Time For A GOP/Tea Party Divorce? No, Time To Re-Open The ‘Big Tent’

Much like the Tea Party, David Frum wants to make the GOP tent smaller.

Tea Party

David Frum argues in favor of the idea that the Tea Party and the GOP ought to part ways:

Right now, tea party extremism contaminates the whole Republican brand. It’s a very interesting question whether a tea party bolt from the GOP might not just liberate the party to slide back to the political center — and liberate Republicans from identification with the Sarah Palins and the Ted Cruzes who have done so much harm to their hopes over the past three election cycles.

It’s worth repeating over and over again. Add Todd Akin in Missouri and Richard Mourdock in Indiana, Sharron Angle in Nevada and Ken Buck in Colorado, Christine O’Donnell in Delaware and Joe Miller in Alaska — and you have half a dozen Senate races lost to the GOP by extremist nominations.

Maybe the right answer to the threat, “Shut down the government or we quit” is: “So sad you feel that way. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”

Now, it’s worth noting that Frum has never been much of a fan of the Tea Party, or the hard core conservative branch of the Republican Party in general, and that the feeling has been largely mutual on their part.  He’s written many pieces critical of both groups over the years, many of which have been quite honestly spot-on. On the others side, Frum is seen by that branch of conservatism as part of the “Establishment GOP” more interested in currying favor with the media and Democrats than in advancing conservatism. So, it’s not surprising to see Frum write yet another negative column about the Tea Party. What is somewhat surprising, though, is his seeming assertion that the creation of Third Party, meaning an actual split between the Tea Party and the GOP would be a good idea, especially since it seems from his essay that he wants the Tea Party-less GOP to be successful.

As his model of success, Frum points to the splits that occurred within the Democratic Party in the late 1940s, when the party saw itself to split off to the right with the Dixiecrats and to the left with Henry Wallace, who split with the Democrats in 1948 to form something called the “American Labor Party.” Between the two of them, Thurmond and Wallace got nearly 5% of the vote in the 1948 Presidential Election, although only Thurmond managed to win any states, all of them being southern states that would have gone to Truman otherwise. Despite what seemed like it would be a fatal split in his party, Truman managed to beat Thomas Dewey by nearly 5% of the vote and nearly 120 Electoral Votes. After the 1948 election, both the Dixiecrat and “American Labor” movements had largely faded away as political forces and the Democratic coalition that had existed since FDR was elected was a strong as ever.

From this Frum draws the conclusion that, well I’m not honestly clear on what conclusion he draws and what applicability it has to the situation the GOP faces with the Tea Party. For one thing, to the extent there was a “split” between the Democrats in the center and the two extremes that Thurmond and Wallace represented, it was largely healed after the `48 election and strengthened in the years to come with victories by Kennedy and Johnson, not to mention Democratic dominance of Congress beginning in the late 1950s that more or less lasted until the Republicans were swept into power by the 1994 elections. Yes, it’s true that eventually the Democrats lost much of the Southern voting cohort, and Thurmond himself, to the Republican Party, but that loss was more than made up for by the increased political participation of African-Americans made possible by the Civil Rights Movement and the Voting Rights Act. On the left, the labor movement has only occasionally strayed from the Democratic fold since Wallace’s campaign, most notably in 1980 and 1984 when several prominent unions endorsed Ronald Reagan. So, to the extent there was a “split” in the Democratic Party in 1948, it was a very short lived one that didn’t really harm (or help) the long term interests of the party.

What exactly this tells us about the Tea Party and the GOP I really can’t say, nor can I understand how it supports the idea that Republicans should look forward to a day when that part of their coalition that identifies with that movement left the party in significant numbers. Indeed, as Nate Cohn notes at The New Republic, it’s rather obvious that neither the GOP nor the Tea Party would last very long without each other:

If Republicans think they have a pathway to victory without the tea party, they’re sorely mistaken. The tea party is not some small, fringe element of the Republican coalition. It’s not the Buchanan 2000 vote, or something. The tea party is the Republican Party, at least as much as any single constituency can claim, with the possible and overlapping exception of Evangelicals.

According to a July Pew Research survey,Tea Party Republicans make up nearly half (49 percent) of the Republican primary electorate and fully 37 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaners.  So long as Democrats remain modestly unified, it is not conceivable that Republicans could compensate for the loss of anything near 37 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaners with gains among moderates and independents. Once a Republican realized there aren’t enough opportunities to win without the tea party, the centrist fantasy would come to an end. Republicans would immediately tack back to their right, in an effort to consolidate the Republican coalition.

Mass defection of “Tea Party” supporters to some hypothetical third party would accomplish nothing other than to make many currently sold red states much more competitive for Democrats. On a national level, as Daniel Larison notes, Republicans already have enough trouble winning elections, stripping away such a large part of their coalition would simply guarantee that they’d continue losing on the national level, and that Tea Party supporters would find themselves putting up candidates that would likely do little more than play the role of spoiler in states that Republican Presidential candidates should be winning easily. As much as that would hurt the GOP, it would also hurt the Tea Party movement since it’s hard to see how they could possibly achieve their political goals as little more than a rump political party. Just ask the people in the Libertarian Party about that.

