Time Running Out For GOP?

2012 may be the last chance for the current Republican Party to win the White House.

In “2012 or Never,” Jonathan Chait says Republicans are worried that 2012 represents their last chance to win the presidency–and argues they’re right to be worried.

The GOP has reason to be scared. Obama’s election was the vindication of a prediction made several years before by journalist John Judis and political scientist Ruy Teixeira in their 2002 book, The Emerging Democratic Majority. Despite the fact that George W. Bush then occupied the White House, Judis and Teixeira argued that demographic and political trends were converging in such a way as to form a ­natural-majority coalition for Democrats.

The Republican Party had increasingly found itself confined to white voters, especially those lacking a college degree and rural whites who, as Obama awkwardly put it in 2008, tend to “cling to guns or religion.” Meanwhile, the Democrats had ­increased their standing among whites with graduate degrees, particularly the growing share of secular whites, and remained dominant among racial minorities. As a whole, Judis and Teixeira noted, the electorate was growing both somewhat better educated and dramatically less white, making every successive election less favorable for the GOP. And the trends were even more striking in some key swing states. Judis and Teixeira highlighted Colorado, Nevada, and Arizona, with skyrocketing Latino populations, and Virginia and North Carolina, with their influx of college-educated whites, as the most fertile grounds for the expanding Democratic base.

Obama’s victory carried out the blueprint. Campaign reporters cast the election as a triumph of Obama’s inspirational message and cutting-edge organization, but above all his sweeping win reflected simple demography. Every year, the nonwhite proportion of the electorate grows by about half a percentage point—meaning that in every presidential election, the minority share of the vote increases by 2 percent, a huge amount in a closely divided country. One measure of how thoroughly the electorate had changed by the time of Obama’s election was that, if college-­educated whites, working-class whites, and minorities had cast the same proportion of the votes in 1988 as they did in 2008, Michael Dukakis would have, just barely, won. By 2020—just eight years away—nonwhite voters should rise from a quarter of the 2008 electorate to one third. In 30 years, nonwhites will outnumber whites.

Now, this is indisputable insofar as it goes. But the problem with the Judis-Teixeira thesis is that it rests on the assumptions that demography is immutable destiny and that political parties are static constructs; neither is true. But, certainly, the Democratic Party, having reformed itself  as a more centrist vehicle on the national level as recently as 1992, is more prepared for the future demography of the United States than the Republican Party, which is still following a blueprint from 1968.

Whatever its abstract intellectual roots, conservatism has since at least the sixties drawn its political strength by appealing to heartland identity politics. In 1985, Stanley Greenberg, then a political scientist, immersed himself in Macomb County, a blue-collar Detroit suburb where whites had abandoned the Democratic Party in droves. He found that the Reagan Democrats there understood politics almost entirely in racial terms, translating any Democratic appeal to economic justice as taking their money to subsidize the black underclass. And it didn’t end with the Reagan era. Piles of recent studies have found that voters often conflate “social” and “economic” issues. What social scientists delicately call “ethnocentrism” and “racial resentment” and “ingroup solidarity” are defining attributes of conservative voting behavior, and help organize a familiar if not necessarily rational coalition of ideological interests. Doctrines like neoconservative foreign policy, supply-side economics, and climate skepticism may bear little connection to each other at the level of abstract thought. But boiled down to political sound bites and served up to the voters, they blend into an indistinguishable stew of racial, religious, cultural, and nationalistic identity.

While I continue to think the racial elements of all this are oversold–especially the odd attempt to link in neoconservative foreign policy ideology–there’s little doubt that the Republican brand has become one of identity politics. And it’s increasingly an identity that most Americans don’t share.

Obama actually lost the over-45-year-old vote in 2008, gaining his entire victory margin from younger voters—more racially diverse, better educated, less religious, and more socially and economically liberal.

The advantage of one’s core appeal being to older voters is that they tend to show up to vote in more robust numbers. The disadvantage, however, is that every four years more of those voters are dead.

The obvious strategy, pursued by catch-all political parties since time immemorial, is to adapt to changing circumstances. It is, after all, what Republicans did in the aftermath losing 7 of 9 presidential elections following the Great Depression (and the two exceptions being a centrist war hero) and what Democrats did in the aftermath of losing 4 of 5 elections starting in 1968.

Yes, as Chait correctly points out, radically changing is hard. Indeed, the natural instinct is to take the lesson that the problem is either that the party is insufficiently true at following its core principles or insufficiently adept at communicating its message to a stupid public. Inevitably, however, parties either get tired of losing and change or they fail to change and they die.

The fact that the remaining contenders for the 2012 Republican nomination are less appealing to swing voters than the crop that got trounced in 2008 would seem to be an indication that the GOP isn’t ready for change. Then again, it’s only been one loss so far–and 2010’s big wins signaled that Tea Party purity was a ticket to success.

Following Obama’s win, all sorts of loose talk concerning the Republican predicament filled the air. How would the party recast itself? Where would it move left, how would it find common ground with Obama, what new constituencies would it court?

The most widely agreed-upon component of any such undertaking was a concerted effort to win back the Hispanic vote. It seemed like a pure political no-brainer, a vital outreach to an exploding electoral segment that could conceivably be weaned from its Democratic leanings, as had previous generations of Irish and Italian immigrants, without altering the party’s general right-wing thrust on other issues. George W. Bush had tried to cobble together a comprehensive immigration-reform policy only to see it collapse underneath a conservative grassroots revolt, and John McCain, who had initially co-sponsored a bill in the Senate, had to withdraw his support for it in his pursuit of the 2008 nomination.

In the wake of his defeat, strategists like Karl Rove and Mike Murphy urged the GOP to abandon its stubborn opposition to reform. Instead, incredibly, the party adopted a more hawkish position, with Republicans in Congress rejecting even quarter-loaf compromises like the Dream Act and state-level officials like Jan Brewer launching new restrictionist crusades. This was, as Thomas Edsall writes in The Age of Austerity, “a major gamble that the GOP can continue to win as a white party despite the growing strength of the minority vote.”

