November 5, 2008

So who are the frontrunners for 2012?

That's the wrong question. The right question is: What can Republicans do to make us want them again?

And I'm going to put the "lameness" tag on this post in anticipation of the answer: Sit back and wait for the Democrats to screw up.

78 comments:

Ron said...

Stuart Smalley will feel he was jobbed in Minnesota, comprehend the full breadth of his humility, and make a run at the Obinator in 4 years? Because he's good enough, he's smart enough, and doggone it, people like him!

rhhardin said...

Economics lessons for the masses.

MadisonMan said...

I'm wondering when Paul Ryan will run for Governor, or if he'll take on Herb Kohl. My Mom knows Ryan's grandmother, so I might have to vote for him -- if he can muzzle the social conservatives in his party.

Dark Eden said...

It worked for the Democrats didn't it? Offer no ideas, attack every single thing the other side does, call the other side nazis, blame anything and everything wrong and bad that happens on the other side's "failed" ideas. That's exactly what the Democrats have been doing for eight years, and that never seemed to bother you at all Ann. But even the idea that the Republicans MIGHT do it seems to piss you off. Why so hypocritical?

Harwood said...

What can Republicans do to make us want them again?
---
Us? Name the last Republican you wanted.

Kristina said...

I was always a Republican until this election, but during the Bush administration, the Republican party really moved away from all that I believed was good about it. So here's a real suggestion:
Return to small government, less intervention, better economic savvy. Stop with the neocon approach to international relations. Abandon (or at least sideline) the religious right mantras. Be a little more centrist, and a little more tolerant.

Gabe said...

I think the Republicans have to figure out what their overall message is. I think part of McCain's loss stems from a vague message that didn't translate into good sound bites. I think the Republicans have a tremendous opportunity to retool their message and really focus on restoring the original message of conservatism. It is actually a wonderful opportunity and we will all be the better for it.

Jimmy Carter helped the Republicans recover from Nixon/Ford and maybe, just maybe, Obama can help us recover from W.

Darcy said...

Olympia Snowe? Susan Collins??

Hagel. Yeah, that's it.

Though I think they're all too extreme right for this country.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Let's see, who will be the Old Guy Whose Turn It is in 2012?

Thomas said...

Ann, that's only half right. If you think that Democrats need to screw up for us to blame them for things, you haven't been paying attention the last few years. So, screwups, mishaps, and the various shit that sometimes just happens: all those are the argument for Bobby Jindal 2012.

MadisonMan said...

There was an interesting discussion with Sen. Ensign this morning on the radio about bright spots in the Election results from yesterday. He was hard pressed to find any. Hispanics are breaking for Democrats and so are college educated white folks. I agree that if the Republican party doesn't cast off the bitter and angry Social Conservatives that it will be a long time in the wilderness for (R)s. Of course those Social Conservatives will argue that they are the true Republicans. That may be true, but at a national level they are not electable.

Dark Eden said...

Well I am not a social conservative but I think this election was a repudiation of that whole 'be moderate or you can't get elected' thing. McCain was the most moderate, centrist, reach across the aisle guy on our team. Our unbiased media still portrayed him as a fascist demon with a bible in one hand and a bazooka in the other, stepping on the constitution like Bill Ayers stepping on a flag. No matter what we do, we will be portrayed as monsters by the press, so that doesn't really wash with me. I think honestly we need a vigorous and spirited promotion of Conservative principles. I think a few years of left wing rule will also help as a reminder of why those conservative ideas are so popular too.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Hispanics are breaking for Democrats and so are college educated white folks.

And this is a change from when?

Balfegor said...

So, screwups, mishaps, and the various shit that sometimes just happens: all those are the argument for Bobby Jindal 2012.

Even in 2012, Jindal is only going to be, what, 42? Why not wait until he's a little more seasoned? Bush III/Jindal in 2012 -- that's the ticket.

Donna B. said...

