Skip to main content

Goposaur Bug
If the departure of Specter has done nothing else (and it may have actually done nothing else), it's made at least a fraction of pundits fess up to what everyone else could already see. The GOP is shrinking like they just hopped into forty degree water and no Speedo in the world is going to cover the embarrassment.

But even as the folks inside the beltway are starting to see that the GOP ranks are looking pretty thin, they're still missing the why. Writing in the Washington Times (the Goposaur paper of record), Lanny Davis lays the blame on the religious right.

Sooner or later, it will have to face up to the reality that its problems are not a result of bad political strategy or communications, the current most popular self-deluding rationalizations. Rather, the shrinkage is primarily due to two facts about the current Religious Right-dominated Republican Party: unpopular ideas and bad attitudes.

And he finds Sen. Olympia Snowe voicing similar thoughts.

"There is no plausible scenario under which Republicans can grow into a majority party while shrinking our ideological confines and continuing to retract into a regional party. ... It was when we began to emphasize social issues to the detriment of our basic tenets that we encountered an electoral backlash."

Presumably, if the Republicans would only get out from under the sanctified thumb of the religious right, a wellspring of would-be Republican moderates who are offended by all that God stuff would swell the ranks of GOPerdom. Fiscal conservatives would rule, if they could only free themselves from the social conservatives. Neither Davis nor Snowe seems to see the irony in suggesting that the party can grow if it only expands its ideology -- by disowning part of its ideology.

There are a couple of problems with that. In fact, I think it's absolutely assbackwards. To see why, let's look at some pictures.

We talk a lot about the recent decline in the Republican Party, but when you look at the percentages over the last 40 years, a different pattern emerges. From 1969 to 2009, Democrats have dropped almost 15% in party identification. The slide was only arrested around 2003, and over the last four years Democrats have picked up a few percentage points. In comparison, a forty year review of Republican ID looks like a study in chaos, one that ends up almost where it began. Run a straight line through it and you could even infer an upward trend. But before you panic, note a couple of things. That Republican trough near the beginning of the chart represents the fallout from Watergate. The "natural territory" of Republicans previous to that event was in the low to mid-thirties. So the last Harris value on the chart represents a nearly 10% decline for the Republicans from their highs, while more recent data shows the Republican slide continuing to around 20%. A big part of this is the increasing tendency of Americans on both sides of the aisle to buck party ID. It's been years since more people identified themselves as Republican than independent, and in some recent polling independents have even outstripped the Democrats.

To get another sense of the nation's political temperature, let's take a look at chart showing control over the House of Representatives for the last forty years. What's special about the House? Nothing, but there's a bunch of it. If you look at the presidency, the fluctuations in party control are much more frequent, and Republicans actually hold the Oval office for a good part of the last forty years. But if you're looking at a race with only two major candidates then personal charm, hints of scandal, a badly run campaign, a fumbled question at a debate or a vice-presidential pick out of far northwest field can outweigh ideology. For the House of Representatives, sheer numbers of candidates and frequency of election drowns out much of the noise. The makeup of the House comes much closer than the presidency to indicating the national mood, the national thinking, the national ideology.

You could extend this chart back another forty years and find that the periods of change are few.  From 1918 until 1932 Republicans held control. It was only the Great Depression and World War II that created a period of erratic swings, following which the Democratic Party settled in to solid control of the House for the next three decades. From 1958 to 1994, Democrats didn't just lead in the House, they dominated. There was a momentary lead of astounding proportions after Watergate, then the House returned to the same territory in which it had fluctuated since 1954. Until 1992. The Democratic decline that starts in 1992 extends into a freefall in 1994. There follows more than a decade of Republican leadership in the House that's not reversed until 2006.

So... why? The switch from Republican to Democrat at the start of the Democrats' thirty year run came following economic depression and war. The recent return to Democratic control came in another period with war overseas and economic failures at home. But what about 1992? What happened then to make such a huge change? Voter identification as Republican didn't move sharply higher in 1992. In fact, voters identifying themselves as Republicans peaked in the late 1980s, at the same time as the Democrats were increasing their lead in the House. When the decline starts in 1992, it's actually at a point where Democratic ID seems to have stabilized and Republican ID is treading down again. Why are the Republicans able to accomplish under Clinton what they never could at their peak of popularity under Reagan? You might argue that House seats are a lagging indicator, as unemployment is in the economy. Maybe the familiarity of incumbents and simple momentum holds seats in place for years after the mood has changed. Maybe, but that's not what the Watergate period, or previous periods of change, demonstrate.

There are a lot of theories. The best one being that the period from 1992 to 1994 represented the peak of a kind of "Throw the Bums Out Fever" that pushed term limits and disdain for "professional politicians." Democrats took the brunt of the losses in the House for the same reason George H. W. Bush lost his seat in the Oval Office -- simply because they were the ones in power. Not so coincidentally, the same cycle saw Ross Perot take down a larger percentage of votes than any independent since Teddy Roosevelt.

But that's not the whole story. Let's take a quick look at some bills that were passed in the 103rd Congress under Democratic control, and the 104th Congress under the Republicans.

103rd Congress104th Congress
Family and Medical Leave ActCommunications Decency Act
Religious Freedom Restoration Act National Gambling Study
Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances ActWelfare Reform Act
Don't ask, don't tellDefense of Marriage Act

Naturally, this list isn't all the important legislation passed by either Congress, and the Republicans -- having taken both houses of Congress for the first time since the 1950s -- had an ambitious agenda. They were picked because they're indicative of another force that drove Republicans into the majority rather than just a mere exhaustion with having Democrats in charge.

That slide in Democratic Party ID from 1969 through the 1990s is deceptive. It doesn't represent so much a gradual national dissatisfaction with Democrats as it does the dramatic political remodeling of the South. Over this period former "yellow dog" districts turned into the heart of a growing southern Republican base. This regional shift away from the Democratic Party represented an opportunity for the Republicans, but also presented them with a challenge. Southern working-class populists were not the most natural fit in the party of Nixon. Republicans needed a way to hook former Democrats, something that would convince them not just to renounce their former party, but turn them into active supporters of the Republican agenda.

And they found that hook in the 1970s. That's when the Heritage Foundation began hosting a quartet of conservative activists including radio host Robert Grant and direct-mail king Richard Viguerie as part of a new organization, the Christian Voice. The purpose of the organization was to merge two very disparate viewpoints -- fiscal conservatism and social conservatism. To invent the religious right.

The alienation of former southern Democrats provided fertile ground for this new organization. Heritage provided the money and the office space. Soon the Christian Voice was joined by the Moral Majority and other organizations designed to create furor around Democrats and their "liberal values." If Republicans could pull it off, they could marry their traditional base with a new movement that could provide them with a lock on the South.

However, they first had to get past a powerful obstacle. Previous to this period, the largest block of southern Christians, members of the Southern Baptist Convention, were indoctrinated against mixing religion and politics. To circumvent this problem, conservatives launched an orchestrated takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention, gained control of the denomination, and by the end of the 1980s turned an organization that had been on the political sidelines into a focal point for driving new Republican voters to the polls. The victory was so complete that a religious denomination that had been strictly nonpolitical for a century, became the only major denomination to endorse George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq.

What the shift of 1992 represents isn't just a dissatisfaction with Democrats, but the full integration of the southern base and the Christian right into the Republican Party. 1992 was the first year in which the Christian Coalition distributed voters guides through churches. With their traditional base across the country, the Christian Right, and the Solid South, Republicans had a position that made them nationally competitive with Democrats for the first time in half a century. Not only that, it gave them a party with enthusiasm at a time when most people were disgusted by politics as usual.

And that's the real problem for the GOP.

Davis and Snowe are absolutely right to think that the move to twist the Republican Party around a social conservative base is costing them votes among moderates. It's also the likely cause of the continued decline of Republican ID, which is now at levels that actually pass the worst of the Watergate era. The trouble is, it takes both the social conservaties and the fiscal conservatives for the Republicans to form a winning coalition. That's why the first business of that Congress in 1994 was to pass laws rewarding the Christian Right that had returned them to power after so long in the wilderness.

Casting out the social conservatives now won't lead to a winning position, because there are not enough fiscal conservatives to keep the GOP from being more than an afterthought. Sticking with the social conservatives, whose demands for action on their issues are both insatiable and whose positions are unpopular with the general public, is another route to failure. In forcing a merger between these two factions, Republicans gained temporary victory, at the cost of endless confusion and long term disaster.

If they now push out the social conservatives, they can hold the next Republican convention in Olympia Snowe's living room.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun May 10, 2009 at 04:05 PM PDT.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Bad ideas and bad attitudes, yes (17+ / 0-)

    but both are marinated in spectacular arrogance and complete incompetence, a doubtful combination.

    We have only just begun and none too soon.

    by global citizen on Sun May 10, 2009 at 04:10:06 PM PDT

    •  They were quite competent (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Devilstower, global citizen, akmk

      At executing the Southern strategy of Richard Nixon. They've won the South!!! They've just lost everywhere else. Someone forgot to tell them when to quit.