A large part of the problem is that, as political scientists have long told us, political parties actually consist of three elements: The institutional leadership, the politicians who carry the party label, and the voters who support the party. Historically, the institutional leaders chose the candidates and the voters, having little choice, went along. Now, we’ve flipped the process on its head. The voters–and specifically, the most ideologically rabid subset of them who will show up at primaries and caucuses months out–chose the candidates and the institutional leadership is relatively powerless. So, it’s pretty hard to make calculated, strategic changes in the message to appeal to swing voters.

It’s still a long way to the Republican nomination, much less November.

Will the party faithful bite the bullet and support the unexciting, gaffe-prone Mitt Romney? If so, they’ve got at least a puncher’s chance to take back the White House. But to what end? He’s ideologically not that different from Obama. Moreover, if Obama is re-elected, then losing with “yet another moderate” on the ticket will only bolster the resolve of the base to nominate a Real Conservative in 2016.

Conversely, will the Evangelicals actually manage to nominate Rick Santorum? If so, it’s hard to imagine the chain of catastrophes that would keep President Obama from getting a second term. Would that outcome cause the base to wake up to the reality that the Real America they encounter in their everyday lives is actually a relatively small swath of the country as a whole? And would they react to that realization by accommodating the country as it is? Or double down on their futile bid to win the culture war?

Time running image from Shutterstock.

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FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Best of OTB, Campaign 2012, Politics 101, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. de stijl says:

    This post has superdestroyer-bait written all over it.

  2. Brummagem Joe says:

    But the problem with the Judis-Teixeira thesis is that it rests on the assumptions that demography is immutable destiny and that political parties are static constructs; neither is true.

    Well demography is more or less destiny and Chait specifically made the point that political parties are not static constructs. Obviously Chait was advancing a theory here but in the present circumstances I thought the main parameters of his argument were entirely plausible and you seem to be essentially accepting them.

    While I continue to think the racial elements of all this are oversold–especially the odd attempt to link in neoconservative foreign policy ideology–there’s little doubt that the Republican brand has become one of identity politics.

    I can’t see how you dismiss as oversold the racial elements while accepting that the GOP has become all about identity politics. One is a natural concomitant of the other. Perhaps nativist would be a better word but the two are certainly connected. And the only reason tea party purity proved a ticket to success in 2010 was because the electorate fell by 40% from 2008. In fact you could argue that by forcing the Republicans to accept responsibility for governing they did Obama a favor.

    Overall this was a very powerful essay. His central premise that Republicans bet the farm on beating Obama and in consequence look likely to lose it isn’t far off the mark.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    And would they react to that realization by accommodating the country as it is? Or double down on their futile bid to win the culture war?

    They would go nuclear.

  4. mattb says:

    @de stijl:
    You beat me to it.

    In fact, in addition to SD, it has TN and Eric F (with “Gallup proves that the majority of Americans are conservative and the presidency doesn’t matter anyway”) written all over it. I’m Jenos will have a well argued counter argument as well.

  5. CSAcademic says:

    I actually think there are a lot of people who share many of the values of the GOP, such as family, self-reliance, low taxes, strong miliary, etc., except:

    1. They believe in family and tradition, but don’t give a damn what their neighbors do in the bedroom.
    2. They are not afraid of immigrants, and may be immigrants themselves who came here because they believed in American ideals.
    3. They don’t automatically despise education, science, intellectuals; even if they don’t agree with all of it.
    4. They have never had the government interfere in their religious lives, so don’t understand what’s so important about having school-organized prayer.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    While I continue to think the racial elements of all this are oversold–especially the odd attempt to link in neoconservative foreign policy ideology–

    I await a declaration of war upon Sweden…

  7. Fiona says:

    The Republicans have themselves to thank for their current predicament. They won the South (in part through racial appeals) but have lost large swathes of the country, particularly urban areas. Now, they seem to be doubling down on the strategies that got them where they are today: (1) playing off race and ethnicity; (2) inflaming the culture and religious wars to keep their evangelical base in check; (3) scaring old people about the coming apocalypse; and (4) promising tax cuts while kicking genuine budget cuts further down the road.

    I find it ironic that they’ve cast liberals and Democrats as villians, given that, for the most part, both parties feed off the same corporate teat and favor the same corporate interests at the expense of the rest of us. All this nasty bickering between parties serves merely to distract from reality.

  8. Hey Norm says:

    “… the values of the GOP, such as family, self-reliance, low taxes, strong miliary..”

    Really? I’ll give you low taxes. That’s 1 out of four.

  9. Brummagem Joe says:

    @CSAcademic:

    I actually think there are a lot of people who share many of the values of the GOP, such as family, self-reliance, low taxes, strong miliary, etc.,

    Who says these are unique to the GOP. They may lay claim to all of them but then no doubt Newt Gingrich considers himself virtuous.

  10. mattb says:

    Sigh… that should have been “I’m sure”

    Extending your line of thought James, as many others are suggesting, I expect that economic conditions will make 2012 a far closer race than 2008 regardless of either GOP nominee.

    Depending on what happens down the ticket, a close election loss with Romney + a lame duck presidency could very well embolden the populist conservative/tea party wing even more than it’s victories in 2010.

  11. While I continue to think the racial elements of all this are oversold

    I don’t think it’s specifically racial so much as a generalized xenophobia of anyone who doesn’t fit a very specific view of what people are supposed to be.

  12. James Joyner says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    I can’t see how you dismiss as oversold the racial elements while accepting that the GOP has become all about identity politics

    Because most of the “identity” being defended is about rural, religious, traditional values in opposition to urban, secular, progressive values. Race is no doubt a component of it. But it’s about a value system under seige more than race–and it’s becoming increasingly more about the former and less about the latter.

    @OzarkHillbilly: We haven’t fought a war against other predominantly white peoples since WWII. Under either political party. Yet we’ve fought a lot of wars and quasi-wars. Under both parties. I don’t think Republican racism is a significant factor in that, but rather the distribution of threats.

  13. CSAcademic says:

    @Brummagem Joe: They are not unique to the GOP, but that is how the GOP positions itself. Unfortunately for them, they turn off many precisely due to people like Gingrich.

    I think the US would benefit from non-crazy, non-hypocritical, non-xenophobic conservative party. The question is what such a party would look like. What positions and values would it espouse?

