
(b) by putting quotes around that, I’m signalling that it’s a position I don’t agree with.
So, how about you @Miscreant, will you vote for Romney if he’s the nominee even if he’s a RINO? Or is it better to withhold support and lose the election in order to get a real conservative in 2016?
@Steven L. Taylor:
You forget that liberals, ALL LIBERALS, in their heart want a 0% tax rate, to abolish religion, seize all private property, pound guns into plowshares, abolishing borders, welcome the terrorists even as they kill our people, and turn at least 40% of the US gay.
The only thing stopping these crypto-commies from trying any of that crap is that the majority of the country is conservative (forget that Democrats keep getting elected… we all know those are stolen thanks to people of color stuffing voting boxes, hence the need for voter ID acts and poll taxes) and would revolt if libruls evah told the truth.
In fact, its a testament to the power of movement conservatives — who are always victims of a vast left-wing conspiracy (just ignore the fact that somehow the majority of the country can’t seem to get its act together and beat that conspiracy, but “the media,” ballot stuffing, illegal immigration and sharia law are powerful foes) — that we’ve managed to toe that 40% line for this long.
They may ahve started as such. Reality dictated their course.
A conservative… a radical, perhaps… is a liberal who’s been mugged. Usually, this involves government.
Rather like McCain, eh?
No, I understand the argumentative methods you are employing. (Paint your opponents with a broad brush- they almost “all” believe that Obama is “Hitler”; therefore the substance of their arguments does not need to be addressed.) And for those who are unable to counter arguments with their own facts or reasoning, it’s an ok method, I guess.
As for me in 2012, I’m ready to ditch the whole capitalism thing, honestly. I want full on Euro-style socialism. I hear things are pretty hunky dorey over there right now. 😉
@mattb: Ah yes, how could I forget?
You are continuing to convince me that you really do not know the definitions of these terms.
Not as you’d like them defined, perhaps.
The trouble is, at least for you, the you’re not the final arbiter of their definition.
@Eric Florack: No, but I have several centuries of literature and usage on my side,
You are, of course, welcome to define them as you see fit, It just makes communications rather difficult.
Not only did you dodge all of my other questions, but your entire quip about McCain makes part of my point for me…
Is having Romney as a nominee — the RINO that he is — a reason for you NOT to vote in November? Is teaching the Republican party a lesson, and making it go further rightward, worth four more years of Obama and the “damage” he will do to the country? You’ve pretty much stated that US as we know it is over if Obama wins…
And I’m still waiting for that list of, other than Regan, other true Conservative presidents since Lincoln…
There was another thread on this very topic in these very precincts not so long ago. Seems it’s’ a mystery as to why this might be*. I bet you have your own theories. I ask a small favor: please do not share them.
*it’s not really a mystery, that line was meant as a joke. Get it?
Interesting phrasing and the question. Nice stance.
But, let’s try it from the real world perspective, shall we? Let’s draw some comparisons between JFK and Obama and tell me about how the democrat party has swung right over those years.
let’s look closely at the democrats in Congress over that same period a time. I defy you to demonstrate how they swung to the right.
That response all came down to polling numbers. Obama knew that he was going to lose his hat if he tried anything of this sort. But that such a response from the electorate was required tells me he would have rather raise taxes. If he thought he could have gotten out of it with his backside, he would have. That hardly indicates to me that he swung to the right versus say, JFK.
No, I would not vote for him. I will not.
as I have said elsewhere ;;If this bunch… Romney particularly… is the best we’ve got, perhaps we deserve to go down the destructive road that any one of these individuals would lead us.
Make no mistake, here. I take no great pleasure in saying this. I simply observe that which is.
At the same time, I make no argument that any one of the GOP candidates with a possible exception of Ron Paul wouldn’t be better for the country than is Obama and company. Yet, the differences are marginal ones.
I suggest you all that the GOP candidates currently on the stump offer us is a somewhat slower path down the same road. Why on earth would I sign my assertion over to that by virtue of voting for such nonsense?
Again, I will not.
“… and the “damage” he will do to the country? You’ve pretty much stated that US as we know it is over if Obama wins…
Scare quotes. Again! Woo hoo!
@Miscreant: Jay, it’s so nice to have you back. I hope you remember our bet.
Again, I was speaking about a pretty specific subset of movement conservatives, of which Erik is a self identified member, who constantly discuss Obama with incredible hyperbole (see also Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and the average Red State commentor). These are typically the folks, right now, who constantly call Romney a RINO.*
I don’t think all conservatives think this way. In fact, I continually praise more conservative posters here like Boyd and PD Shaw (among others) for their ability to actually bring a reality based argument. Frankly, I wish we had a lot more representatives of the right like that.
