Where does the Republican party go from here?

I was going to start twin threads on this, but my someone else already started the Dem thread.

The pubs had a big win, but there are still a lot of questions to be asked.

Who will the standard-bearer be for the future?

Bush has no obvious successor: Cheney and Powell will be too old, Condi has no elective experience. Dark horse: Mel Martinez

I expect Arnold to be a very powerful force in the party; almost a kingmaker. But he can’t run, and that amendment ain’t getting passed just for him. McCain will be too old in 2008. I expect Guliani to join the administration, but is he to liberal for the base?

Which is the next question:

Will there be a split in the party?

It’s pretty generally recognized that there are Libertarian and Social Conservative blocs within the GOP; will they go to war?

My own guess is not, but I’ll give my reasoning and I’d like to hear any disagreements.

I don’t have a cite for the assertion, but despite the insistience of the hard left, I feel pretty strongly that the religious right is waning in influence. They’ll always be there, but I think they’re a locked-in constituency, much like blacks and labor unions are for democrats. So long as the GOP candidate convincingly makes the right noises about believing in God (no theological specifics necessary), says he’s pro-life (no need to actually do anything about it), and remains faithful to his wife, they aren’t going anywhere. And if you doubt that, consider that I just described Reagan.

Gay marriage is a good wedge issue for the GOP right now. I don’t think it will be in 2008. The dems need to set their sights lower, disavow the “M” word and start by seeking insurance benefits and the like for “long-term partnerships.” The bottom line is that the demographics on this issue are all on the side of the Liberals – young people overwhelmingly support recognition of civil unions. The libertarian wing of the party knows that, and will align themselves accordingly; I see the Cheney “let states decide” position becoming the official platform.

Embracing state’s rights as a major party distinctive will allow libertarian GOP types like Guliani to be centrists on social issues – making them stronger in the battleground states – without alienating the rural base. And that’s the direction I think they go.

What say ye?

Move to center, back to Rockefeller et al. type of party, icons are Guliani and Schwarzenegger.

New leader? Norm Coleman could succeed Bush.

As with Clinton, it will depend on how Bush’s popularity numbers are when it comes time to anounce candidacies. If he is very popular by then perhaps Rumsfeld could make a bid.

I would not count Powell out just yet. At least as a VP position.

I also would not count McCain out either. How old is too old really? I would really like a McCain candidacy. He could provide a bridge between the hard right and the libertarians or waffling democrats that could really put the death blow to the democratic party.

Myself, I am rather surprised that the Gay Marriage issue had such resonance. I’m not suprised that it spoke to so many people, but I am surprised at the margins the ballot initiatives recieved.

My hope is that the Republican party will make some consessions soon. They have a small window of opportunity to do a couple concrete things which could allow them to govern for the long term. Paygo or something very like it needs to be passed within the next 6 months or so. Short of that, they need to get spending under control. If they can come back in 2 and then 4 years showing a shrinking deficit, elections in Iraq, perhaps even lessening of violence there, a couple good Supreme Court nominees, they may be in a position to secure Republican rule for some time to come.

The trick IMHO will be to shore up their libertarian leaning base by getting the fiscal house in order.

That’s my hope. It is, however, not my prediction.

I predict that no paygo legislation will pass during Bush’s second term. I predict that no concessions will be floated regarding social issues. The Marriage ammendment may even make another showing. I do think improvements will be made in foriegn affairs. Iraq will be quite a bit stabler by 2008, Afghanistan will be somewhat more prosperous and many of our allies will have softened somewhat. I think the economy will be better by then, but I don’t tend to attribute that to any president.

If the GOP can’t get the government’s fiscal house in order now, they don’t have any excuses left – the libertarian/fiscal conservative wing will sit on its hands next election and the GOP will be in a world of hurt.

He’ll be 76.

He’ll be 71. That’s pushing it, and he won’t want it.

He’ll be 72.

I would not be the least bit suprised if Powell steps down in January, and that Cheney leaves for “health reasons” within the first 2 years of Bush’s second term. That gives the Pubs 2 key posts to fill for a successor. Maybe Bill Frist gets one…?

Look for the infighting to begin today. A lot of less radical Republicans held their noses and voted for Bush. Those who are against the Bush deficits and want to return the nation to fiscal responsibility will want to take the party back from the Neocons. They all came under the tent to push Bush over the top, but now it’s time to fight over control of the tent.

My educated guess is that Cheney resigns for reasons of health, Tom Ridge is appointed VP, and Rudy Giliani is apointed new head of DHS. This could happen a few months before the 2006 elections (if the GOP leadership thinks it will be a political asset) or just after (if not).

I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Jeb Bush make a bid for the presidency.

Actor Tim Robbins is fond of musing on why the Republicans are so unhappy. They have the government in the palm of their hand, but they’re still pissed off all the time. I think it;s because without a strong opposition, they have no one to blame for the lackluster results of their wrong-headed policies but themselves.

Now they have a more or less complete lock. They’ve strengthened their hold on Congress, The Executive is theirs for four more years, and they will definitely have a major impact on the Supreme Court during this term.

In other words, they are in the position the Democrats were in for years (and led to their downfall): So comfortably in control, they don’t have to feel they agree with one another anymore. Plenty of people held their noses while smiling at Bush, and the infighting will begin from there.

Bush will take his popular lead as a landslide mandate, rather than a point along a continuing decline in approval that simply didn’t happen to bottom out for him in time for the election.

In other words, for the Republican party’s foes, this victory is the best thing that could ever happen. They unravel from here on in.

I don’t understand where this move to the center is going to come from. I actually quite like many of the moderate Republicans, but this is as much a defeat for them as it is for the Dems. The Democrats moved to the center with Clinton only after seing Reagan/Bush for 12 years. In my view each party will move only when they see an incentive to do so. Bush was re-elected as a very conservative Republican, I can only see this empowering the more conservative elements of the party.

Tim Robbins probably hasn’t talked to an actual Republican in 20 years. I don’t think he has a clue what he’s talking about.

It is Democrats that are primarily focused on what’s wrong with America (whether in race relations, economic issues, foreign policy … nearly everything). If anything, Pubs are blindly optimistic, insisting everything’s okay, don’t worry about anything, etc.

This is truly sad. Self-delusion doesn’t get anyone anywhere.

Look at the senate races. Look at the house races. Look at the popular vote. Conservatives are winning across the board. willful blindness or an assumption that most Americans must be stupid will not get you anything.

The strength of the conservative vote might split the GOP… but with the Democrats totally wrecked there aren’t many options for wanna be rebels. The time for changing parties was before the election… now that Bush is back… why have a hard time as opposition ?

I agree with the idea that it depends a lot on how Bush goes... the better he does... the more likely a conservative defacto takeover of the GOP. Since "moral" issues seem more important to voters who cares about real issues anyway ? Those in the GOP that don't like Bush are usually libertarians or other economically guided groups.

I wouldn't be on an third party growing enough...

For years? Which years? The only ones I can think of when the Democrats were “comfortably” in control of every branch of government are the 1930s.

I should have said “The Congressional Democrats”, who were in a comfortable majority from the time of the New Deal to the Republican Revolution of 1994.

Even now, as they constantly split their votes, they don’t realize that their only bid for continued relevance is to vote as a block in oppostion.

Why, you’re right! Now that you’ve opened my eyes, I recall the choice of speaker for the keynote address at the RNC (the one which ought to state to the world just what they are all about). Turncoat Zell Miller practically vomited the milk of human kindness all throughout.

How right you are.

If the election had been held exactly three years ago, Bush would have won in the landslide he’s going to pretend this election was.