Apr 30 2009
It has been a long 4+ years since the purity wars erupted in the one time conservative coalition, destroying alliances and sending centrists (who are not ‘moderate’, just not extreme) out the door to the Democrat candidates. The end result: 51 house GOP seats and 13 GOP senate seats lost since the 2002-2004 election cycles when there was talk of a filibuster proof GOP majority in the senate. Now the democrats have the filibuster proof majority within reach.
The conservative denial about their political decline is best seen in two recent news items. The first was the insane comments by Sen DeMint, where he claimed that he would prefer an impotent echo chamber of 30 true (e.g., pure) conservatives Â (who would make up an impotent backbench of whiners) to actual control of the senate and its agenda:
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 donâ€™t have a set of beliefs.â€
Talk about loser talk. Who would support a movement whose strategy is permanent irrelevance? Anyone think this would attract supporters, volunteers and donations? Of course, not! A plan to be pure and irrelevant is the fast track to the laughing stock corner of the trash bin of history. Who would waste 2 seconds on a plan of endless political failure and election losses? I am stilled floored at how ridiculous this statement is.Â
The second laugher example was Bill Kristol’s declaration that losing the only leverage the GOP had left (the filibuster) was a victory for the right!
Good News for Republicans!
Similarly and contrarianly, I wonder if todayâ€™s Arlen Specter party switch, this time to the presidentâ€™s party, wonâ€™t end up being bad for President Obama and the Democrats.Â
What a dumb attempt to put a smiley face on defeat. I guess al Qaeda should be happy that, while they lost Afghanistan and Iraq, it is good for them since they don’t have to try and win in these places anymore. This is logic? This is leadership? Will Kristol be happy with further GOP irrelevance?
This insanity had to come to and end sooner or later if there were going to be an effort to change the nation’s future, to lead us in a better direction, to do more than whine and tout purity. Finally there are signs that groups of conservatives and GOP leaders – who live way outside the righwing fringe – are starting to end the slide to oblivion.Â
House and Senate Republican lawmakers were the latest to launch a group independent of the RNC, announcing the formation of the National Council for a New America late Wednesday through aides and in a letter going out to supporters Thursday.
The group comprises potential GOP presidential candidates who plan town hall-style meetings to promote ideas different from Obama’s. Their aides and allies have been vexed by the lack of comprehensive alternatives put forward by the national Republican leadership.
The lawmakers’ group includes Jeb Bush, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Sen. John McCain. Republican aides on Capitol Hill disclosed the group Wednesday just before Obama started a news conference to mark his first 100 days in office.
It and a similar group â€” Resurgent Republic, a collection of the party’s senior strategists â€” are meant to be a Republican roadshow outside Washington’s circus tent.
This could be the conservative Phoenix rising out of the ashes of the purity wars. This is the path back to relevance – find common ground that can unite a coalition of opposition to the liberal policies of Obama and the Democrats (which of course would not include changing Obama current policies on Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and FIS-NSA since these are extensions of the Bush policies). I would also bet these Â groups workto craft a new comprehensive immigration package Â with Obama in order to oppose any liberal poison pills in the legislation (again, an extension of the Bush-McCain proposals).
I would expect this group to make alliances with conservative Democrats to stop policies that are too far out of the mainstream – opening a dialogue which will allow compromises that attenuate the left wing desires.
But this is just a start. The flame throwers on the far right need to be basically pushed aside so they can stop damaging the conservative brand. In an interesting side benefit to the Specter switch to the Dems it looks like the GOP will be dumping the far right (and unelectable) Toomey for a more centrist candidate in the PA Senate Republican primary:
The National Republican Senatorial Committee is recruiting Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.) to run for the Senate because it views Pat Toomey as unelectable against Sen. Arlen Specter, according to Gerlachâ€™s lead consultant.
According to Gerlach consultant Mark Campbell, Cornyn reached out to Gerlach this morning, and the two are expected to chat about the Senate race this afternoon.
Gerlach is one of the most politically tested House Republicans, winning a Democratic-leaning suburban Philadelphia seat despite being a top target in a punishing environment for the GOP. Democrats and liberal groups have spent nearly $30 million against him over the last four elections but he has narrowly prevailed each time.
Either way, leading Republicans don’t sound bullish about Toomey’s prospects in a general election against Specter.Â The vice chairman of the NRSC, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), said he didnt think “there is anybody in the world who believes [Toomey] can get elected senator there.”
Oh, there are many in deep denial who think Toomey is a gift from God himself and can’t lose. There is a need to end the bleeding and soon. The GOP is losing support at an astonishing and historic rate. Example 1:
Fifty-one percent of people questioned in the survey said they have a favorable opinion of Democrats. While that’s down 7 points from February, it’s still 12 points higher than the 39 percent who said they have a positive opinion of the Republican Party. Fifty-five percent hold an unfavorable opinion about Republicans.
Just amazing, GOP is more unfavorable than the Democrats are favorable. The rejection by the American people is quite clear.Â ExampleÂ 2:
Quite a few Republicans see that as an urgent need, especially now that just 21 percent of the electorate identifies with the GOP, according to the April 21-24Â Washington Post/ABC News poll. That percentage is the lowest that thePost/ABC News poll has found for Republicans in more than 25 years.Â
Even on top issues the raging minority on the right is losing ground. People interested in making a difference as opposed to screaming their moral superiority over all others in this fine country would do well to read the Op-Ed of Sen Olympia Snowe, which reviewsÂ her assessment of where the conservative movement took a wrong turn and began to self destruct. Some important excerpts:
When Senator Jeffords became an independent in 2001, I said it was a sad day for the Republicans, but it would be even sadder if we failed to confront and learn from the devaluation of diversity within the party that contributed to his defection.Â
I could have hardly imagined then that, in 2009, we would fondly reminisce about the time when we were disappointed to fall short of 60 votes in the Senate. Regrettably, we failed to learn the lessons of Jim Jeffordsâ€™s defection in 2001. To the contrary, we overreached in interpreting the results of the presidential election of 2004 as a mandate for the party. This resulted in the disastrous elections of 2006 and 2008, which combined for a total loss of 51 Republicans in the House and 13 in the Senate
…Â Republicans turned a blind eye to the iceberg under the surface, failing to undertake the re-evaluation of our inclusiveness as a party that could have forestalled many of the losses we have suffered.
I have said that, without question, we cannot prevail as a party without conservatives. But it is equally certain we cannot prevail in the future without moderates.
In that same vein, I am reminded of a briefing by a prominent Republican pollster after the 2004 election. He was asked what voter groups Republicans might be able to win over. He responded: women in general, married women with children, Hispanics, the middle class in general, and independents.
How well have we done as a party with these groups? Unfortunately, the answer is obvious from the results of the last two elections.Â
Yeah, the results are obvious to everyone but the oblivious, who to this day cheer each new act of purifying the party of dissenters and diversity. The one thing the purist forgot is, as they distill their ranks down to fewer and fewer true conservatives, they lose all their political clout and open the door for centrists to pull together a viable opposition to Obama and the liberals made up of center left to center right voters, who can defeat either fringe with ease. That is the next phase of this long process. We are hitting bottom, and we will come out the back end of this with a two party system devoid of the fringes. The far right is being distilled out now, the far left will be distilled out when their socialist policies to attack the economic crisis fail miserably.
Sometimes you have to go through tough times in order to learn the lessons that help you jump ahead in the end.