      Even for the Republicans, it's still 1968 and it's proving far more disastrous for them as they just don't seem to be able to adjust.

  •  Great News! (10+ / 0-)

    I am a happy Democrat.

  •  Well, to be fair, (16+ / 0-)

    a lot of Ron Paul supporters I talked to specifically said they would be Republicans except they didn't support the religious right and wouldn't support a party that did.

    So there is at least some truth in that argument.

    •  Yeah (6+ / 0-)

      Unfortunately for the Republicans there isn't a readily packaged fiscally conservative soclally progressive movement. Not that they would ever fit comfortably with such a crowd anyway.

    •  And then there are Ron Paul supporters (not the (25+ / 0-)

      least of which Ron Paul himself) who believe in a lot of the social conservative stuff, but can't stomach the modern GOP because Republicans presided over the biggest spending government in history.

      I think this highlights the fact that there is an additional dichotomy at work here; while there is the noted duo of social conservatives and fiscal conservatives, it is also important to point out that the majority of self-proclaimed fiscal conservatives who actually have a megaphone are not fiscal conservatives at all, but quite the opposite - they are corporate conservatives (a very small sliver of the election that is actually much smaller than the number of true fiscal conservatives, but one that nonetheless had an unfathomable amount of influence over the last eight years).  Corporate conservatives do not believe in balanced budgets or restrained spending like true fiscal conservatives do; they believe in the massive debt which comes with the conquest of growing an empire and subsidizing big business, that there will always be more money to borrow, and that there will always be a golden parachute as long as one's own belongings are clung to tightly enough.  Just about every Republican aside from Paul in Washington is a corporate conservative, NOT a fiscal conservative; they'll spend more than anyone, just on all the wrong stuff.

      Now, it is true that corporate conservatives have long labeled themselves as fiscal conservatives, masking their views that were so detrimental to the the majority of society, but it is for this reason that I always feel the need to call out the term "fiscal conservative" when this delineation is not offered.  The fact is that Ron Paul and many of his supporters refused to support for conventional GOP candidate in 2008 was not over anti-social conservative fervor, but anti-corporate conservative fervor.

      What do you mean it's four months after the election and I haven't changed my sig yet?

      by ShadowSD on Sun May 10, 2009 at 04:55:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Excellent point. (7+ / 0-)

        Notice how public work spending is derided on one hand but defense spending is glorified on the other. They can't get enough of big government when it comes to impractical weapons equipment.

        The key here is there is a slight fracture between neo-conservatives and classical fiscal conservatives. The latter group are ideological libertarians who have little power in the GOP for reasons mentioned above.

        •  Public Works spending is spread... (0+ / 0-)

          around to a whole bunch of medium to small contractors.  Defense spending mostly goes to a few behemoths that have a lot of concentrated influence.  That's why they get the money.

          I am here to represent the democratic wing of the Democratic Party.

          by Josiah Bartlett on Sun May 10, 2009 at 07:52:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Crony-capitalist conservatism (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Josiah Bartlett, dotsright

            Picking up on this, note that the two most drastic GOP dips involved scandals that exposed the hypocrisy of both fiscal conservatism and social conservatism as the GOP practice them. the "law and order" Nixon administration did Watergate. The "why do Democrats hate God and Country" Bush administration violated both American principles and the American pocket book in running the war on terror, spending money like crazy but oops forgetting to protect the troops with proper equipment and oops creating a situation where the "liberators" who were going to be "greeted as heroes" were actually torturing narcissists.

            There's an interesting parallel between the account of the Southen Baptist Conference converting from what it was into a politically charged behemoth on the one hand, and Haliburton converting from a reasonably apolitical energy-service company to the politically charged behemeth it became with its acquistion of the histroically political Kellog Brown Root.

            Have you heard? The vice president's gone mad. - Bob Dylan, 1966

            by textus on Sun May 10, 2009 at 09:30:09 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  I'd use the same abbreviation but a ... (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pine, Odysseus, WestWind, NancyK, Judge Moonbox

        ... different moniker ... Crony Capitalists.

    •  Ron Paul supporters (4+ / 0-)

      are 10%-20% of the potential Republican voting pool.  Social conservatives are more than half.  It's not a winning tradeoff.

  •  The Moonies Are Casting Out The Baptists? (15+ / 0-)

    Man, who would have thought Times (aka The Moonie News) would cast the first stone?

  •  Lanny Davis (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WestWind, IM

    what's a good Democrat like that doing in the Washington Times?

  •  The Monico Blip? (8+ / 0-)

    Is the noteworthy 5% rise in GOP party ID roughly from 1998 on till 2000-2001 (despite the economy performing strongly under Dems) potentially attributable to reaction to Clinton's Monica scandal? I'd say so, at least in part.

  •  15% = Dixiecrats (19+ / 0-)

    The 15% drop in Democrat I.D. beginning n 1969, reflects the exodus of the Dixcrats to the Reagan wing of the GOP.

    It reflects the 13.53% of the vote, segregationist George Wallace received at a 3rd party candidate in 1968 presidential election.

    In order words, even with the blood transfusion of the Dixiecrats bloc, who where never even Democrats (see Strom Thurmond in 1948) the Goposaurs are hemorrhaging.

    •  I think that argument overplays the Dixicrat (18+ / 0-)

      phenomenon . . . Beginning in 1969, white southerners began splitting their local and national votes. But more substantively---and problematically---Democrats stopped having a working class identity.

      That graphic drop off of Democratic ID scares the bejesus out of me. It can't be explained by Dixicrats alone, and the party really needs to recognize the problem. When we think right now that young people and Hispanics and women, etc. are looking to be Democratic forever, we're deluding ourselves. They're looking not to be Republicans. And there couldn't be a more shallow membership in a political party than that.

      Democrats have to have a working class message, and clear working class political accomplishments. That we can't seem to talk about getting stuff like EFCA and/or single payer through today doesn't bode well at all. And, frankly, I don't know that I see the party as a voice of the working class . . .

    •  Yeah, but it also means (16+ / 0-)

      That the House and Senate, even with large Dem majorities, weren't that much different than this Congress or the previous one.

      Before Reagan, there were more liberal-to-moderate Republicans, esp from the NE (John Lindsay, Lodge, Javits, Rockefeller, etc), and there were a lot more conservative Dems, mostly from the south, and some from the west (Scoop Jackson, for example).

      So over time, the liberal-conservative balance hasn't varied nearly as much. It depends a lot on the issues - 1930s southern Dems weren't threatened by desegregation and tended to be more populist; on the other hand, the Eisenhower and Nixon Republicans helped pass and signed into law a lot of legislation that's fairly liberal (the original Clean Air Act, EPA, OSHA, among others).

      If you add up the Blue Dogs and Republicans, the Congress, philosophically, is still not that progressive. We still need more and better Dems.

      Je suis Marxiste, tendance Groucho

      by badger on Sun May 10, 2009 at 04:27:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  good point (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        badger

        If one looks at political trends over the past 50 years, political affiliation in Congress has shifted from being a reflection of geography and socioeconomic status to being almost completely a reflection of ideology. Specter's defection (however opportunistic it may have been) is the death knell of the Rockefeller Republicans. Snowe and Collins are arguably the only two moderate GOPers left in the Senate.

    •  They were never real GOP... (4+ / 0-)

      At least not in the Fiscal, conservative sense.
      They were always people who wanted more 'freedom', specifically the kind where they could discriminate & treat people like trash legally & not have any repercussions.  That's all they cared about.

      I always found this to be an indefensible position.  I.E.  They're a**holes & they deserve to lose. Its the not-so-distant offspring of the KKK political movement in the postbellum South.

      Nixon went down there and dragged them into the GOP in 68 & 72.  Maybe it was fated - if he hadn't done it, that mini-nation-of-a**holes would have been a permanent splinter-party that would have crippled the GOP..  But still.  If we can't convince them to send sane people to Washington, let's defeat them across the board.  Let them ruminate in the wilderness - maybe they & Rush & Hannity & Laura Ingraham will starve to death out there.

      A nation of sheep will surely beget a government of wolves.

      by BlabberMan on Sun May 10, 2009 at 04:32:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  independents are now the largest party. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wishingwell, kitebro, Bahnsen

    40%

    George Bush is Living proof of the axiom "Never send a boy to do a man's job" E -2.25 S -4.10

    by nathguy on Sun May 10, 2009 at 04:16:00 PM PDT

    •  Not quite yet. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GreenSooner, jds1978, NoVAVoter, artigiano

      Click on the "more recent data" link.  Also, what the media call "independent" is actually a mix of third parties and actual independents (which I call unaffiliated, to distinguish from the grossly misnomered Independent Party).

      They probablly won't bother to sort out the numbers until the Dems and Republicans both sink below 30% each, or perhaps 50% combined. That day is coming, but unless something unusual happens, not any time real soon.

      It will be interesting to see how the Obama presidency affects these numbers over the next four years.

    •  Parties. Plural. n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  Lanny & Lieberman (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Al Rodgers, Matt Z

    There is a vague deja vu for me in seeing the right taking down a Republican lawmaker who voted 70 percent of the time with his party’s Senate colleagues. I am reminded of how the Democratic left treated incumbent Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut in 2006.