  14. JohnMcC says:

    NY Magazine has been on this beat twice now. http://www.nymag.com/news/features/gop-primary-heillmann-2012-3/

    The general outline is as my TeaParty family members say, if it’s Romney and he loses we have the night of the long knives.

  15. de stijl says:

    They made a deal with the devil with the vile, unforgivable Southern Strategy. Those types of deals always come with a price and now it’s coming due.

    Lee Atwater had his deathbed conversion. That is how I hope the Republican party has its conversion: on its deathbed.

  16. michael reynolds says:

    I don’t think the GOP has much room to pivot. The party of Money, Bombs and Jesus is wrong on all three fronts at once. Their small government stance is hypocritical nonsense. Their Neocon wing is out of fashion and short of funds. The Jesus wing is the segment most responsible for chasing away the next generation. So how do they pivot?

    Minorities tend to have long memories. The GOP still can’t get Jewish votes because Jews have a very well-developed sense of smell for authoritarians and religious fanatics. Hispanics will long remember the immigrant-bashing, just as African-Americans won’t soon forget the Southern Strategy and Rush Limbaugh.

    The GOP set itself up as the party of billionaires and old, white rustics. The funny thing is: they don’t even really have the billionaires.

  17. reid says:

    @CSAcademic: Are you the straight man here? That party would look like the Democratic party, of course!

  18. reid says:

    [Romney] is ideologically not that different from Obama.

    I have to take issue with that. Granted, Romney is a huge phony, so we don’t know WHAT he is, but if you take him at face value these days, he’s pretty far to the right. I guess Romney is still being portrayed as a “moderate”?

  19. Brummagem Joe says:

    @JohnMcC:

    The general outline is as my TeaParty family members say, if it’s Romney and he loses we have the night of the long knives.

    I’m quite expecting this. If Obama wins and the Dems then likely hold the senate and win some house seats back there is going to be a huge explosion. There are a lot of angry people in the Republican base and they are going to be looking for scapegoats.@James Joyner:

  20. Katharsis says:

    Perhaps this is yet another reason why the GOP is going full tilt anti-contreception. Many of the latino’s that I know are in fact catholic.

  21. Brummagem Joe says:

    @James Joyner:

    But it’s about a value system under seige more than race–and it’s becoming increasingly more about the former and less about the latter.

    Except that the value system is held overwhelmingly by whites.

  22. Brummagem Joe says:

    He’s ideologically not that different from Obama.

    This is total nonsense. If you believe this you believe a Romney presidency would no different from an Obama presidency. If you think that JJ presumably there’s no reason why you wouldn’t vote for Obama.

  23. mattb says:

    @James Joyner:

    Because most of the “identity” being defended is about rural, religious, traditional values in opposition to urban, secular, progressive values. Race is no doubt a component of it. But it’s about a value system under seige more than race–and it’s becoming increasingly more about the former and less about the latter.

    This assessment make sense, but I think misses the larger picture by addressing race only at one level.

    What this misses is that race is an easy visual shorthand (stereotype) for “the other.” And it more or less comes to signify “urban, secular, progressive values.”

    This is the complexity of race when it comes to these sorts of larger issues. I doubt many conservatives would every willing vote for the explicit disenfranchisement of a racial group. But at the same time, that doesn’t mean that a given racial group (or at least a stereotyped subset of it) comes to be a visual stand in for everything they oppose.

    Like it or not, how many people think about white “welfare queens?” Or in talks about current immigrants think about skin colors other than brown or yellow?

  24. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Yep, and 1988 was the last chance for the party of Carter-Mondale-Dukakis to win the presidency. Sadly enough, however, things didn’t quite work out that way, thanks in no small part to Ross Perot and years later to John McCain and Sarah Palin.

    That all said, there is a material likelihood in the event Obama wins reelection that the GOP as far as presidential contests go might wander for many years, perhaps over a decade, in the political wilderness. It’s not a function, however, of the demographic trends to which references were made in that laughable puff piece by Teixeira and Judis. It’s merely a function of candidates, primaries and the political middle.

    If Obama wins this year Sarah Palin might in 2016 be the GOP nominee. For the reason that the GOP primary selectorate largely is divorced from political reality. If Palin is the nominee in 2016 the Democrat nominee will prevail in a monumental landslide. Again, not because of demographics. Because Palin is an unelectable candidate under any circumstances. That would take us to 2020, at which point the Democrats again would have the huge advantages of incumbency and of a contested GOP primary contest. Rinse and repeat.

    Ultimately, however, despite the best wishes to the contrary on the part of the spaced out media/academe cabal, the GOP won’t be going the way of the Dodo in any of our lifetimes. The party will win many statewide contests in many states for many decades to come. That means a lot of state governorships and a lot of U.S. Senate seats will continue to be held by Republicans. The mass population shifts away from the liberal Northeast and towards the conservative south and the mountain states will provide substantial and lasting GOP strength in the U.S. House.

    In a two-party system it’s real tough to make one of the parties dissappear.

  25. James Joyner says:

    @Brummagem Joe: I think Mitt Romney is slightly right-of-center and Barack Obama is slightly left-of-center. On balance, I slightly prefer Romney overall but prefer Obama’s policies to his on some significant issues. Santorum, on the other hand, is hard, hard right and Obama is far closer to my preferences.

    @Katharsis: In fact, it’s Rick Santorum and only Rick Santorum who is making access to contraception an issue. The “religious liberty” argument in going after the now-abandoned Obama administration policy was neither a dog whistle nor a code word for anything else; it was about a specific policy. Even most ultra-conservative Republicans think birth control should be legal.

  26. Rick Almeida says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    Yep, and 1988 was the last chance for the party of Carter-Mondale-Dukakis to win the presidency.

    Actually, you might be 100% right about this. Clinton-Gore was a far cry from Carter-Mondale-Dukakis Democratic politics. I’ll grant that Perot’s candidacy probably caused Clinton’s win, but Clintonian politics were far, far different from Carter, Mondale, and Dukakis.

  27. sam says:

    @James Joyner:

    Because most of the “identity” being defended is about rural, religious, traditional values in opposition to urban, secular, progressive values.

    Yikes, shades of 1860.