I'm going to get involved in local politics and try to influence future politicians and work on overhauling the political machine.

Darcy said...

Dark Eden: Yup. You're so right. Anybody that says Republicans need to lurch to the left now was just never going to vote for one, anyway.

We do need to sharpen our message. What exactly was McCain's message, anyway? :)

Thomas said...

Eden, that's not the half of it. I'm willing to bet that when Jindal wins the nomination in 2012 and runs against Obama, the Republicans will still be called anti-intellectual, and that Obama will still be seen as smarter than his opponent by the press.

Ben (The Tiger) said...

Getting back to basics -- that's what the Republicans need to do. Americans have good reason not to be happy with us right now.

So we need to get our own house in order, and then -- yes, we'll have to wait for the Democrats to screw up.

Sorry, that's just how it is.

Hoosier Daddy said...

And I'm going to put the "lameness" tag on this post in anticipation of the answer: Sit back and wait for the Democrats to screw up.

I don't think the Democrats can screw up. They have their huge majority in Congress and the Hope and Change President. The only way they can screw up is if they don't start passing the legislation that promised. You know, tax hikes, bankrupting the coal industry, windfall profits taxes, withdrawal from Iraq, etc.

By the way, how long do you think the Cindy Sheehan contingent will give Obama to withdraw from Iraq and end the war before they turn on him?

Ben (The Tiger) said...

(By "get our own house in order", I do mean stick to our principles and/or rediscover them.)

Meade said...

"What can Republicans do to make us want them again?"

Who do you mean by "us?" More than 39 million Americans indicated by voting that they do not want Obama for their president. What can Democrats do to make them change their minds?

Sally said...

This is truly the era of the permanent campaign isn't it? Not 24 hours since we elected a new President and already someone wants to talk about 2012.

MadisonMan said...

Hoosier D, I recall (I was half-asleep) that Reagan pulled many many college-educated white men. Those people -- young ones -- are breaking far more for Obama than any Republican.

Lisa said...

Stand up against sexism

Ann Althouse said...

"Us? Name the last Republican you wanted."

Giuliani.

MadisonMan said...

That's only a noun. You need a verb and 9/11 in that sentence.

Donn said...

MM:
Of course those Social Conservatives will argue that they are the true Republicans. That may be true, but at a national level they are not electable.

As a good social conservative, I don't agree. 8^)

At this point in time, you can still win at the national level as a social conservative, however, you cannot be an extreme social conservative. Even Obama was a social conservative on some issues.

People wanted change, i.e. from a Repub to a Dem. I predicted this would happen even before the two candidates were chosen by their parties.

People like an attractive candidate, Obama was, JM wasn't.

TMink said...

Kristina wrote: "Return to small government, less intervention, better economic savvy."

We agree.

"Stop with the neocon approach to international relations."

Expand on this idea please, what do you specifically mean?

"Abandon (or at least sideline) the religious right mantras."

Support abortion? That is the way to lose voters.

"Be a little more centrist, and a little more tolerant."

Centrism is what caused the problem in some part, Senator McCain is a centrist. The Democrats do not care and many of the Republicans do not like it.

In what areas do you think the Republicans should be more tolerant?

I agree strongly with your first sentence, the rest seems to be saying "be more liberal." That advice will eventually split the party. Not that it would be a bad thing necessarily.

Trey

Freeman Hunt said...

I agree with Eden that this was a repudiation of moderation. McCain was as perfectly moderate as a candidate can get. Go all out conservative. Smaller government, lower taxes, cut entitlements, offer school choice, be anti-abortion, ignore the extreme enviromentalists, and hammer home over and over and over the need to avoid government tyranny. Historically you have more to fear from your own government than any outside power. People have entirely forgotten that.