    Mr. Lieberman had voted with his fellow Democrats not 70 percent of the time, but rather 90 percent of the time. Yet he was opposed by the Democratic left and lost a close race for the party’s nomination in the 2006 primary. But he went on to win as an independent in the general election by a substantial margin.

    While Mr. Lieberman offended many liberals by his support for the Iraq war, the fact is, on all the critical domestic litmus test issues, he had, indisputably, one of the most liberal voting records in Congress: pro-choice, pro-labor (including the so-called "card-check" bill), pro-social-spending programs, pro-environmental regulation, pro-civil rights and affirmative action, pro-women’s rights and gay rights, and so on.

    And yet, despite this record, people on the left, particularly those on the most hateful liberal blogs, continue to hate him and mischaracterize him as a conservative, and are still planning to oppose him again if he chooses to run in 2010. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, whose liberalism and intelligence I admire, rarely misses a chance to criticize Mr. Lieberman, sometimes with very personal overtones. But she never mentions or credits his liberal voting record, including his support for President Obama in the first 100 days.

    Lanny's column also appeared at Fox News.

    http://foxforum.blogs.foxnews.com/...

    Here we are now Entertain us I feel stupid and contagious

    by Scarce on Sun May 10, 2009 at 04:16:07 PM PDT

    •  2012, of course (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      IM

      Lanny got this one wrong.

      Here we are now Entertain us I feel stupid and contagious

      by Scarce on Sun May 10, 2009 at 04:23:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Oh brother,Lanny is still crying about Joementum (10+ / 0-)

      Lanny, buy a clue.

      Joe did it to himself.

      He viscously SMEARED candidate Obama throughout 2008.

      Now if Joe turns in a perfect voting record and shuts up, I'm willing to overlook the Tailgunner Joe's McCarthyism.

      But Lanny, the anger is there for good reason.

      Ask yourself this Lanny, if Joementum had SMEARED Hillary, in support of McCain, would you be so understanding?

      •  Lanny was intimately associated with Lieberman's (6+ / 0-)

        ..campaign in 2006, joining full-time after Lieberman's ignominious loss to Lamont. Davis' mantra was that though he didn't agree with Lieberman on the Iraq War he couldn't see his good friend of over 30 years go down to defeat.

        Lanny is a grade A schmuck, as we on the most hateful blogs have told him numerous times.

        Here we are now Entertain us I feel stupid and contagious

        by Scarce on Sun May 10, 2009 at 04:37:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I think Davis overstates (0+ / 0-)

      Lieberman's liberal voting record, although it certainly isn't the most conservative record in the party. Iraq was a key issue for "the left", but for Democratic Party activists, his continual berating of the party in the media and cozying up to Republicans was just as significant. Lieberman's supporters never seem to acknowledge this.

      Economic Left/Right: -4.00 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.82
      This sig is the former home of a witty Monty Python quote.

      by AaronInSanDiego on Sun May 10, 2009 at 08:42:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Social Conservative (16+ / 0-)

    You mentioned it takes Wall Street and Main street for a viable Republican Party.  

    You also need the security hawks.

    Those are the three legs of Party Republican of the past.

    We Dems have been taking a beating on security since Vietnam.

    And that is where, if we are not careful, the Republicans will rebuild.

    •  Good point (7+ / 0-)

      The second peak on both Republican ID and Republican seats corresponds to the post-2001 bump. Democrats now have an opening to regain respect on the security front, and it's one that needs to be utilized.

      •  You betch is does (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Odysseus, jds1978, artigiano

        The problem: huge swaths of our party simply feel uncomfortable with US power.

        They are either isolationists or errant pacifists.

        •  Pardon the typos? (0+ / 0-)

          You betcha!

        •  Well, if you don't buy right-wing memes . . . (12+ / 0-)

          you could better call us working class anti-imperialists. Every dime the nation has spent on post-WWII militarism comes straight out of the hide of working people, their families, their educations, their health, and their environment. While fattening up the oligarchy.

          US power is not an inevitability. It's a money laundering strategy.

        •  You have this 180º wrong. (7+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Odysseus, Jay C, ssgbryan, IM, Xochi, BrighidG, Bahnsen

          As Harry Truman once said, given a choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will choose the Republican every time.

          Most election are fought on bread-and-butter issues not national security issues.  Democrats tend to do very well in those elections.

          Democrats don't do very well in the elections fought on national security, at least in the last four decades. Why?

          Well ever since 1972, the hawks have controlled the Democratic Party. You can bitch all you want about us "pacifists" and "isolationists" but y'all control the Democratic Party. And you lose national security elections because you run as me-too Democrats, who support the same militarist policies as the Republicans. If people want that, and are voting on that, they'll vote for the real Republican every time.

          Now there are really two things Democrats can try to do about this:

          1. Make sure elections focus on domestic issues. Nine times out of ten this works.  The 2004 election was probably the only election in the last four decades in which foreign policy clearly trumped domestic issues, and that was under very unusual circumstances.
          1. Reframe the debate and convince people that there's a better way than feeding the maw of the military industrial complex and killing hundreds of thousands of people overseas.  Of course, this would take a lot more work. And you'd need to believe in transforming U.S. foreign policy, which Democrats like Plubius clearly don't.

          Self-styled progressives who call for balanced budgets are not merely parroting conservatives; they are parroting dead conservatives. - James Galbraith

          by GreenSooner on Sun May 10, 2009 at 05:45:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  There has to be a way (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AaronInSanDiego

            to gain public trust on the issue of national security that doesn't involve launching a war or (continuing to) spend blindly on military hardware. Maybe it will take someone willing to jump into that land that will cause the tea baggers to scream "told you!" and sign some serious international agreements.

          •  Truman (0+ / 0-)

            atomized two cities.  I think you misunderstand what he meant.

            As you misunderstand just about everything.

            I am not a hawk.  Just as the mainstream of the Democratic party is not hawk.  

            Its mainstream.  Using American power to further US interest does not a hawk make.

            •  Sure it does. (0+ / 0-)

              That's practically the definition of it.  What would you call a hawk?

              The '60s were simply an attempt to get the 21st Century started early....Well, what are we waiting for? There's no deadline on a dream!

              by Panurge on Mon May 11, 2009 at 07:34:26 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  With all due respect... (0+ / 0-)

            When I first encountered that quote it was:  "If you give people a choice between a Republican and a Republican, they'll pick the Republican every time."  What I think Truman meant to say was:  The Democrat may actually win, but if the Democrat does so by being indistinguishable from a Republican, what's the point?  The Republican agenda--the Republican value system--has won anyway.  

            You'd think in the wake of Vietnam that the Peace Party could've moved in for the kill (if that's not too contradictory), but Carter made just enough missteps to get Reagan elected, and really people found they really liked the President Reagan they were presented with (having conveniently forgotten the Governor Reagan of the Vietnam era).  But Dems have never stood by the Peace Party all that well--not the way the GOP stands by its fringe.  And so here we are.

            The '60s were simply an attempt to get the 21st Century started early....Well, what are we waiting for? There's no deadline on a dream!

            by Panurge on Mon May 11, 2009 at 07:42:17 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  What we have to show is that (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Plubius

          we can be smart about defense without knee-jerk militarism. Those who cling to the Republican Party merely out of fear of Muslims and Mexicans need to be shown that there is another way.

          Economic Left/Right: -4.00 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.82
          This sig is the former home of a witty Monty Python quote.

          by AaronInSanDiego on Sun May 10, 2009 at 08:47:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I'm coming into this very late, so (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Xochi

        I'm replying directly to you.  Any analysis of public opinion post 1975 or so ought to focus on the role of the (largely and amazingly forgotten) Iranian Hostage crisis, beginning November 1979, the anniversary of which just before the following year's election helped propel Reagan into office.  You can do fine-grained analysis of when public opinion changed over the course of time; this event -- even more than 9/11, so far as I can tell -- is what did it.

        You know the saying that a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged?  The Hostage Crisis was America's mugging.  The Republicans successfully built on it -- and the notion that we had to be tough and merciless to keep away the Moooooslems, for thirty years.  I will bet that it coincides with that huge increase in GOP identification in your first chart.

        Pretty graph, by the way, though I assume that the curves aren't really curves.

        They tortured people to get false confessions to fraudulently justify our invading Iraq.

        by Seneca Doane on Mon May 11, 2009 at 08:48:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah, but what we don't need is to spend our (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      majcmb1, Plubius, artigiano

      way to being hawks with the military industrial complex. Weapons systems better suited for fighting an enemy in the hundreds of thousands or millions (think nuclear subs, Star Wars, and gigantic mechanized infantry units) may play well for photo ops, but smarter ways that actually enhance our security and international standing would work just as well.

      And don't think I'm necessarily a dove, either. I would have favored getting militarily involved in the Balkans right after we knew that genocide happened in Vukovar in 1991, not to mention Rwanda and currently Sudan. Sorry, folks, ya got no oil, I guess was the answer. In fact, that seems to have been a major reason not to have gone and freaking gotten the guy who perpetrated 9/11.  

