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The Future of the GOP

November 7, 2008

Now that the Republican party has been handed it’s own ass, where does it go from here? Inexplicably, some say that Sarah Palin is their future, that she’ll run for president in 2012. Surely there is someone in the Republican leadership who recognizes that Palin is the road to Whig status.

So if that’s not the way forward, what is? Considering the fact that I’m a liberal and have never voted for a Republican even once, my opinion should be taken with a grain of salt and then it, the salt, and everything else should be immediately discarded. Nevertheless, here is what I think.

Remember Bill Clinton? He was a “New Democrat.” A moderate Democrat. The guy who brought us NAFTA, welfare reform and “the era of big government is over.” Whether he was right or wrong about those things, his presidency shifted toward the middle on some key issues, co-opting them from Republicans, and reflected the mood of the electorate more than his base. It’s time for the Republican party to do the same.

Pretending that global climate change isn’t real has to stop.

Pretending that our health care system doesn’t need to change must stop.

The problems are too big, too important to voters, and, frankly, just too goddamned real to ignore anymore. The Republican party continues to do so at its peril. A handful of southern states plus Utah and Texas is no longer a viable path to the white house. Time to shift to the center on a few key issues. Co-opt them from Democrats. That’s my advice.

And make Sarah Palin disappear.

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  1. Mwahahahahahahah.

    What do you think the Republicans have been doing for the last 8 years Scott? The Republicans fought for and got passed one of the largest health care entitlement programs ever passed… Medicare Part D. What about Campaign Finance Reform… ala McCain-Feingold? Hello… farm subsidies anyone?

    They lost because they moved left, not in spite of it. Republicans have been a lot more liberal than you care to admit, because its mostly covered up by their support for the Iraq War.


  2. John McCain didn’t lose his election because of Medicare part D or because of McCain-Feingold. In fact, didn’t the Republican president who signed those into law actually get reelected?

    The GOP moved left and lost because of it? I can’t imagine what you’re talking about. Did McCain propose making taxes more progressive? Quite the opposite. Did he campaign on diplomacy as a first option and war as the last? Not really. Did he promise universal health insurance? Nope. He did campaign on doing something about global warming, but he chose a running-mate who is still in the dark ages with the rest of his party. That’s the kind of thing we need to see more of.

    What I’m saying is that the Republican party needs to find the two or three platform points that are killing them with the middle–and ax them in order to remain viable. I suggest the environment and health care reform, but you can pick your own.

    If you think they simply need to be more conservative than before, you’re dreaming. No one is going to get elected president who says global warming isn’t a big deal. I think the same can be said for health care reform: no one is going to get elected by saying we just need to deregulate it and let the market chips fall where they may. Those days are over. I would even go so far as to venture a similar deal with economic issues: middle class voters are no longer buying the idea that they’re not rich because of the freeloading poor.

    This isn’t 1980. The message that the government is always the problem just isn’t resonating with today’s voters. They actually want their government to do something for them.


  3. Check out this post and its accompanying graphic: http://www.balloon-juice.com/?p=13515

    It shows county by county those that voted more Dem vs. more Repub this election vs. 2004. Hint: there’s very little that went more Repub.

    I hope people like Nick keep thinking the way they think, as the GOP as it stands should remain a party of neo-cons, dominionists, and religious fundamentalist freaks. The GOP has not moved left at all, and far from it. Rather than lowering taxes and reducing government, they kept the government income steady, and poured the treasury into their pockets. What’s leftist about that? Sounds pretty right-wing to me.

    If they do as Scott suggests, we might have a decent opposition party. It would be great if both parties worked toward a greater good, obviously with differing vantage points. There is no doubt that the Democratic party needs to be fixed in a number of ways, too, and having a legitimate opposition would help it focus on what it stands for.


  4. Snabby, in what alternate universe is reducing government and lowering taxes not the conservative position. Bush is a moderate, always has been, and spent domestically like a democrat. McCain is the most liberal republican to run in my lifetime. I agree completely with Nick. Republicans lost because they abandoned their conservative principles. The party that used to think governement isn’t the solution to the problem, but the cause, tossed away their free market beliefs and their tax cutting ways and tried to appeal to everyone, and in the end accomplished nothing.