  28. Gromitt Gunn says:

    The GOP has really screwed itself by going all-in with the Hispanic xenophobia. I strongly dislike Rove and the Bush family and their machine, but I will grant them that they collectively understood the need to bring Hispanics in to the “white” fold the way that the descendants of Southern European and Irish immigrants were.

    Illustrative anecdote: I currently live in Austin, but I lived in San Antonio from 2002 – 2009. It is a minority-majority city and has been for a very long time. I worked for two years for a start up tech company, and about 40% of the technical staff had traditionally hispanic last names, but at any given point in time there would be at most two techs on the floor who spoke decent technical Spanish and fewer who could write in technical Spanish. You had maybe three or four who could handle billing and general customer service questions.

    These were without a doubt the types of people that the GOP should be appealing to: generally 2nd or 3rd generation immigrants, fully culturally Americanized (or fully bicultural), with traditional social values, more comfortable speaking and writing in English than a second language, well-educated, lived in suburban neighborhoods.

    The GOP has completely failed to connect with these guys, because they see the inherent meanness and xenophobia.

  29. Brummagem Joe says:

    @James Joyner:

    I think Mitt Romney is slightly right-of-center and Barack Obama is slightly left-of-center.

    Except that Romney is not espousing positions that are slightly right of center. They are way right of center. Now you could take the view of someone like Frum who is saying take no notice of this because we all know that Romney is lying through his teeth but that strikes me as a poor argument for his candidate but maybe it’s enough for you.

  30. JohnMcC says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: As I have said before on these pages (on this screen?) — bad thinking, bad ideas and bad candidates are a syndrome and appear together.

  31. Tillman says:

    Wait a minute. I thought the idea with Romney was that ideologically he’s anyone you want him to be.

    I mean, sure, we could take his words at face value, but expand the time scale long enough and you get contradictions.

  32. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    That all said, there is a material likelihood in the event Obama wins reelection that the GOP as far as presidential contests go might wander for many years, perhaps over a decade, in the political wilderness. It’s not a function, however, of the demographic trends to which references were made in that laughable puff piece by Teixeira and Judis. It’s merely a function of candidates, primaries and the political middle.

    Yeah right….. changing ethnic and generational trends have nothing whatsoever to do with the location of the political middle or the type of candidates chosen to contest elections. Where could anyone get crazy ideas like this?

  33. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    The mass population shifts away from the liberal Northeast and towards the conservative south and the mountain states will provide substantial and lasting GOP strength in the U.S. House.

    Of course it could cause some of them turn from solid red to purple or even blue states. Not that this thought would ever enter the open mind of the martyr of Ekaterinburg.

  34. Katharsis says:

    @James Joyner:

    it’s Rick Santorum and only Rick Santorum who is making access to contraception an issue

    Um, no. Not long after reading your response I came across this article:

    http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/utes/53570545-90/abstinence-allow-bill-education.html.csp

    (via Ed Brayton)

  35. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @James Joyner:

    We haven’t fought a war against other predominantly white peoples since WWII.

    More than a little sarcasm in my post there James, but it sure makes it easier to bomb the pi$$ out of people when they are brown or black, and yes it has been done by both Dems and Reps, but nobody cheer leads it now like the Neo-cons.

  36. Rick Almeida says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    The mass population shifts away from the liberal Northeast and towards the conservative south and the mountain states will provide substantial and lasting GOP strength in the U.S. House.

    Why wouldn’t the migration make these states more liberal?

  37. Rob in CT says:

    Eh. The GOP is still doing pretty well, even if certain trends look hazardous to their electoral prospects in the future. And there’s always the chance that the GOP will modify its message and capture some Dems (or Dem-leaning Indies, more likely).

    Parties change over time. They want to win elections. They’ll do what it takes to win ’em.

    The only way you can project a hapless, can’t-possibly-win GOP is to assume the party and the electorate remain static (except for the demographic changes). Sure, in that scenario, the GOP is screwed. But it won’t be so.

  38. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @mattb:

    I doubt many conservatives would every willing vote for the explicit disenfranchisement of a racial group.

    Not like those voter ID laws will affect any particular segment of our society more than another, right? Or is that just an unfortunate consequence of Voting Wrongs in America today?

  39. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @James Joyner:

    Even most ultra-conservative Republicans think birth control should be legal.

    Which is why they are pushing all those “Personhood begins at Conception” bills…. because they all in favor of the pill.

    Right. Got it.

  40. de stijl says:

    @Rick Almeida:

    The mass population shifts away from the liberal Northeast and towards the conservative south and the mountain states will provide substantial and lasting GOP strength in the U.S. House.

    Why wouldn’t the migration make these states more liberal?

    Geography is destiny. Blood and soil.

  41. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Rob in CT:

    Parties change over time. They want to win elections. They’ll do what it takes to win ‘em.

    The only way you can project a hapless, can’t-possibly-win GOP is to assume the party and the electorate remain static (except for the demographic changes). Sure, in that scenario, the GOP is screwed. But it won’t be so.

    Did you actually read Chait’s article? This is what he said was quite possible but that as of right of now they’re trapped in a faultly paradigm.

  42. Herb says:

    @Brummagem Joe: That was my thought as well. If a bunch of Chicago liberals move to Mississippi, that doesn’t mean they’re going to start voting for Republican house members. The result I would think would be a purpling of the state.

    As for the Mountain States, I can only speak about the one I live in. Our Republicans are not Southern Republicans. Our Democrats are not East Coast Democrats. All our far-right “heroes” have been shown the door. If Tom Tancredo lived in Arizona, he’d be governor. But he ran in Colorado. A few years ago, the guy who sponsored our Taxpayers bill of rights (TABOR) amendment finally attained office. He kicked a reporter, caused major disruptions, and now he’s in jail on tax evasion charges. (Of course, he’s a political prisoner…) Mike Rosen, a big radio talker, got himself sucked into a ponzi scheme he previously pimped to listeners on his show. How much credibility you think that guy has left?

    Meanwhile our Democrats are something else. By all rights, Jared Polis or John Hickenlooper should be Republicans. Self-made millionaires, loves them some liberty. Only Polis is gay (disqualified!) and Hick likes himself some green tech. (Doesn’t he know global warming is a hoax?)