  •  Fundies have nowhere to go... (6+ / 0-)

    so they will doom the GOP.

    This SHOULD be a "golden era" in America's political history for the development of a new third party -- one that is libertarian as opposed to populist -- unencumbered by the influence of the Religious Right.

    I can't for the life of me understand why some young Republican member of Congress fitting that bill and having Presidential ambitions has not formally moved over to the Libertarian Party.

    Such a person could call upon disaffected Republicans, suck up to Ron Paul and Bob Barr supporters, and build upon the limited resources and infrastructure of the Libertarian Party, to create a new coalition of small government, anti-empire, moderates.

    Such a party would be quite appealing and could serve honorably as the loyal opposition to us progressive Democrats.

    Hell, I might even throw'em a buck or two if it would help isolate the Fundies further.

    I know the special interests and lobbyists are gearing up for a fight as we speak.
    My message to them is this: So am I -- President Barack Obama

    by Jimdotz on Sun May 10, 2009 at 04:19:08 PM PDT

    •  There will come a day... (7+ / 0-)

      When someone mounts a third party that displaces one of the two current giants. The fact that so many find it unthinkable makes it rather more likely.

      •  If I'm a powerful Congressional Dem... (10+ / 0-)

        ... (and I'm not, obviously) I'd start picking public media fights with big-L Libertarians on a few issues. Take away even the little bit of air-time that the GOP's obstructionism is buying them. In other words, start making cable news producers update their Rolodexes with a different set of numbers for who to call for a dissenting opinion.

        The goal is not to bring your adversaries to their knees but to their senses. -- Mahatma Gandhi

        by kingubu on Sun May 10, 2009 at 04:35:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Re there will come a day (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pine, Matt Z, Jimdotz, artigiano

        And that day could break for us in a good way or not. Let's hope it's a split between dead enders and the saner elements of the Right. If it's between centrist Dems and more progressive ones it could cost us.

        I remember Perot was very appealing to some Dems who were sick of the "politics as usual", I suspect there will be at least some third in 2012. Maybe not the right one for the right time, but soon enough.

        •  it could be a regional split (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Odysseus, Jimdotz

          Perot was an odd case, given his ability to self-fund. I don't see something like that happening again unless Michael Bloomberg decides to throw his hat in the ring (which seems unlikely).

          I think it's plausible that a regional third party could emerge under the right circumstances. My money would be on disaffected religious wingnuts in the south (in a move similar to George Wallace's AIP in 1968). For moderates to form their own political party, it seems like the Democrats would have to royally screw up first.

        •  My first vote was for Perot. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jimdotz

          Clinton was uninteresting, and Bush was asleep at the wheel.

          -7.75 -4.67

          "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

          There are no Christians in foxholes.

          by Odysseus on Sun May 10, 2009 at 06:41:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  True but some fundies will just not vote (7+ / 0-)

      as I think we all are seeing some of that happening in our local areas. They become turned off and they fail to show up to vote. Granted, they are still a powerful force for canvassing and recruiting if they are utilized and energized. But recently , they are not enthusiastic because they are not getting what they want from the Republican party. They want a  TOTAL focus on Wedge issues like Gay marriage, abortion and to turn this country into a Theocracy.

      •  Chuck Todd (6+ / 0-)

        points that out in his recent "Alamanac of American Politics Lite" - Dem victories last year were as extensive as they were owing to Republican dropoff as much as improving Dem turnout.

      •  This is as it should be. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jimdotz, BrighidG

        They have to divorce themselves from using the ballot this way & digest the fact that they can't legislate on cultural issues.  They can promote their views & influence the public debate, but they can't change the law for religious reasons.

        If they can't convince folks to follow their rules voluntarily then they have to go to heaven unsatisfied.  

        A nation of sheep will surely beget a government of wolves.

        by BlabberMan on Sun May 10, 2009 at 05:14:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Actually Ron Paul addressed that specifically... (6+ / 0-)

      ... in a recent interview with Rachel Maddow.

      It was mostly in the context of presidential politics, but his take was that the two-party lock on the electoral machinery (who gets on the ballot, who gets invited to debates, etc.) makes running as a third-party candidate practically impossible.

      Many of his policies are pretty kooky, but the guy knows the process.

      The goal is not to bring your adversaries to their knees but to their senses. -- Mahatma Gandhi

      by kingubu on Sun May 10, 2009 at 04:26:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Only if your a Libertarian.. (13+ / 0-)

      I don't think of them finally getting on their feet as a Golden Age.. because I'm not a Libertarian.  And I'll be most of the folks on DailyKos agree.

       I think those folks are a bunch of Utopian Nudnicks who are just as dubious as Republicans - maybe moreso, because they are by-definition not moderate nor agreeable to good government.

      You can't have someone who fundametally doesn't believe in government be in-charge of government!  That's one of Bush's biggest lessons, & I don't think Libertarians can grasp that.

      A nation of sheep will surely beget a government of wolves.

      by BlabberMan on Sun May 10, 2009 at 04:45:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Its multi-dimensional, though. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Odysseus, quotemstr, fizziks, Jimdotz

        Yeah, all the "banish the Fed!" "Shut down the IRS!" stuff is visibly kooky but I know a fair number of small-l libertarians with whom I can make common cause on stuff like domestic spying and other civil liberties issues.

        The goal is not to bring your adversaries to their knees but to their senses. -- Mahatma Gandhi

        by kingubu on Sun May 10, 2009 at 05:00:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I suppose that's true.. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          quotemstr, Matt Z, Jimdotz

          But small-l libertarians frequently vote for the large-L libertarians.  It's like you're voting for someone who would be a murderer, but you're confident that his party will never get a majority of the congress, so it's OK since he's good for local government.  Well it's not OK - IMHO, it's daft.  Sorry - please reconsider.

          A nation of sheep will surely beget a government of wolves.

          by BlabberMan on Sun May 10, 2009 at 05:21:22 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I agree with you up to a point (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            quotemstr, Jimdotz, Guest from EU

            Libertarianism distilled is utopianism. The Confucian proverb that the king works best when he does little is ultimately a precious fantasy and not a practical political theory. However your description of libertarians as psychopaths is way over the top. Most of the libertarians I know, and I was one myself briefly, are pretty reasonable people.

      •  Right now, all the Libertarian Party has... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Odysseus, Matt Z, Guest from EU, Bahnsen

        are the extremists. I'm talking about a moderate, reasonable, "l"ibertarian who is decidedly NOT Ron Paul, but who could learn from Paul.

        And let me be clear, I am not espousing this point-of-view... I am progressive through-and-through. I'm just trying to understand and predict our opposition.

        And frankly, I'm concerned for the country.

        America needs a viable Second Party to serve as an alternative governing philosophy to our progressivism because, someday, we WILL be overcome by hubris and we will deserve to have our asses handed to us.

        When that happens, I want our Second Party -- however much I may disagree with them -- to be reasonable, thoughtful people, and not Fundies or Nazis.

        I know the special interests and lobbyists are gearing up for a fight as we speak.
        My message to them is this: So am I -- President Barack Obama

        by Jimdotz on Sun May 10, 2009 at 05:39:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Our Progressivism Is Held Firmly In Check By (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Odysseus, quotemstr, Jimdotz

          the corporatists in both parties.  This isn't likely to change anytime soon.

          Nonetheless I take your point and agree that without strong opposition hubris and corruption will increase and further undermine progressive goals.

          "Abstinence is like the future of the Republican Party - there's nothing to it." - ej3, a HuffPo blogger -8.38, -5.54

          by majcmb1 on Sun May 10, 2009 at 05:48:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Ehhh... (0+ / 0-)

      When someone says "Liberterian", I think "Randist".  No, thanks.

      The '60s were simply an attempt to get the 21st Century started early....Well, what are we waiting for? There's no deadline on a dream!

      by Panurge on Mon May 11, 2009 at 07:45:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Clinton = Eisenhower? (10+ / 0-)

    Just thinking in terms of parallels - Eisenhower was the only R President in the D cycle of relative dominance between 1932-1968.

    Clinton was just about the only D President in the R cycle of relative Presidential dominance between 1968-2008. (As much as I liked Jimmy Carter, his 4 years don't count for much.)

    Of course, there are a lot of holes in the relative analogy. But both Clinton and Eisenhower were relatively moderate for their parties.

  •  Off Topic: CBS Propaganda Piece/ 60 Minutes (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    majcmb1, artigiano

    Just saw an a propaganda piece disguised as a 60
    Minutes segment on pilotless drones and how they are revolutionizing war in Afghanistan/Iraq or anywhere . Great new product, we are told.

    The fact that many civilians are killed by these weapons was mostly avoided.

    All the footage was supplied by the US military.

    •  Generally, these are great weapons for cowards. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      frandor55, majcmb1, artigiano

      Not that they wouldn't serve a great purpose if we were fighting the Russians or the Chinese, but to use them on hardscrabble villagers who might or might not be insurgents. Sounds like something the British would have used against Valley Forge.

    •  We have no more soldiers (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      frandor55, artigiano

      Just a bunch of machine operators.

      Driving with my gps system is as much soldiering as half our air force does.