What’s odd about Frum’s argument is that it seems to go against positions he’s taken in the past, specifically the idea that the key to Republican success is to expand its appeal, not to contract its coalition. Indeed, in some sense, Frum sounds in his piece not unlike the Tea Party does. One of the problems that the Tea Party has created for Republicans is that it has generally fought against the idea that the GOP needs to appeal to the broadest possible audience if its going to win elections, and that it makes no sense to criticize, say, a Northeastern Republicans like Scott Brown or Chris Christie because they aren’t as conservative as the Ted Cruz’s of the world. In a country as large as the United States, and accepting as a given for the moment the type of political and electoral system we have today, a political party can only succeed if it appeals to broad coalitions rather than narrow ideological niches. That is one of the fundamental mistakes the Tea Party makes, and the reason why the GOP would be doomed to minority status if it follow their prescription for the future. Someone like Frum, though, ought to recognize the need for broad coalitions, and yet his solution to the GOP’s problems is to restrict the GOP’s appeal, even to cut off a figurative limb, not to expand its appeal. In other words, Frum seems to have lost sight of Lee Atwater’s “big tent” approach.

I agree with Frum that the GOP faces a bleak future if it keeps tying itself so closely and slavishly to the Tea Party, but the answer to that isn’t to narrow the coalition, but to expand it. For this to succeed, though, Republicans who aren’t part of the Tea Party, and conservatives who recognize the difference between political success and ideological purity, are going to have to take their party back. It can’t be the home of people like Ted Cruz and Tim Heulskamp who characterize anyone who disagrees with them, whether it be on strategy or policy, as being members of a “surrender caucus,” but it also shouldn’t be a party that rejects their supporters out of hand. There should be room for people who are pro-life and people who are pro-choice, for supporters of “traditional marriage” and supporters of marriage equality. And, it should be more open to people who doubt the advisability of what has become, in the wake of the Bush Administration, the standard GOP line on issues like preemptive war and national defense. It should be more open to immigration reform, including the recognition of the fact that the millions of people here without proper documentation are not going to be going home and that increased legal immigration is in the long term national interests of the United States. It should, in other words, become more libertarian, but not in the manner that the Tea Party has turned libertarian ideas into a purity test used to exclude people rather than welcome them into the kind of coalition that could actually win elections.

Many people, myself included, no longer wish to be associated with the Republican Party, both because of the excesses of the Bush Administration and the dogmatic, no compromises extremism of the Tea Party. At the same time, we’re not Democrats because, well, we disagree fundamentally with many aspects of that party’s positions on domestic and fiscal policies. If the GOP were to being to actually change in the manner outlined above, then those people might start coming back. If, instead, the GOP starts closing itself off in the ways that either Frum or the Tea Party crowd want, then it will continue to become more and more irrelevant.

FILED UNDER: Tea Party, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Rob in CT says:

    Frum’s idea would result in, at a minimum, crushing short-term losses. Whether those would be recouped via splitting the Democratic party is unknowable. It’s possible, but I wouldn’t confidently predict it.

  2. Mikey says:

    The problem with this, Doug, is that the Tea Party types will never allow the GOP to become a party that welcomes the pro-choice or supporters of gay marriage. Never. Ditto with immigration reform and non-interventionism.

    The only way the GOP becomes what you suggest is by getting rid of the Tea Party. Period.

  3. john personna says:

    I suppose we should let people who self-identify as Republican answer this one …

    but as a lapsed Republican and independent, I think the key imbalance is that a fringe are driving the bus. As we’ve said, it is a possibly-unexpected consequence of redistricting.

    If the districts can’t be changed, all we can hope is that the crazy people take a moment, and then sit down and shut up.

  4. Mikey says:

    @Rob in CT:

    Frum’s idea would result in, at a minimum, crushing short-term losses.

    I submit that those are coming anyway, and if they’re coming, the GOP might as well gain some long-term viability from them. Whether there are any long-term thinkers left in the party seems an open question at this point. Tea Party types think they are, but they’re pretty clearly not, as the last couple years have quite amply shown.

  5. Lounsbury says:

    One would suspect his analysis is that the Tea Party is synonymous with the very spirit and approach that you say makes you unable to ID as Republican, the Cruz types. I suppose that the scenario is that like the other examples, the splinter party, the Tea Party would find itself crushed electorally and the Republicans become the home of chastened refugees.

  6. Scott says:

    As a former Republican, it is not so much as my views have changes to the left but rather the definitions have shifted. There is very little in the current Republican platforms that I can agree with. In fact, the Democratic Party, I submit, has expanded to the right and basically absorbed people like me. They have become the Big Tent. There is no room for two Big Tents. Republicanism has become basically right wing radicalism. They are the true RINOs.

  7. Todd says:

    The obvious solution, for the good of the country, as well as the Republican party would something like this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nonpartisan_blanket_primary

    … the problem is, how to get something like that implemented consistently on a national level?

