The Problem is Less Romney and More GOP
Don't hate the player, hate the game (more or less, anyway).
Fareed Zakaria hits the nail on the head:
the problem is not Romney but the new Republican Party. Given the direction in which it has moved and the pressures from its most extreme — yet most powerful — elements, any nominee would face the same challenge: Can you be a serious candidate for the general election while not outraging the Republican base?
This is the bottom line. Any serious attempt at the presentation of real set of policy priorities is impossible in the current context of the contemporary Republican Party. Zakaria correctly notes:
It is obvious that, with a deficit at 8 percent of gross domestic product, any solution to our budgetary problems has to involve both spending cuts and tax increases. Ronald Reagan agreed to tax increases when the deficit hit 4 percent of GDP; George H.W. Bush did so when the deficit was 3 percent of GDP. But today’s Republican Party is organized around the proposition that, no matter the circumstances, there must never be a tax increase of any kind. The Simpson-Bowles proposal calls for $1 of tax increases for every $3 of spending cuts. But every Republican presidential candidate — including Romney — pledged during the primaries that he or she would not accept $10 of spending cuts if that meant a dollar of tax increases.
I was thinking about this the other day in comparing the Romney campaign to that of John McCain in 2008. On the one hand, 2008 was a very bad year for Republicans and therefore McCain could have run an excellent campaign and still lost badly. However, instead of being serious his campaign was molded by the state of the GOP. For example, the selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate was the epitome of base-pleasing rather than a serious attempt at making a case for governing. The ridiculous embrace of Joe the Plumber and his tax populism was another such example.
At the end of the day, the situation for GOP candidates given the current state of the party, are as follows:
Romney could present a serious economic plan with numbers that make sense — and then face a revolt within his own party. His solution: to be utterly vague about how he would deal with the deficit. When pressed for details recently, he explained that “the devil’s in the details. The angel is in the vision.” He’s right. Were he to get specific, he would be committing ideological blasphemy. So instead he talks about freedom and capitalism.
Look: I like freedom and capitalism, but slogans aren’t policy and appealing to vague values is not a recipe for governing.
Indeed, all of this gets to my fundamental problem with the Republican Party of late: it is not serous about the real challenges of governing. Governing requires facing stark realities which, in turn, means making difficult choices. Governing also requires negotiation and compromise. Adherence to idealistic/ideological position based in fantasies is not governing. Put another way: things that get the audience at CPAC excited, or that form the basis of a Limbaugh monologue are not the stuff governance. However, it seems that the contemporary GOP has confused rhetoric that partisans like with things serious discussions of governing.
As Zakaria concludes:
The Republican Party has imposed a new kind of political correctness on its leaders. They cannot speak certain words (taxes) or speculate about certain ideas (immigration amnesty) because these are forbidden. Romney has tried to run a campaign while not running afoul of his party’s strictures. As a result, he has twisted himself into a pretzel, speaking vacuously, avoiding specifics and refusing to provide any serious plans for the most important issues of the day. That’s a straitjacket that even Peggy Noonan’s eloquence cannot get him out of.
Indeed it is even worse than that: not only are some policy areas impossible to discuss intelligently (such as taxes and immigration) there is an unreality associated with other policy areas such as defense (e.g., the notion that cuts to the defense budget will make America weak and unsafe is ludicrous).
There was a point in time that I thought, maybe, Romney could take his experience in business, with the Olympics, and as a governor to produce an actual vision for governing that could seriously compete for the presidency. Instead he has been utterly hamstrung by the straight-jacket that all GOP candidates must wear. And yes, he has been his own worse enemy as times, although I think a lot of his errors are rooted in (or, at least, compounded by) the need to feed the base what it wants to feast upon.
Consider the list I just gave above and note the near-absence of discussion of his work with the Olympics and especially of his time as governor. The parts of his resume that most links to the presidency, being a governor, is the part most ignored by the campaign and I think that this is because too much attention to actual governance is a detriment in the contemporary Republican Party.
I am not saying, by the way, that Romney is an excellent candidate (I think, in fact, that he is not), but I also think that the GOP makes a mistake if it diagnoses the problem as solely a Romney problem. The underlying problem at the moment is the party itself and the contortions that its candidates must attempt when they run for office, especially the presidency. Denying reality is not a good long term strategy. And reducing conservatism as a political philosophy to one single note (tax cuts always and forevermore!) is unhelpful (and yes, that is an understatement).
None of this is to say that the Democrats have offered perfect solutions or that there are no conservative ideas worth considering. However, at the moment the problem for the Republicans is twofold: 1) most recent Democratic ideas are either centrist or center-right* (which constricts the philosophical space wherein debate can be held), and 2) the Republican Party limits its candidates to an incredibly limited slice of acceptable ideas.
As such, the problem is less Romney (although he hasn’t helped), but is rather the party itself, and I do not see this changing any time soon.
*I know that many on the right will dispute this assessment, but the fact that they cannot see the truth of the statement underscores the party’s self-made predicament.
Well the problem is actually both…
@anjin-san: Agreed, although I honestly think that the party is the bigger problem. I think that the candidate/campaign is being significantly shaped by the party.
I have said it before, Romney is a bit smarter then his conservative critics. He knows damn well that running on GOP ideals would be a hard sell, tax cuts for the rich and further deregulation when Wall Street isn’t popular would be fatal.
Granted, Mitt hasn’t done himself any favors with his gaffers……but the true problem is the GOP. Poll after poll show they are losing on taxes, medicare, foreign policy etc.
The party needs to wake up, because demographics aren’t on there side and they may just give the next generation away to the Democrats.
Spot on Steven.
Whether they acknowledge it or not, the Republican party has become a coalition party in recent years. And the issue is that many of the key interests of the different ends of the party are in conflict. There doesn’t seem much immediate hope of resolving these conflicts — especially as each constituency will claim that Romney lost because he didn’t advocate for their values.
The situation has been exacerbated by the rise of Conservative media as an industry. As long as a vocal aspect of the party is more values as an audience/revenue stream than a constituency, there are going to be a lot of problems. Conservative Inc cares more about cultivating buyers than party members (and, frankly, business is better for them with a democrat in office).