      "A lie isn't a side of a story. It's just a lie." The Wire

      by glutz78 on Sun May 10, 2009 at 04:48:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah, well, we didn't have any (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      majcmb1

      pilotless drones that could not distinguish between innocent civilians and VC/NVA soldiers in Viet Nam...all we had was a bunch of soldiers, some gung ho assholes like John McCain, many more who didn't want to be there but were "invited," and we seemed to have the same problem sorting out enemies and innocents. More so. It has nothing to do with technology, it is the nature of war that the civilian population suffers the most. They are easier targets, and murdering them is safer than engaging an armed enemy. Soldiers, technology, no matter...war kills innocents and soldiers alike, death has no preference. War is conceptually as well as existentially immoral. I know, I was one of those stupid bastards, and I killed whatever came my way.

  •  And many Republicans, blinded by fear of (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    majcmb1, BrighidG, artigiano

    terrorists, had no idea being Republican meant giving up public schools and social security. And building Hooters and Home Depots in Iraq.

    It's called "torture", not "harsh interrogation". And it's illegal.

    by plok on Sun May 10, 2009 at 04:24:44 PM PDT

  •  Senator Snowe says: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ssgbryan, wishingwell, artigiano

    It was when we began to emphasize social issues to the detriment of our basic tenets that we encountered an electoral backlash."

    Basic Tenets?  Like what?  Hypocrisy?  Bigotry?  Sustenance of the ultra rich while screwing average Americans?   With these basic tenets, and I've mentioned only a few of the odious many, The GOP has been on the way out for a long time.  It just took awhile for the dumbest among us to realize the Republican party has nothing to offer anyone who also possesses a brain.

    The longer I live, the clearer I perceive how unmatchable a compliment one pays when he says of a man "he has the courage to utter his convictions." Mark Twain

    by Persiflage on Sun May 10, 2009 at 04:24:47 PM PDT

  •  In the words of Jerry Seinfeld (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wishingwell, artigiano

    "That's a shame."  Couldn't happen to a 'nicer' bunch of guys.

    This space for rent.

    by bherner on Sun May 10, 2009 at 04:25:14 PM PDT

  •  Hope GOP shrank because policies failed (9+ / 0-)

    vs. religious right. Personally, I think the religious right thing still works for them, providing a nice base.

    The reason they lost the moderates and independents was that Reaganomics didn't work. Deregulation brought up an economic disaster for lost jobs, pensions, homes and savings. Reagan/GOP love affair with oil industry brought on alliances with Saddam and Bin Laden, massive oil trade deficits, pollution, two Iraq wars, one Afghanistan/Pakistan war and terrorism. Reaganomics fantasy of "tax cuts" produced record deficits and debt from people who preached balanced budgets and fiscal "conservatism".

    Every aspect of the Reagan/GOP ideology of the last 30 years has proven to be a huge, costly, dangerous failure.

    That is why moderates and independents bailed on the GOP vs. the religious right stuff.

    •  but many did bail because of the religious right (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pine, artigiano

      and some bailed for the failed Republican policies.....I think it was a little of both.

      The Republicans for Obama that we saw at various headquarters before the election would talk about why they could no longer support Republicans and they had switched to Independent or Democrat or they planned to after the election.   Some cited Iraq, torture and various other Bush policies and some talked about how the relgious right had hijacked the party.

      •  Don't see religioius right GOP changing at all. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        majcmb1, artigiano

        The religious right that supported Reagan hasn't changed in the 30 years so I don't know why moderates and independents would suddenly be fleeing from policies that they liked and supported for the last 30 years (anti-abortion, anti-gay, Christian solider stuff).

        The environmental, energy, foreign policy and economic/fiscal policy on the other hand has been a spectacular and costly failure.

        Those failures would seem to be more of a motivator than religious policies that have been constant and harder to quantify.

        •  No. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pine, MadEye

          The religious right that supported Reagan hasn't changed in the 30 years so I don't know why moderates and independents would suddenly be fleeing from policies that they liked and supported for the last 30 years (anti-abortion, anti-gay, Christian solider stuff).

          The problem for the Republicans is that they have been putting more and more emphasis on these issues. Reagan cared primarily about national security and economic issues. The half-witted fundamentalists didn't control him, like they controlled Bush and the Republican leadership in the House and the Senate.

          "Hamas is bad, but not as bad the IDF." - edtastic

          by Mikemoud Huckmadinejad on Sun May 10, 2009 at 05:00:25 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not so much more emphasis as all that's left. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            majcmb1

            Don't see any more or less emphasis on right wing religious issues in GOP. They were full bore from Reagan to now with no let up on the religious right issues, anti-gays, anti-abortion, anti-science etc.

            It may seem like more emphasis as moderates and independents leave over issues like economy, environment, deficit/debt, all the issues where Reagan/GOP ideology has failed.

            "they controlled Bush and the Republican leadership in the House and the Senate"

            I think a better argument is Bush was front man for oil companies and corporations, those are the people who benefited from Bush/GOP/Reagan policies deregulation, energy policy (or lack of it), oil wars etc.  The Bush/Reagan corporate oil guys made use of the religious right but didn't really do anything for them.  Abortion was never made illegal. Gays gained rights. Evolution won in schools.  But the oil guys, they got it all, energy policy the encouraged US oil use, environmental pollicy that let them pollute, foreign policy that used US military to secure oil resources for the, tax policies that let them keep all their profits.

    •  scary (0+ / 0-)

      I largely agree with your analysis, but what scares me about that is the possibility that the political pendulum may swing back to the GOP at some point in the future, with the religious right still in the driver's seat.

  •  Goposaurs reduced to....but but but...if (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    artigiano

    only....good luck with that...btw...how's your money holding out?

  •  5 simple words as to what happened in the 80's (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wishingwell, kitebro, BrighidG, artigiano

    White southerners started voting republican.

    For the first time since Hoover, the south is now in the minority.

    "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." MLK

    by Mo on Sun May 10, 2009 at 04:27:59 PM PDT

    •  It started in the 60s (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      88kathy, nathguy, Matt Z, BrighidG, artigiano

      with LBJ and that civil rights thing. That flipped a whole lot of 'em. After all, the fact that the GOP was the party of Lincoln was a big reason for so many of them having been Dems.

      The GOP isn't losing popularity, their appeal is becoming more selective.

      by kitebro on Sun May 10, 2009 at 04:33:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly. (9+ / 0-)

        And after Roe v. Wade, it was only a matter of redirecting their seething anger over Brown v. Board of Education and desegregation to the issue of abortion. The 'activist judges' nonsense started when they struck down segregation, the present situation is merely a continuation of their original anger.

        You shouldn't be surprised that Jerry Falwell, a very moral man (so moral that he started the Moral Majority), argued vociferously in favor of segregation in the 1970s, condemned ministers who supported civil rights and didn't even allow black people to join his church.

        "Hamas is bad, but not as bad the IDF." - edtastic

        by Mikemoud Huckmadinejad on Sun May 10, 2009 at 05:03:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  it's always been racism and I wonder if it (5+ / 0-)

        won't always be racism with the solid south

        Freedom isn't free, but don't tax me. Fox 527 on your dial.

        by 88kathy on Sun May 10, 2009 at 05:03:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Actually in started in 1948 (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MadEye, kitebro, majcmb1, BrighidG

        Truman desegregated the military and the Democratic Party, at the urging of Hubert Humphrey, put a civil rights plank in its platform. The Dixiecrats bolted the convention. The South voted for Thurmond:

        (That's Thurmond in yellow, Truman (D) in blue, and Dwe (R) in red)

        In the 1950s, some Southern states already started to go Republican.

        1952:

        1956:


        The process, of course, greatly accelerated with LBJ and the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts.

        Self-styled progressives who call for balanced budgets are not merely parroting conservatives; they are parroting dead conservatives. - James Galbraith

        by GreenSooner on Sun May 10, 2009 at 05:59:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  How "Dewey" got so horribly mangled... (0+ / 0-)

          ...I'll never know.

          Memo to self: preview is your friend!

          Self-styled progressives who call for balanced budgets are not merely parroting conservatives; they are parroting dead conservatives. - James Galbraith

          by GreenSooner on Sun May 10, 2009 at 06:30:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Interesting. (0+ / 0-)

          The GOP isn't losing popularity, their appeal is becoming more selective.

          by kitebro on Sun May 10, 2009 at 06:57:25 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Great comment to a great article (0+ / 0-)

          The diary makes many excellent points and your comment fills an important gap.  The white South shifted to the Republicans on the issue of race.  Your comment shows how this began in 1948, after the final split between the New Deal liberals and the Dixie-crats, the political descendants of the pro-slavery Democratic party that pre-dates the Civil War.  The 'Southern Strategy' was a promise fight a rearguard action on civil rights after Johnson's civil rights acts in the mid-1960's.  This blended into the conservative reaction to the excesses of 1960's social and sexual revolution.  They exploited the period of middle-American resistance to and reaction against the culture wars of the Sixties, civil rights being the foremost.