  8. C. Clavin says:

    I never got past the mention of Conservatism.
    There is nothing about today’s GOP or the Tea Party that is the least bit Conservative.
    To believe otherwise is to revel in delusion.

    Conservatism has much to offer the Republic.
    The GOP…and the silly people with Tea Bags dangling from their hats…not so much.
    Step back and look for a minute at what they are willing to risk…and for what? Myths and lies?Intentionally sabotaging the Country for ideological purposes. That’s not a Conservative position. It’s pathological.

    Better the Tea Party, and the craven GOP’ers that sold out their principles for votes, spend some time in political Siberia.
    Let real Conservatism regain it’s standing in our political system.
    The Republic will be better for it.

  9. grumpy realist says:

    There is another possibility: Republican Party kicks out the Tea Party, suffers one or two bad election rounds where the Democratic Party gobbles up stuff–but then I could see the Democratic Party splitting between its central wing and its left wing over time.

    Much to my amazement, I’d probably find myself as a Rockefeller Republican (but being pro-choice as well.)

    Have to admit I’m getting sick enough of the Tea Party that I wish the country would split and let them have their own chunk to run the way they want. After a quick slithering down to an economy based on subsistence farming, dirt roads, and praying, they might understand why first-world economies need relatively large governments.

    Oh, and by the way, Tea Partiers–all your sturm and drang about cutting back all “unnecessary expenses” and clobbering basic research funds? I’m sure the Chinese are very grateful. Who needs to send saboteurs to do the job of destroying our science and technology base when we’re doing such a great job of doing it ourselves?

  10. Ron Beasley says:

    We have the Tea Party crazies because it is primarily the crazies that vote in primaries so it is a voter participation problem. This situation has improved in my state of Oregon where we have 100% vote by mail.
    The problem in the House remains the Hastert rule which enables the 40 or 50 crazies to hold the Republicans, the House and the country hostage. If Boehner had a pair he would simply say this isn’t working anymore.

  11. Rob in CT says:

    Last data I saw (sorry, forgot where!) was that of all Republicans and Republican leaners (folks who ID as indy, at least for now, but lean Right and likely vote R), Tea Party types were about 1/3. You cannot jettison 1/3 of your voters without taking a massive, massive hit.

    Granted, if they did jettison the 1/3, they would be able to get some folks back. The questions are how many John Personas and Scotts are there and how many would switch back to R if the Tea Party was firmly shown the door? What’s the offset?

    There was a time when the GOP could’ve had me (I was an indy who was totally a both sides do it I love 3rd parties type). Not anymore, unless changes that are, to me, almost unfathomable take place. Which is to say that not only did the GOP “leave me” but I also shifted Left, for real. How many folks like me would therefore stick with the Dems or at least remain strong Dem leaners if the GOP split like this?

    I’d love to see the GOP moderate, but I don’t see how they can. Maybe if they take an absolutely horrific pounding in some elections it would sink in that they simply must. But they’re not there yet. We can point to 2008 and 2012. They can point to 2010 (not just the House, but also all the state-level offices they captured, which they then have been able to use to protect their gains). They still wield tremendous political power. It’s therefore hard to convince them to take what amounts to a leap of faith.

    My $.02.

  12. michael reynolds says:

    Rational people have a very hard time coming to grips with irrational people. It’s a natural human tendency to return to the familiar — in this case the familiarity of ends and means and rational ways of reaching those goals. Perfectly natural.

    But honest to God how slow are you, Doug? This is not about anything rational. It’s not about policy. It’s not about disagreements over budgets. This is entirely non-rational. You’re debating with schizophrenics.

    Listen, when you have a tumor you cut it out. It makes you weak for a while. But it keeps you alive. Your advice for dealing with the tumor is to have a bigger body. Gain lots of weight and the tumor will be smaller relative to total mass.

    Frum is right and you’re not getting what’s happening here. This entire thing has NOTHING to do with policy or with politics. NOTHING.

  13. wr says:

    The trouble is that the Tea Party was created by a group of billionaires who were looking for cover for their plan to transfer the nation’s wealth into their own pockets by slashing taxes on the rich, eliminating employment regulations, wiping out inspection agencies and essentially allowing them — that is, “business” — to do whatever it wanted and let everyone else suffer the consequences for which they’d no longer be responsible.

    They did this by hiding their agenda under a mantle of “freedom” and then peddling it to the truly stupid, the scared, the aged and the haters. They had their radio shills “explaining” how things like having the government ensure that water is clean and food is safe is actually socialism, and that freedom demands everyone be completely self-reliant. And because there was a liberal amount of flattery for the idiots in their audience — “you are the only real Americans” — they bought it hook, line and sinker.

    So what happens if the Republicans and the TeaTards split? What’s the billionaires’ sales pitch now that the only ones stupid enough to fall for it — Hi, Jenos! Nice to know you, JKB! — have marginalized themselves into a third party?

