Rough week for the Republican party

Just finished taking in the nights news via Utube clips and The Rachel Maddow show granted very partisan news outlets. I’ll hopefully get some more perspective on my way to work listening to morning radio. But wow. It feels like overnight they went from a unified party ready to stand together to say no to everything to a fractured party that I see dividing and climbing over each other to survive a sinking ship.

This week we have:

Republicans getting caught in a major lie specifically Giuliani’s inability to keep dates and presidencies straight

Michael Steele chairman of the republic party under serious attack from his own party responding ‘shut up or fire me’

An announced interview of Steve Schmidt, former McCain/Palin campaign manager, airing their dirty laundry and trashing Sarah Palin

The tea party movement cannibalizing and further dividing Republicans with censors and pulling nominations.
How does the Republican party pull itself together? Can they? Does Michael Steele go? If so who replaces him? Has their lunatic fringe er majority Back Palin enough to run for president? Any upcoming candidates that are conservative enough for the tea party movement?

To me it’s looking like no matter how much they trash talk the Democrats in the next 3 years they don’t have enough pieces left to put together a challenge in 2012. For 2010 they’re only hope seems to be shut up and hope these things blow over.

I’m sure they can; I don’t really know if they will or not*. They do seem stuck in circular-firing-squad mode at the moment though.

  • No; I’m not predicting the demise of conservatism. But depending on how well entrenched the outright crazies are, I could see the Republican Party committing political suicide due to an unwillingness to adapt, and a new conservative party taking its place. Probably not, but it’s possible.

These things are trivial and commonplace. The party out of power always has a bunch of jockeying for position and name-calling.

I’m surprised you think any of this stuff is big enough to make any kind of dent at all in the next election. I mean really… Guliani shoots off his mouth? The leader of the party has to defend his leadership? An interview with a campaign manager discussing Sarah Palin again? If this is what the Maddows and Olberman’s are hyperventilating about now, they ain’t got nuthin’.
The only thing on your list that may be important is the Tea Party movement. The Democrat’s only hope to avoid a blow-out in the next election is for the Tea Party to make an independent run and split the conservative vote.

In comparison to these trivialities, the Democrats recently had two house members flip to the Republicans, and two senior Senators just announced their retirement. The entire public is steaming mad at Washington right now, with Democrats getting the lion’s share of the blame. Deservedly so.

This wasn’t a bad week for Republicans - it was a great week for them.

If two Democratic Senators retiring isn’t trivial what does that make six Republican Senators retiring?

CMC fnord!

This is wishful thinking on your part. The most recent polls still have voters slightly favoring Democratic over Republican control of Congress—it’s practically a toss-up but it’s certainly not a vote of confidence for the Republicans.

Sure, the Democrats have been consistently and predictably sliding from their artificially high popularity of a year ago, when the magnitude of the fuckups of Republican governance really had US voters scared.

But I think you’re kidding yourself if you imagine that Americans really dislike Democrats significantly more than Republicans these days. Remember that those same recent polls still show Democrats with a significantly higher favorability rating than Republicans (35% versus 28%), though their negative ratings are about the same (Republicans lower by two points, but again almost a toss-up).

:rolleyes: Uh-huh. Tell us, Sam, is there anything at all (short of the outright schism with the Tea Party faction that you hypothesized) that you would be willing to acknowledge as a sign of weakness in the Republican party?

I mean, when six Republican Senators are retiring, you think it doesn’t count (though you apparently think that two Democratic Senators retiring is a sign of impending catastrophe for the Democrats). When the most recent Republican Presidential candidate’s campaign advisor flat-out calls his candidate’s running mate a liar on 60 minutes, you think it doesn’t count. When the chairman of the Republican National Committee disparages his party’s chances and fitness to win in 2010 and attacks fellow Republicans who criticize his statements, you think it doesn’t count:

Sam, you have a lot of interesting things to say on a lot of subjects, but when it comes to evaluating what’s going on with American conservatives, you’re a cheerleader, not a commentator.

Hang on. I was only talking about these specific “problems”. If you want to talk about the Republican party in general, that’s something else. Frankly, the Republicans are a mess. They’re fractured, they are leaderless, and the closest thing to leaders they do have are a bunch of intellectual lightweights and populists. They don’t know what they stand for, other than vague opposition to ‘socialism’, which itself is vaguely defined. They don’t have a coherent platform, and there’s a chance they’ll be split by a 3rd party.

Those are the real issues. Not what Guliani happens to say in any given week. The man’s a gaffe machine, and he’s not even running for anything. No one cares.

Oh. Well, no need to be so reasonable about it.

Well now, you did kind of slop over into the broader picture here and there:

The general tone of your post did kind of give the impression of “No no no, the Republicans are doing just fine! In fact, they’re poised to crush the Democrats! Nothing to worry about! Go team!”

Which, although I certainly don’t underestimate Republicans’ comeback abilities or have a very high opinion of Democratic political smarts in general, did sound to me like an annoyingly high level of partisan denial. Looks like I was wrong about that, sorry.

If by “populists” you mean “demagogues”, I agree. I think the Republicans at the moment would be damned lucky to find a leader with seriously populist positions, i.e., one who really cared about the advantage of the general population rather than the party elites.