The real question — assuming a Romney loss – is the direction the party moves. In some ways it seems like they are poised to move more populist conservative (a return of the Tea Party revolution circa 2009/10). That said, as Daniel Larison has pointed out, history tells us that, out of desire to beat the Democrats at all costs, historically the party has moved towards more centrist presidential candidates.
You’ve spoken for millions of lapsed Republicans. Thank you.
I agree with the professor. Its important to realize that:
1. Mitt Romney was the best of the Republican candidates
2. All candidates have flaws.
I think the professor should also take a look at the state of the economy in judging the success of the Republican message. The Republican Congressional and gubernatorial candidates weren’t any better in the terms of policy than Romney is-indeed, they were worse.
However, the economy was bottoming out just at the time of the elections-and people threw out Democrats without regard to what the Republicans said about policy, because they were desperate to accept anyone who promised jobs and a pony if they were elected..
Now that the economy has recovered a bit, people are taking notice of the fact that Republicans policies suck at job creation AND deficit reduction. The problem for the Republicans is that what worked in 2010- “the economy sucks, throw out the Democrats, and then everyone gets a pony”- doesn’t work in 2012. The voters see the economy is recovering, despite Republican obstructionism.
Only in recent years? Hasn’t the party been a coalition for some time–the social conservatives, the fiscal conservatives, and the military conservatives all together but often with contrasting interests? A civil war between these factions has always been a possiblity but the GOP has always seemed to find a way around that fate…perhaps losing a few presidential elections will cause that war to finally happen…
But how can the party with its current make-up do that? Even a centrist candidate has to spout hard right ideas to keep the base relatively quiet…
Ah, but this isn’t a “need” so much as it’s a demand. And hey, I get it….who doesn’t want their demands met?
What the base needs is a political leader with a spine to stand up and refuse to indulge their BS. They do not have that. They will not have that as long as they want “The Biggest Jerk” and prudently offer instead “The Biggest Phony.”
@An Interested Party: I think it’s been a coalition party since the Southern Strategy. What has changed is that the lunatics have taken over the asylum.
It has long been the case that Republican ideas once clearly laid out before the voting public are unpopular. But the GOP and its captive media (Fox, talk radio) have done an excellent job of obfuscating actual issues with buzz words. They’ve managed to make “liberal” a curse, they’re turned self-interested capitalists into “job creators,” they have people who are literally living off my taxes convinced that they are entrepreneurs and I’m a leech. And while people don’t like their actual policies they love that GOP line of bullsh!t.
No one produces a better quality line of bullsh!t than the GOP. Mmmm, baby, there’s nothing they like better than that white victim narrative. It explains away all their failures. Blame blacks, blame the poor, blame the government, blame foreigners, and on and on and on.
Mitt Romney is about 4 points away from winning despite the fact that the Republican party is a bizarre asylum jam-packed with racists, gay-bashers, science-deniers, rapacious bankers, religious nuts, woman-haters, war-mongers, people who’ve been on Social Security for 30 years who think they’ve paid their own way, and the sort of inexplicable creature who despite being a loser just instinctively licks the sole of any gucci loafer he sees.
4 points. Not the 10 or 20 points we’d see if people were actually voting in their own interests, or voting on the actual, real-live issues. That’s the power of GOP bullsh!t.
Does anyone here doubt that if Mitt Romney were suddenly possessed of Bill Clinton’s skills he could close that 4 point gap? If it were Reagan, could he do it? Yeah, he could.
It’s not just the party. If only it were the party. That would mean the American people had pulled their heads out of their collective asses and were paying attention. Yes, of course the party sets the table to some extent. But the depressing reality is that we are talking 4 lousy points, and that 4 lousy points is because Mitt Romney is a dishonest, condescending dick who makes creep the flesh of decent people.
It’s the narratives, it’s the candidates, it’s the emotions. And then, only then, the actual issues.
Well, any large political party is going to be a coalition party, especially in a two-party system such as ours.
I think that the GOP’s problem is that they are not adapting their coalition to changes in the population (and not just demographics, but attitudes and preferences).
While parties can attempt to persuade voters they also have to adapt to the demands of voters. They are, after all, representative entities.
Also: American conservatism has evolved into a simplistic one that seeks, primarily, to preserve existing power structures, rather then being the cautious, skeptical side of classic liberalism. The GOP’s base at the moment is a coalition of hardcore traditionalists (e.g, anti-gay marriage, anti-science) and maintenance of the existing wealth structure (e.g., tax cuts for the upper class).
@michael reynolds: I take the point. However, I would point out a couple of things. One is that people acquire their party ID mostly from their families. They grow up thinking Party A is good and Party B is bad. This is difficult to cut through (and is reinforced by regional and class preferences). Second, people often settle on one issue (abortion being an excellent example) and then build their arguments from there. I know people whose views on abortion or gay marriage are so strong that self-interest argument about taxes simply don’t matter. Third, there is a general misunderstanding about what government is and does and so talk radio narratives about tax cuts and job creators resonate quite a bit. And fourth, to build on that last point the simplistic narratives about people taking responsibility for themselves and people keeping what they earn resonate deeply.
Take all of that and toss into a system with basically a binary choice set, and you get relatively close contests (especially when to a lot of people is as much a sporting contest as it is about governing, if not more so).
@Steven L. Taylor:
Right… and that’s arguably the long term problem with Right Wing Media. Adapting their coalition threatens the very economic underpinning of their enterprise. If anything, their success depends on creating an environment that emphasizes reactionary identity politics (because that’s what their audience wants).
“This is the bottom line. Any serious attempt at the presentation of real set of policy priorities is impossible in the current context of the contemporary Republican Party. Zakaria correctly notes:”
Why are you quoting left wing hack & scam artist Zakaria as an impartial paragon and expert on the Rep party?? You have to be kidding me. While dancing in the end zone claiming this election is over based on rigged polls, I would look into reports of Dem registration and absentee ballott requests being WAY down compared to 2008 as I posted on another thread:
DEMOCRATIC VOTER REGISTRATION IN OH WAY DOWN FROM 2008:
ABSENTEE BALLOTS IN OH BY DEMS WAY DOWN FROM 2008:
If it turns out you guys were sucked in and called the race over based on rigged polls sponsored by Obama loving entities, I will be back after the election to rub your faces in it. If it turns out all your juiced polls were correct, and Obama sweeps every swing state by large margins, I’ll be back the day after the election to get attacked by all the left wing commenters that now call this place home. Then I’ll slink away as you guys push your Liberal agenda.
