Apr 28 2009
Update: Well, Michael Steele was on Hannity (the right wing isÂ apoplecticÂ while trying to put on a brave face) and agreed with Hannity that the best path forward was more purity. The plan is to limit the primaries to only true conservatives! These people prove why Darwin was right all along. Those who adapt will survive.
Update: Words of wisdom from Michael Barone:
I think this shows the folly, from the point of view of expanding Republican numbers in Congress, of Pat Toomeyâ€™s candidacy. His chances of winning a general election, in my judgment, were far lower than they were in 2004, when he ran against Specter and lost the primary by only a 51%-49% margin. In 2004 Pennsylvania voted for John Kerry by just a 51%-48% margin. In 2008 Pennsylvania voted for Barack Obamaby a 54%-44% margin, despite McCainâ€™s frequent campaigning in the state. In between some 200,000 Pennsylvania voters switched their party registration from Republican to Democratic. This does not seem to have been just an opportunistic move to vote in a particular primary but the sign of a genuine switch in allegiance. And itâ€™s not just a Pennsylvania phenomenon. Republican party identification has sagged significantly since 2004 in most parts of the nation.
Some commenters think I am being too hard on the conservatives. Sorry, but objective analysis can be brutal. As I noted below I saw this coming in 2005 if things did not turn around. The fact things have played out as I feared is a testament to my objectivity and being willing to post the hard realities.Â
Powerline notes the self destruction is welcomed by those unable to tolerate differences of opinions:
DeMint says he would rather have 30 Republicans in the Senate who really believe in principles of limited government, free markets, free people, than. . .that don’t have a set of beliefs.” Both prospects sound gruesome to me and we may be getting very close to the first of the two.
In response to DeMint and one of my commenters, everyone has principles and beliefs. There is no monopoly on these traits. The conservative movement’s superiority complex is running headlong into reality. This is America with all its diversity, which has strength and wisdom gained from that diversity. Realize that and respect it, or continue to run in the lead for the political Darwin Awards for the 21st century.
Update: Words of wisdom from Real Clear Politics.
Update: Folks, Specter is not the only Pennsylvanian to leave the GOP – not by a long shot:
Terry Madonna, a professor of political science at Franklin & Marshall College, estimates that more than 130,000 Republicans left the Pennsylvania GOP over the past 15 months.
â€œMany of them were moderate Republicans who have been in the party more than 20 years â€” in other words, Specter Republicans,â€ said Madonna.Â
People are making choices and moving away from the right. Specter is not who people think he is:
Tom McClusky, vice president of government affairs at the Family Research Council, a prominent conservative advocacy group, said that Specter has also earmarked hundreds of thousands of dollars for embryo adoption.Â
No one is a pure and true conservative, no one.
– end update
Well, in what has to be a clear sign to conservatives they are way too toxic for public consumption, Arlen Specter has moved to the Democrat Party. Now Pat Toomey, who was probably going to win the GOP primary, will get a big taste of voter backlash. I meant to write a post predicting Specter would pull a Lieberman if he lost the primary. Seems the GOP is so dysfunctional, close minded and basically insulting that Specter decided to go all in. I now predict Toomey will lose big time in the blue state of PA. Should be an interesting flame out.
If Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins also get to the point they realize there is no place in the small tent conservative GOP, then the right will have sunk into complete irrelevance.
As I said many times, the purity wars raged by the far right since 2006 would only result in an impotent minority screaming in their echo chamber, unappealing to the American voter. Distilling the movement down to its radical core has done its damage. And conservatism won’t be coming back until they realize they have to share this nation and its future with everyone.
Addendum: I can understand some people think I take joy in the conservative slide into oblivion, but that is not the case. The sad fact is I saw this coming years ago, and have tried for years to stop the self destruction. Let’s take a trip down memory lane to illustrate why this ex-conservative is not happy, but not surprised at how far the right and conservatism has fallen.