    The question a Coloradoan must ask is “what do we need Republicans for when we have these Dems?” It’s a question the Colorado GOP has yet to answer.

  43. Kylopod says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Money, Bombs and Jesus

    You mean the three legs of the conservative stool?

  44. Katharsis says:
  45. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Rick Almeida:

    Why wouldn’t the migration make these states more liberal?

    Because of the water, Rick! C’mon, get with it, willya?!

  46. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Katharsis:

    JJ is hiding behind an increasingly tattered curtain that regards the inanities of Republican economic and social policy as some sort of abberation that has nothing to do with how they will actually govern should they win the presidency and maybe the other two branches of govt.

  47. Herb says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    “JJ is hiding”

    Not sure that’s fair. From this liberal’s perspective, if the Republican Party were more like Joyner and company, we wouldn’t be having this discussion at all. I applaud any effort to reform the GOP from the inside, because God knows…I ain’t gonna do it.

  48. michael reynolds says:

    @Kylopod:
    Well, the artist should at least credit me. I believe I invented that phrase.

  49. Liberty60 says:

    @Kylopod:

    You mean the three legs of the conservative stool?

    There is a Santorum punchline in here somewhere.

  50. Herb says:

    @michael reynolds: I’m not sure I’d want credit on that pic….looks like it took all of five minutes in MS Paint. (Yeah, Paint…not Photoshop.)

  51. michael reynolds says:

    @Herb:
    Well, okay, but if it becomes a t-shirt I get 30% of gross, not net.

  52. Rob in CT says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    I’m sure he did (I often read Chait, but didn’t read this particular article, no). I was reacting to the headline of this blog post.

    So consider my post in agreement with Chait. I often agree w/him.

  53. Jr says:

    The GOP’s coalition is on it’s last legs, the electoral map is become more and more favorable to Democrats.

    The way Demographics are changing, Texas will be a swing state by 2020.

  54. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Herb:

    Not sure that’s fair.

    Maybe not but there’s a disconnect. Romney just right of center? Only if you think he’s lying about his positions. And how do you think a president Romney is going to govern?

  55. mattb says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Not like those voter ID laws will affect any particular segment of our society more than another, right? Or is that just an unfortunate consequence of Voting Wrongs in America today?

    Reread what I said. I have little doubt about who voter I laws disproportional effect. I’ve made that clear in numerous threads here.

    But the issue is that I truly don’t believe that rank and file GOP or Conservatives see these laws as being racial. Or if they were given the option to remove minority votes they would.

  56. James Joyner says:

    @Katharsis: You’ve shown me two state-level examples, one of them in Utah. In both cases, they’re pretty standard fare. One, a reaction against state teaching on sex education that counsels anything other than abstinence. The other, much more innocuous, is the same as the national Republican reaction: the state shouldn’t force Catholic institutions to pay for birth control. Meh.

  57. Drew says:

    “The GOP set itself up as the party of billionaires and old, white rustics. The funny thing is: they don’t even really have the billionaires.”

    The smugness of the left makes it impossible for them to observe this fact, and look in the mirror and question this, or any of the other inane, assumptions they make about Republicans.

  58. Jr says:

    @Drew: What did he say that was inaccurate about the GOP coalition?

  59. @Rob in CT:

    Eh. The GOP is still doing pretty well, even if certain trends look hazardous to their electoral prospects in the future. And there’s always the chance that the GOP will modify its message and capture some Dems (or Dem-leaning Indies, more likely).

    If I’m any indication, they have trouble holding the right-leaning indies.

    (Overall, if your analysis was current, and non-wishful, we’d be having a very different primary cycle right now. Oh sure, the GOP could change. Instead we’ve got anti-intellectualism doing a shark-jump with “mothers, don’t let your children go to college.”)

  60. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Rob in CT:

    So consider my post in agreement with Chait. I often agree w/him.

    It’s actually a quite superb article. One of the best I’ve ever read about the current predicament the GOP finds itself in.

    Someone above accused me of being harsh about JJ because he’s an intelligent and thoughful conservative (which he is). The problem is he wants to have it both ways. He acknowledges that his party is in the grip of a fever of irrationality but wants to pretend that their likely presidential nominee who relentlessly panders to this inanity is somehow not connected with it and if elected president would immediately depart from its precepts thus proving those in the Republican party base who despise him totally correct. The extent to which he’d actually be free to depart from them is another issue where JJ pretends that what’s happening out in the hinterlands once Republicans get their hands on the levers of power is somehow irrelevant (or meh) to how they’d exercise power. About nine months ago 98% of the Republican house caucus voted to scrap Medicare and Medicaid. This was not an abberation. This is who these people are. JJ needs to decide if he subscribes to this kind of ideology. If you’ll excuse the metaphor it’s not possible to be half pregnant and he’s trying to be.

  61. PJ says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    things didn’t quite work out that way, thanks in no small part to Ross Perot

    Both you and Jonathan Chait make that point. But the facts paint quite a different picture, the exit polls showed that Perot voters would have split almost evenly between Bush and Clinton.
    Ross Perot didn’t cost Bush the election.

  62. Brummagem Joe says:

    @PJ:

    Ross Perot didn’t cost Bush the election.

    That’s if you think exit polls are a perfect arbiter.

  63. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @mattb:
    No offense Matt, but I did reread what you said, and I just think you are being terribly naive when you say,

    But the issue is that I truly don’t believe that rank and file GOP or Conservatives see these laws as being racial. Or if they were given the option to remove minority votes they would.

    Case in point: The rape by proxy law in Virginia. Do you really believe they didn’t know what their own bill said? And pulled it when they finally had it explained to them? Or do you think the hundreds of thousands/millions of women saying they would castrate the collective lot of them at the ballot box convinced them to change their ways?

    So what is the Diff? Millions of women sharpening their knives and millions of elderly black people saying, ‘What, they want to screw us again? What else is knew, I been gettin’ screwed all my life.”

    Matt, when a conservative is for something that will explicitly screw a particular demographic for the specific benefit of another more favored demographic (old people’s Social Security/Medicare vs rich people’s tax cuts) and even after it is explained to them what will happen…. and they are for it anyway…. well… I have to think they just want to f*ck old people (just not today’s old people)

    Look, they have been given the option to remove minority votes and they will if we let them.