@Steven L. Taylor:
I think we’d agree that the GOP is going to have to adjust to the fact that their coalition — Money, Bombs and Jesus — is shrinking. People are burned out on wars and we’re in a bit of a down-cycle on religiosity. They’ll need to adapt and it will be a hell of a tough thing to pull off given the utter intransigence of (as you point out) the anti-abortion constituency and the white-identity constituency and others.
But with the level of anxiety in this country where it is a decent GOP candidate could pull this one out. Given that there’s almost certain to be an upturn in the next four years a win for the GOP could be a lifesaver for them. It would refurbish their Money wing’s credentials a bit. It would mean their crazies aging out another four years, if nothing else, and might leave them looking slightly less out-of-touch with the 21st century.
Conversely a win for Democrats followed by an upturn will make 2016 easy for Dems. (Always granting that who the hell knows how things will look after the asteroid strike and the plague of zombies.)
The reason Romney is so helpless now is that no one is listening to him. People do not listen to people they don’t like — and won’t even if Romney found something to say. Bill Clinton’s convention speech was powerful in large part because people like the guy. Had Mitt Romney given that same speech (or its GOP equivalent) it would have had no effect. More than half the people like Clinton, Obama and Mrs. Obama. On the other side, 45% hate them. But not 10% give a damn about poor Mitt. So if Mitt isn’t busy hating on Obama, no one is listening.
But imagine how different this would look if the GOP had a candidate who could stoke Obama-hatred and at the same time build some positive attachment to himself.
There’s a lot to that. I could imagine a Reagan beating a Mondale with this type of economy. Indeed, while we remember 1984 as ” Morning in America” , the unemployment rate in November that year was 7.5 per cent-not that much better than Obama’s 8.1 per cent. Yet Reagan absolutely crushed Mondale. So yes, candidacy and narrative matters.
Another way to look at it is that it is a sign of the quality of the candidates that Obama is even winning, despite the stagnant economy. Indeed, conservatives have been crying that they should be winning by 20, and aren’t because Romney isn’t telling the story right:
Frankly, I think Dr. K overestimates the popularity of the Republican message , but what do I know?
Steven, I find your point about Democratic ideas being centrist compelling, and I think that it is at least partially the result of the current GOP demonstrating a complete lack of interest in governance. It seems like the current Democratic Party (starting with probably the fallout from the Clinton impeachment) has found room for the old Rockefeller Republicans and the social moderate-to-liberal/fiscal conservative types within its ideology by basically leaving behind much of the leftist loopiness that defined the Dems from 68 through Dukakis – or at least downplaying it.
I know I have mentioned it before – and it seems like a lot of commenters here have taken similar journeys – but I grew up in a solid Northern New England GOP family (the kind that helped keep FDR from running the EC table a couple of times and who really liked Ike and Romney’s dad). But among those of us roughly 45 or younger, about 80% of us have made the switch sometime since the early to mid 90s away from the GOP in varying degrees.
It is pretty remarkable just how much the anti-science, anti-gay, anti-women, anti-governance platform has alienated Gen X, Y, and the Millenials throughout the entire Northeast.
Yeah, Krauthammer is nuts. You don’t win Florida or Iowa by attacking Medicare. Mr. Romney is keeping it small because his pollsters know that actual Republican ideas are non-starters. IIRC Krauthammer thought the 47% tape was the start of something good. And it was, but not for Mr. Romney.
I wasn’t quoting him as an expert on the Rep party, I was quoting him because I think he is correct.
If you actually want to have an argument, you need to provide facts and evidence to fit your position. Just calling people names is not, I would note, an argument.
And yes: we have all seen your links about voter registration and absentee ballots.
@Smooth Jazz: And BTW: if you continue to ignore (in two other threads) my points about the NBC/WSJ polling, this will confirm to me that you have no arguments to make.
One of the big political changes since my youth is that working class voters – people who haven’t graduated from college and who earn hourly wages – now tend to vote Republican if they’re white. I don’t understand this, and I’d love to have somebody explain it to me. Is it dislike of Obama’s personality? Or dislike of his race? Or of his party’s message? It’s astonishing to me that the white working class will almost certainly vote for Romney, given his biography and his other negatives. Can somebody explain?
This post and comment thread have hit several nails squarely on the head. But there is one point I feel has not received enough attention. The Republican Party is not so much a coalition as a con game. Conservatism always devolves into preserving and expanding the wealth and power of the currently wealthy and powerful. The Republican Party has come to represent the interests of no one but the .01%, as exemplified by the small number of people making large contributions to Romney. But they have to somehow con 50% + 1 of the electorate into voting for them. Hence the embrace of the South, the fundies, and now the nurturing of the Tea Party (recognizing that unlike Romney’s various 47%s, these groups are largely the same people). A few weeks ago someone in comments said it perfectly, the Republican Party is nothing but millionaires and suckers.
The victims of the con, the TP types, now have enough power to control R primaries, and force the craziness on Romney. But they can’t do it without money from the likes of the Club for Growth (sic) and Norquist and Dick Armey’s bunch. And all in defense of low tax rates for the rich, which do the TP types no good.
You’re all correct that it’s nearly impossible to back out of this now that the con has become a hugely profitable private enterprise. But you would also have to figure out some way for the Republican Party to form enough of a genuine coalition to believe they could replace the votes lost by backing away from the crazies.
I genuinely believe that if we elect Romney and a GOP House, we can kiss off small d democracy in this country. If the plutocrats are able to win this with money and voter suppression, it’ll be very hard to come back. I’d really like to have an opposition party that didn’t terrify me.
So, Dr. Taylor, commenters, what do we do about it.
“@Smooth Jazz: And BTW: if you continue to ignore (in two other threads) my points about the NBC/WSJ polling, this will confirm to me that you have no arguments to make”
I have addressed this in another thread. The News Division of the WSJ is as left wing as the NY Times. The fact they would jointly sponsor a poll with MSNBC/NBC, an entity that is known to doctor tapes to hurt Repubs, is a tip off to me that they cannot be trusted. I think NBC drives that poll and the Liberal news division of WSJ comes along for the ride. Futher Bill McIntruff is well known as the Liberals favorite Rep pollster, and is willing and able to accept $ from the Obama lovers at MSNBC\NBC. As I mnetioned in another thread, as long as he gets invited to the Liberal DC/NY cocktail parties and gets their sponsorship $, he is happy – even if he has to acquience to polls suggesteing Dem voting patterns (10% over Repub) that never existed before in history and above the Dem turnout for the historic 2008 election.
