Thursday, May 14, 2009

The GOP Obituary Might Be Premature


As a liberal, I'm perfectly happy to see the Republican party in total disarray. But unlike a lot of the other liberal blogs, I'm not ready to predict their demise. While it's fun to watch them flounder about searching for a leader and a message, bad ideas have a way of returning over time and the public memory is remarkably short. It is amusing to watch desperate acts such as trying to rename the Democratic party as "The Democrat Socialist Party" (note to Republicans: the Democratic Socialists of America already exist; they just haven't won many elections) in hope of bringing back anti-communist hysteria, or the pro-torture snarlings of the Cheney in order to maintain the tough guy anti-terrorist image. Hoping that Limbaugh/Cheney/Gingrich can rehabilitate the party from the damage inflicted by the Shrub administration does seem delusional.
But the recent history of partisan politics should serve as a reminder of how quickly fortunes can turn. After the '64 election, the Republicans were thought dead. Post Watergate '73-'74, Nixon had so poisoned the Republican brand that a number of members of congress changed parties as the only hope of retaining their seats. Even as recently as the '92-'93 early Clinton popularity the Republicans were considered irrelevant. And the Democratic party has been written off for dead more than a few times. McGovern and the hippies were thought lethal, St. Ronnie led to the migration of the "Reagan Democrats", and a consensual blow job was considered such a moral outrage that no upstanding citizen would ever consider voting Democratic. Karl Rove thought that 9/11 could be used to create a "permanent Republican majority" and render the Democrats "irrelevant".
My point is that political fortunes turn, sometimes very quickly. The bad ideas and conservative constituencies that are the base of the Republican party still exist. The corporatist oligarchs still have the resources to promote their self-enriching deregulation agenda to the middle class, despite the fact it's been shown to be a total failure. The religious right can still move a large number of voters by demonizing gays and abortion. Characterizing Democrats as "tax and spend liberals" will still resonate with a percentage of voters, and there is always a market for the NRA's "liberals want to take away your guns" lie. So the people that bought Shrub could get fooled again.
Another factor that must be taken into account is that Obama was elected partly because of his charisma. While none of the current faces leading the Republicans can rival that, a charismatic individual could emerge in the future and rally enough voters to win. It's not like that's never happened before.

3 comments:

Demeur said...

By the length of your post I see you must be feeling better. Now it will only take a couple of years for the minor aches and pains to go away. You will let us know when it is about to rain won't you?

If the rethugs ever do come back they'll have to do a major shift (swing if you will) to the center. There is the Ron Pauls that have more of the younger vote than the current extreme right. These younger voters don't care about fringe issues. They're looking for a job and a stable economy right now. But then aren't we all.

pygalgia said...

Feeling better, yes, but it also helps that I now have a semi-working internet connection. Phys therapy is progressing ahead of schedule, but I'm still a long way from healed.
As for the GOP, lets remember that a lot of politics is marketing. They're doing a lousy job currently, but the situation can change rapidly. They've gotten a lot of people to vote against their own interests in the past, and I fear that they could do so in the future. A lot depends on the circumstances in the coming years.
Thanks for coming by. Sorry I've been such a bad blogger.

Mahakal / מהכאל said...

Seems to me if they want to call names and start referring to the Democrat Socialist Party then we are well within reason to call them accurately the Republican Fascist Party.

Let's have at it.