    A streamlined focused party, that stayed true to a message of TINY governmen, low taxes, and keeping government out of our private lives, is the best chance for the republicans to become relevant again. Either that, or they just wait until the democrats bankrupt the country.


  5. So, if the Republicans become Democrats, they will make a good opposition party? That’s just plain silly. The vast majority of people who cast a ballot for John McCain did so in opposition to Barack Obama and his far left screed of cradle to grave government and wealth re-distribution. Conservatives and mainstream Republicans did not like the left leaning wishy-washy moderate McCain (though Palin’s fiery views did get some folks energized).

    If Republican’s hope to win, they will have to toss the liberal country club Republicans and stick to real conservatives like Palin, Steele, Jindal, and Ryan. Conservative ballot issues did well all over the nation. The promised tidal wave of new Democrat voters resulted in less than 2 million new votes nation-wide. A conservative candidate in McCain’s place would have seen a different result. Obama won by a slim margin in many states and if you take just 5 uber-liberal states out of the mix (CA, IL, NY, MA, and MI) Obama’s margin of victory is razor thin (.25%). No moderate has ever won a presidential election. You need real ideas. Smaller government and lower taxes is a good start. No one thought McCain believed that.

    Obama plans on instituting a mish-mash of the disastrous tax increases and protectionist policies that Hoover used to craft the Great Depression and Jimmy Carter’s cut the military, hands across the world have-a-nice-day-ism. Throw in a bit of Marxist redistribution and socialist health care and you have great recipe for a revitalization of conservative thought. I admit to a bit of schadenfreude as I watch the weight of the reality of governance begin to crush “yes we can”. Really he can’t, but it will be fun to watch him try. Watch as the Pelosi-Reid-MoveOn axis tries to spin the failure, but their iron clad lock on government will serve to lay blame squarely where it will belong. Heh, heh. I can hardly wait…


  6. I heard these guys interviewed on Terry Gross last spring and they sent a chill of worry down my democratic spine:
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=92561906

    They put forward a vision of a new Republican Party (their book is titled Grand New Party) that could really give us Dems a run for our money, should the GOP leadership wise up enough to get a clue. That is, if the GOP would widen its concept of “family values” to embrace economic policies really friendly to working class Americans, instead of constantly pandering to big business (particularly Big Oil and finance), the party would gain tremendous support where it has lost favor in this current economic crisis.

    Those of us on the Dem side need to remember that the country didn’t so much “turn democrat” as it turned away from the GOP. If we’re going to consolidate our gains in this election, we need to bring a 21st century sensibility to Bill’s old insight: it’s the economy, dummies.


  7. Curt, first, it’s freakin’ hilarious that you suggest Democrats are going to bankrupt the country. In what alternative universe do you live that you don’t realize that the Republicans just finished doing that themselves?

    I will agree that Republicans are no longer conservatives. But they didn’t move left, which was my point. They moved to pure corruption, and while the fiscal side stole the treasury, the social side tried to force Terry Schaivo to stay alive.

    Bush may be no conservative, but he’s freakishly non-moderate. I would call him a radical by his actions. And Cheney is more radical by a quantum jump.

    The Republicans lost because they used government to enrich themselves and to dismantle as much as they could of the protections that government provides. Guess what: people don’t want shit in their food, and they don’t want their pets and babies poisoned. And when you leave things to the beloved market, they don’t just take care of themselves, as we have seen.

    People want to be left alone in their private lives, absolutely, but Republicans can’t seem to help themselves there. I guess that’s the cost of making your bed with the maniacally religious fundamentalists.

    Keep believing that people don’t want government to maintain the public good. Your side will never win another election.