Don’t get touchy – I’m just busting you guys chains. And YES, I know I’ve posted the Dem registration & absentee #s on mulitple threads. There used to be quite a few Rep commenters around here, but since this blog has gone all left all the time, they’ve all moved on. I’ve just stopped in these past few days to rib you guys and get you all riled up, as you celebrate the election being won already. I’m just being the lone wolf in a Liberal love fest, where the echo chamber pushes the same canards. I enjoy throwing some meat out there and have all the Lib cranks attack me like a pack of angry wolves – even bringing up my posts from years ago when the blog was more balanced.
Gallup switches to a Likely Voter screen next week from their current Registered voters screen. That is the poll I will pay attention to the most as I have done it the past. And Rasmussen, since they’ve called the 2004 & 2008 Presidential election right on. All the other polls I’ll just make note of to compare to the end result on 11/7.
@Smooth Jazz: So should we expect to hear your melliflous tunes after Nov 7th?
Again, this must explain why you’re being so pissy considering Rasmussen’s currently giving the electoral and popular vote advantage currently to Obama.
The problem is that you’re just responding with conservative canards (i.e. you cant trust X polling agency or newsroom because of their liberal bias). I was wondering if you could explain why Fox News polling is currently showing Obama ahead? By your twisted logic, they should be biased towards skewing everything to Romney.
There’s a lot of time between now and the election. Lots of things can happen. But so far all your posts have managed to do is fling non sequiter arguments pretty poorly and come up with every excuse to ignore or deny anything that looks bad for the conservative side of the house.
BTW, what are your thoughts on the core of Steven’s argument?
A caveat here, Michael, is that we don’t live in Real America. I live in Alexandria,, Virginia : you live in California. What doesn’t work for you and me seems to work fine for those living where Ozark Billy lives. We’re the folks who would have put Kerry in office and were surprised that he lost. We are not really great at figuring out what message would work for Real America.
Why not just go away now? I mean, (and it’s not my place, obviously, to tell anyone that, but…)
You seem angry, and your comments are often simply invective filled rants rather than rebuttals to the point at hand, supplemented by links that have only a tangental relationship to the post at hand.
Frankly, I don’t want to rub your face in anything, or need to.
I’m operating off the primaries – the desperate search for a “Not Romney,” and polling which shows little enthusiasm for Mr. Romney.
Race is a huge factor. White working class voters in the South favor Romney by something like 40 points, while Obama fares much better in the rest of the country, particularly the Midwest. See http://publicreligion.org/research/2012/09/race-class-culture-survey-2012/
Redistribution of wealth to the poor is well accepted in nations with strong social cohesion. The insidious thing about “welfare is for minorities” is that it doesn’t just appeal to racists, it seeks to create racism.
See also “we are not Denmark.”
Stephen wrote: “The underlying problem at the moment is the party itself and the contortions that its candidates must attempt . . . ”
Unless you have a very broad definition of the term “at the moment,” this statement ignores GOP history over the past 40 years. Today’s GOP is the inescapable outcome of Reagan’s 1980 presidential victory. While it’s true that Reagan raised taxes, changed course in Lebanon and sold weapons to terrorists, he always preached the exact same dogma that today’s GOP preaches. And today’s GOP is the same GOP that punished Bush I for raising taxes in order to lower the deficit.
Secondly, there seems to be this tendency to believe that the moderate Governor of Massachusetts is the real Mitt Romney and that his conservative views of the past 6 years are nothing more than political opportunism. It’s clear that Romney has publicly adopted whatever position he thinks will boost his career, but the only time I’ve ever felt that Romney was saying something he really believed was when I heard his comments on the 47%. Even more than the words, the tone of his voice betrayed a conviction that he’s never revealed on any other topic. He personally is every bit the problem.
“I genuinely believe that if we elect Romney and a GOP House, we can kiss off small d democracy in this country. If the plutocrats are able to win this with money and voter suppression, it’ll be very hard to come back. I’d really like to have an opposition party that didn’t terrify me.
So, Dr. Taylor, commenters, what do we do about it”
So, when you say “commenters” are you looking to only hear from Liberals, who basically are the only commenters here, to have an echo chamber love fest where you all re-affirm each other’s biases. Or are you looking to hear opinions outside that self fulfilling & confirmation echo chamber? No, that’s not a trick question.LOL.
The funny thing is that as the far right have left, I’ve been shown to be more right than those truly left. Well I was conservative on a few spending issues, but that didn’t come through as strongly.
What you are really seeing is the complete absence of rational pro-Romney forces. Pretty amazing, isn’t it?
As many have said, the lunatics have taken over the asylum, and their enablers and care takers have gone silent.
When you have to resort to complaining about liberals being in the room, you already lost.
I took gVOR08 ‘s comment as a request for further discussion. You took it as an opportunity to do more sorting. I know a lot of my fellow liberals wouldn’t mind one bit if the right sorted themselves into irrelevancy (which is what they really seem intent on doing) but I’m not one of them.
I actually think a cogent conservative streak is useful. Emphasis on cogent. I guess that’s why I read OTB. “A liberal….reading a conservative blog? Inconceivable!”
Do try not to leave a slime trail on your way out the door…
No one is getting touchy…actually, we’re laughing at you…
Well, there’s the rub, yes? I thin I read somewhere about a study that showed that most people don’t mind benefits and money going to others as long as those others are just like them…when they have a different skin color, however…
BS. I strongly disagree with Steven Taylor in issues that involves elections and political systems(Ex, Electoral College). I´m more or less of a deficit and a inflation hawk and I´m not a fan of Keynesian Economics(Yes, I think that Paul Krugman became a laughing stock since Obama was elected). I think that deficits should be controlled to something that´s no more than the GDP of Belgium or Turkey. I also think that the FED and Treasury should allow short recessions, that are necessary from time to time. I also agrees with David Stockman and Jim Rogers in several economic issues.
And I´m also strongly opposed to abortion.
The problem is that I think by myself and I can read and even speak in some languages other than my native Portuguese. So, I can´t be classified as a Conservative.