* And I’m happy to admit that during the GWB years there were folks on the left who did the exact same thing. I have little use for their arguments either.
This assertion makes no sense: why worry about the electorate if he is hellbound to destroy the country anyway? How do you even know why he did what he did? Are you a psychic?
I don’t even understand your JFK reference. Apart from the fact that JFK was a president, a Democrat, and signed tax legislation I am unclear on your point. You aren’t making an argument.
What is your definition of left/right here? What is your method of determining which was more left or more right?
I would note, you aren’t making a comparison between Obama and JFK, you are simply mentioning JFK in a sentence.
First, let me say that I give you credit in sticking to your guns re: voting for Romney.
Beyond that, with the JKF/Obama comparison, are you attempting to say that JKF was ideologically closer to Regan than Obama is to JFK?! Sorry, but you need to do a lot to make that argument. And even if you want to argue for JFK as conservative, there’s still the figure of LBJ to deal with (I can’t see how you could possible argue that he was in any way substantively more conservative than Obama).
My point, with asking about Conservative presidents, is that based on your definition of Conservative, as I understand it, I’m not sure that, at least since the Great Depression, there have been any “conservative” presidents other than Regan. You’ve been clear that GWB wasn’t conservative. And I think you’ve said the same thing about GHWB (or, perhaps I’m just basing that on my understanding of your definition of Conservative). There’s no way Nixon was your style of Conservative. And I have a hard time seeing Eisenhower as fitting the bill (way too big government). That leaves… Ford? And I just don’t know enough about his tenure.
“@Miscreant: Jay, it’s so nice to have you back. I hope you remember our bet.”
I hate to break it to you, but unfortunately I am not “Jay”. Nor am I “Sue”, or “Bill”, or “Dave”, or “Mary”, or any other voices in your cranium that may be presently screaming at you.
Godspeed to you, good sir…
@Steven L. Taylor:
But this was the point I was making earlier Steven. @Eric and @Manning always argue that in his heart (or if he was unfettered) Obama is truly radical. It’s just that he always hides it because of the external constraints of a US that is always really conservative.
It’s the classic Right Wing Radio Meme: Obama fools everyone but them. I’d make the point that its essentially a false-consciousness argument of Marxian proportions, but the cognative dissonance of that point might cause certain folks to spontaneously combust.
Sorry for the mistake. You happen to write a lot like someone who once could not get over the idea that Political Scientists didn’t read much Saul Alinsky
Voices in the hear? You have me confused with G.A.
“Voices in the hear?”
I’m sorry, but I don’t speak gibberish. What does that mean?
@Steven L. Taylor:
“You need look no further than taxes. If Obama, to take that example, was as leftist as you claim, he would never have agreed to allowing the Bush tax rates to be extended.”
Why take any overt political risk when you already have numerous tax increases baked in the cake in Obamacare?
And if the argument is that Obama isn’t a “leftist” (as the commenter appeared to be saying) on the basis of one, temporary economic policy, you could equally say that Lenin wasn’t a true Soviet Communist because of his NEP policies. (And no, I’m not saying that Obama is equal to Lenin- just making a point). The totality of somebody’s policies should be considered, not disingenuous, selective arguments.
@Miscreant: As has been pointed out to you, Eric has frequently argued that Obama is not only our most leftist president ever, but that he is on track to destroy America as we know it.
This characterization is at odds with reality, including signing the tax law as I noted. If Obama was as ideological as Eric claims, then he would have vetoed the extension of the Bush tax rates.
The issue is that no mattter how bad a place like Detroit, DC, or Baltimore is, the black residents will always vote for the Democrats. There is not set of issues, promises, or campaign tactics that will ever convince blacks that the Republicans can do any better than the current Democratic Party controlled government.
Conservatives will never be able to appeal to blacks or Hispanics because those two groups are the two most liberal groups in the U.S. and have zero interest in social conservative issues and are loyal to which ever party that promises them the most government goodies. Since the Republicans cannot outpromise the Democratic Party the Democratic party wins.
In addition, being a Democrat has become such a part of black and Hispanic culture, the Republicans could come out for open borders and race-based reparations and still get no more than a small percentage of the black or Hispanic vote.
1) about 27% of the country doesn’t think that people not like them (gays, religious minorities, racial minorities, specifically) deserve nice things, like civil rights.