  8. People want to be left alone in their private lives? What a bazaar thing for a liberal to say.

    What people (well, 52% of the people who voted) want is:

    *Universal, governmentally provided and regulated health care
    *Higher taxes and rates on conventional energy like gas and electricity to encourage lifestyle changes.
    *A higher universal minimum wage to start at $9.50 with legislated annual increases (and the resultant increases in prices and job losses that will go along with that).
    * Tax the top 5% of the population to pay for it while the rest share a tax refund (whether they paid taxes or not).
    * End worker disenfranchisement by removing secret ballots to enact a union. Replace it with the fairer method of check off cards to be fairly distributed by pleasant union leaders.
    * End the confusion of school vouchers and parents having to choose a school for their children by choosing a public school for them. Choice is bad, after all.
    * Get rid of that awful talk radio. They keep spewing un-American ideas and hate. Free speech is great, but not all speech is good. You don’t need to hear bad speech.

    Not so much left alone in their private lives…but no one really wants that anyway. Well, for that 52%, you are about to get what you wanted…but will you want what you get? For the other 48%… “Who is John Galt”? We shall soon see.


  9. […] Scott Feldstein has some suggestions for the GOP. […]


  10. I don’t think Republicans need to become Democrats. I don’t see any victories for the GOP in that strategy. There is still a political market for ideas like lower taxes, less government and an aggressive foreign policy. I just think it would be easier to sell that message if you didn’t simultaneously present yourselves as reality-denying, know-nothing ideologues.

    Is that a move to the left? I guess it might be on one or two issues (the environment and health care reform come to mind), but I think it’s more of a move toward good governance rather than always throwing up your hands and saying that the government can never do anything right.


  11. Wow, FG, I hope you’re getting those talking points cheap, because they’re kind of worn out, you know? Besides, they helped put your party in a pretty big hole. Yep, more people voted for Obama than ever voted for Bush. Keep telling yourself it’s because they’re all stupider than you are.

    There’s quite a difference between privacy and good government. I gather you’re a libertarian of sorts who thinks that government can never do well. You’re in a major minority.

    Universal health care? Yep, I think it should be a right. Why don’t you? Our health care system is in shambles, or hadn’t you heard? Even Fox must have been covering it.

    Taxing the hell out of energy? Absolutely. We’re at or past peak oil, and our lives are going to change whether we like it or not. I’d rather have it be gradual than catastrophic.

    Taxing the rich? Mos def. That whole class warfare thing you guys squeal about has really been about moving a hell of a lot of the money to the already rich at the expense of the middle and the bottom, particularly during the Bush administration.

    The rest is noise, the vast bulk created by your side. Who in the world is talking about the fairness doctrine besides the right? BTW, regardless of what you and Sarah Palin think, the 1st amendment is pretty clear on what free speech means. Hint: it doesn’t guarantee airtime, nor that people shouldn’t criticize Republicans who engage in smear campaigns.

    Meanwhile, the same guys who claim to want freedom are the ones who want to ensure that women don’t control their own bodies, and that only the right sorts of people can get married.

    Keep boning up on your Rand. It will continue to encourage your belief that you’re smarter than the rest of us rubes.


  12. The only time I feel smarter than anyone is when I read what you write Snabby. Walking around looking for mandated handouts does not make you a rube…just selfish and lazy.

    Hopefully that foolish top 5% of income earners you count on to pay for universal everything for everyone will be happy in thier work. They already pick up 60.14% of all federal income tax though they earn 33.6% of total wages. Plenty of room for an increase on those evil rich. Being rich is so un-american…

    I believe every woman has a right to control her body. She can choose when and if she wishes to have sex. If a human life is created as a result of her “choice”, I don’t think her right extends to destroying that life out of convenience. Killing babies because you want to have sex without responsibility for the aftermath is selfish. Maybe free vibrators and masturbation instructions would be a bit more fair than free abortions. I suppose you would call for jail when a mother drowns her infant in the tub because it was an annoyance? (Hm…or maybe you’d see her as heroic) Why? It was just a VERY late term abortion, and that mass of flesh she drowned could not have lived on it’s own anyway. Is there any demonstrable difference in killing the baby the day before it was born or the day after? I mean really….is there any difference at all? If so, explain it.


  13. TFG, all you’ve got is strawmen. Who’s talking about late term abortion? Only you. Who’s talking about “killing babies because you want to have sex?” Only you. Very, very funny.