@Steven L. Taylor:
Adapting to the population just means givign the Democrats whatever they want. Immigration amnesty makes the Democratic Party stronger. Raising taxes makes the Democratic Party stronger. Tougher envrionmental regulation with no cost-benefit analysis makes the Democratic Party stronger.
What too many wonks and wannabes faile to realize is that the Republicans are a minority party where every change they could possibly make will make them ever weaker. Of course, having the Bush Clan running the party has not help for the last 20 years.
Yes, yes, and broken government makes the conservatives stronger. We are living that now.
Actually broken government makes Democrats stronger. As the District of Columbia, Detroit, Baltimore clearly demonstrate, bad local government makes the Democratic Party stronger. About the only situaiton that make conservatives stronger is when big government decides to adopt policies that are not good for middle class whites. Think forced busing as one of the few things that made conservative stronger (especially when liberals where such hypocrites about it).
However, as the demographics of the U.S. change and more than 50% of the population are eligible for special government treatment, I cannot think of anything that will help the Republicans. No matter how high taxes go, no matter how big the government gets, no matter how many pages of regulations that people have to comply with, non-whites will remain automatic Democratic Party voters and thus, the U.S. will be a one-party-state (or have undivided government to use the progressive’s term).
The Democrats have only moved to the center because the Republicans exist to act as a counter. The question for the future is what will the Democrats try to get away with if the Republicans are no longer relevant to politics.
Also, is a $4 trillion dollar annual federal budget, 25% of the U.S. households dependent of a government entitlement payment, 40 million plus on food stamps can the Democrats really be thought of as moderates. What part of the dream act is the moderate party? What part of the 10,000s pages of federal regulations are the moderate party. What part of arguing that because people are alive that they particpate in commerce and thus, can be regulated is the moderate part?
The Democrats only look moderate compared to what the Democrats will try to do in the future.
I don’t understand the concern for the “base”. Where is it going to go? The Republican “base” loathes Obama with a passion that is pathological. Maybe Mitt had to tack right to win the nomination (although I wonder about that given the competition), but I’m sure a lean to the center could have been pulled off. After all his being a Mormon has apparently had no negative consequences with the Evangelical crowd. (Just imagine the campaign if the Democrat were the Mormon.)
Mitt’s supposed to be a leader, right?
The right can opt to stay home. The base can revolt and vote third party. Middle class white voters are not the same as black voters. Whites will abandon the Republican Party is given enough reason. If Romney moved to the middle, there would be many pushes to punish the Republicans for “Selling out.”
The Republicans are stuck in a situation where they are a minority party but any move they make to appeal to new groups loses more votes than it gets.
“Do try not to leave a slime trail on your way out the door…”
Rest assured, I don’t plan to hang around. I don’t post on Liberals bogs, and I wouldn’t be a regular on this blog just as I wouldn’t be a regular poster on DailyKOS, TPM, THinkProgress, etc. All you left wing cranks can have this paradise all to yourselves.
I’ll hang around just enough to see if all these stories of Dem enthusiasm & voter registration collapsing pan out vis-a-vis all these Lib media polls that indicate Dem enthusiasm & turnout versus Reps way up. It comes down to actual voters versus pixie dust hived by by entities paid by the NY Times, MSNBC, CNN, CBS, ABC, etc.
If it turned out you lefties were fed a bill of goods and you were gullible lemmings who couldn’t see past the latest Nate Silver bias reassurance and confirmation fairy tail based on bogus poll data, I will be here to rub your faces in it, then quietly slink away. You will not have to push me I assure you. And I will not let the door hit me on the way out.AYUH.
@Smooth Jazz: Nor was it a trick question. Do you have a constructive suggestion?
I have a question, do people who claim this is a liberal blog actually read the posts? If they actually believe James, Doug, or Steven are liberals, I have a bridge I would like to sell them.
@David: James, Doug, and Steven are rational. Well, most of the time. In some circles that equates with liberal.
If you look at their take on the issues, they are to the left of most conservatives in the U.S. Since all three support open borders and unlimited immigration (also known as amnesty, they are liberals). Look at how they support popular election of the president that is meant to make the U.S. a single party state. They are liberals. They are just not as liberal as most of the commenters who are one step away from nationalizing industries, supporting race-based reparations, and a government job for everyone who does not want to work in the private sector.
Unless you hate Muslims and Mexicans, think that the media(Including the non-editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal) is liberal, want eternal war in the Middle East and complain about taxes and government(But not Medicare and Social Security) you are liberal.
By the way, if you have a IQ of three digits you are also considered a liberal.
“If the plutocrats are able to win this with money and voter suppression, it’ll be very hard to come back. I’d really like to have an opposition party that didn’t terrify me. “
Democrats seem to fly under the banner being part of and for the ‘little people.’ But, in reality, they are a sophisticated coalition of academia, journalists, trial lawyers, union bosses, Hollywood elites. Funding is easily raised by a plethora of liberal sources, including union monies, rich social progressive donors in the league of Soros, Wall Street, and various under the radar liberal foundations. This is the reason that, although Obama has groused about Romney’s wealthy business contacts (including targeting them for IRS harassment), exploiting Romney’s time at Bain as being almost a criminal venture, his campaign, party committees and Super PACs have outraised Romney with a figure, at the end of August, being $774 million, as opposed to Romney’s $736 million. Furthermore, Obama was the candidate who touted, early on, that his 2012 campaign was going to raise a billion dollars, putting anyone who challenged him on a fundraising treadmill, just to keep up with his pace of incoming money.
No matter who wins this election, history will have many footnotes (unless it becomes a revisionist type of storytelling) about how blatant the media was in the tank for the democratic candidate. It has become a source of embarrassment for the press how manipulated pieces have been processed through the MSM filter, couching stories that could have negative ramifications for Obama’s reelection aspirations, replacing them with trivial, personal, back-biting ones emphasizing secretly taped awkward moments, or forthright comments from his opponent dealing with the ME violence.
For instance, the current terrible durable goods report is muted, along with other less than optimistic economic data. The Benghazi debacle is also displaced, first by running obsessive stories about Romney, and finally just shoved under the under-reporting carpet of the MSM as the ineptness and sheer outrageous lack of security shown in Libya for it’s officials is slowly becoming apparent.