  14. In the roughly 20 years I’ve been voting, I’ve gone from a straight Republican Party ticket voter to someone who didn’t vote for a single Republican in 2012. The problem is I’m not sure even jettisoning the Tea Party would get me back now. I’ve become so politically alienated that I’m not sure I will ever be really emotionally invested in a political party again for the rest of my life.

  15. anjin-san says:

    If the GOP were to being to actually change in the manner outlined above, then those people might start coming back.

    If I were somehow able to travel back in time, then I might be the star of the homecoming game, and take both of the Arnold sisters to the dance that night…

  16. al-Ameda says:

    I’m not sure that the Tea Party doesn’t have a lot more sympathetic support from rank and file Republican voters than polls and punditry suggests. I also don’t know how much of the Republican Party is Tea Party, however it is a tough impermeable core to be sure.

    I actually hope that they will part ways, and the Tea Party goes forth to get what Ross Perot did back in 1992, peel off 15% to 20% of the vote.

    By the way, that’s a really diverse crowd in that picture – young, middle-aged, and old white men and women.

  17. Rob in CT says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    See, this is what I’m talking about.

  18. PJ says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    There should be room for people who are pro-life and people who are pro-choice, for supporters of “traditional marriage” and supporters of marriage equality. And, it should be more open to people who doubt the advisability of what has become, in the wake of the Bush Administration, the standard GOP line on issues like preemptive war and national defense. It should be more open to immigration reform, including the recognition of the fact that the millions of people here without proper documentation are not going to be going home and that increased legal immigration is in the long term national interests of the United States.

    What that would accomplish is to push out Teahadists and Christianists, not sure how the end result would differ from what Frum wants.

    Also, any Republicans trying to do this would end up losing a GOP primary to nutjob, or do you think this would be accomplished partly by changing the rules for GOP primaries?

  19. @Rob in CT:

    Except unlike you, I’ve not become democrat-leaning. As I said, I’ve just become politically alienated.

  20. superdestroyer says:

    @Rob in CT:

    No one is going to split away from the Democratic Party. No one who votes for Democrats is going to walk away from the control of $3.5 trillion dollars in spending, the 2+ million civil service jobs, the 100K pages of federal regulations. The idea that a moderate party can exist is laughable. No one union members, minority, lawyer, public sector emloyee, or academic is going to walk away from the Democratic Party.

    It would make more sense if the Republican Party just disbanded and the current Republican voters just start voting in the Democratic Primary. Also, I am sure Mr. Frum can find an audience for his Israel first agenda inside the Democratic Party.

  21. superdestroyer says:

    @Scott:

    The issue is that a big tent party is a big spending, big government, nanny state party. The real question is what happens when the Republican Party fades away; the Democratic Party primary is the real election; few, if any, incumbent face serious challenges, and the issue of government is how big will entitlements grow and how will the government be funded.

  22. al-Ameda says:

    My favorite type of politicians used to be known as “liberal Republicans.”

    They were to be found primarily in the Northeast, and sometimes in the Northwest. They generally believed in sensible fiscal policies, in civil rights, and social programs. The were a moderating influence that enabled politics to work in Washington. They were Senators like Jacob Javits, Clifford Case, Charles Mathias, Mark Hatfield, Robert Stafford, George Aiken, Lowell Weicker, Olympia Snowe, Governors like Tom McCall in Oregon

    That group of politician is all but extinct now, and it’s a real loss to American national politics.

  23. michael reynolds says:

    @superdestroyer:

    No one union members, minority, lawyer, public sector emloyee, or academic is going to walk away from the Democratic Party.

    I’m a Democrat and I’m none of the above. In fact, given the fact that Mr. Obama received 60 million votes, I doubt what you’ve outlined is more than 20% of that 60 million.

    Which leaves you as full of it as usual.

  24. superdestroyer says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Do you really think it would be beneficial for conservative in any form for the Democrats to have an massive majority where they will raise taxes, expand entitlements, pass amensty, hire a lot more public sector employees, and pass a ton more regulations and social engineering legislation.

    Do you really think the Republican Party could make a come back when more than 50% of the voters in the U.S. are automatic Democratic Party voters and the people are depend upon the government will well above 50%?

  25. superdestroyer says:

    @michael reynolds:

    But the question is if the Republicans throw the social and fiscal conservatives under the bus, who will leave the dominant Democratic Party to support some rump party that has zero chance of effecting policy or governance.

    And since the Democrats get more than 50% its votes from non-whites, it is easy to assume that there are very few votes out there that the new, moderate, middle of the road Republican Party could ever appeal to.

  26. OzarkHillbilly says:

    There should be room for people who are pro-life and people who are pro-choice, for supporters of “traditional marriage” and supporters of marriage equality. And, it should be more open to people who doubt the advisability of what has become, in the wake of the Bush Administration, the standard GOP line on issues like preemptive war and national defense. It should be more open to immigration reform, including the recognition of the fact that the millions of people here without proper documentation are not going to be going home and that increased legal immigration is in the long term national interests of the United States.

    Folks? I give you today’s Democratic Party.