(What would those positions look like? Well, I think that although such a leader would naturally stand fairly pat on traditionally conservative arguments for lowering deficits and devolving government functions to the states and so on, I have to say I think s/he would also have to coax the party into a less head-up-ass approach to health care reform and financial regulatory system reform. Serious conservatism can no longer go on just blindly refusing to consider any big government initiative whatsoever just because “that’s…that’s SOCIALISM!!! SOCIALISM SOCIALISM SOCIALISM DESTRUCTION OF OUR WAY OF LIFE!!! Not listening, la la la la la la!!!” Which, as you note, seems to be about all the consideration that the present Republican leaders are willing to give the subject.)

I can’t remember the last time any particular Republican elected to a national office was “apart” from the rest of them. Republicans stick together pretty goddamned well. Get back to me when more than 1 Republican at a time votes against the rest.

I was thinking of Mike Huckabee, who fits the label ‘populist’. So does Sarah Palin, for that matter.

I’d have to strongly disagree with your characterization of Palin, whose record is much more indicative of a demagogue than a populist. There’s a distinction between the two, and she is the former.

I expect that even the current bumbling GOP will gain seats in both Houses of Congress in November. They won’t control either House, but if the Dems lose their 60 votes in the Senate, then the breaks get put on Obama’s agenda. Hello gridlock.

Of course, there’s still a lot of time between now and November. But unless the economy comes back to life, it’s hard to imagine the Dems doing well.

Speaking of two Democratic senators retiring, Sam, have you considered how one of those retirements actually helps the Democratic Party? Chris Dodd in Connecticut was a dead man walking as far as getting re-elected; now with him out of the race, the hugely popular Democratic Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has announced he’ll run. What was looking like a sure-thing pickup for the GOP is suddenly looking like a near-lock for the Democrats.

Dodd’s retirement is definitely a mixed bag. On the one hand, I agree that he’s probably increased the chance of the Democrats picking up that Senate seat again. On the other hand, he was an extremely powerful senior Democrat, and he’ll be replaced by either a Republican or a new freshman Democrat.

Also, his retirement also feeds into the belief that Democrats are running for the exits because the public has turned on them.

The Republicans will almost certainly pick up seats in the House and Senate in the next election, but it’s not because of anything they did. It’s because the Democrats have used their time in power to demonstrate just how unpalatable they are as a governing party for the average American.

Had he not retired, he’d have been replaced by a Republican, most likely. By retiring, he’ll be replaced by a freshman Democrat. Dodd’s retirement isn’t a “mixed bag”. Given his poll numbers, it’s a definite plus for the Democrats. He’s personally unpopular in a state with a huge Dem advantage.

The Dorgan retirement, on the other hand, in unquestionably bad for the Democrats. Sure, there might be someone they can find that could pull it off, but it’s a pretty red state in what’s likely to be a tough year for the Dems all around.

Is this any sort of widespread belief, or just the media narrative that the Republicans want to plant?

It’s because the economy still sucks pure and simple. And because the Democrats have already flipped a huge proportion of marginal seats, such as Parker Griffith’s seat. The return of Republican-leaning districts and states to the Republicans isn’t a sign that the Democratic agenda is “unpalatable” to voters, just that the Republican Party isn’t as unpopular among Republican-leaning moderates as it was two years ago. Show me Republican gains in blue states if you want to demonstrate widespread dissatisfaction with the Democrats.

No, it’s not. I mean, that’s definitely a major factor, but don’t underestimate how much opposition is building against the health care plan. There is also widespread opposition to cap and trade.

How about if Republican Scott Brown wins in Massachusetts?

This is Ted Kennedy’s old seat. If you asked me a month ago, I would have said that seat would remain blue forever. Coakley will probably still win, but it’s getting awfully close.

Dude, that’s a Rasmussen poll you’re taking seriously.

I think he’s talking about this PPP poll that just came out with Brown having a one point lead. Being in Massachusetts, I find that rather hard to believe, but I’m pretty much even more surrounded by liberals than is generally the case, even for this state. I don’t know much about the PPP poll’s internals, but Nate Silver did break down the electorate that Rasmussen was predicting when they gave Coakley a nine point lead:

The details of the PPP poll can be found in this PDF. I’ll note, and I’m far from an expert, that their liberal/conservative/moderate figures were 26/27/47, as compared to the 39/34/27 for Rasmussen and 31/19/49 for 2008 exit polling that I quoted above. An electorate that leans slightly conservative seems a bit of a stretch for Massachusetts to me, but maybe I should be doing more to encourage like-minded people to get to the polls on election day.

ETA: I’m also finding it rather hard to believe that Massachusetts residents are terribly opposed to “Obamacare”, given that it’s mostly the same as the “Romneycare” we’ve already got, but then again, Brown himself supported Massachusetts’s 2006 reforms and opposes the current plans, so it is apparently possible to hold both views.

The Repubs ran on fixing health care too. Yet they have sabotaged it from the start. They have not even bothered to create their own . Yet polling says the people want a more collaborative government. How can Repubs defend themselves against partisan politics charges when they vote in bloc against every single move the Dems have made. The Repubs could be in serious trouble. If the Dems get health care up and running, it will be much worse for the Repubs. I am sure they will fight every move the Dems make to install it.

Talking Points Memo saying much the same thing I just did.

They’ve also link to a Boston Globe poll with Coakley up by 15 points. So it looks like it’s all going to depend on who comes out to the polls.

Well, I’d be going out to the polls through a blizzard of broken glass to vote for Coakley, but given the current forecast it appears that won’t be necessary. Election Day, according to the latest AccuWeather forecast, is slated to be partly sunny, mid to upper 30s and with a light breeze. No storms forecast for anytime before or soon after Election Day. So Brown can’t count on crappy weather keeping all but the ultra-committed from voting.