If Romney does manage to pull out a win it will be despite the divisive, derisive, distracting tack strips placed in front of his messaging, as well as the overwhelming odds of a slick president enabled by a press who idolizes him, and thus fails at it’s job of being an impartial, honest media putting the people’s best interest before their own political prejudices.
As a sidebar…fiscal conservative economist, David Malpass, has said that Obama frequently refers to the recession he inherited. But, the harsher the recession the more robust the recovery, is the usual course of events. The reasoning behind this is that recessions act as cleansing agents, cleaning out the toxic elements from the economy so you can then energize the recovery going forward. It was Obama’s failed stimulus, failed attempts to link up with business, growing the economy and finally enhance job opportunities which is why we are currently experiencing a GDP downgraded from 1.7% to 1.3% by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
1) most recent Democratic ideas are either centrist or center-right*…
*I know that many on the right will dispute this assessment, but the fact that they cannot see the truth of the statement underscores the party’s self-made predicament.
I won’t dispute that assessment at all, because it is totally without any substance to dispute.
A few examples would go a long way towards starting a discussion. Just what “recent Democratic ideas” are you speaking of?
The tone of this article — and, quite frankly, most of the articles on this site — are “we haven’t been given enough reason to not vote for Obama.” The default position is obvious — if the alternative isn’t perfect enough, then Obama should get re-elected.
More evidence of housing recovery
Bureau Of Labor Statistics Revises Job Growth Upward By A Huge 386,000 Jobs
The U.S. economy gets a dash of good news for a change
There were embassy/consulate attacks under Reagan and Bush 43 at the rate of nearly one a year. This stuff happens. But don’t let that fact stop you from trying to make political hay off of the deaths of people who died serving their country.
@superdestroyer: And that comment shows us how far the goalposts have been moved. Right now, they are two stadia away, making the kick difficult at best…
In the real world, did anybody here know that in South Korea, people have voted in 3 representatives from a political party that advocates forming a Stalinist government in order to reunify with NK?
That, boys and girls is where the left is.
Actually, the Democrats are a LARGER party than the GOP. Even we independents have more.
I don’t suppose you are for spending limits? You just don’t like the other guys raising more?
There can never be a bad candidate, only a bad press. Got it.
Economic cherry picking is a fine sport, but (a) chances of US recession are still low, and (b) most risk is actually coming from Europe. This is one of those idiotic GOP memes that we should not re-elect Obama because he hasn’t fixed the Eurozone.
Romney screwed the pooch on Benghazi. The right would be much smarter to forget the word Benghazi entirely, rather than remind us with little snipes about security.
If Romney wins, it will because the nation turned out to have 51% “sin eaters” like you, who can accept frankly anything you hear, and take it as your truth.
Jan, your rants are worthless, because you usually show no support for your claims, and because we know that you lie.
Yes, exactly. And the same geographic pattern is vividly displayed in the 2008 voting. Take a look at the interactive map referenced here and here. It shows “areas of the country where Obama got significantly fewer votes than Kerry.”
There are two different versions of the map. To see the more detailed version, use this link and then click the button “Voting shifts.” Then point to any state to see details, and then click to see even more details, by county. You can discover that McCain won Arkansas by 20 points even though GWB (2004) won it by only 10 points. You can further discover certain counties with a voting shift of 30 points or more. For example, in Poinsett County Kerry won by 7 points, and then McCain won by 27 points. Pretty stunning.
By the way, here are some stats for white population:
US – 78%
Arkansas – 80%
Poinsett County – 91%
Aside from being whiter, Poinsett County is also poorer, older and less educated than the rest of the state.
If you want to understand the role of racism in the GOP, you need to understand places like Poinsett County.
Jan shows us what it’s like to be a minority that thinks itself a majority.
Yes, exactly. And that’s just one of many examples of how her ilk creates an alternate reality for itself. Once one decides that faith trumps science and facts don’t matter, then anything is possible.
No, the polls are not suggesting “above the Dem turnout for the historic 2008 election.” You (and a lot of other people) are making certain incorrect assumptions. If you want to understand how wrong you are, see here, and pay close attention to what Nate Cohn said.
Follow the link to find out why what you posted doesn’t matter.
All the poll arguments reduce to the same thing. The far-right cannot comprehend that they are a minority. So any measurement that shows them to be a minority must be wrong.
Back to “The Problem is Less Romney and More GOP,” if the base and gatekeepers hold on to this idea, that they are a majority that just loses elections through trickery and media, they won’t change and they’ll remain stuck.
I feel like you’re forgetting someone here….
Oh yeah, the Sacramento Bee.
In 2012 complaints like this are becoming increasingly ridiculous. Are you the last person in America who has not found a media outlet that’s willing to tell you exactly what you want to hear?
@Jenos Idanian #13:
Two words: Bush Administration. The whole Iraq War debacle alienated a bunch of people – from inner city liberals to Veterans – and there is also the deficit. For many real fiscal conservatives(Not people that wants tax cuts over tax cuts) Bush not only doubled the debt but allowed Obama to ignore the issue – Liberals can say that Bush did not care about the deficit, so, they don´t have to.
Mitt is not only not perfect – he tries to double down on evertyhing that people hated about Bush. More out of touch, more simplistic solutions, more war.
@Smooth Jazz: Yes, the news division of the Wall Street Journal is left-wing. And Politico is like Pravda. Thanks for the laughs this morning.
Exactly. It also doesn’t help that they have a similar family background (privileged political prince). And it also doesn’t help that Bush was our first MBA president, and Mitt would be our second. And it’s the same school and even the same year.
They are also both tied to New England. GWB was born in CT, and Dad summered in Maine. Mitt lived most of his life in MA and summers in NH.
Aside from Jeb, no other candidate could have done a better job of looking like a clone of GWB.
Can you provide any examples of this, other than Professor Otto Yerass?
David Malpass was chief economist for Bear Stearns for 6 years up to its fire sale to JP Morgan in March 2008. One of the reasons it failed so spectacularly was its investments in subprime mortgages which David Malpass was saying as late as January 2008 would not be a big problem. All investors/economists get things wrong from time to time but you might want to be a wee bit more cautious on someone who has given such spectacularly bad advice.