          The Republican's problem is not that they are fiscally and socially conservative. After all, fifty percent of the voters are right of center by definition. Reasoned conservative positions will, at worst, give them a strong minority position with periodic moves into the majority.  I strongly disagree with the diary's conclusion in that regard.

          The Republican problem is that the center has moved left.  I think that this is, first, economic.  Over the last 20 years the most prominent 'excessive behavior' came from corporations and Wall Street, not from hippies and war protesters.  The Republicans are on the wrong side of the reaction to that social excess.

          The center has, of course, also moved left on social values.  The Republican problem here is that they have moved so far right on social values that they have lost all contact with the center.  I think that the Terri Schiavo affair marked their separation from the center on social issues, and their pandering to Creationism and the excesses of the Religious Right compounds their problem.

          They need to move to a center-right position but they seem unable to give up the pleasures of Rovian rhetoric.  Tom Ridge is right; they are too shrill.  Too shrill and too far right on social issues.  They can easily fix that.  The only question is how long it will take them.

  •  The fundies and Wall Street were bound to collide (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wishingwell, artigiano

    eventually. The oligarchs could hoodwink the fundies into being their stormtroops but now it's obvious that the bankers are just con artists. They're losing the trust of the fundies.

    •  Maybe but then (0+ / 0-)

      the corporatist will find a new home, the Democratic Party.  It won't be as good as it was with the Rethugs, they'll have to settle for half a loaf, but that is better than controlling a minority party.

      You can see that going on right now, for example with health care.  

      The Rethug Party are anti-American traitors. The Congressional Rethugs form a fifth column intent on destruction of America.

      by IhateBush on Sun May 10, 2009 at 07:23:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The trouble for them is that they have virtually (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ssgbryan, artigiano, Inspector Javert

    100% of the talibangelical vote and it is not a sufficient number of votes to win an election.  It is true that jettisoning them would represent shoving out of the party more than half of the remaining base, but it is their only chance of someday a couple of decades from now being able to build a big enough coalition to win national elections again.    If they don't, they will remain a party that cannot win.  Why preserve a base that keeps you from winning?

    Picture a bright blue ball just spinnin' spinnin' free. It's dizzy with possibility.

    by lockewasright on Sun May 10, 2009 at 04:29:59 PM PDT

  •  who is the "they" (7+ / 0-)

    who might push out the social conservatives? The party is now dominated by the social conservatives, who are hardly going to expel themselves. I think it will probably take a crushing defeat for them to come to their senses. I know, I know, they already had that last year...but because it was McCain they can still delude themselves that a "truly conservative" platform might be a winner.

  •  Party IDs aren't very strong anymore (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BentLiberal, m00finsan, artigiano

    Even among those who actually claim a party. I'm a Democrat, but I'm not a yellow-dog by any means. I'll vote Democratic as long as the party and my views coincide.

    That's the way most Americans view things.

    And that's the way the social conservatives view things too. They have become disillusioned with the Republican Party, and are beginning to drop out. Some are going to drop all the way out of politics altogether, but the ones who want to stay are prime for a new party.

    I think the GOP will either expel the social conservatives eventually, or they'll leave on their own. It will shrink the Republican base for awhile...not that it can shrink a lot more, but it will also allow them to regain some economic conservatives they've lost over the past few years.

    The Republican Party can't win nationally without some moral issue to get more votes. That's ALWAYS been the way they've operated. But they can't claim any moral issue that's effective as long as they're stuck with the current social conservatives.

    So, they have to ditch them, take their loses for awhile, rebuild their economic core, then look for a new moral issue that actually resonates with enough people so they have a chance to win again.

    •  Not the Dems I know. (6+ / 0-)

      Yellow-dogs, through and through, and damn proud of it.

      I wouldn't vote for a Republican if someone had a gun to my head.  My entire family and large circle of friends feel the same way.

      Republican is a very dirty word in my house.

      "But your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore"--Prine 4280+ dead Americans. Bring them home.

      by Miss Blue on Sun May 10, 2009 at 04:38:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree mostly (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BentLiberal

        I haven't voted for a Republican in awhile.

        But that gets us back to why the GOP is in the crappy shape its in.

        I don't vote Democratic just to vote Democratic, which is the very definition of "yellow dog." (You know, if they ran a yellow dog as a Democrat, I'd vote yellow dog.)

        Sorry, I would vote for a Republican over a yellow dog.

        Brownish-red dog...eh....maybe...

        •  A republican,,,, (6+ / 0-)

          no matter how moderate/liberal, how rational, will always defer to the Party in the end.  Always.

          Consequently, no Republican will ever get my vote.  When I vote, if there is a Repub running unopposed, as frequently happens as I live in a very, very red county, I do not vote for the office.

          And yes, I would vote for a yellow dog over a Republican.

          "But your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore"--Prine 4280+ dead Americans. Bring them home.

          by Miss Blue on Sun May 10, 2009 at 04:52:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Yes. (0+ / 0-)

        It was quite an eye-opener when I was canvassing in 2004, how many Democrats told me that the only reason the were Democrats was because they hated Republicans so much, and vice versa.  That's the definition of a hate group...a group that is defined together by their antipathy for another group. And I can't think of anything else that all Democrats or all Republicans have in common.

    •  The other part of that is... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus, Miss Blue

      that the moral issues that drove the success in the early 90s, such as gay marriage, are increasingly losing positions as younger voters hold more progressive positions.

      Abortion is still out there -- and the right's position on it still languishes in minority.

      Not only is the GOP increasingly limited to the social conservatives, but their positions are increasingly losers. Not a good formula.

      As Davis and Snowe suggest (and as all the "new" Republican revitalization efforts strongly indicate) the party will likely back away hard from the Christian right. They'll make that wager that they can weather the damage and come out ahead.

      Which may be the best long term thinking the GOP has ever shown.

      •  If i were advising them... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Odysseus, Miss Blue

        I'd tell them to just bite the damn bullet, take the short-term loses, and disown the religious right.

        I hope that's what happens. A lot of economic conservatives can be socially moderate or even liberal.

        Economic conservatism I can live with. I may disagree with it most of the time, but I have no problems with it.

        Not true of the social conservatives. I'm hoping they'll form a "conservative" party or something which will probably gradually peter out.

      •  More likely (0+ / 0-)

        the Christianists will back away from them!

    •  Depends. (0+ / 0-)

      As an independent, I find Democrats who will talk it both ways from one context to the next.  I remember one young woman who informed me brightly that she hated Democrats. But only minutes later, she said she was one. Even she didn't seem to have a handle on that.

      I think it is mostly a confusion of "Democrat" as a religion versus the actual party affiliation.

  •  Don't forget that race was at (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ssgbryan

    the root of the Southern, "Christian" right trend. Certainly, Republican candidates never did.

    Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

    by Jim P on Sun May 10, 2009 at 04:33:20 PM PDT

  •  Cute first paragraph (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Devilstower, 88kathy

    But my husband would like to point out that Speedos aren't really supposed to cover anything. :)

  •  And it's all thanks to "genius" Karl Rove (6+ / 0-)

    It's thanks to alleged "genius" Karl Rove that the Republicans find themselves in their current predicament. Back in 2001 there was still time for the Republicans to move back towards the center and replenish the party. Indeed in 2001 Bush Jr.s campaign loudly proclaimed itself to be centrist.

    But Rove relied on evangelical GOTV to put Bush (dubiously) over the top--a trick he repeated in 2004.

    Everyone at the time loudly proclaimed how brilliant Rove was for carving out these razor-thin victories, but now the price Rove paid is fully apparent. Far from a brilliant strategy, it was a shortsighted blunder that may have doomed the party.

    The Republicans are completely hostage to the wingnut social conservatives ... and while it's true the Republicans can't win an election without the wingnuts, they can't win one with them either.

  •  Truth in Labelling? (8+ / 0-)

    Isn't it our job to talk about what an idiotic premise it is to even mention "Fiscal Conservatives" in relation to the Republican party?

    The statistics seem pretty clear that the Republicans are ALL about spending (so long as it fills their own coffers, natch), and anyone claiming to be both fiscally Conservative and a Republican has some serious 'splainin' to do.

    Unless "Fiscal Conservative" is code for "Willing to spend masses of anyone else's money so long as they don't pay taxes" - in which case, fair enough.

  •  Labor sat on its hands in 1994 (9+ / 0-)

    Can't argue with your other points, but after Labor busted butt to get Bill Clinton elected with a democratic majority in Congress, they discovered they had been had. Not only was there only lukewarm support of Labor, but they passed NAFTA against strong opposition from the unions. So they stayed home and watched TV instead of getting out there and turning out the vote. The 8 years of horror that followed the election of 2000 convinced a lot of people that maybe that wasn't the smartest idea. But take note, it could happen again if our newly elected majority doesn't give up their quality time with their corporate buddies.

    •  That probably won't happen in 2010 (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      seabrook

      Labor will likely get a decent health care package and possibly a modified EFCA, so they will turn out.

      But I fear that Labor will be fighting with corporatists within the Democratic Party, I think the corporate interests realize that the Rethugs are done, and they'll take their chances getting half a loaf with the Democrats, than none with the Repubs.

