My favorite Republican propagandist, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, has an interesting piece in today’s Opinion section by prominent Republicans Christine Todd Whitman and Robert M. Bostock. Titled “Republicans fail to hold the center“, it’s the sub-title that has the larger messasge: “The party is locked in the grip of fundamentalists, and it’s in denial about that.”
Four years ago, in the week after the 2004 presidential election, we were working furiously to put the finishing touches on the book we coauthored, “It’s My Party Too: The Battle for the Heart of the GOP and the Future of America.”
Our central thesis was simple: The Republican Party had been taken hostage by “social fundamentalists,” the people who base their votes on such social issues as abortion, gay rights and stem-cell research. Unless the GOP freed itself from their grip, we argued, it would so alienate itself from the broad center of the American electorate that it would become increasingly marginalized and find itself out of power.
Now I know nothing about this book they claim they wrote. Flatly put; “If it came from Republican activists from within their own party, I have very little interest in reading it.” Close minded? Perhaps, but our society has been drowning in Republican ideologue, philosophy and nabobs wagging their fingers at television cameras. Why bother giving them money by buying a book that more than likely will tell me what I already know: “Liberals” = “Bad”, “War on Christmas” = “Fox News”, “Karl Rove” = “Boy Genius”.
But this piece has substance. The authors points out their caution to the Republican Party’s focus on the evangelical voter and essentially kicked out the social moderates.
At the time, this idea was roundly attacked by many who were convinced that holding on to the “base” at all costs was the way to go. A former speechwriter for President Bush, Matthew Scully, who went on to work for the McCain campaign this year, called the book “airy blather” and said its argument fell somewhere between “insufferable snobbery” and “complete cluelessness.” Gary Bauer suggested that the book sounded as if it came from a “Michael Moore radical.” The National Review said its warnings were “at best, counterintuitive,” and Ann Coulter said the book was “based on conventional wisdom that is now known to be false.”
Wow! Ann Coulter was wrong on something?! I always thought she was never wrong on anything! Like, when she couldn’t talk about John Edwards “because you have to go into rehab if you use the word “faggot“, I was actually disappointed when it was revealed he was screwing some woman in a hotel room! Coulter wasn’t wrong, you see. She was just, ummm…Ahh…. Lemme get back to you on that.
The piece throws out some interesting facts:
- In seven of the nine states that switched this year from Republican to Democratic, Obama’s vote total exceeded the total won by Bush four years ago. So even if McCain had equaled the president’s numbers from 2004 (and he did not), he still would have lost in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina and Virginia (81 total electoral votes) — and would have lost the election. McCain didn’t lose those states because he failed to hold the base. He lost them because Obama broadened his base.
- Nor did the Republican ticket lose because “values voters” stayed home. On the contrary, according to exit polls, such voters made up a larger proportion of the electorate this year than in 2004 — 26 percent, up from 23 percent. Extrapolating from those data, McCain actually won more votes from self-identified white evangelical/born-again voters than Bush did four years ago — 1.8 million more. But that was not enough to offset the loss of so many moderates.
- In the wake of the Democrats’ landslide victory, …many in the GOP are arguing that John McCain was defeated because the social fundamentalists wouldn’t support him. They seem to be suffering from a political strain of Stockholm syndrome. They are identifying with the interests of their political captors and ignoring the views of the larger electorate. This has cost the Republican Party the votes of millions of people who don’t find a willingness to acquiesce to hostage-takers a positive trait in potential leaders.
- Unless the Republican Party ends its self-imposed captivity to social fundamentalists, it will spend a long time in the political wilderness. On Nov. 4, the American people very clearly rejected the politics of demonization and division. It’s long past time for the GOP to do the same.
This last point was bulleted by Colin Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama on Meet The Press. Powell complained that the Republican Party wasn’t working to be inclusive of social moderates.
To that endorsement as well as Powell’s complaint about the GOP:
“Secretary Powell says his endorsement is not about race… OK, fine. I am now researching his past endorsements to see if I can find all the inexperienced, very liberal, white candidates he has endorsed. I’ll let you know what I come up with.”
“Alright, we gotta ask a question,” he declared on MSNBC, “look would Colin Powell be endorsing Obama if he were a white liberal Democrat…”
And I think this adds to my calculation — this is very hard to measure — but it seems to me if we had the tools to measure we’d find that Barack Obama gets two votes because he’s black for every one he loses because he’s black because so much of this country is so eager, a, to feel good about itself by doing this, but more than that to put paid to the whole Al Sharpton/Jesse Jackson game of political rhetoric.”
Dan Billings, a prominent Republican and attorney from Maine, went out on a limb:
“If Obama was a white man, Powell would not have made the endorsement.”
Welcome to the Wilderness!
Gay rights needs to be included in the Republican Party, whether they like it or not. Duh! Abortion rights needs to be included in the Republican Party, whether they like it or not! (Continual picking on South Dakota doesn’t seem to be effective – Duh!) Equal pay for women needs to be included in the Republican Party. Duh! Stop shipping jobs to India, Mexico and Canada. Duh! Universal health care with no strings attached! Duh!
But they won’t.
Their party platform has become a blank-slate.
- Reaganomics is dead. Believing in Reagan’s theory “The Government Isn’t Party of the Problem, The Government Is the Problem!” cost the American people collapsed bridges in Minneapolis, radiator fluid in toothpaste and lead paint on children’s toys.
- Their political tactic of “Divide and Fear” is dead. What was extremely effective in the 2004 re-election of George W., fell horribly this time around. Their fear mongering this time around was almost comical.
- The “Family Values” ideology is dead. Playing that card with Obama and his family along with Joe Biden and his family compared to John McCain disgusting story about adultery and his second wife and Sarah Palin’s own illicit affair just didn’t add up.
- “Deregulation and a “Free Market” system” is dead. When John McCain’s senior level adviser, former Senator Phil Gramm, wrote the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act in 1999, the last and most notorious banking deregulation laws, has cost the American taxpayer $700 Billion.
But I’m not one to gloat.
Well..maybe just a little bit.
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