    Seriously tho Doug, I wish it was possible for a GOP to embrace those things. But as long as there is a tea party, the GOP CAN NOT. Seriously, if the GOP is going to stop it’s (Tea) drinking problem, it is going to have to go cold turkey. Yes it will be painful. Yes they will suffer with DT’s. But that is the only way to a healthy party worthy of governing.

    The GOP has 2 choices: Return to the principles of Republican governance, or become the Tea Party. The Tea Party is 22% of the electorate. Down that path lies…. Old white people and bigots.

    ps: just as a matter of curiosity, at that Tea Party demonstration the other day where the treasonous SOB was waving the Confederate flag, I wonder how many of his fellow demonstrators walked up to him and explained that they were true and faithful citizens of the United States of America and did not appreciate his secessionist sympathies?

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAA………. Not really. Sometimes I just crack me up.

  27. john personna says:

    @superdestroyer:

    And since the Democrats get more than 50% its votes from non-whites, it is easy to assume that there are very few votes out there that the new, moderate, middle of the road Republican Party could ever appeal to.

    People like you have trapped themselves in a limiting self-image.

    The only one who can change that, is you.

  28. michael reynolds says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Wrong again, my little Klansman:

    Obama’s support was 56 percent white, 24 percent black, 14 percent Latino, 4 percent Asian, and 2 percent other.

  29. grumpy realist says:

    @superdestroyer: Then move to Somalia. It seems to have the sort of government you want.

    And we would have never started the Manhattan Project at all with your mindset. Tell me, how do you expect to maintain the base of US science and technology without those public sector employees called scientists? So you’d get rid of Oak Ridge, NIST, Los Almos, and Fermilab, right? After all, they’re totally useless, right?

    China LOVES useful idiots like you. You’re tearing down the US and they don’t even have to pay you for it. Continue to rant and rave while they quietly sneak past us in advances such as solar cell technology, clean energy…..

  30. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @superdestroyer:

    No one union members, minority, lawyer, public sector emloyee, or academic is going to walk away from the Democratic Party.

    Jeeezzzz, talk about a hanging curve ball….. For starters, my union (Carpenters) does not give a rats ass whether it is a D or an R following the name, the only thing they care about is “Do they bring home the pork?” (big federal projects like Thomas Eagleton Federal Building or Locks and dams on the Mississippi or expanding role of Ft Leonard Wood, etc) Kit Bond was repeatedly endorsed by the CDC. Lawyers???? Really???? No lawyers in the GOP???? Public sector employees??? H-E-L-L-S BELLS boy, the most right wing people I know have been sucking off the gov’t tit all their lives. (seriously, one far right of Mussolinni guy I know did his time in the Army then became a fireman when he got out) As far as academics are concerned, there is a laundry list of them waiting to sign up for the wing nut welfare rolls (Niall Ferguson is just the first that comes to mind).

    OK, I will give you minorities. But then what do you expect? Rather than compete for their votes, the GOP actively tries to prevent them from voting. I know I know…. For you, that is a feature, not a bug.

  31. michael reynolds says:

    @superdestroyer:

    By the way, my favorite number is the 4% Asian. There’s really no reason why we should have those votes locked up. The main reason is Republican racism. In fact the difference between a Democrat and a Republican in the White House is racist morons like you sending us votes. Thanks.

  32. James Pearce says:

    At the same time, we’re not Democrats because, well, we disagree fundamentally with many aspects of that party’s positions on domestic and fiscal policies.

    This after listing all the ways -from abortion policy to gay rights to immigration- in which you admit you lean towards “that party’s positions.”

    I really suspect that you’re going to find it easier to make the Dems “more libertarian” than it will be to do the same with the Republicans. Truth is, the Republicans are about as libertarian as they are gonna get.

  33. superdestroyer says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Your data proves my point. Mr. Frum is incapable of understanding that the 44% of the Obama Vote that is not white is not going to vote for any form of a moderate Democratic-lite Republican Party. Mr. Frum and too many of the cheap labor, compassionate conservatives keep thinking that all voters act like upper middle class whites. What Mr. Frum has to accept is that so few voters have any interest in any conservative position that the Democratic Party will remain as the dominant party in the U.S. and the Republican Party, in any form, will just fade away.

  34. superdestroyer says:

    @James Pearce:

    The Democrats are only going to be libertarian where sex or drugs are involved. For other aspects, the list of regulations will grow and the social engineering programs will continue to grow. Even when Democrats claim to be libertarian, they will still backstop very poor personal position with a government program such as drug rehab, aid to single mothers, government funded STD treatments. Such government programs are as far away from a libertarian as can be.

  35. superdestroyer says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    I guess anecdotal stories always trump data. You would look at the polling data for public sector workers, lawyers, or minorities. Those groups want a bigger government, more laws, more regulations, and the U.S. to be a one party state.

  36. wr says:

    @superdestroyer: “You would look at the polling data for public sector workers, lawyers, or minorities. Those groups want a bigger government, more laws, more regulations, and the U.S. to be a one party state. ”

    Would you mind linking to the poll in which public sector workers, lawyers and minorities expressed their desire for a one-party state? I seem to have missed that one.

