11 February 2008

Hope Yet for the Republican Party

A beautiful thing happened on the way to the Republican nomination. The loudest voices in the Republican Party of the last couple of decades have been, uhm, obnoxious, shrill, and unyielding. And now these thought(less) leaders are being ignored by the majority of primary voters.

Ann Coulter has done well for herself. She doesn't have the looks to be a model, the wit to be a shock jock, or the intelligence to be a political pundit, but she's somehow turned these 3 short comings into a package that looks to most like a piece wood lying flat on the ground yet is sold to rabid fans as a three-legged stool. She is so upset about McCain gaining the nomination that she has threatened to vote for Hillary. (Which would be like a Muslim threatening to become an Episcopalian .) Rush Limbaugh, too, denounces McCain as "not a real conservative" and has been urging listeners to vote against him.

In spite of all this, McCain is the one serious Republican candidate left standing.

The shock media stars have problems with McCain because, among other things, he is against torture, is for the constitution, and feels that we ought to begin creating some alternatives to oil. That shock media stars would try to make this sound shameful is a confession of how far they've gone to prostitute good policy to good ratings. That McCain would emerge as the clear front runner in spite of their rants suggests that average Republicans have now realized that these shock media stars don't care about the world of average Republicans but care, instead and only, about ratings and book sales.

This is good news. For the foreseeable future, Republicans are going to have some - maybe lots - of influence. If saner voices prevail, this influence might stop being so pernicious. It'll be a great day when our neighbors and coworkers of the conservative bent stop letting the likes of Rush, Ann, and Michael Savage tell them what to think. Wanting a smaller government does not have to equate to hatred towards anyone who is different. If the Republican Party does not want to become irrelevant and obsolete, it will clearly embrace and trumpet this simple truth.

17 comments:

Dave said...

It may be that follow the leaders is dying in both parties. Clinton is the "establishment" Democratic candidate, more than twenty points up late in 2007. She was "entitled" to the nomination. Then people on the Dem side of the fence started listening to what was said, for better or worse, and moved to someone they saw as reasonable, not hackneyed.

Might there be a national campaign in which the candidates said something? And voters listened and voted, based on what they heard rather than what was spun?

jen said...

perhaps, and just perhaps, it's a bi-partisian fedupedness....and that might actually allow for a changing of the guard for all of us. and how refreshing is that?

(and the snarkier part of me enjoys watching the Rep wheels come off the cart)

Ron Davison said...

Dave,
I love the idea that this campaign has benefited from the prolonged dialogue, the blogalogue, the media coverage. Seriously. It feeds my inner optimist to think that the conversation can be changed.

jen,
it is not just enjoyment - it is feedback to which they have to respond, he said, trying to sound like he doesn't have any snarky part of him enjoying the sight of the party that gave us dubya twice begin to lose support.

cce said...

While McCain is a hawk, and I'm a robin, I still feel like we can't, as a nation, be too far off track if he is made president. I bet there are a lot of Dems out there feeling the same way and that's what has the nastier Republicans in a scamper. We, as a nation, have become to accustomed to acrimony between the parties that some sort of compromise must smack of failure. I will not vote for a Republican but I do so love McCain's refusal to kiss the Christian Right's ass. Stick it in their eye, McCain, stick it in their eye.

Cerebus said...

"It'll be a great day when our neighbors and coworkers of the conservative bent stop letting the likes of Rush, Ann, and Michael Savage tell them what to think."

I think it is a much better idea to be told how to think by the likes of "The Daily Kos", "Media Matters" and "News Hounds". George Soros is our new thought director. Well done.

LSD said...

Could it be that bipartisan bickering is being replaced with inter-party bickering? For now, anyways?

The issue on the right is interesting. Generally a candidate is expected to move to center once they secure the party's nomination, but it may not happen this time. As a Republican, I note the recent trend of electing centrists to office. Maybe Obama's ability to inspire is tangible enough to get him there.

Wait though, for the explosion on the left when one of these two candidates is beaten. The 'undead' issue of voting irregularities (on the Democrat side) may drive us all into the ocean. I wait to see how the defenders of the left will find a way to blame the right for being the evil scientist behind the monster.