2) these 27% are almost all Republicans, for obvious reasons
3) Those 27% pay money and acclaim to those who whip them up
As long as those three things are true, what is the pressue on Republican politicians to stop doing what they are doing?
Newt didn’t say what he said about the NAACP and paychecks because it was good for his health. He said it because it get him votes. It get him fame. It’s money in his pocket. As long as this is true, this what Republicans will do. Does anyone really think that Rick Santorum will suffer the loss of a single penny because of what he said about gay parents being worse than imprisoned ones?
How will a Republican loss at the Presidential level change this dynamic? It won’t. This rhetoric works at too many other levels, and will continue to work, until that 27% dies out.. As long as the road to personal enrichment is paved with stoking the hatred of the Republican base, many Republicans will do just that. And given a choice beween voting for somome who affirms their biases, and someone who takes the high road and refuses to, the former will get the Republican base, everytime.
I have never seen such well fed trolls.
Can’t imagine why. That’s a real mystery.* Have you asked your black and Hispanic friends why this might be? Perhaps they could help you solve that one. Good luck!
*not really. Do you get that one?
Indeed, so anyone making the ridiculous claim that the president is a socialist, or even a leftist, should provide evidence to back up such assertions…
Why don’t you simply label blacks and Hispanics as parasites and get it over with…
Look at the percentage of black children who are born to single mothers.
Look at the percentage of black men between 18-30 who have a criminal record.
Look at the percentage of black women who ever get married.
Look at the percentage of blacks who graduate from high school versus whites.
Look at the percentage of black who read for leisure.
The reason blacks have zero interest in social conservative or fiscal conservative issues is that black culture is about as far from those issues.
Do you really think that the culture of single mothers, “hook me up!”, and public brawls will be interested in reducing abortion, improving the academic performance of the local schools, having people get married, having people care for their children.
The religious appeals do not work on blacks since they are “exempt” from the separation of church and state rules that area applied to whites. Look at how black politicians can openly talk about their personal religious faith and no white progressive will say a word.
Look at the percentage of blacks who are on some form of government assistance, have a government job, or receive a goverment benefit. Do you really think that a message of smaller government and more personal responsbility will work with that demographic?
Also, I hear my black co-workers complain about their taxes but they never call for lower taxes. They just want the government to give them more money and tax whites at a higher rate than blacks. (See reparations, 8a, affirmative action, or even that 20% of government employees are black).
But when the GOP nominates a VP with a family like that … it’s OK because they mouth white christian values.
(The reading bit was a real kick 😉
Of course, since Sarah Palin was white, the media felt very comfortable mocking her, insulting her, and being openly against her. Yet, if a black candidate had the same history as Sarah Palin, the media would be very quiet about it.
At least Sarah Palin was a college graduate and married when she had children but since he did not live in NYC and did not graduate from an Ivy League university, the media considered her trash.
AS I have said before and you have confirmed, progressives have zero interest in middle class whites and openly despise them.
The shocker was not Sarah, but that Bristol and Levi would be there on the GOP nomination stage(!!!) somehow transformed to GOP family values. Why? Not because they were married, or had demonstrated morality, but because they said they would, in some future. You sure aren’t cutting the same slack for minorities, are you?
Though yes, Sarah did nail the “reading’ part for you.
BTW, you are making college another big point. How many kids did the Palins get through a 4 year college?
(I don’t normally act to harsh with the Palins. I’m sure they are fine people, and would be happy to camp or fish with them in Alaska. They just weren’t the sort of exemplar that you do want on your party’s stage. They were folks. They were not national leaders.)
BTW_17, on the main topic of this post:
Record-High 40% of Americans Identify as Independents in ’11
It has long been my assertion that people who can’t stomach the platform or linkages in the major parties should just go independent. The OTB policy board disagrees, and defends Republicanism to people (even themselves) who aren’t really Republican anymore.
Just say no.
I am intrigued* by your scientific methodology, but I’m curious* as to why you chose to mention just one of “the two most liberal groups in the U.S.”? Are the groups interchangeable? (And where did you find that “statistic”? Is it from your own academically rigorous, peer reviewed search for “the truth”?) What do your black and Hispanic friends think about your findings?
Um, which party picked up 63 House seats, 6 Senate seats, 6 governorships, and 20 state legislatures in the 2010 election?
@Septimius: 2010 was a bounceback election. A horrible economy, two wars, and animus towards George W. Bush allowed the Democrats to win a whole lot of Congressional seats they had no business winning in 2006 and 2008; an even worse economy and a sense of overreach swung things back in 2010.