  64. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @James Joyner: What about all the “Personhood” amendments James?

  65. Jib says:

    Then again, it’s only been one loss so far

    No its not. This has been going on for a while. The repub nominee has failed to get the highest vote total in 4 out of the last 5 presidential elections. The country is still closely divided, although shifting dem, but the repubs hard move to the right combined with the dems move to the center has made it very hard for repubs to win the white house for the last 20 years.

  66. Robert A. George says:

    Something Chait doesn’t touch upon is that, odd as it may seem from 2012’s vantage point, the GOP is, in terms of elected officials, more diverse than the Democrats. In 2016, the Republican ticket can draw from a mixture of various white males (Christie, Ryan, Daniels, J. Bush), Latinos (Rubio, Martinez, Sandoval), Southeast Asian (Jindal, Haley), even black (Tim Scott, Allen West) plus various women. What do Democrats have to put up against that variety? Andrew Cuomo and (if she wins this year) Elizabeth Warren? Demography is certainly important, but elections are won by specific individuals. And the ’16 GOP line-up — on paper — sure looks more attractive than either its ’12 version OR what looks like a rather bare Democratic cupboard.

  67. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jib: You gotta point there.

  68. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Robert A. George:

    Would you like to give us the ethnic and gender breakdown of the GOPs current house and senate representation?

  69. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Robert A. George:

    Any you haven’t got a clue what the Democratic line up will be in 2016 and neither has anyone else. How about giving us the Republican line up in 2020 and 2024?

  70. mattb says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    Browser crashed and I lost a long response. And I realize it isn’t worth retyping.

    To Jame’s point, I was writing my views about rank and file. I do think there are some people who would never be swayed by facts. But I think the vast majority are trying to do the best they can with what they have. I think most of those people have a tendency to initially want to believe the set of facts that makes them the most comfortable. But I also believe that many of those people will change their views when they learn uncomfortable facts — especially uncomfortable facts that are strongly shared.

    I think that’ what happened in Virginia, where it seems like it took a long time for a real understanding of “inter-vaginal” to penetrate (pun somewhat intended) the GOP. I’m sure some folks switched viewpoints out of cynical politics. But I suspect a lot of people wouldn’t have supported the bill from the start if they really understood what it said.

    So we’ll have to agree to disagree.

  71. Jib says:

    @Robert A. George: Dems will be good in 2016, Biden and Hillary from the Obama admin, Warren maybe from the senate. Cuomo, Hickenlooper, Schweitzer, Manchin are all popular govs which is a good base to run from. If they win gov seats this year, Beshear and/or Inslee could make a run. Nixon and Lynch are both popular gov in states that tend to be repub. There is a lot more.

    All you need to 2 strong candidates to have a good field, 3 would be a unusually deep field. And 4 years is a long time. Everyone thought the dems in 1992 was a really weak field. Turned out to have at least one good pol in the bunch. You never know until they run.

  72. Herb says:

    @Robert A. George: “And the ’16 GOP line-up — on paper — sure looks more attractive than either its ’12 version OR what looks like a rather bare Democratic cupboard. ”

    Attractive how? So Bobby Jindal’s Asian. Big deal. Allen West is black. So what? Racial diversity is nice, but we’re picking a government, not casting a sitcom.

  73. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Herb:

    It sounds like our Mr George has entered acceptance for 2012

  74. James Joyner says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: The “life begins at conception” idea has always been linked to abortion. There’s a religious strain, almost but not entirely Roman Catholic, that believes sex without procreational intent is a sin. But nobody I know of thinks life begins at ejaculation.

  75. Miguel Madeira says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Today, the descendants of European Catholic immigrants (like Buchanan or Santorum) are a Republican stronghold (in spite of their grandparents being rejected by the conservatives and nativists of old days)

  76. An Interested Party says:

    The smugness of the left…

    Humph, typed by an expert on the subject of smugness…

    In 2016, the Republican ticket can draw from a mixture of various white males (Christie, Ryan, Daniels, J. Bush), Latinos (Rubio, Martinez, Sandoval), Southeast Asian (Jindal, Haley), even black (Tim Scott, Allen West) plus various women.

    Some variety, as the minorities you named only represent a token portion of the GOP as a whole…and really, Allen West on a presidential ticket? Sorry, but that would only work on a TV show like 24

  77. An Interested Party says:

    Today, the descendants of European Catholic immigrants (like Buchanan or Santorum) are a Republican stronghold…

    Granted, you refer specifically to descendants of European Catholics (it would be nice if you could provide evidence to support your claim), but as for Catholics as a whole, a roughly 50/50 split could hardly be described as a “Republican stronghold”…

  78. Katharsis says:

    @James Joyner:

    You’ve shown me two state-level examples, one of them in Utah. In both cases, they’re pretty standard fare.

    That’s my point. It’s ridiculous to me to say it’s only Santorum that has a problem with access to contraception. Santorum is Catholic and I assume that’s where his stance evolved from.

    While it can be spun that being against “sex education that counsels anything other than abstinence” is not exactly limiting access to contraception, that is one of the effects, right? Unless education or rather the purposeful black out of information has no effect on access.

    My point is with in the same day you stated that this issue is merely just a part of the fringe, I find two articles, without even trying, showing other GOP forces working, in whatever limited way they can, to limit access to contraception.

    I suppose then what would not be considered “meh” would be a strictly national figure/institution with popular support, decrying the existence of contraception while not hiding behind the victimization of their “religious freedom.” I don’t have time for that, but I still disagree that it’s just Santorum.

  79. Moosebreath says:

    James,

    “But nobody I know of thinks life begins at ejaculation.”

    I know lots who think life begins at fertilization. Therefore contraceptive devices such as IUD’s which prevent a fertilized egg from implanting would be anathema to them.