As for telling people that the social conservatives are ruining everything, you're nuts. I may not agree with them, but all these anti gay marriage propositions seem to be doing extremely well across the country, even in liberal areas. And that's considered to be more on the extreme end of social conservatism. As for the abortion factor, you cannot drop the anti abortion rights vote. There are a huge number of people, like me, who see abortion as the modern moral equivalent of slavery. They're also part of the GOP base. You will lose them instantly if you drop their cause. They are today's abolitionists, and that is simply not an issue they'll give up.

john marzan said...

What can Republicans do to make us want them again?

iraq spiralling out of control in 2006 was what hurt the republicans. mccain was the only candidate that had a shot at winning the 2008 presidential elections because he advocated a change in strategy from bush that is now succeeding in iraq.

i supported mccain because i thought iraq was still going to be a major issue in the campaign. but as iraq faded from the news and the economy became more of a priority for the voters, that dynamic hurt mccain's chances. the financial crisis in mid september was the final nail in mccain's chances.

for the republicans to succeed in future elections, the social conservative wing of the GOP should be more tolerant of national candidates that are pro-choice--as long as these candidates hold moderate social views and are economic and national security conservatives.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Hoosier D, I recall (I was half-asleep) that Reagan pulled many many college-educated white men.

Well if you want to split the college educated demographic down probably he did. Overall I thought college educated white folk as you call them have traditionally gone for Democrats as had the Hispanic vote.

Freeman Hunt said...

And no, you don't wait for the Dems to screw up. They will, but that's beside the point. You can't wait until then to retool. You have to be ready to go when needed.

Blue Moon said...

1. Enough with the lame cultural resentment card. "Those elites are attacking our way of life, blah, blah, blah." Yes, because Ben Affleck is the one that caused the mortgage crisis. It was really bizarre that McCain, a man who has 8 houses and millions was saying these things.

2. Rediscover fiscal conservatism -- easy to say, hard to do. Republican citizens like their big government too. Spend a few years explaining to people why it is more efficient for $$$ to stay in the private sector.

3. Purge baby purge. Sorry, but you're going to have to stamp out the sizeable minority in the party that want small government because they don't like blacks and hispanics receiving benefits. No more tiptoeing around it, no more meeting with the "Conservative Citizens Council" like Trent Lott did routinely. No more fried chicken and watermelon fliers like in Orange County CA.

4. No more lazy social conservatism. My brother in law is hard core, no exceptions pro-life who also volunteers to raise money to expand shelters for poor pregnant women that provide housing and health care. Say more about protecting marriage beyond Prop 8 - tell people the greatest threat to their marriage is themselves, not the two dudes down the street.

Obama bumbaye!!!

Freeman Hunt said...

Say more about protecting marriage beyond Prop 8 - tell people the greatest threat to their marriage is themselves, not the two dudes down the street.


Yes! That would be a winning issue and good for the country.

Donn said...

I don't think we'll even have to wait until January for the Dems to screw up.

In today's WaPost:

Hence, the first real step of the president-elect of the United States ought to be for a forceful demand for immediate resignation of the sitting president and his vice president. The president-elect ought to enlist the media and the electorate in this call for early resignation.

Can you say "over-reach?" Of course, we all heard this kind of nonsense before the election, but I think they will start to turn-off voters if they try to pull such crap. Many young people voted for a Dem this time, but start messing with 1st Amendment issues, and they will start to peel off in quick time.

john marzan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Freeman Hunt said...

You also need a personality for your Presidential candidate. Lots of "moderates" in this election turned out to not be moderates so much as personality-driven voters. A whole lot of people voted Obama and were also enamored with Palin. Those two have almost nothing in common politically, but they are both engaging personalities.

Donn said...

A good comment over at The Corner.

Quote of the Day, from a reader on Obama's victory:

It’s kind of like being diagnosed with testicular cancer. You hope to live through the treatment, but you don’t look forward to what you’re about to lose.

Donn said...

Lots of "moderates" in this election turned out to not be moderates so much as personality-driven voters.

Not only moderates, but all voters. It's a product of our "Hollywood" driven lives.

john marzan said...