      Don't be surprised if much of the business establishment backs Obama in 2012 against a Rethug who is certain to lose.

      The Rethug Party are anti-American traitors. The Congressional Rethugs form a fifth column intent on destruction of America.

      by IhateBush on Sun May 10, 2009 at 07:28:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Primaries? (0+ / 0-)

      That's what they're for, right?  

      I guess you've just got to have a lot more of them than either party tends to have, figuring they must necessarily weaken the party's prospects for a general election.  

      OTOH, why didn't Big Labor learn that lesson right off?  (OT3rdH, why didn't any of us learn it right off?)

      The '60s were simply an attempt to get the 21st Century started early....Well, what are we waiting for? There's no deadline on a dream!

      by Panurge on Mon May 11, 2009 at 08:01:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If the former Democrats (0+ / 0-)

    departed from the GOP, for example because they had instead formed a Christian Democratic party on a model that would confuse readers here and Europeans no end, the Republicans would be down to 15% of the registered voters, like they are now in Massachusetts.

    That's 5 State Senators, out of 40, and 16 State Reps, out of 160.

    Incidentally, I seem to recall 2nd Amendment issues coming up in 1994.  

    Nonetheless, the party symbol does look like the Whigosaurus Minoritas, the species that evolved into the dodo.

  •  I love it! I love it! I love it! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    majcmb1, Matt Z, ban nock

    They want to keep on keepin' on. They don't think they are doing anything wrong. I think that is great. They are sending themselves into complete irrelevancy and they don't even realize it. What they really don't realize is that all their spokespeople are OLD, OLD, OLD. I say this as an OLD person (at least in body, but not in spirit or ideas). My husband, who is a Vietnam Vet and a former Republican said it best. He said " We screwed everything up, it's time for the younger people to take over." I agree and we are rooting for the next generation.

  •  This could also split the Democratic Party (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, FishOutofWater, Matt Z

    Think about it: they send all their conservative outcasts our way then the big tent gets too big and splits. There you have it, a 3 party system:

    1. religious right
    1. economic conservatives
    1. progressives

    Probably not likely but not impossible. Ralph Nader's head just exploded.

    "A lie isn't a side of a story. It's just a lie." The Wire

    by glutz78 on Sun May 10, 2009 at 04:46:05 PM PDT

  •  WHOOHOOOO!!!! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus

    At this rate, more voters will be registered as independent or third party than either Democrat or Republican by the time of the next presidential election!!!

    Color me ECSTATIC.

  •  Good stuff! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BentLiberal
  •  Of course it doesn't help that they are not (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nathguy

    actually fiscal conservatives. They like to pretend that they are, but most people know the truth. This then turns many fiscal conservatives away (a long with the disdain for the christian right) because the party doesn't actual practice what they preach.

    All of the true things I am about to tell you are shameless lies.- Bokonon

    by ryan81 on Sun May 10, 2009 at 04:56:43 PM PDT

  •  According to The Dick Cheney, the GzeroP (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BenGoshi, Matt Z, skohayes, artigiano

    is perfectly willing to shrink even further for their 'principles'.

    Why, they'll be happy to throw Colin Powell out.  The McCains, too, if they don't straighten up.  In fact, it is safe to say that they'll keep throwing people out until it's just Rushit and The Dick, if that's what it takes to stay 'pure'.

    I wish them every bit of success they deserve.  Either any sane moderate Republicans toss these guys, or they can look forward to starting a new party of their own.

    I suggest the latter, as I think the Republican brand has been thoroughly trashed and no longer has any value to any who may seriously wish to lead the country someday.

    Lord Reagan brought the thumpers to the dance, and little Bush promised to buy them a sundae afterward if only they would help elect his daddy.

    Now, the GzeroP is stuck with them for life.

    Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of fascist ruler-wannabees.

  •  Let's not flatter ourselves too much (0+ / 0-)

    The reason the GOP is unpopular is that the economy tanked. Before that happened, it looked as though John McCain stood at least an even chance of beating Barack Obama, even with Sarah Palin and George Bush hung around his neck.  That is an astounding fact that we ignore at our peril.

    America isn't so nuts about us. It hopes we can get the money back, that's all.  If we can't, all of those graphs will start to look very different.

    •  Its astounding... (7+ / 0-)

      that people still get the post-convention bounce confused with actual sentiment.

      Even without the economy tanking, the debates would have shifted the swing voters into Obama's camp.

      But the economy is why the GOP is in trouble. For the past 30 years, the majority of the country has supported the conservative view on economics.

      That just went up in smoke.

      Just like the 30s.

    •  Dude, just remind yourself... (0+ / 0-)

      The Dems won the PRESIDENCY OF THE UNITED STATES with a half-black guy named BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA.  

      OK, so he is actually The Squarest Guy In The World, which, alas, probably explains much of it, but still...

      The '60s were simply an attempt to get the 21st Century started early....Well, what are we waiting for? There's no deadline on a dream!

      by Panurge on Mon May 11, 2009 at 08:14:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Blowhards, Idiots & Crazy People. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus

    .
     What about the current GOP is so difficult for the Media Heathers to "get"?????

     bg
    _____________________________

    "Unseen, in the background, Fate was quietly slipping the lead into the boxing-glove." -- P.G. Wodehouse (via Bertie Wooster)

    by BenGoshi on Sun May 10, 2009 at 05:15:13 PM PDT

  •  I agree it's pretty simple (0+ / 0-)

    People see the results of Republican policies and nobody except the wingnuts wants any part of it.

    And, for those paying attention, they see the Republican solution to their woes is even more of the same policy (more tax cuts for the rich, more wars...)

    It's no surprise

    As Bill Clinton said at the convention in 2008 "we've tried their way, we've tried our way, our way just works better."

  •  Voter Historical trends don't tell us much (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Inspector Javert

    Per the chart, Republican IDd voters were at an ebb around 1994. That wasn't a good election cycle for us due to poor turnout.

    The key lesson is make sure our guys show up. We have more of them.

    A well organized, well funded GOTV effort is more important than the voter id trends.

    "80% of Republicans want Palin to lead the Republican Party and 100% of Democrats want her to lead the Republican Party." Bill Maher

    by Dave from Oregon on Sun May 10, 2009 at 05:21:42 PM PDT

  •  Bed Bugs. n/t (0+ / 0-)

    "They pour syrup on shit and tell us it's hotcakes." Meteor Blades

    by JugOPunch on Sun May 10, 2009 at 05:32:32 PM PDT

  •  It's not the Southern Baptist . . . (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Devilstower, MadEye, nathguy

    Conference, it's the Southern Baptist Convention. If you're going to talk about them, you'll probably be taken more seriously if you describe them correctly.

  •  I look at that house chart and I see.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Inspector Javert

    George Will's bow tie.

    PALIN: I have a vast variety of sources where we get our news.

    by Big Nit Attack on Sun May 10, 2009 at 05:40:36 PM PDT

  •  Excellent summation of the Goper problem. (0+ / 0-)
  •  Great Analysis, Thanks! (0+ / 0-)

    That downward blue trend bothers me though. Maybe there should be a "regular" blue line and a yellow line for the "yellow Democrats". That might give some more insight.

    Well? Shall we go? At least that man is gone.

    by whenwego on Sun May 10, 2009 at 05:42:44 PM PDT

  •  Magnificent overview. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BentLiberal, OldLady in BC

    This is now one of those pages I've bookmarked and archived for long-term insight and reference. Outstanding work.

  •  I like the SBC angle (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Devilstower, seabrook

    which is missing from a lot of discussion on the issue of conservative takeovers. FWIW, Paige Patterson and Paul Pressler first started planning the SBC takeover in 1967. Now that evil bastard Patterson is president of the largest southern baptist seminary as the spoils of his long career being an ass and practicing IOKIYAAR. Of course, the SBC was founded in support of slavery.

  •  Seats in house chart is like WOW WOW WOW (0+ / 0-)

    Lets hope it keeps on going higher and higher and lower and lower and lower and lower and lower....

  •  Can anyone recommend some books or articles (0+ / 0-)

    on the takeover of the SBC and/or the GOP's southern strategy in general? I find it deeply fascinating.

    Well Dave, I'm sorry that I'm not as enlightened as you are. I can't love my enemies. And gay-bashers are my enemies, as are racists. That's that.

    by PLCOT on Sun May 10, 2009 at 06:10:05 PM PDT

    •  A book about the same type folks. (0+ / 0-)

      Try "There Goes My Everything". Not about SBC or GOP. About how privleged whites dealt with the changes of desegregation. They say history is written by "the victors." This book takes a look at the feelings of the losers in the desegregation struggle. A fascinating read.

      Just as iron sharpens iron, so does one man sharpen his brothers. Proverbs 27:17

      by artigiano on Sun May 10, 2009 at 06:23:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If history is written by the victors... (0+ / 0-)

        ...then maybe the way to victory is to write history!

        The '60s were simply an attempt to get the 21st Century started early....Well, what are we waiting for? There's no deadline on a dream!

        by Panurge on Mon May 11, 2009 at 08:09:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  half a rump (0+ / 0-)

    they used to say about us we were never going to win again until we dumped the minorities, that the labor and minority wings of the dems were incompatible. their theory was wrong about us, but yours is certainly right about them. the god squad and the bux boys need each other, and neither can kick out the other without leaving only half a rump...