How you recover depends on what type of recession it was. Financial crisis recession will tend to result in a longer-term recessionary drag than a “normal” business cycle recession, of 100 to 150 bps. Add in a high level of public debt-to-GDP, near to 100%, and growth tends to drop by 400 bps. Ken Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart wrote an excellent book on this called This Time is Different where they looked at eight centuries of data.
@Jenos Idanian #13: If you are truly interested, I would direct you two posts that I wrote last year:
Vote Moderate Republican: Vote Obama
Obama: Moderate 90s Republican?
I would also note that the overall foreign policy of the administration is hardly left-liberl, nor is its position on civil liberties. Likewise, the stated tax goals of the administration are the retention of the Bush cuts with a rise only at the upper bracket, and then to a whopping 39.6% (pure Marxism, right?).
Beyond that: name me the major policy enacted or pursued that is truly left (or even center-left) aside from the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (although I would argue that that is now a mainstream position, and gay marriage is becoming one). But even if you want to put those in the “left” column, please enlighten us as to the real (not imagined) examples of how the Obama administration’s actions or those of the Democratic Party have been center-left or left.
You asked for substance and so here it is. I will intrigued if you can answer back.
Yes, Obama came into office under ideal economic circumstances. GDP wasn’t dropping off a cliff, it was just being spruced up for him.
Because Fox News, talk radio, and right wing blog conglomerates like Pajamas Media must not be part of the media, I guess. Here’s an experiment for you, Jan: hold your breath until Michelle Malkin or Rush Limbaugh says anything positive about Obama.
Well, Jan, your post proves that you know about as much about economics as you do about the military. Why don’t you read Lynda’s post and learn something. Pop guiz: Did it take us more than four years to recover from the Great Depression?
@jan: @john personna:
JP–thank you for the thorough response to Jan’s reply to my comment.
For Jan, I’d like to add a couple of points. First, the Federal Reserve likes to raise interest rates. Without getting into theory and speculation, just look at history. The Fed raises rates. That’s their thing. They raise rates until we have a recession due to high interest. Then they panic and lower rates dramatically, and we recover from the recession fairly quickly. That’s how we had the miracle of Reaganomics. Reagan and Volker persisted with high rates long into the recession, then when they quit, because the Mexican banks were threatening collapse, we recovered. The current situation is a “balance sheet recession”. Individuals and financial institutions ran up massive debt. The banks had massive leverage. The housing bubble burst and everyone was underwater. (Government debt, here and in Europe, had little to do with it.) The Fed can’t lower rates because nobody is borrowing and rates are alread at zero. Historically we recover slowly from balance sheet recessions. We’re actually doing better this time than usual.
Second. I don’t think any of the “liberal’ commenters at OTB are all that in love with the Democratic Party. But we live in the real world and have to pick the lesser of two evils. This cycle that choice is pretty clear. Personally, I’ve said for years that Democrats are a bunch of amateurish liars and thieves. Republicans are professional.
lolz, the worst thing about this campaign is that it is such a target rich environment:
How many times have we heard some nitwit take a similar comment by Obama and make it into “high gas prices are an Obama plot!!”
Well, I guess now we know Romney is in on the conspiracy.
Mitt has taken every possible position on every possible issue. It’s quite an impressive feat, something that could only be done by Quantum Mitt Romney.
How many commenters here have supported single-payer health care (the nationalization of health care. https://www.outsidethebeltway.com/why-nationalized-health-care-is-coming/
How many of supported fiscal stimulus to hire more government employees with no thought how to pay for those emloyees in the long term. https://www.outsidethebeltway.com/how-economic-doldrums-are-impacting-the-election/
How many commenters have supported quotas and affirmative action https://www.outsidethebeltway.com/appeals-court-strikes-down-michigan-law-barring-use-of-race-in-college-admissions/
European style single-payer systems are still better and cheaper. It is not a “ding” that “commenters” do not support worse and more expensive health care.
There are not more government employees, total government sector employment is down.
I don’t know for sure, but I think most people are ready to move to income-only criteria for affirmative action. I believe the President has supported that path.
@superdestroyer: I don’t even know why I bother……
But you provide a link. I click it. And discover it does not support what you say at all.
How many commenters have supported quotas and affirmative action And of the 16 comments to that post, it appears precisely none of them support quotas and affirmative action.
I didn’t bother checking the other two…..
European Style Single Payer is a red herring. There are lots of difference between health care in different European countries.
@anjin-san: Romney has been a poor candidate by flip flopping on issues and his refusal to be pinned down on his positions. However, the GOP has become so far right that their positions don’t appeal to the typical voter. Bad combination all around.
BS. I live in a country that has a version of what could be called single payer health care. Most people that I know also have private insurance. There are private doctors and private hospitals that only accept patients with private health insurance(Or that pay directly to the doctor), some hospitals give private rooms to people that have private insurance. In most hospitals is much easier and faster to get appointments if you pay directly to the doctor or if you have private insurance.
It may sound discriminatory, but on the other hand there is the incentive to keep a private and efficient private health care sector while even the poorest Brazilian has access to a safety net. That´s a much more conservative health care system than the American one, where the government pays for all the medical expenses of elderly people(AKA as people with very high health care costs), most of the time, regardless of costs.
Please. Uber-capitalist Switzerland has what conservatives would call socialized medicine. It does not make them commies, it makes them smart. It makes their citizens healthier and much less likely to suffer financial disasters related to health care costs.
“European” is a shorthand, useful because there are so many better and cheaper systems there.
A “red herring” would be a single system that did not actually achieve better outcomes at lower cost.
For conservatives, of course, “European” is shorthand for “socialist hellhole” , where sheeple live under the boot of overbearing governments, exactly as foretold by the visionary conservative prophet , Freidrich Hayek, in his essential work, “The Road to Serfdom”. European ” socialized medicine” is of course universally far inferior to the American health care system, because our right wing talk show hosts and think tanks say so, etc.
Ah yes, the health care debate, where conservative fantasy about health care got beaten down all over the Internet and reality finally eked out a hard won victory in Congress and the courts. Good times.
@Smooth Jazz: Anyone who provides data you don’t like is a “far left-wing scam artist.”
Are you a toddler? Because that’s what you remind me of. Screaming because the universe doesn’t work the way you want it to.
Yes, but I think that single payer is not an appropriate term. Most European systems have a mixed system, where there are some level of private health care, others do not. And i think that´s impossible that a universal health coverage would kill private health care – that´s a conservative fantasy.