    (Also — lawyers are all now democrats? I get why you say anyone with a tan darker than Boehner’s must be a liberal… but lawyers?)

  37. wr says:

    @superdestroyer: “Even when Democrats claim to be libertarian, they will still backstop very poor personal position with a government program such as drug rehab, aid to single mothers, government funded STD treatments. ”

    Now you’re opposed to government efforts to stop the spread of communicable diseases? That’s not a libertarian position — that’s a mass murderer’s position.

  38. wr says:

    @superdestroyer: “Mr. Frum and too many of the cheap labor, compassionate conservatives keep thinking that all voters act like upper middle class whites. ”

    Well, I’m an upper middle class white and I’ve only voted for one Republican in my life — John Anderson in 1980.

  39. michael reynolds says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Wait, my 44% proves your “more than half?” I suck at math, but I’m pretty sure you’re wrong.

    In fact, OTB is practically infested with white folks who now vote Democrat and used to vote GOP or at least a mix of both parties.

    But let’s face it: facts are irrelevant to you.

  40. C. Clavin says:

    Obama’s support was 56 percent white, 24 percent black, 14 percent Latino, 4 percent Asian, and 2 percent other.

    An electorate that looks pretty much exactly like America itself.
    Check Romney’s electorate. Not so much.

  41. C. Clavin says:

    A few things:
    Defaulting will do damage…no question.
    The apocalyptic predictions are a but much. Watching Cable news you would think an asteroid was hours away.
    And….where the f’ is Obama? After the Republican House couldn’t pass a bill tonight he should have been holding a press conference…yelling…yelling; enough already. He should have called the clowns, clowns.
    And James…really…you still aren’t renouncing your affiliation? A Conservative, after today, has one option.

  42. David M says:

    I don’t think the Tea Party is a problem for the GOP, but a symptom of a bigger problem.

    They believe their own lies, and the Tea Party is the end result. The leadership and conservative entertainment complex are the real problem, as they started this nonsense and made it legitimate.

  43. How can you have a “big tent” when it’s the tea party, the biggest bunch of racist, anti-intellectual, clinically insane, believers of every conspiracy theory and bullshit story they see on the internet, etc., that run the party?

    I used to call myself a conservative or Republican. That started to change in around 2008 when the tea party first started to take off. To compare yourself to people that fought, died, and suffered repression at the hands of the British crown has to be the absurd act of vanity and egoism I have ever seen.

    Then 2009 rolled around, and the person running for the GOP nomination for the House of Delegates for my district turned out to be someone that was completely insane: Catherine Crabill, who, inter alia, was a member of a militia and believes the federal government was responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing. It was me, back when I still bothered to blog, that first pointed out her militia member status and her OKC Trutherism.

    And you would not believe the number of insults that got thrown my way as a result. And what did the local GOP do? Nominated her anyway, with pride, and she ended up almost winning the damn general election.

    I’ve seen people that I used to call my friends go completely off the deep end. I hardly use Facebook, but just for fun, I went and looked at my home page…and ended up defriending at least 5 people.

    Take this group blog, which used to be one of the biggest in the state, that I left over two years ago because I couldn’t stand the crap some of the people started to say in private: they have no problem reprinting the most absurd, moronic stuff on the Internet now.

    Why? Because they’re insane (that’s the only way I can think of to describe their behavior).

    Why on God’s green Earth would anyone who isn’t insane voluntarily associate themselves with these people? I went to a GOP congressional district convention (not as a delegate, but for shits and giggles because a family member was a Delegate) back in 2012, and boy, that was enough of the GOP to last me the rest of my life.

  44. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    The challenge the establishment GOP faces is to keep their base motivated, and to keep up their support — fiscally, organizationally, and electorally — while not actually giving them much (if any) say in the actual operations of the party. This is quite a challenge.

    And what makes it even more exasperating is that the GOP establishment knows that it can be done, because they see the Democrats doing it.

  45. becca says:

    Pat Robertson is begging the GOP to “wave a white flag”.

    Man.

    When you’ve lost The 700 Club…

  46. john personna says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    [note: I didn’t down-vote your introspection, and don’t think it is far off.]

    They say the Democrats had this problem in the 60’s, but I wouldn’t say “they are doing it now.” They don’t have to, because their “base” has a different culture.

    Think back to Occupy Wall Street. Did they make any claim of party leadership? Did they say they were the real Democrats? Did they attempt to change the legislative agenda? Not much, because while they wanted to get their ideas out, and shape opinion, they also wanted to keep winning elections.

    The fringe Republican idea that it is better to be right than to win is very strange and unique.

  47. anjin-san says:

    because they see the Democrats doing it.

    Well, that’s what they say on Fox.. so it must be true.

  48. angelfoot says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: I agree with you to a certain extent, but I the Republicans have a perfect storm of elected demagogues and extremists for which there are no true analogues in the Democratic party.