  80. Latino_in_Boston says:

    I think the conundrum for Republicans is a path dependency problem. In 1988, 1992. Hell, even 2004, the available electoral pivots were far more numerous than they will be in 2016 and beyond. The main problem is that they opened pandora’s box on illegal immigration to try to work up their base (Prop 187, the 1996 Immigration Acts and the subsequent completely unworkable and mean-spirited legislation that prompted huge immigrant protests in 2006, plus Arizona’s SB-1070 and Alabama’s HB56) which was never going to have the explicit intended effect (stopping illegal immigration), or even its symbolicaleffect (stopping multiculturalism and the rise of a non-white America). So now you have both a worked up group that has been politicized on an issue and that believes they are repelling an invasion and therefore will never capitulate until an impossible goal is achieved (the GOP base) and a group that has suffered the brunt of legislation which will never forget. And it’s not just the second and third generation Mexican-Americans or Hispanics, it’s all the young people that are becoming politicized.

    I have family and friends in Arizona and 18-year-olds who never used to worry or care about politics have been marching in the streets over SB-1070 and following the ins and outs of Arizona politics. They know who Russell Pearce is, they know that the state banned Mexican-American studies from being taught in the TUSD, they know Joe Arpaio, and the fact that Republicans have introduced or looked to introduce Arizona style laws in other states. They also know that Romney (the supposedly moderate candidate) called Arizona a model for the rest of the nation. The GOP is making these kids democrats for life, and currently are in an intra-party war to show who can be more effective at pissing these kids off. Good luck with that.

  81. anjin-san says:

    @ Latino_in_Boston

    Well said. Republicans seem to have forgotten that almost all of us come from immigrants if you go back far enough, and most of them were despised when they arrived. Democrats, to their credit, are a little more solid on their history, and are a little more generous of spirit.

  82. anjin-san says:

    It’s ridiculous to me to say it’s only Santorum that has a problem with access to contraception.

    James has made a specialty of this sort of spin. You have to feel for him, a reasonable man swimming against the tide in an ocean of crazy. Why does he choose to stay there? The world wonders…

  83. An Interested Party says:

    The GOP is making these kids democrats for life, and currently are in an intra-party war to show who can be more effective at pissing these kids off. Good luck with that.

    One of the GOP’s main talents seems to be the ability to push minorities into the Democratic fold…

  84. superdestroyer says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    Maybe you should read the recent NY Times articles on single mothers. When you have 80% of black children being born to single mothers and you have black women saying that most black men act like children, then I believe it would be safe to say that blacks have little interest in family.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/18/us/for-women-under-30-most-births-occur-outside-marriage.html?pagewanted=all

  85. superdestroyer says:

    @michael reynolds:

    But then the long term question is how will the function as a one party state. If you are worried about authoritarian, then how will the country function as a one party state when there will be no limit on the scope or size of the government.

    There is currently no room in politics for libertarians, fiscal conservatives, or people who believe in a large, vigorous private sector. Soon there will no place in politics who believe that people should accept some responsibility for their own action or should have to think past tomorrow.

  86. superdestroyer says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    Are the progressives the one arguing that Obama is governing as a moderate Republican. Of course, I would challenge those same progressives to point out the policy differences between Carter in 1977 and Obama in 2012. Anyone who believes that the Democrats have moved to the right needs to say how the ACA is a moderate policy.

  87. superdestroyer says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    Blacks vote 95% for Democrats. Most blacks today have never probably never voted for a Repulbican. Yet, you want to propose that if the Republicans found the proper candidate or made the proper proposal, they could get a larger portion of the black vote.

    The same could be said for Hispanics, Homosexuals, and Jews. Most of them have probably never voted for a Republican.

    The only thing that My Mag is doing is pointing out that anyone who can count has realized for years.

    In 1992, Clinton received 43% of the voter. That showed that the baseline for the Democratic Party has 43% 20 years ago. During the last 20 years, the demographic groups that automatically vote for Democrats has grown. Soon the Democratic Party will automatically receive more than 50% of the vote. why would anyone bother being a Republican in such a scenario.

    Remember, if blacks and Hispanics voted at the same rate as whites, the Republican Party would be totally irrelevant today. The only thing that has allowed the Republican Party to survive is higher turnout among white middle class and white older voters than the groups that automatically vote for Democrats.

  88. superdestroyer says:

    @Gromitt Gunn:

    The best way to get the second and third generation Hispanics would have been to slow down the amount of new Hispanic. Republidcans now get Italian-American voters because immigration from Italy stopped for 50 years between 1920 and 1960. That gave Italians time to lose their own culture.

    Allowing open borders and unlimited immigration from Mexico just creates large portions of states like Texas where Whites can no longer live a safe and prosperous life.

    If the Republicans are going to support open borders and unlimited immigraiton, the the government programs of set asides, quotas, and affirmative action have to end. How can whites live in Texas when more than 50% of the population is eligible for a quotas or government set aside?

  89. superdestroyer says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    Considering that blacks are the most liberal group in the U.S. and Hispanics also lean to being very liberal, then demographics do affect where the middle is in politics. The only difference is that blacks and Hispanics will automatically vote for the Democrats no matter how bad the Democratic candidate. From Marion Barry to Kwame Kilpatrick, blacks have shown that they will vote for total incompetents as long as the incompetent politicians has a (D) next to their name.

  90. superdestroyer says:

    @Rob in CT:

    What message change should the Republicans make that will gain them more votes than it loses. I doubt if one exist. Even proposing real budget cuts loses more votes than it gains.

  91. superdestroyer says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    If the ID requirement applies to everyone equally, then how can you argue that it discrminates. Are you really going to argue that whites are more capable of following directions and securing a government ID than blacks or Hispanics.

    Or is the real answer that blacks and Hispanics are more likely to commit voter fraud and identity theft and that having a voter ID will harm Democratic Party candidates is margin races where voter fraud has the biggest impact.

  92. superdestroyer says:

    @Herb:

    there are many white voters who should be Republicans. However, since part of politics is status seeking and since the Democratic Party is always presented as the fashionable party, there are many people who lean for the Democratic Party as part of wanting to be seen in the right light.

    I would guess that soon there will not be a single student at the Ivy League who identifies as Republican or even conservatives. The pressure will be so great on Ivy League students to mouth the proper progressives views that nothing else will be acceptable.

  93. superdestroyer says:

    @Robert A. George:

    the Republicans to not hold a single state wide office in California has hold only about 1/3 of the state houses. The last Republican candidate for government spent 10’s of millions and lost by double digits.