There is a list of countries with universal health care here, with “type” shown. There are quite a few single payer systems, and “two tier” which I’d say are grouped with single payer in US politics.
Funny, for years and years I thought the word was followed by “sports car” most of the time.
In the U.S., such medical arrangements are called boutinque medicine. Many companies have moved into that market into the U.S. already because large hospitals and large providers are constrained by trying to fit their cost structure into current insurance payments.
However, single payer in the U.S. will lead to 100K’s of private health insurance workers being laid off and will lead to lower pay for healthcare workers and providers have to lower their costs.
My problem is that progressives, like most of the commenters here at OTB, write about single-payer as if it is magic where everyone gets what they want and there are no loser. In reality, single payer creates a larger number of losers and progressives just do not care.
You need to read the actual proposals. The class based affirmative action would be in addition to race based affirmative action. That means fewer tickets to the top for the middle class.
I think you are claiming that a transition from our current system to one purely income based would be bad, because it would not be in one leap.
That’s kind of counter-productive on your part.
Ironically enough, even Hayak supported the state being involved in health care insurance!
Switzerland as a country is smaller than the Chicago metropolitian statistical area, has a birthrates that is about 30% lower than the U.S., and where the citizens have about the same life expectancy as white in Minnesota. Give the U.S. the same demographics as Switzerland and the U.S. would be much better off regardless of the healthcare system, the economic system, or the political system.
Well of course you think the U.S. would be better off, but the reason you think that has nothing to do with birthrates or life expectancy or even political ideology, but rather, melanin content…
The United States already has single payer. It´s called Medicare. It´s the most expensive single payer system in the world(Both in per capita and in absolute basis) and it serves only people that are not working(While many people in their most productive age has no health coverage). It´s prone to fraud and waste, since there are no cost controls.
A universal single payer with rigid cost control would be cheaper(Yes, rationing). And the problem is that you don´t give what people want in a health care system. That´s the problem of the American Health Care system. To me, you need to have a public health care system that works as a safety net and a strong private health care.
Single payer produces a large number of loser. Health care workers, medical reserachers, people will long term chronic diseases that the government does not want to fund. Single payer is probably a fairly good system in a small, homogeneous country and where most people in the country live in the same or just a couple of metropolitan areas.
My guess is that as the U.S. moves toward single payer that the Ivy Leagues and the Ivy like will get out of the healthcare education and training business. Healthcare over all will become more like pharmacy that is left to the second tier universities and where there is a hard cap on earnings.
@An Interested Party:
Every progressives favorite candidate, Elizabeth Warren, wrote a book titled the “The Two-Income Trap” where she covered how many people is the U.S. are going broke trying to avoid being around poor people. HOw many people in Switzerland are going broke trying to avoid being around poor people.
How can call people racist but even the African-American President of the U.S. knows to keep his family away from poor people and is willing to pay more than $50K a year in private school tuition to do it. How can the U.S. have a single payer healthcare system or very high taxes to fund a safety nest for the poor when people have to spend so much money avoiding the pathologies of the poor?
Doug: “There was a point in time that I thought, maybe, Romney could take his experience in business, with the Olympics, and as a governor to produce an actual vision for governing that could seriously compete for the presidency. ”
IIRC, his ‘experience with the Olympics’ consisted of getting an extremely large government bailout, far more support than most US Olympics had gotten.
When somebody’s a ‘businessman’ it pays to check out what sort of businessman.
@Barry: My point being that if one is going to run one has to be able to use one’s biography to one’s advantage. There has been previous little of that, save in the vaguest of senses. Mostly he has run as simply a businessman who isn’t Obama.
Maybe because then nobody would be screaming about welfare queens and their cadillac healthcare?
This ties directly back to a point made far upthread: people are more supportive of “welfare” (in its various forms) for people like them. People that look like them, talk like them, etc.
And you’re a perfect illustration.
Yes, this. There should be universal coverage that is basic (dare I call it the “public option” ?) and supplemental coverage available for purchase from private insurers.
Of course it wouldn’t be perfect. Nothing is. But there is very strong evidence available (like, oh, say the experience of every other advanced country on the planet) that it would be an improvement. The other wealthy nations spend ~10-12% of GDP on healthcare. Last I looked we were at 18% and rising. It’s insane.
Some form of universal health insurance program is the conservative option. The radical/libertarian option is to tear it all down (medicare, medicaid, the tax deduction for healthcare bennies… all of it) and start fresh. I have my moments when that actually sounds attractive (usually after a couple of glasses of wine), but there’s no way that happens. You can’t get there from here.
BS. Most single payer systems pays for all kinds of chronic diseases. I know several low income people that have diabetes and live remarkably well. What some single payer systems do not do is to pay for endless treatment where someone is invariably dying. But that´s not conservative, and that´s not what would be done in a really free market system.
I wrote the party back when Romney was in the primaries to say that he did not appeal to enough mainstream voters. The party does not listen to common sense. You can’t take anyone who has an offshore account and convince voters he’s not hiding something. You can’t take a Mormon and convince voters Mormons are the same as any other religion. This is marketing and the GOP cannot market to save it’s life. You cannot take a person YOU want and shove him down the collective throat of the American people. It’s not what YOU want, it’s what will fill that empty chair in Washington. You screwed up last election with McCain and Palin and here it comes again. Our only hope is that enough people vote against Obama to make it happen for our side.
“You can’t take a Mormon and convince voters Mormons are the same as any other religion. This is marketing and the GOP cannot market to save it’s life.”
Good Lord. Not only has this once respectable and mainstream blog been taken over by left wing cranks, but racist cranks to boot! WTF??? Just any any criticism of Obama is labeled as racists by the left wing bloggers and commenters that call this place home, but labels like “Mormon” can be thrown about around here and considered par for the course. No wonder all the right of center folks have left this forum.
Go find another blog to troll if this one bothers you so much.
@Smooth Jazz: Regardless of anything else, I have to ask: how is a comment about religion racist? And since when is “Mormon” a slur?
I can’t decide if you are trying to make a joke or what.
Also, too: get it right. That would be bigotry, not racism, unless you take the position that “Mormon” is a race (which, their history of excluding black people from the clergy notwithstanding, doesn’t make any sense).
The person you’re complaining about said this:
I think you’re confused.