    "Isn't "Laying Blame for the Past" what we used to think of as "Justice"? -- Howard A. Rodman

    by slangist on Sun May 10, 2009 at 06:16:18 PM PDT

  •  Nobody has blamed W for the slide? (5+ / 0-)

    George Will tells a great story about asking an older working stiff in 1968 why he wouldn't be voting for Goldwater. The guy replied "Because I hate Hoover."

    Point is that a royal screw up like W. can poison the well for a generation. Likewise if Obama can be as well loved as FDR or Reagan he can win votes for candidates after he is dead in 2080 or beyond.

    Just as iron sharpens iron, so does one man sharpen his brothers. Proverbs 27:17

    by artigiano on Sun May 10, 2009 at 06:16:25 PM PDT

  •  Chickens come home to roost (0+ / 0-)

    What I think is beautiful is how the convergence of this GOPer short-term election tactical thinking and their economic ideas enshrining short term gain  both lead to complete disaster.  Too bad the country had to suffer the consequences of this in order for it all to be made clear.  Hasta la vista, GOP.

  •  This talk about Gopousars and the GOP being (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Plubius

    dead is premature. They will come back and rebound eventually once they resolve their problems. I think that to declare the GOP dead is kind of being too presumptuous.

    The GOP is in the same place where the Democrats were after 1968--at least at the presidential level. Much like the Democrats of the Nixon/Reagan era, today's Republicans still don't accept the fact that the voters no longer want the conservatism that they are trying to push. They still think that McCain lost because he wasn't "conservative" enough.

    The Democrats after 1968 failed to realize that theirs was a shrinking base--voters in rapidly depopulating inner cities, people in college towns, and voters on the upper coasts. They failed to realize that, in the rapidly growing precincts in suburbia and in the Sunbelt voters didn't want the version of liberalism that they were offering.

    Voters had tired of being told about their "obligations" for "social justice". They were tired of being told that violent crime in the inner city was due to "racism"; and that if they only supported welfare and other social programs more, it wouldn't be a problem. They were tired of the Vietnam War. They were tired of a government that they assumed was too big, taxing them too much, and not giving them enough in services. They were tired of the violence in America's inner-city. They were tired of the counterculture and so forth.

    It took the Democrats losing the next five out of six elections to realize that America no longer wanted the type of liberalism that they were offering. For the GOP that doesn't augur well for their future performance in the next few presidential cycles. Further the fact that the GOP still doesn't realize that it has a problem makes it even worse for them.

    I've said it before, but look for the GOP to nominate their own George McGovern in 2012. Provided that Obama does not totally collapse the GOP's "activist base", much like how left wing groups pressured the failed Democratic nominees of the Nixon/Reagan era, will force the Republican nominee to take stands that make him or her unelectable. Even if they nominate someone relatively moderate that candidate will have to run hard to the right.

    The GOP is going to have a few rough cycles--at least presidentially. But I would hardly consider them dead either.

    •  This isn't 1968 for the Rethugs (0+ / 0-)

      it is 1932.  The Dems held Congress until 1994.  The Rethugs have nothing, except the Supreme Court (which they had in the 1930s too.).

      If Obama get his health care reform plan passed this year, say adios to the Rethug party for a very long time.

      The Rethug Party are anti-American traitors. The Congressional Rethugs form a fifth column intent on destruction of America.

      by IhateBush on Sun May 10, 2009 at 09:49:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Right Wing Deprogrammer (0+ / 0-)

    There is no denying that the Gop. is in freefall. Thanks to the Religious Right and Propaganda outlets like Talk Radio and Fox News, conservatives have been dumbed down to a staggering degree. The "Right Wing Deprogrammer" might help bring some of these decent people back to reality.

  •  FYI party & econ performance analysis (0+ / 0-)

    President's party v. S&P 500:

    http://dailykos.com/...

     House & Senate v. S&P 500:

    http://dailykos.com/...

    "Not dead ... yet. Still have ... things to do." -Liet Kynes

    by Stranded Wind on Sun May 10, 2009 at 07:05:10 PM PDT

  •  The GOP has done a remarkable job (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Inspector Javert

    in holding together a coalition of business people who love nothing more than to be able to freely send their manufacturing to China, with a bunch of Christian Rightists who detest China for its state enforced abortions, human rights abuses, and communism (but mostly for the abortions,) a bunch of libertarians who want the government to stay out of their business (and especially their wallets) with a bunch of moralist who want the government snooping through the libertarians computers, books, porn, and sex-shop receipts.
    But they can't hold a group like that together forever, and the first ones to bolt have been the so-called Christian Right who have finally realized that the GOP has merely pandered to them and exploited them for thirty years, while failing to eradicate abortionists, gay people, and heathens from society.

    It's not the Democrats that Republicans have to fear. It's the demographs.

    by jazzmaniac on Sun May 10, 2009 at 07:06:52 PM PDT

  •  New party? (0+ / 0-)

    Given how narrow the scope of the Republican party has become, and the corresponding shrinkage in its followers, I am wondering why moderate Republicans don't just start a new party, one that provides the "bigger tent" they aspire to.  Why stay with a party that seems headed for extinction, if not increasing irrelevance?  I imagine that moderate Republicans would feel there would be a high risk of being accused of being traitors to Republican ideals and thus becoming marginalized if they should branch out on their own.  But if the platform of a new moderate Republican party actually appeals to a greater proportion of the electorate, it would seem the current party would be at risk of becoming even more marginalized while the new moderate Republican party gains in popularity.  If the moderate Republicans ever get the courage to do such a thing, the Democrats could face some greater challenges.

  •  Very Good Work - made your points well. (0+ / 0-)

    Thanks

    The crooks are leaving have left office, unprosecuted and scot-free.

    by BentLiberal on Sun May 10, 2009 at 07:16:41 PM PDT

  •  AWB (0+ / 0-)

    Hate to say it, but you forgot to mention the biggest legislation passed in 1994 - my recollection is that the Assault Weapons Ban turned Reagan Democrats into Reagan Republicans and cost us the beating in the '94 election (and is the only real reason Obama and Pelosi are running scared from a re-issue).  

  •  Competing doctrines (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Devilstower, Inspector Javert

    The problem is the total integration of religion with politics, and the fact that all successful politics is compromise. If the biggest (and therefore primary-determining) faction of your party is one that considers compromise completely unacceptable, then there is no way that I can see where that party can survive. Well, unless they can manage to convert a majority of the incoming young voters to social conservatism and Protestant fundamentalism. I guess that's possible, but it's about as likely as me discovering a warp drive.

    Moderates are, to the fanatics, those willing to make deals with the evil devils on the other side. And the fanatics are unacceptable and hopelessly backwards in the eyes of the moderates.

    Let this be a lesson to Democrat purists.

  •  At the same time (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Devilstower

    the traditional grassroots organizing base of the Democrats was being deliberately withered by the emerging class of "professional" campaign consultants, more interested in courting the wealthiest donors than in walking neighborhoods and courting voters. That all changed with Howard Dean.

  •  invisible talk radio- RIP Fairness Doctrine '87 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Devilstower

    progressives MUST STOP analyzing american politics in a talk radio vacuum. every day another republican biggie must kiss the hand of limbaugh, but somehow it is generally irrelevant.

    early 90s was the rise of talk radio. the throw the bums out, they're all the same  mantra went out full blast in those years. america has lost 20 years of progress, reaching the edge of disaster, because its political analysts continue to ignore the biggest threat to democracy- the talk radio monopoly.

    the talk radio megaphone with its coordinated uncontested repetition allowed the RW of the GOP to take lee atwater national. it did and still does the groundwork for everything the GOP does, centered around attacking and swiftboating progressive causes and representatives.

    obama finally exposed limbaugh as its leader, doing what clinton, gore, and kerry should have done, but it is still effective for manipulating a lethargic trad media and enables the GOP obstruction, holding the GOP together by threat and intimidating red state (limbaugh) dems.

    consider the effect of those 1000 radio stations if the pirates had killed the captain in a rescue attempt authorized by obama. the heritage foundation/ limbaugh/hannity machine was hoping that to be  the case. or a national emergency if the  flu had been more deadly.

    the trad media is full of examples of mountains the radio monopoly made from molehills, myths that continue, talking points and one liners that would not exist without the prechewing they got first on talk radio to a crowd the size of the one that voted for obama. UNCONTESTED, with their liars protected by call screeners and sometimes taking paid callers.

    we wouldn't be in iraq today, we wouldn't have had bush/rove/cheney, we wouldn't have deregulated to this disaster, we would have been dealing honestly with global warming. the GOP couldn't have sold any of this disaster without their talk radio monopoly.

    since reagan killed the Fairness Doctrine in 1987, the rise and mobilization of the extreme right in all it's facets was largely a function of the talk radio monopoly.

    ignoring the talk radio monopoly continues to be the biggest political blunder in decades

    by certainot on Mon May 11, 2009 at 05:33:15 AM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site