Hence, the first real step of the president-elect of the United States ought to be for a forceful demand for immediate resignation of the sitting president and his vice president. The president-elect ought to enlist the media and the electorate in this call for early resignation.

and then, put bush and cheney under trial for war crimes. an auspicious start for the obama administration.

Donn said...

Great idea John!

john marzan said...

repost:

"Us? Name the last Republican you wanted. Giuliani."

i like rudy. i don't mind his pro-choice position. but his personal life is messy (if you know what i mean.) his kids hate him. that's gonna hurt his electability.

but i see his chances of becoming president improving if america's under another 9/11-wallstreet crisis mode.

Jason said...

I would start by running candidates that don't spend as much time and energy running AGAINST Republicans as against Democrats.

In other words, find a real Republican, and one who's willing to express WHY he's a conservative republican, without diluting or garbling the message as McCain did.

former law student said...

Where was that gracious Phoenix man for the past two months, the one who evoked great Republican Teddy Roosevelt, who in similar hard times had had the awareness to say (from the webbed Henry Pringle biography): I DO not like the social conditions at present," Roosevelt complained
to Taft in March, 1906. "The dull, purblind folly of the very
rich men; their greed and arrogance . . . and the corruption in
business and politics, have tended to produce a very unhealthy condition of excitement and irritation in the popular mind, which shows itself in
the great increase in the socialistic propaganda."1

The domestic policies of the President in his second term were largely a result of this apprehension. ". . . The growth of the socialistic party,"
he said, ". . . [is] far more ominous than any populist or similar movement in times past."2


The charming moderate McCain of 2000 remade himself as an angry rightwinger in 2008. Picking Sarah Palin undercut his strongest argument -- lack of experience -- against McCain. Constant pandering to the conservative base inevitably turned off the Independents, his natural base. Hammering on the success of the surge merely reminded the voters that even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

john marzan said...

i hope the republican party like david frum said becomes less overtly religous and less polarizing on social issues.

http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2008/11/05/david-frum-republicans-face-choice-between-two-paths-to-revival.aspx

Synova said...

What can Republicans do to make us want them again?

Boggle.

...the answer: Sit back and wait for the Democrats to screw up.

I honestly read this as wait for them to *grow* up.

Either way.

If things go decently now, or at least get less "hateful" it will be because the majority of Republicans ARE the grown-ups.

Oligonicella said...

Only 51% voted Obama, Ann. I know you're a law prof and not an economist or math gal, but even you should understand that in no way constitutes a mandate. Not when Reps win, not when Dems win.

It ain't a lock on the future. Only 6% need change their mind to flip things.

"The right question is: What can Republicans do to make us want them again?"

You never will.

MadisonMan said...

Every news item I read says 52% Obama and 46% McCain.

I'm not sure how you can say that a clear majority is not a mandate. Obama won by a greater percentage than did many sitting Congresscritters.

1jpb said...

Imagine trying to put together a winning political campaign that doesn't involve personally demonizing your opponent.

If you unilaterally take away the character assassination tool, you'll be forced to strengthen the other tools (issues and policies) in the box.

But, I don't think this can happen because the professional-conservatives, that many of you follow, put food on the table by selling vitriol.

oligonicella,

Looking at the whole pie I think we're at 52/46 (w/2 other.) This is a substantial popular vote victory. You should look at other recent P elections.

Try to think of ways to advance R politics without attacking the other side; see above.

Donn said...

I'm not sure how you can say that a clear majority is not a mandate.

52% is a clear majority/mandate? I always thought of it as 2% above the bare minimum! 8^)

1jpb said...

donn,

Look at other P elections.

You'll see that 52/46 is a substantial victory.

Donn said...

You'll see that 52/46 is a substantial victory.