Neither the House, Senate races, nor governorships, however, are national races; they’re local contests. And a Massachusetts Republican or an Alabama Democrat often have nothing to do with the party label nationally.
@Tsar Nicholas II:
I would point out this same electorate is going to nominate the moderate Romney this year and nominated the moderate McCain in 2008.
If Romney loses to Obama, it is likley that after moderates losing 80% of the time in the post-Reagan era (4 losses: Bush I in ’92, Dole, McCain, Romney vs one win: Bush in ’88) Republicans will want another conservative like Bush II. Assuming Romney selects a conservative running mate, the “heir apparent” in 2016 will be a conservative and so have the inside track on the nomination.
Should the Democrats win against a conservative in 2016, it will be a truly rare event. More than two adminstrations in the row from the same party are rare, particularly when that party is the Democratic party. It’s only happened four times: 1832, 1940, 1944, and 1948, and two of those can be considered as exceptions since they invoved re-electing an incumbent during a time of crisis.
So if this happens in 2016 it will resound strongly within the Republican party. I expect two things would happen. One is that the religious right will become frustrated with politics and retire from public affairs as they did in the 1930’s, allowing the GOP elites to marginalize the right wingers as they did during the 1940’s. Were this to happen, Republican ranks would likley be replenished by former moderate-Republican-turned-independents and conservative Democrats. Democrats will likely have to become more economically populist and de-emphasize social issues to remain competitive.
@James Joyner: The 2010 election results show that the Republican Party is alive and well. The fact that Republicans performed well at the state and federal level and in all geographic regions is evidence of that.
Since WWII, Republicans have won more presidential elections than Democrats and won a much higher percentage of the popular vote. Democrats have only won a majority of the popular vote 3 times in 68 years while Republicans have won it 7 times. Republicans have won 3 landslide elections (more than 10 percentage points) compared to one for Democrats.
As a Republican, I really appreciate your advice. We Republicans really should nominate moderates like Huntsman. Then, liberals like you would have someone to admire before you go and cast your vote for the Democrat.
@Septimius: “Since WWII” isn’t really relevant. The party has changed radically in recent years. Or, in a handful of cases, not adapted to changing realities.
And I’ve voted Republican every presidential election in which I’ve been eligible, dating back to 1984.
@James Joyner: My apologies. However, your analysis is completely wrong. To suggest that the Republican Party is in danger of not being competitive nationally is absurd. Historically, we’ve done very well in presidential politics (as evidenced by the election results from the last 68 years) and, most recently (2010), the Republican Party had one of the best election cycles in its history. What exactly has changed so radically that the Republicans need to nominate guys like Huntsman?
By the way, I’d be careful mentioning that you didn’t vote for Obama. That seems to be prima facie evidence of racism around here.
But we can’t believe that led _anyone_ to be an independent.
Why, because people statistically “lean” of course, and that negates their response to specific political change.
What an absurd logic.
Perhaps I missed it, but did James make that argument?
There is also a difference between the notion that people change partisan identification as a result of party changes (even if that change is to “independent”) and the question of how to interpret persons who identify as “independent” in polls.
@James Joyner: Doesn’t matter James you’re a rino if you refuse to toe the party line 24/7.
Psst, there’s that little thing called demographics…you can even look it up…
A complete load of horse$hit…no one here has ever even hinted at such a ridiculous charge…
Your need to remember that only whites vote for conservative candidates and the percentage of voters who are whites and employed in the private sector is shrinking.
The idea that the Republican Party can survivie as a Democratic-lite, big spending me-too party is laughable. If politics is about who gets what government benefits, one party is more than enough.
The question for the future is not whether the Republicans will survive because they will not but what is the impact of the U.S. become a one party state. Is Chicago, Mass., Maryland, California, or Detroit the model that the U.S. will follow in the future.
Also, not only is being a Republican a sign of being a racist (even though it is the Deomcrats who are continually found to be violating civil rights, just ask Jennifert Gratz) but not wanting to pay more than 50% is taxes or not wanting your children to be bused into a majority black school is a sign of being a racist., or not supporting open borders and unlimited immigration.
@Tsar Nicholas II: “…we could be observing a watershed change in presidential politics: the elimination of the Republican Party’s ability to win a national general election. ”
This also a reply to James’ post about ‘unsustainable’ trends – the GOP has been doing very well in the face of these trends. Remember, the Money Boyz back the GOP, given a chance. The GOP has the financial elites, the MIC, the MSM and the more extreme religious groups out there.