Let’s begin in October 2005, when the far right went ballistic over one Harriet Miers:
My position on the Miers debacle is clear: the anti-Miers ideologues, driven by their irrational fears and wild fantasy scenarios, have become so fanatical they are killing the conservative movement dead in its tracks. Only an ideologue could claim that BushÂ lookedÂ weak in his selection of Miers, therefore it was OK toÂ actuallyÂ weaken him with open resistance (Rush Limbaugh)
I do not trust fair weather allies who give up everything when they do not get their way. I said before,Â here,Â that the fanatical right had to be careful and not go so far out on the fringe or they would lose the normal conservatives. I should have known better. Obsession blocks out everything else – especially logic.
This was when the purity wars began, and it has raged for years, whittling down the conservative coalition into an inept core. Let’s now move to November 2006:
When is the conservative movement going to get over the rejection and stop blaming everyone else. It was not Bush. It was the crude infighting, it was the rejections of compromise, it was the holier than thou attitudes. People rage against the Gang of 14 but we got all these wonderful justices and judges on the bench. It is the result that matters – or at least should matter. What is wrong with Schwarzenegger? He not conservative enough? Are we going to push him out of the party even though he has given us the first chance in a decade to make a comeback in CA? Did we purge Chafee and lose the senate in a snit of purity? Did we do the same to DeWine? Did DeWine lose because he was a member of the Gang of 14? A better question for the conservatives right now – is did he deserve to lose? I respectfully ask Republicans to answer this question.
Did DeWine deserve to lose his seat because he was a member of the Gang of 14? Was it better for the party that he lost? The answer to this question will foretell the future of the Republican party. It will not be Bush – it will be the base andÂ how diverseÂ the base is willing to be.
How about April 2007:
Far right (or hard right) Republicans/Conservatives have a decision to make: either purity or Power.
Purity or the Power to change things? We less strident conservatives (like myself who have unequivocal support for Bush II and Reagan) support the general conservative approach. But we are not signing up for any hard right turns. The immigration issue is another where the far/hard right is way out of step with the country. And as long as the far right will not compromise and look long term and accept steps towards the full promise of conservative thought then they will be going nowhere. This mess started when the far right had a fit over Harriet Miers and would not even let the women express her views. Since that moment, when the far/hard right took off into the weeds the Bush Presidency and the War started going down hill. Sensing the schism – as many of us did – the Dems went all out and gave al Qaeda hope. Hope that a Pelosi would come and save them from annihilation. And it worked.
Now June 2007, when the Amnesty Hypochondriacs sent a clear message of anger and hate to a major and growing segment of our society:
Watch many of those be Democrats – like in 2006. Democrats want to win so they will recruit a broader spectrum of candidates. The GOP wants to be right. They will be looking to purity and will belittle some of their strongest members – like Schwarzenegger and Guiliani and McCain. As they have always done. We will see a lot of Ned Lamonts on the GOP side I fear.
Got one today, didn’t we? July 2007:
The Immigration debacle is not over. The purity wars are in full bloom as the Amnesty Hypochondriacs move to make sure they will never come close to seeing real reform. In fact, some fools are calling forÂ Sen Martinez to be defeated or recalledÂ (which will, of course, leave Florida with TWO Democrat Senators).
Say adios to the GOP as a major political voice in 2008.
Sadly, nailed that one too. How about August 2008:
We on the conservative side want the liberals to be more open minded on Iraq and the war on terror, yet we cannot muster an ounce of respect for those on our side who do open their minds and discussions. The entire point of the article referenced is how the pressure on Democrats has them moving in our direction. Why risk this and more progress by denigrating the process?
What America is weary of is the inability of the parties to find reasoned compromise. What drives the GOP to the margins of history is their inability to respect good faith discussions and reasoned compromise. They have this knee-jerk annoying habit of looking down their nose at anyone who tries to solve problems. And it is why the Democrats are poised to win the elections this year despite their abysmal performance on all issues important to Americans.
Because in the end, rightly or wrongly, the Democrats are seen as respecting the average American. And given the tone of some on the right like Michael Savage, Pat Buchanan, Michelle Malkin and others it is a wonder the GOP is not in more trouble.
I can go on and on, year after year, reviewing my attempts to raise the alarm bells that the movement was being destroyed. But why? No one listened then, and they are not listening now. But things are still going as I expected – sadly.