As quoted by Instapundit:

More generally, the picture is of a solid Democratic win, but not the tsunami some had expected. Obama won the popular vote by a solid, but not crushing, margin of slightly less than six percent (52.4-46.5). Bill Clinton beat Bob Dole by a significantly greater margin and even greater relative percentage (49.25-40.71), and George Bush by a slightly lower margin, but higher relative percentage (43.01-37.45). Bush, meanwhile, beat Dukakis by a larger margin, 53.4 to 45.6.

1jpb said...

donn,

Your numbers (and the unmentioned relatively recent victories) are precisely why hitting 52% is notable. It's not just getting two more than fifty.

Having around 52% of the country chose a P is substantial. We've seen that this number (and less) has resulted in plenty of so-called political capital/mandate.

I would not at all back away from characterizing BHO's win as substantial.

As I noted in my comment. The R attack machine would be better served by retooling their issues and policies. And, they should learn to abandon their rote attack reactions.

Time will tell.

Dark Eden said...

///As I noted in my comment. The R attack machine would be better served by retooling their issues and policies. And, they should learn to abandon their rote attack reactions.///

All the dems have done for eight years is relentlessly attack everything while offering up nothing. Worked for them.

Synova said...

I'm not sure how you can say that a clear majority is not a mandate. Obama won by a greater percentage than did many sitting Congresscritters.

It was certainly a sizable majority, but a mandate? Having both the House and Senate means (supposedly) that he could expect little resistance, and I'm sure not going to repeat the idiotic demands made of Bush that he, because he didn't get more than half the vote, was supposed to follow the dictates of the *other* half of the vote... but last I looked there was a lot of red on the map.

Quite a few of the states that McCain won, he won by a whole lot, not just a little bit. The map has big red areas, not like when Reagan won every single state but Minnesota, and while getting 52% of the vote is a big win in relative terms, it still really is only 2% (or whatever it ended up being at the end) more than half. Which means that only barely less than half of the citizens of this country who voted, voted for someone else.

1jpb said...

donn,

One more thing; it is super-hilarious to compare the relative percentage of a point spread.

And, it's somewhat amusing that someone would suggest that the point spread is more important than looking at what percent of the population supported a particular candidate. You can have a big point spread, but still have a majority vote AGAINST you.

Most folks would probably agree that it's not unimportant to have more folks vote for you than against you. It's a fact that getting around 52% of the folks to vote for a P has been a big challenge. Overcoming this big challenge is a substantial accomplishment.

Bottom line; think for yourself.

Donn said...

1jpb,

You can cut it anyway you like, but 52% is very very marginally over half the country. That means that almost as many people do not support Obama, as support him. If you want to call that a mandate, go ahead.

Akiva said...

The Dems now have the presidency and control the congress. Every single time in the last 30 years this has happened - the party has self destructed.

The Repubs don't have to do anything, just sit back and watch the Dems pander to their radical constituencies, engage in their most direction changing ideas, and swing US world posture so hard it hurts.

Can someone point me to the time in US history (this century) when a party in full power didn't go too far and draw a counter-reaction?

Mark Percich said...

What will it take to make us want the Republicans again? Ahhh, the voice of victory. The Obama-philes think of this as a new dawning. It is just the second term of the Jimmy Carter administration. When I tried to explain to my daughter about the late seventies, she could not understand it. After all, she had known nothing but Reagan's policies. The poor child - and all of the other young voters that helped make this happen - will soon see why the Reagan Revolution came.

See you in 2010.

Seven Machos said...

Democrats win close election: SWEEPING MANDATE!!!!

Republicans win close election: The people demand bipartisanship.

You leftists are so funny.

Palladian said...

"All the dems have done for eight years is relentlessly attack everything while offering up nothing. Worked for them."

The wonderful thing is that it won't work anymore. Time to put up or shut up!

Seven Machos said...

What's the over/under in years on the serious lefties hanging every problem on Bush? I say six.

Also, I have to say that I am somewhat that Obama won. It's like a fresh start and it means that we are going to start to see better conservative and libertarian-type candidates and more conservative momentum. Don't laugh either, bitches. Because there is no momentum right now. So any momentum whatsoever is more momentum.