I will just say now that I feel sorry for whoever it is that eventually wins.

Ron Davison said...

cce,
it is one thing to have a candidate you disagree with (a McCain) and quite another to have one you simply don't understand (dubya).

cerebus,
to compare George Soros and Ann Coulter is to discount reason to bargain basement prices.

Scott,
Elections are all about exacerbating differences and primaries are about differences within parties, true enough. But I also think that there was more contrast between the candidates within the Republican Party - choosing McCain represents a real directional choice. And, as to who wins? Well, we can say that they worked hard to be recipients of such grief.

slouching mom said...

Ah, yes. Coulter is livid, isn't she? It's making me giggle.

As for McCain, there's a lot I like about him. But this business of wanting to stay in Iraq for a hundred years I cannot swallow. Not least because it makes me worry about the reinstatement of a draft.

slouching mom said...

PS I should have qualified -- there's a lot I like about him, as far as Republicans go. (Not very. Heh.)

LSD said...

It's true what you say about the contrast between the Republicans. It also seems to me that Democrats are, in general, a bit happier with the choices they have. There was no candidate that really excited conservatives.

Sometimes I think you'd have to be crazy to want the job; but then I decide to think about something else.

Relegated to the back seat of the family car, we can take a nap or harrass our brother, either way the grown-ups will get us there in September.

"Ninety nine bottles of beer on the wall..."

Cerebus said...

LSD:
You make a hell of a lot of sense. When I was a young man there someone who sugested that we "turn on, tune in and drop out". "Ninety eight bottles of beer on the woall..."

Gypsy at Heart said...

That line you wrote about A.C. being a piece of wood getting sold as a three legged stool made me laugh and laugh. What a great way to state it. Quite frankly, she ain't even wood. Balsa more like it. Agree with everything else you've said and I do so wish I were a citizen so that I could exercise a right to vote in this country. My palm itches from wanting the opportunity to cast a ballot.

Ron Davison said...

slouching mom,
I hear you on both counts. It's not that I don't think that it may someday be possible to make Iraq a peaceful place - I'm just not convinced that its a goal worthy of 500 Americans and $100 billion a year for decades.

Scott,
I think that one of the problems might be that the Dems are just excited about the prospect of dubya being out of the White House and the Republicans have yet to really agree on why he didn't quite work out (or even agree that he didn't work out).

cerebus,
LSD is nothing more than Scott's initials.

Gypsy,
it would be fascinating to see the vote count for non-citizens - and not just those living in the country. No country's policies more deeply impact others than the US - I'm sure that opinions about the merits of McCain vs. Clinton or Obama would be more readily forthcoming than opinions about Harper or Calderon.

Lifehiker said...

The current republican party should be made irrelevant and obsolete! In some ways it would be great to have Huckabee as their candidate. At the end of the day, fundamentalist and McMansion republicans will vote for McCain, thereby saving their party from a totally ignominious defeat.

As a life-long moderate republican, it saddens me that my party has strayed so far from its roots of fiscal conservativism, non-intervention, and separation of church and state. But, shit happens!

Ron Davison said...

LH,
I share your sentiments. I think that some serious defeats might get them to seriously re-think their approach to politics. But I'm just heartened by the fact that McCain and not Romney or Fred Thompson made it through the primary guantlet. That right there seems to show some measure of learning and change.

Suzanne said...

I am a fairly conservative (econ, security) Republican who's not inspired by the Republican choices in this election cycle.

Quite honestly, I believe it might be a good thing for the party if the Republicans don't win in November.

Hopefully, it would force the party to look for fresh faces and ideas, as the Dems have found in Obama.

Speaking of which, the only thing that would make me vote Republican this November is if Hillary wins the Democratic nomination.

Ron Davison said...

Suzanne,
thanks for stopping by R World.
I agree that one of the best things to happen to the Republicans would be a serious defeat or two. It was a great thing for the Dems. Nothing forces soul searching like failure. (Note to self: remember this next time you fail.)