Not right now, but say Obama does make a little headway with the economy, and continues to get better and better poll numbers over the next year–here’s what I think the Republicans should do, in their own long-term best interests:
Give up. Not long-term, but for 2012. Accept that Obama will get re-elected and put up a candidate who will get his ears kicked in but whom the voters can respect. One who specifically rejects racism, rejects kneejerk support of a bloated Defense budget, who excoriates homophobia, etc. and who asks all supporters of disgusting, reactionary policies NOT vote republican in 2012 or ever again. This candidate will lose Tea Party support, and thus the 2012 election, but so what? He was probably never going to win it anyway–what he gains is the centrist vote, and makes the Republicans once again able to compete for centrist independent voters in the future, pushing the Dems a bit further to the left, and completely marginalizing the racist, homophobic, conspiracist, loonytunes wing of his party for the foreseeable future.
What’s an “insult?” What’s a “misrepresentation?” You’re proud of the racists, the homophobes, the mindless jingoist reactionaries, the war lobbyists etc. in your party? There are intelligent, respectable Republicans who want lower taxes, less governmental services, less centralized federal policies, a smaller bureaucracy, who have no use for the Tea Party, who make you folks do foolish things in Congress and adopt positions you can’t stomach. So cut 'em loose, and have a real debate again, about the actual issues.
ETA: There’s a dupe thread floating around from when I tried editing the title myself–could you kill it or merge it? Thx.
I’m sure the tea party is headed down that road, but yes I’m saying 2012 may be the Republicans’ chance to become a real Party again, not one that rants and raves and postures and blunders and appeals to thugs. Cut the TP loose, and claim the center/Independent vote. Let Romney run for the nomination owning up to health care in Massachusetts, proposing his own additions and subtractions to the Dems’ ideas, instead of backtracking idiotically and saying shit that doesn’t even make sense to him, for example. Run on who you are, not who the fringe of your your Party thinks they want.
Well, that’s what I’m arguing, that the tradeoff might make sense, in the long run, politically, and this way you get your self-respect back.
If your response is “BUT that’s who I am, I AM a little bit racist, and certainly more than a little bit homophobic, and I LIKE reactionary thinking…” then you’re the problem (with the Republican Party and with current political discourse generally). My belief is that real conservatives deserve the chance to debate their real beliefs with real liberals, and the loonytunes deserve marginalization. I’d like it if a Republican were able to get elected (though I probably wouldn’t vote for one in most elections) and I didn’t have to fear he’d feel obliged to do something stupid and destructive in office just to mollify his base.
In Canada, the reactionary wing of the Conservatives left the party, and later came back to take it over. They had difficulty winning a majority in the federal elections because the public preferred liberal social policy and were concerned that the reconstituted Conservatives would set us back socially. Once it became clear that the Conservatives would move forward with conservative economic policy (including free trade), but not set back liberal social policy (e.g. social health care, abortion, and gay rights), they won a resounding majority.
When I look south of the border, I see a federal Republican party that is bat-shit crazy. I think that if they want to improve their standing at the polls, they need to build a track record of conservative economic policy (as opposed to talking the talk but not walking the walk), and dump the insane and hateful social policy.
Running candidates like Palin, who proved herself to be dumber that dog shit, makes the Republican party an easy target for the Democrats. Just ask yourself why Obama spent so much time focusing on Birther Trump at the White House Correspondents’ dinner – it was to show just how whacky the Republican Party is.
I think that any party in a first-world country should take a long, hard, look at what is going on in other first world countries. What is working elsewhere? What is not working elsewhere? What is making people in these countries satisfied or unsatisfied? In what direction have other first world countries moved in the last five, ten, twenty-five and fifty years, and in what direction are the moving now? By doing so, a party will have a better chance at picking a course that will appeal to the public. Instead of doing this, I see the Republican party closing its eyes and ears, and falling back on the politics of fearmongering, which makes for Fox headlines and talk-show radio diatribes, but does little to attract people who are looking for a well run country that is financially responsible and on par socially with the rest of the first world.
There are fringes on each side of any party. One of the Republican’s fringes is the Tea Party and their ilk. Another of their fringes are regular folks who want a better economy for themselves and their children, and a government that is tightened up a bit and keeps out of their faces while at the same time provides core services, such as social security and health care. These two fringes conflict with each other. The Republican Party should decide which fringe to dump so that the gain in votes from the opposite fringe will lead to a net gain in votes for the party in elections against the Democrats.
In a two party system, the ruling party has to rule from the centre if it wishes to be elected on an ongoing basis, and thereby can usually only make incremental shifts in major economic and social policy at any given time. In short, the Republicans need to decide if they wish to be the ruling party, or if they wish to be the protest party that nips at the heels of the ruling party.
Let me get this straight: A) you’re denying that there is a sizable strain of racism in the Tea Party’s antipathy to Obama that goes beyond mere policy difference? Or B) you’re okay with the TP being characterized as totally non-racist in their criticism of the President? Let’s start there. If A) we have a discussion, if B) you’re a racist (or an apologist for racists) in my estimation, so no need for further discussion.
We can do all of these in turn, and I’ll start somewhere else if you’d rather.
Are these respectable Republicans politically active?
This won’t work, because of populist party process. The folks who show up do the nominating, and the TEA nonsense is consistent with the base. The TEA Party swung toward the religious conservative platform because that’s where the base of politically active citizens already was. The people that are organized really want this crap, and I don’t know if there is an opening in the two-party system for an old-fashioned GOP any more than for the Whigs or the Bull Moose.
You give Romney too much credit. He was always against UHC, and later claimed for political reasons to have instituted in Mass. after in reality fighting against it.
So long as the Dems are the party of social deviants, & the GOP plays to the religious right; and the GOP protects defense-contractor jobs programs; it would be incredibly hard for the GOP to swing “too far” to the right for the southern & central US. There is a solid basea plurality of voters, and a majority of the party in those regionsthat will identify not as centrist but as hard right, who do not think that “too far to the right” is an insult, but rather think it desirable. And among these are those who may disagree with most of the GOP program but find it incomprehensible that the party of queers, baby-killers, & (putatively inefficiency-causing, price-fixing, business-destroying) labor unions might be closer to their beliefs on other issues.
The best thing the GOP can do, unfortunately, is keep the pork overflowing & the race- and church-based dog whistles blowing, and demonize, demonize, demonize the Dems. Just stay short of actually re-instituting slavery or actually banning all contraception, and never, never, NEVER admit a Demoncrat has a good idea.
Refuge in audacity has worked amazingly well so far. The Righties have destroyed the New Deal majority; do you really think a bunch of peacenik tree-hugger ladyboys have a hope in Hell?
I agree that the odds are very much against the Pubbies coming to this understanding in the next few months–just look at Smiling Bandit’s silly and defensive denials that I’ve even identified the root problem accurately–but if we’re lucky, and they get their clock cleaned in 2012, and in 2016, and in 2020, and several intervals in between, even the Pubbies will see their strategy no longer works. I’m just looking for a shortcut.