Seven Machos said...

I am somewhat relieved is what I am somewhat.

walter neff said...

The Republican party should give every ounce of bipartisanship and respect to President Elect Obama that Harry Reid, Pelosi, Kerry, Kennedy, and Murtha gave to President Bush when he confronted our enemy’s abroad and intrinsic long term domestic problems at home. They have earned the exact same degree of cooperation and deference that they displayed, and not an inch more.

Terry said...

I can't help but think of that focus group of Obama supporters on TV a few months back that when asked to list Obama's accomplishments could not come up with even one.

Congress has about the lowest approval rating possible and now we have a President who will enable them to perform at even more idiotic levels.

I am certain that within a year disillusionment will set in as many people finally realize that Obama is not who they thought he was, that he is not going to give them everything they wanted from him, and that Obama plus our idiot Congress is a very bad thing for our nation.

TMink said...

John wrote: "for the republicans to succeed in future elections, the social conservative wing of the GOP should be more tolerant of national candidates that are pro-choice."

Not.
Gonna.
Happen.

Abortion is murder and an abomination to our God to us. The Republicans my leave the pro-life folks, but pro-life folks won't leave our conviction.

I can vote for someone who is wrong on abortion if they are better than the other choice (sad pun there.) But I totally respect my friends who will not.

This is where we are, where we live. We are not moving on this issue, it is fundamental (another pun) to our world view. In our minds, to support abortion is to invite God's wrath. That is scarry to us, we won't do it.

Trey

mccullough said...

I'm an independent, but here's my take.

Three big ideas:


Immigration reform. Embrace it like Reagan, W., and McCain.

Immigrants are the lifeblood of America and have been since the Civil War. Embrace it. Embrace it. Get to the left of the Dems on this (they have to pander to the union base which very much doesn't like illegal immigrants).

Federal charter schools. Tell the folks that federal government will take over the worst of the public schools be they in rural or urban areas. Parents love charter schools and educational opportunities. There's no reason Republicans should cede this issue to Dems. Republicans can be big-hearted and promote individual responsibility and accountability.


Instead of funding the states to do a poor job, just take over the schools and hire the teachers and administrators as federal employees who will not be unionized, just like state-charter school (we don't need another post-office and if they're going to just be civil servants then they may as well just be poorly run state schools).

Again, you get to the left of the Dems on this because they have to cater to unions. Also, it's a better idea than just throwing money at poor schools. And it's innovative.

Promotion of small business. Get away from looking like the party of big business and Wall Street and emphasize the entrepreneurial spirit that is working. Obama is totally clueless on small business, as are a lot of liberals. Also, a lot of immigrants are small business entrepreneurs so this ties in with embracing the hard-working optimistic spirit of immigrants. Also, tie this in with education. College is pretty much a rip-off and often unnecessary for many jobs. Schools should be teaching about and inculcating entrepreneurship.

Small business has been creating jobs while big business has been shedding them.

As to social issues. Downplay them while personalizing them. Discussions about abortion should focus on the high abortion rate and what people can do to curb unwanted pregnancies, especially among teenage girls, including increased sex education, especially for boys. Promote education and accountability, especially for boys. Also look into and promote whether sex education should be taught in a single sex setting. Turn sex education into much more of a boy issue.

Cause boys have no choice. If she wants to have it, you've got to pay. Time to grow up boys.

Face it, Republicans have lost the abortion debate like Democrats have lost the gun debate. Get over it and do something about teenage pregnancy, which is the much, much bigger problem.

Also, don't use gay marriage as a wedge issue. Obama smartly took this issue off the table. It's okay to be to the right of Dems on this issue, but not too far to the right. Gay marriage will continue to gain social approval over the next 20 years so there's no sense taking custard's last stand. Also, promote adoption by gays. People have a soft spot for kids and adoption is a great thing. Gays have been increasingly adopting children for the last 10 years and this is a good thing. Republicans can be pro-family without being anti-gay.