    I think California shows that demographics trumps all. There is, now, no way for a Republican to win state wide office in California. As now the Republican party is so weak that Democratic Party voters will be able to select the Republican nominees in the open primary.

    California is a defacto one party state will the accompanying high taxes, bad schools, and dysfunction. Why else do you think that the total number of whites in California keeps doing down. There only way for a middle class white can affect politics and governance is to move.

  94. superdestroyer says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    If you want to make a short list of who will be president in 2016, just make a list of the current Democratic Party governors and senator. Scratch off anyone who did not attend an Ivy League university for either undergraduate or graduate school. One of the names that remain on the liast will be sworn in as president in January 2017.

  95. superdestroyer says:

    @Latino_in_Boston:

    Anyone who supports open borders was always going to be an automatic Democratic Party. Anyone who is concerned about Tuscon Schools have a class where Hispanics are taught to hate whites will always be a Democratic Party voter.

    There is no way for Republicans to appeal to the groups that you mention. The better question is will there be many more classes like those proposed in Tucson as the U.S. becomes a one party state.

  96. superdestroyer says:

    @anjin-san:

    Democrats know that many of the their core groups benefit from open borders and unlimited immigration. Such an immigraiton policy creates demand for more state and local government employees. Such a policy creates more more demand for ESL and special education teachers.

  97. An Interested Party says:

    This post has superdestroyer-bait written all over it.

    It took a little while, but this certainly came true, in bulk form, no less…I thought Ian Smith was dead but obviously his spirit lives on…

  98. superdestroyer says:

    @An Interested Party:

    Work got in the way of getting in early.

    However, the real question that virtually everyone avoided is how does the U.S. function as a one party state or which part of the current Democratic Party will walk away from all of the advantages they currently have to start a new party to the left of the current Democratic Party.

  99. Rob in CT says:

    Ignoring the usual racial determinism arguments, I’ll respond regarding Obama “governing as a moderate Republican.”

    First, the part usually left unsaid is “moderate republican from decades ago” as opposed to “what passes for moderate republican now.” That’s an important distinction, as the GOP has moved Rightward on most issues. On some other issues, the electorate has moved leftward (gay marriage, for instance) and the GOP has stayed in place, with the Dems moving along with the electorate. Anyway, when a Dem talks about “moderate Republican” they mean a moderate republican from the 70s or 80s… some even survived into the 90s. After that, they had retired or been pushed out.

    Second, the ACA is moderate because it was originally conceived as a Republican response to a single-payer system, back in the late 80s and early 90s (as an alternative to “Hillarycare”). The Democrats adopted it and passed it, despite the fact that their base wanted something else (single-payer, or, failing that, the ACA + the “public option”). If you think that’s not moderation – not a move to the Right – then I don’t know what to say to you.

    Obama’s economic policies were driven by the worse financial panic since the Great Depression. We don’t really know what he’d have done if he hadn’t taken office with the economy in freefall. The Stimulus was standard Keynesian counter-cyclical spending, which both parties have used in the past, and the GOP was generally fine with until quite recently. Roughly 1/3 of it came in the form of a tax cut. (the GOP-preferred method of stimulus). Food stamps and other “safety net” expenditure has risen largely on automatic pilot. Those numbers are up because we’ve had ~9% unemployment (higher U6). The irony here is that if there had been less stimulus and no bailouts, we’d have even more people drawing benefits.

    The Bush tax cuts were extented. You can argue that Obama didn’t want to do this (indeed, there was a trade for UI benefits extension), but that’s what the phrase “governed like” means. You can question what’s in the man’s mind, but the facts on the ground are what they are. And those facts show extension of a tax cut that favors the well-off, plus extension of a broader-based tax cut (the payroll tax cut). This represents the Dems internalizing the Right-wing narrative on the stimulative power of tax cuts.

    or which part of the current Democratic Party will walk away from all of the advantages they currently have to start a new party to the left of the current Democratic Party.

    Setting aside the assumption of GOP-death, yes *if* the GOP goes extinct, that’s what I would expect to happen. The Dem tent would be too big to stay together without the credible threat of GOP rule, so you would get a split. If the entire GOP base vanished in a puff of smoke tomorrow, the Democratic circular firing squad would start organizing immediately. And that’s a good thing.

  100. Latino_in_Boston says:

    @superdestroyer:

    SD, I really hope you’re working overtime to try to convince your party of its imminent death. It would be nice if they hurried up the process, so the Dems can get on with governing. The country really can’t afford this deadlock and “do-nothing” Congress. So I really would love if you could do your part on that. Thanks.

    @Rob in CT:
    Excellent points, Rob.

  101. James Joyner says:

    @Katharsis and @anjin-san: Santorum is making an argument well out of the Republican mainstream of 1981, much less 2012. Yes, there’s a strong “no sex outside marriage” social conservative strain that wants schools to teach abstinence and thinks, as William F. Buckley Jr. put it many years back, that teaching kids that having sex is a sin but that, if they’re going to do it, by all means wear a rubber, is akin to teaching them stealing is wrong but that, if they’re going to do it, by all means wear gloves. While I disagree with the premise that sex between single, consenting adults outside marriage is morally problematic, that’s perfectly reasonable given the foundational premise.

    But arguing that we shouldn’t teach kids that using contraception is morally right is a far cry from arguing that people should be denied the legal right to use contraception.

  102. Kylopod says:

    >then I believe it would be safe to say that blacks have little interest in family

    Michael, you forgot about the fourth thing to add to your list: money, bombs, Jesus, and Adolf.

  103. mattb says:

    @James Joyner:

    But arguing that we shouldn’t teach kids that using contraception is morally right is a far cry from arguing that people should be denied the legal right to use contraception.

    This is completely true. Though it seems important to also ask the question — which doesn’t get discussed enough — is “good moral policy” the same as “good social policy?”

  104. MBunge says:

    @mattb: “is “good moral policy” the same as “good social policy?””

    Since people are inherently sinful, the answer is often “no”. If there’s one thing that pretty much all projects in utopianism, religious and otherwise, have proven, it’s that you can’t demand people be saints. Expectations can be set as high as you want, but a good and just society must have its requirements a good deal lower.

    Mike

  105. mattb says:

    @MBunge: On this we both agree.