  49. Jc says:

    @Timothy Watson:

    Amen-and someone should remind these “patriots” that when the founding fathers were faced with an expanding debt, they raised taxes. Tea party guy: “bull$hit!, That’s something a liberal would say!” “Socialist!”….but don’t touch my Medicare! And cutting taxes does not increase deficits….until you have to just walk away from their nuttiness, which is when they lean over to their friend and tell them you dropped it and left cuz you knew they were right and his friend high fives and compares him to Ted Cruz, which is not far off..

  50. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @superdestroyer: This line of reasoning is hilarious to me. I live in Aggieland (Brazos County, TX), which is one of the deepest red parts of the country, a crazy quilt of conservatism. The Democratic Party of Brazos County controls *nothing* locally. We send no Democrats to Austin or to Washington.

    The three largest employment sectors in Brazos County? 1. Education, higher and otherwise (Texas A&M, Blinn College, and two ISDs. 2. Healthcare, with the two main healthcare systems being one secular not-for-profit and one Franciscan Catholic. 3. State and Local Government.

    Of the top ten employers in the county, only three are private for-profits (Sanderson Farms, WalMart, and Reynolds & Reynolds). Most of the tech and biotech start ups get their initial seed money from one of the various Texas A&M-associated seed money pools, typically a combination of federal and state grants and private venture capital. And the bulk of the rest of businesses in the area are local sole proprietorships and small LLCs / LLPs whose customer bases would dry up if A&M and healthcare and state and local governments had to shut down.

    And still, its a super red place. Our congressional district is something like R+22. If you want an abortion, you have to travel to Austin or Houston. etc. Huge swaths of my fellow public sector employees (yep – just like James and Steven, I’m one of those *gasp* academics!) vote GOP Party Line on every ballot.

    It is easy to make ridiculous snap judgement about groups of people. But when you’re talking about public sector employees, you have to remember that in deep Red states, the majority of your higher ed instutitions, school districts, and state and local governments are going to be managed and populated by people who lean GOP or are active GOP voters.

  51. Ron Beasley says:

    I don’t think the Tea Party is really anything new. Yes they have a new name and some big financial backers but ignorant bigots have been a large part of the Republican base since Lee Atwater. For years the Republicans got away with giving them lip service and little more. The Republicans created this monster that is now consuming them.

  52. Queeg says:

    Ok. Just wring your chubby fast food greased up hands and just let Rinos RULE you.

    A calamity will bring worse……i say NUTS!

  53. Queeg says:

    Democrats are a kabal of needy little groups with child-like whines……poor me!

  54. G.A.Phillips says:

    Who gives a flying donkeytard **** what David Frum thinks about anything?

    Just saying….

  55. superdestroyer says:

    @michael reynolds:

    What the data shows is that splitting the white vote across three parties while having all of the non-white voters stay in the Democratic Party just means that the U.S. will be a one party state faster.

    As I have said before, the Republicans can decide on their own demise, they can either try to remain the more conservative party and let demographic destroy them or become the Democratic-LIte party and lose when their most loyal voters walk away from them.

    Mr. Frum has decide to doing both would be the best solution. As I have said before, the real question for politics in the future is what happens when the Democratic Party is the one relevant party in the U.S. and gets to implement all of the policies that they could not do in the past. How big will the government grow, how high will taxes go, what percentage of Americans will cheat on their taxes, how many regulations will be ignored n the future, how small can the private sector shrink to and still be able to produce the income necessary to fund government at all levels.

  56. superdestroyer says:

    @Gromitt Gunn:

    The public sector employees in red states by vote for Republicans more than in blue states but they are still more liberal and vote more for Republicans than the overall voters. Who do you think votes for Democrats in Texas: Minorities, academics, public sector employess. The difference in Texas versus blue states is how few whites vote for Democrats in Texas and how whites employed in the private sector vote overwhelmingly for Republicans.

    Since you live in Texas, you should notice that the Democratic Party makes little effort to appeal to middle class whites but has decided that changing the demographics of Texas is the easiest way to elect more Democrats.

    What is odd is that Mr. Frum is too isolated and too stupid to understand that demographics is what drives politics in the U.S. and demographic changes in the U.S. will ensure that more moderate (or compassionate conservative) party has zero chance for success in the U.S.

    A good question for politics in Texas is when the demographic finally change to put the Democrats back in power whether those Democrats will try to pass a state income tax.

  57. Mr. Replica says:

    Yeah, I don’t care which side of the isle a person is on or which party they belong to.
    If a person or persons think that it’s cowardly or unpatriotic or weak for NOT defaulting, just so they can add a notch to the imaginary win column in their heads…they really need to find their own tent.

    One with padded walls.

  58. Xenos says:

    Big tent or small tent,
    Without a Sister Souljah mo-ment;
    Soon to be irrelevant.

    OK; not a haiku, but I am working on it…

  59. Rob in CT says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I get that, Stormy. I was just saying there are folks who were GOP or GOP-lean who might not come back *even if* they shaped up a bit. It would have to be an amazing transformation – and that’s extremely unlikely.

    The Dems could alienate me, of course, and I could end up where you are. That’s another kettle of fish.

  60. Rob in CT says:
  61. Rob in CT says:

    @superdestroyer: Then move to Somalia. It seems to have the sort of government you want.