Glen said...

Who is John Galt?

Freeman Hunt said...

Having read the takes of many independents, my advice is: pay no attention to indpendents.

A lot of conservatives didn't bother to vote in the election. Democrat versus Democrat-lite is not much of a choice.

mccullough said...

Freeman,

Obama won Indiana and Virginia. Just let that sink in for awhile.

McCain blew out Obama in most of the deep south and Oklahoma.

There are no Republicans in Congress from the New England states. There are 30 Democratic governors.

The Department of Education will never be disbanded and Roe v. Wade will never be overturned.

W. was recklessly irresponsible in his fiscal policy.

Cedarford said...

If you look at the past, you see that Republicans lost power badly on 3 occasions in the 20th Century and returned, reinvigorated, by asking "what do the vast number of people in the Center really want" and then offering a coherent vision of that.
They came back after the Depression and FDR's adroit deathgrip on power by a "Peace and prosperity, steady hand" approach after Truman's time. Nixon, and other brilliant thinkers, achieved a great triumph after the Goldwater debacle by working years to build up organization and offer a viable alternative to the "Silent Majority" - and worked on ruthlessly shedding off Republican deadweight - the Birchers and religious ideologues that scared off voters. (That Nixon, a moderate lest we forget, salvaged them in only 4 years from what social conservative extremists had lost was a remarkable feat.) Then Reagan came in as a counter to McGovernite overreaching and pervasive domestic and international failure.

McCain was never the best candidate - Romney might have still lost, but he & his Team would have had a disciplined, coherent vision for the future that McCain and his cronies lacked the temperment or the brains to communicate to the public. Frankly, Palin doesn't have the brains, gravitas, or the skills to rebuild a Party. She is this years John Edwards, a silky pony that infatuated fans saw as inevitable in 4 years..

Nor is it ever the "Great Single Person - The Force" that journalists love to credit or disparage - reducing movements down to being the work of only one person..not even Nixon or Reagan..they were just pointmen of larger coalitions and thinkers that hashed out what the problems were, and what the fixes were.

Republicans could be out 4 years, or it could be 20 years.

Some obvious points:

1. The insistance that Goldwaterites had that they lost only because they weren't conservative enough and the parts of the country that rejected them were all fucked up and it was their fault didn't fly far. Pragmatic Republicans confronted reality and shed the worst of the "movement ideologues". The same fate awaits the worst of the "Base".

2. Republicans never rallied around a single "leader" in past rebuildings. They rallied around ideas and philosophy of governance. Only when primaries started did "frontunners" emerge and get tested, then were designated as "leaders" of the vision worked out by thousands of people hashing matters out..There will be no "Vision of the Alaskan Goddess", "Mitt alone at the mountaintop" or "Louisiana Bobby" retreating to the tundra, Moab summits, or swamps for 40 days and returning with a Party Recovery Roadmap.

3. Recoveries require purges of the bad actors, the ideas that once worked but no longer do or failed with changing times. Purge of the people whose personal beliefs alienated the Party from working majorities of Americans.
(At a minimum, this means that Republicans can no longer tolerate the corrupt. They cannot get ahead with the hypocrisy argument that Dems do it, too. They must end religious and "non-negotiable social dogma" litmus tests that have marginalized Republicans)

4. A purge of Neocons, and their policy of ruinious, endless wars to protect and liberate and democritize ungrateful 3rd World shitholes - is inevitable.

5. The rebuilding will be tough. The Southern Fundies alienated whole regions of the country. That are now almost Republican-free. That means some sections of the Republican organization will have to be recreated from the ground up. They also alienated hispanics, Mormons, and young women with religious and abortion litmus tests.
They believe they are "indispensible" and purge-proof, but they are not. The rebuildings done by groups headed by Nixon and Reagan did have to purge the worst hardcore, exclusionist true believers at war with the American majority and what they called the "RINOs" of their era.