    What I find simply hilarious is that you guys will go the mat over cells, but don’t seem to care too much about actual people. Yeah, you would force there to be a birth, but if the mother is poor, you say she is lazy, and in your little world neither she nor the baby get health care.

    How in the world can you square your positions morally? I recognize that your propaganda-filled mind has no need for consistency, but in the back of it, don’t you ever wonder?


  14. In the actual world, your straw woman and the baby do get free health care. It’s called Title 19. She can also get AFDC, energy assistance, food stamps, WIC, and rent assistance, and the State will pursue child support from the father on her behalf. If she decides to go to school, she can get Title 20 (free child care), Pell Grants, WHEG (state grant for public college), and other grants that are more than enough to cover tuition, books, and transportation to and from a community college or technical school. When she’s done with school, or if she decides that’s not a good route for her, she can get free job placement assistance.

    If she decides that she can’t raise her baby for whatever reason, there are a gozillion families who would jump at the chance to give that baby a loving home and forever family.

    In your little world, that baby would be killed. How in the world can you square your positions morally? I recognize that your propaganda-filled mind has no need for consistency, but in the back of it, don’t you ever wonder?


  15. Wow, with all that going for people how is it that 47 million have no health insurance?


  16. Are you denying the existence of the resources I cite?

    “47 million” is a misleading statistic. This is an exerpt from the NYT, published November 4, 2007. (The Medicaid cited in the article is the same thing as the Title 19 I refer to, above).

    “This number from the Census Bureau is often cited as evidence that the health system is failing for many American families. Yet by masking tremendous heterogeneity in personal circumstances, the figure exaggerates the magnitude of the problem.

    “To start with, the 47 million includes about 10 million residents who are not American citizens. Many are illegal immigrants. Even if we had national health insurance, they would probably not be covered.

    “The number also fails to take full account of Medicaid, the government’s health program for the poor. For instance, it counts millions of the poor who are eligible for Medicaid but have not yet applied. These individuals, who are healthier, on average, than those who are enrolled, could always apply if they ever needed significant medical care. They are uninsured in name only.

    “The 47 million also includes many who could buy insurance but haven’t. The Census Bureau reports that 18 million of the uninsured have annual household income of more than $50,000, which puts them in the top half of the income distribution. About a quarter of the uninsured have been offered employer-provided insurance but declined coverage.

    “Of course, millions of Americans have trouble getting health insurance. But they number far less than 47 million, and they make up only a few percent of the population of 300 million.

    “Any reform should carefully focus on this group to avoid disrupting the vast majority for whom the system is working. We do not nationalize an industry simply because a small percentage of the work force is unemployed. Similarly, we should be wary of sweeping reforms of our health system if they are motivated by the fact that a small percentage of the population is uninsured.”


  17. Well said and well done, Menagerie Manager!

    I’m sure Scott and Snabby are busily consulting the Democrat “Handbook of Snide Comebacks to Counter Unpleasant Truths We Wish to Ignore”. Scott may be forced to fall back on “explain the point to be either misleading or flatly untrue”, but he may choose “ignore the full weight of fact while nit-picking some minor detail”. Snabby’s favorite is “label the item a GOP talking point, thereby making it unimportant”. He may resort to “change the subject without response” or, my favorite “Label the person making the comment a gun toting, bible clinging, racist, homophobic, sexist liar who wants to throw children, the sick, and the elderly into the streets and is an enemy of diversity and inclusion”

    But, being a conservative, you are probably used to being called names and having your words twisted. Drive on Menagerie Manager!


  18. Good to see that the right wing can’t be shaken from its talking points. I confess I’m ignorant as to how many a gozillion is, but you can sure that there is no shortage of babies who could use adoption. The idea that all children if taken to term would find a loving home is simply a lie, and you might even know that, MM.

    I am not in favor of abortion, nor are any abortion rights-supporters. But when there is an unwanted pregnancy, it’s much more morally reprehensible to force it to be born than to terminate it in its early form. I will never agree that a zygote is a full human being, and we will disagree on that. And I’m not interested in splitting hairs about viability or early vs late-term, etc.