    Oh come on, there’s too many black people there for him.

    I’d prefer he goes to Galt’s Gulch. They’re building it, you know. I’m sure it’s totally legit, not a grift at all!

    As for the rest, look: the GOP cannot jettison its crazies without taking a massive hit. The Dems, on the other hand, have a smaller group of crazies who are presently under control. The “firebagger” left has next to no power (and knows it, and is immensely bitter about it, and has on occasion thrown a punch or two like voting for Nader b/c there was “no difference” between Bush the Lesser and Al Gore, or sitting out 2010). They haven’t figured out how to take command of the party the way the Teas have with the GOP. Maybe someday they will, and if they do they will likely get some tangible achievements, alienate the center, and start losing more and more elections.

  62. Mu says:

    I’ve tried for years to find a reason to like the Republicans, but they’re always dominated by someone who tells me I’m evil. First the evangelicals, now the tea party. I want a government that provides its services from a balanced budget and stays out of my personal life. Well, the first requires that you balance spending with taxation, and that means that you look at both sides to make it match. The later means later includes all aspects of reproductive health, and even if I oppose abortion that’s because of my religious leanings, not because the state has proscribed it. So I ended up a DINO…

  63. C. Clavin says:

    Who gives a flying donkeytard **** what David Frum thinks about anything?
    Just saying….

    A whole lot more than care what you think, f’tard.
    Just sayin…

  64. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @superdestroyer: …

  65. CB says:

    @Gromitt Gunn:

    That’s whats called completely missing the point. Sad.

  66. gVOR08 says:

    Could we politely stop feeding the troll and get back on topic?

    How do you throw the TP out of the party? It’s not like they’re a bunch of grassroots populists who sprung up out of nowhere to the surprise of the GOPs. We’re not talking about a bunch of white middle class naifs around kitchen talobes. We’re talking about DeMint and Heritage Action, Dick Armey (til he bailed) and Freedomworks, Norquist, the so-called Club for Growth, the Koch bros and their fellow travelers, Rush Limbaugh’s sacred income stream. This tumor has tendrils throughout the Party. Besides the .01%, who in their right mind would vote for modern Republicans?* Dump the TP, Republicans will just have to create a new bunch of voters, same as the old bunch.
    _______
    * See the straight line I passed up so as to not feed the trolls?

  67. Rob in CT says:

    By the way, Jenos managed to be largely right about something:

    The challenge the establishment GOP faces is to keep their base motivated, and to keep up their support — fiscally, organizationally, and electorally — while not actually giving them much (if any) say in the actual operations of the party. This is quite a challenge.

    And what makes it even more exasperating is that the GOP establishment knows that it can be done, because they see the Democrats doing it.

    That’s basically correct. The Dems largely do marginalize their left wing, as the GOP once did with their right wing. This has consequences for the Dems from time to time (Gore/Bush, etc). Of late, it hasn’t. Why? I’d submit it’s not Obama being great (firebaggers call other Dems “Obots”). It’s the GOP. They make the alternative so clearly horrifying that the left wing toes the line, gritting their teeth all the way. If the GOP moderated, I think you would see the left wing of the Dems get fiestier within the party, and be more likely to defect to 3rd parties (mostly the Greens) from time to time. The threat of GOP rule would be less potent, and their anger over being marginalized would trump their fear of Republicans in power. Sometimes, anyway.

    I don’t think the Dems would necessarily actually break up, but it would be harder to keep the firebaggers in line. Either the Dems would have to give them goodies/tilt at the required windmills, or they’d lose lefty votes.

  68. G.A.Phillips says:

    A whole lot more than care what you think, f’tard.
    Just sayin…

    lol, I am damn sure a ****tard! The difference between me and an idiot brain washed liberal like and you is I know that I am one and I am not proud of it. Nor do I cover up that fact by making it my worldview, lifestyle or sex life. ****tard!!!

    I said “Who gives” not what!!! You and anyone you admire for what you understand as having feelings on the subject don’t qualify as a who.

    And as always you fall back on well this mob of useless, nothing but **** talking, hater, brain washed idiot liberals listens to him so it must matter cause we, they give a flying donkeytard **** about it…lol..

    lol… thats all you got, flying donkeytard *****……

  69. Sherry Taylor says:

    “Many people, myself included, no longer wish to be associated with the Republican Party, both because of the excesses of the Bush Administration and the dogmatic, no compromises extremism of the Tea Party. At the same time, we’re not Democrats”. AGREED!

  70. a zook says:

    “Many people, myself included, no longer wish to be associated with the Republican Party, both because of the excesses of the Bush Administration and the dogmatic, no compromises extremism of the Tea Party. At the same time, we’re not Democrats because, well, we disagree fundamentally”

    I’m pretty much with you sir… the GOP/TP just doesn’t offer anything to a Main St guy and family like me… they are so extreme, so dogmatic, so hateful towards anybody not 100% with them, so triumphantly supportive of corporatism and the super rich… their tune isn’t worth listening to until they make some huge changes.