@superdestroyer: @superdestroyer: “The U.S. was able to grow their way out of debt because the economy is the rest of the world had been bombed into ruin. The value of factories in the U.S. in 1948 was huge because most of the rest of the world did not have functioning factories or means of production. ”
Please note that our trading partners had been bombed into ruin.
@Eric Florack: “Why is it that we never hear that the left most moderate its views? It is always the “radical right” that must alter its views. ”
Have you actually not noticed the situation on the left for the past few decades?
@mattb: “You forget that liberals, ALL LIBERALS, in their heart want a 0% tax rate,…”
That’s a *100%* tax rate!
To the guillotine with the right-deviationalist! 
After islamogayfeminazi re-education camp, of course!
 A non-lethal guillotine, since liberals don’t believe in capital punishment. A Nerf guillotine.
@Eric Florack: “A conservative… a radical, perhaps… is a liberal who’s been mugged. Usually, this involves government. ”
Snort. Please be original.
@Steven L. Taylor: Yes, this is a disturbing breach of academic obedience. Please report to the Liberal Academia Commissar for correction 🙂
Love the image of a nerf guillotine!
We heard it from roughly 1968 to 1992, at which point the Democrats actually did moderate their views and platform. Indeed, Ronald Reagan won on a whole host of issues and his successors seem not to have realized it. That Pinko Commie Socialist Kenyan Barack Obama is proposing raising the top marginal rate to much less than it was after the Reagan-Kemp-Roth tax cuts, for example, is not understood by Republicans.
Honestly, there are far better arguments to make against Paul than claiming he is an isolationist.
The burden of proof has been on the media and anybody who still tries to claim that. Please, provide a coherent argument.
Our aliies and actually every other country in Western Europe had to purchase items from the U.S. in order to rebuild their economy. That makes the value of American factories increase. The problem for the left is that the rest of the world caught up to the U.S. and now there is no going back to the 1950’s.
If Hunstman is the future of the GOP, then I’m leaving the GOP. It’s because of big government, squish, liberals in the GOP (e.g., Boehner, McConnell, Romney, and the rest of the GOP leadership) that I no longer donate to the RNC or RSCC or NRCC. All they are going to do is support Democrat-light candidates that keep the Washington status quo going.
Government is out of control at all levels. It is oppressive. It is corrupt. It is spending too much. And the Republican leadership is part of the problem and not the solution. The GOP will go the way of the Whig party that it replaced. The real question is whether there will be a shooting civil war within the next 10 years in this country. Washington is out of control. Congress has a 95% DISapproval and these jokers think it is business as usual. Tick Tick Tick … only a matter of time until the country crashes off the fiscal cliff and all hell breaks loose. It’s coming unless there is a major reversal of the last 50-80 years of policies ASAP. Tinkering around the edges and reducing the rate of gov’t growth is simply theater for the masses with no substantive effect.
a major reversal of the last 50-80 years of policies ASAP
In the end, it always comes back to undoing the New Deal, doesn’t it.
“Bring back the Gilded Age!” – the rallying cry of today’s “Conservative.”
So in 4 short years the GOP will adopt the views of a guy who dropped out after the second contest and was polling less than 2% nationally???? This thesis lacks any basis in reality to say the least.
Many people, incorrectly, assume that a Huntsman type moderate MUST be the futures of the GOP so the GOP can adjust to the changing demographics of the country.
Here is the problem: There is no evidence that non-whites will vote for any GOP candidate, conservative, moderate or liberal. We have seen this in CA since 1994, the last time a non-movie star GOP candidate won a statewide race. There have been conservatives nominated by the CA state GOP like Tom McClintock, Dan Lungren and Bill Simon. There have been moderates like Tom Campbell, Matt Fong, Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman. There have even been a few liberals like Able Maldonado. ALL HAVE LOST and with the exception of Tom McClintock none have broken the 45% barrier. The problem thus for the CA GOP and soon the national GOP, isnt an ideological problem, that can be fixed with a Huntsman type candidate, it is a demographic problem, namely too few white voters. Non-whites volte along the lines of Identity Politics, no GOP candidate from John Huntsman to Ron Paul to Rick Santorum can overcome that fact.
Are you joking? roflmao. He barely has a hold on his own future, much less the future of the GOP/TP. He has no guts and no supporters in a party that pillories anything to the left of Ann Coulter. And Coulter doesn’t do left.