    It really does amaze me, as I said above, that wingers are so much more concerned about theoretical problems (zygotes not being born, ZOMG whatifobamaisamuslimterrorist, ACORN, etc.) than about real ones.

    It’s tiresome. We’ve got serious problems that the right wing dumped on us, and it’s past time to dig out from them. Thankfully, most Americans finally woke up to it. Enjoy your nap.


  19. ROFL! Thank you Snabby for proving my point! Not only did you “label the item a GOP talking point”, you also used “ignore the full weight of fact while nit-picking some minor detail”, “change the subject” and finished with “slapping a derogatory label on the commenter”. Wow, you must have read all the way to chapter 7 in “Fighting the Tyranny of the Right Wing Conspiracy”. You know, the one about using multi-labels on a particulary dangerous counter liberal thinker. MM should be honored that you were so afraid of her facts…especially facts from a liberal news source. Those are the most dangerous ones.


  20. TFG, this will be my last response to you, as I find your game tiresome.

    First, please note that your statement that I will accuse you of something (spewing GOP TP for instance) does not inoculate you from being guilty of doing it. So when I say that I know that when you respond, it will be with the typical smug Randian bullshit, and when I say, Wow, you must have read all the way to Part 3, Chapter 3 of “Atlas Shrugged,” you’ll know what I mean, the difference being that you are still wrong.

    I didn’t respond to MM because I wasn’t involved in that discussion, but I know you feel free to use my not responding as evidence of how right you are. BTW, take a look at http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2007/11/mankiw-beyond-t.html for discussion about Mankiw’s use of statistics to minimize the issue. Whether his spew appeared in the NYT is irrelevant. Liberal news source? Very funny. They print Bill Kristol’s diarrhea, apparently unedited, if you need evidence that they are at best center-right.

    Here’s what I truly despise about people like you: you’ve got entire “think” tanks dedicated to creating “facts” in order to ignore the serious problems we’ve got, and to push issues that are trivial.

    Goodbye.


  21. Tsk tsk, so much anger. Don’t you want to be happy and tolerant? Barack will be so disappointed.

    Oh, and I believe you already told me in the past that you were never going to reply to me again. I welcomed it then, but, like the myth of global warming or the throngs of the uninsured, it never quite materialized.

    Oh, and linking to some off the wall liberal economics professor who made a blog and happen to be a wing-nut of snabby-like ilk, is not really a convincing counter argument. You have to be truly narrow minded to cling to false facts in order to continue to cry about the peril of the uninsured. By the NYT’s own report, there is likely less than 5% of the population uninsured. 95% with available care…not too bad at all. Oh, and all people are entitled to emergency care, regardless of the ability to pay. Hospitals can not legally refuse emergency care.

    Don’t go away mad though…but feel free to go away


  22. By the NYT’s own report, there is likely less than 5% of the population uninsured. 95% with available care

    Show me.


  23. 47 million uninsured. You got that from the census bureau, or at least the DNC got it there and fed it to you. Since you seem to like that number we can use that for our math experiment. Please refer to the previously linked article in that bastion of conservative leaning journalistic excellence, the New York Times.

    47 million – 10 million illegals who don’t get benefits as they are breaking our laws = 37 million.

    37 million – 3 million who have access to Medicaid but have not applied because they are essentially healthy =34 million. I have seen that number closer to 6 million eligible, but NYT says “millions” so we will low ball it.

    34 million – 10 million who are offered healthcare at work but decline = 24 million. NYT says that number is 25% of the uninsured (closer to 12 million) but I low-balled again to make you happy.

    24 million – 18 million who make $50,000 a year or more and could afford health insurance if they chose to = 6 million. I was one of that group for 10 years. I felt healthy and chose to gamble.

    6 million represents about 2% of the people. Even if we double that result, that makes 4%. So fudging NYT’s results in your favor, it still appears that there is far less of a health care problem than you have been told. Perhaps we should do more to cover that 5% or less that I referred to, but it hardly warrants scrapping it all in favor of a government run health rationing system that places Post Office style bureaucrats in charge of your life. Feel free to poo poo me, but there it is.


  24. Is there any surprise there? No.



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