5. The rebuilding team will have to be brutally honest about hoary dogma and shed old stuff that hasn't worked or outlived it's usefullness. That means things like Reaganomics, "trickledown", favoring the rich, paeons to an America that is no longer 90% white living in small towns, the rejection of science - has to be looked at objectively.

TMink said...

Mccullough wrote: "Discussions about abortion should focus on the high abortion rate and what people can do to curb unwanted pregnancies, especially among teenage girls, including increased sex education, especially for boys."

I think people know what to do to curb unwanted pregnancies. Some people, even the parents, want the pregnancies. I hear it in my office, it is disgusting to hear a mother talk about wanting her teenage girl to "give her a baby." But I hear it.

I think that the way for conservatives to grow their affiliation with the poor is to tell the truth kindly. To say that having a baby before you are married to the same man for 5 years will make that baby poor, that not getting married makes children grow up poor, that dropping out of school is for people who want to go to jail, etc.

At first the poor will reject that in favor of the victimhood ear candy. But some will listen, and those who do will succeed. It is probably a 15 year plan, but it is doable if someone has the vision.

Sex education typically just covers how to get pregnant and how to avoid it. Life education would share how sex and children and marriage are related to generational poverty and how better choices will stop it.

Trey

Jon said...

mccullough said: "and Roe v. Wade will never be overturned."

Right, because it's completely implausable that, say, Obama loses in 2012... and then in 2013 the 76 year old Kennedy retires and is replaced by a 5th strict constructionist justice. Couldn't happen.

blake said...

I'd like to point out that the Democrat-controlled Congress has been screwing up for the past 2 years; I don't see the repudiation.

One would think Obama would win the Presidency and Congress would flip.

So, the problem would seem to be that the Dems played dirty. That is, they executed a plan of "attack Bush first, worry about the consequences later". Whether it was flip-flopping on Iraq when they were talking about attacking under Clinton, or hyperventilating over Part D when they're advocating nationalizing health care, the main point was: Attack Bush and the Republicans.

This worked.

I'm not sure why the Republicans wouldn't do the same. Character? Principles?

Synova said...

I think people know what to do to curb unwanted pregnancies. Some people, even the parents, want the pregnancies. I hear it in my office, it is disgusting to hear a mother talk about wanting her teenage girl to "give her a baby." But I hear it.

Why is it disgusting?

And yes, people *do* know how to curb pregnancies, and they very often *do* have babies because they (perhaps unwisely) want them.

(I'd guess that most "unwanted" pregnancies are "unwanted" by someone not related to the mother or child but who thinks they know better.)

But why is wanting a baby, or a grand-child, disgusting?

Not only is reproduction a biological imperative (and you aren't truly a success genetically until you've got grandkids) but it's a creative and powerful thing to do. It is also inherently hopeful for people who may have very little hope.

If you don't understand why people do what they do, you aren't going to have any luck convincing them to do it differently.

raptros-v76 said...

Construct much, much stronger viral memes, that's how. Politics seems to be all about memetic warfare, and I think there are some lessons to be learned from, say, lolcats; I think that looking into the construction of powerful viral memes is a good political move. Call me cynical, but, hey, if it works...

veni vidi vici said...

"Imagine trying to put together a winning political campaign that doesn't involve personally demonizing your opponent.

If you unilaterally take away the character assassination tool, you'll be forced to strengthen the other tools (issues and policies) in the box.

But, I don't think this can happen because the professional-conservatives, that many of you follow, put food on the table by selling vitriol."

While I agree with this comment's prescription, I find the idea that this somehow applies uniquely to the Republicans a laughable display of hauteur.

And yes, I've been looking for a way to use the word "hauteur" for awhile, so even if it's not spot-on correct usage here, take a moment to enjoy how it looks and sounds. I will do the same.

veni vidi vici said...

Mccullough makes some excellent points on this thread.