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In 1968, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross published On Death and Dying.  In this book, she outlined five stages that individuals facing a terminal diagnosis go through.  Although the idea remains scientifically controversial, it has been extended to other major life traumas.  Based upon some personal experiences lately, I think it provides a useful analytical framework for understanding individual response to traumatic but not fatal experiences. It occurred to me that Kubler-Ross ideas could usefully applied to the current behavior of the Republican Party.  Follow me below the fold for more.

In her book, Kubler-Ross laid out five stages that an individual goes through when faced with a terminal disease.  These can be found at Wikipedia:  Kubler-Ross Model  They are 1) Denial, 2) Anger, 3) Bargaining, 4) Depression, and 5) Acceptance.  It is worth noting that these behaviors may overlap.

Let's see how the Republican's symptoms match the framework:
Denial -  Clearly they have been here.  The election fraud, ACORN stole the election for the Democrats meme is a clear expression of this symptom.

There is also, the "Party of No" response of members of Congress and the Republican governors refusal of stimulus funding.

Next comes, Anger - Teabagging, need I say more?

Followed by Bargaining - Are they there yet?  The election of Michael Steele as RNC chair might be considered an exercise in bargaining.  They are trying to respond to demographic trends that make their future as a party exceptionally grim.

The penultimate stage is Depression.  I don't actually see any signs of this yet.  As a partisan is it too much to hope that this symptom paralyzes them in next year's mid-term elections, increasing our control of Congress and the states?

Finally, there is Acceptance.  No sign of this on the horizon.  Until they get there, there is absolutely no prospect of righting the ship.  As long as you hear Elephants making statements, "Conservatism hasn't failed, it just wasn't properly applied."  You can rest assured that they haven't completed their mourning process.

Originally posted to DrJohnB on Sat May 23, 2009 at 06:31 AM PDT.


What stage do you think the Republican Party is in?

14%15 votes
48%51 votes
14%15 votes
1%2 votes
0%0 votes
1%2 votes
4%5 votes
0%1 votes
13%14 votes

| 105 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  I predict they'll stay angry (6+ / 0-)

    I can't imagine them ever reaching the bargaining phase.

    Watching Pete Sessions and reporting from the Taliban-controlled 32nd Congressional District of Texas.

    by CoolOnion on Sat May 23, 2009 at 06:34:22 AM PDT

  •  I think the "leadership" (7+ / 0-)

    is in the bargaining phase, but some of the die-hards are stuck in anger, and may remain there.  The irony is that the compromises they end up making in the bargaining phase may so anger the base that there ends up nothing left of the party before they make it to the other side.  In the end our tent may become so large with the overflow of ex-republicans that our two party system effectively becomes centrists and progressives, with an irrelevant wing-nut party screaming helplessly on the right.

    Watch this space. Something brilliant will come to me soon, I'm sure.

    by tresgatos on Sat May 23, 2009 at 06:44:18 AM PDT

    •  That's my prediction as well. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Considering the rigidity of the base's thinking, any deviation will be labelled betrayal. That will drive the few remaining folks with (even minimally) functioning gray cells towards the center.

      YES WE CAN! *Obama/Biden08* YES WE WILL!

      by HoosierDeb on Sat May 23, 2009 at 09:54:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  How to post a tip jar? (11+ / 0-)

    I don't know, can anyone help?

    Republican Math Deficiency - The only people on Earth to think you can get to 50% + 1 from 46% by subtracting!

    by DrJohnB on Sat May 23, 2009 at 06:45:34 AM PDT

    •  Post a comment - that becomes the tip jar. (0+ / 0-)

      The best way is publish your diary.  Wait until it appears at the top of the diary list (usually pretty quickly).   The post the first comment as "Tip Jar" and then subsequent readers & posters will click on recommend & there you have your tip jar.

      You can go ahead and post one now.  Next time you can have it at the top of the comments.

      LOVE this diary -- really spot on.

      The land was ours before we were the land's...Robert Frost, The Gift Outright

      by HylasBrook on Sat May 23, 2009 at 06:48:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  They are stuck between denial and anger. (6+ / 0-)

    The handful that have moved beyond the anger and begun the bargaining have moved away from the party, like Specter.

    Those in denial are busy conducting their purity purges while those deep in anger are rallying to Cheney's fearmongering chants of "9/11! TERRAH! 9/11!"

    What is conservatism? Is it not the adherence to the old and tried against the new and untried? ~Abraham Lincoln

    by Chrispy67 on Sat May 23, 2009 at 06:48:35 AM PDT

    •  Bingo (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Chrispy67, mdmslle

      In fact, I voted for denial because it appears to me that a considerable chunk of the GOP, while suffused with rage, are still of the mindset that this is all a ghastly mistake and when they wake up tomorrow the world will be Right again.

      Dude, your statistical average, which was already in the toilet, just took a plunge into the Earth's mantle. ~ iampunha

      by ETF on Sat May 23, 2009 at 07:47:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tip Jar (22+ / 0-)

    Anybody out there want to give me some love?

    Republican Math Deficiency - The only people on Earth to think you can get to 50% + 1 from 46% by subtracting!

    by DrJohnB on Sat May 23, 2009 at 06:48:37 AM PDT

    •  No! I won't give you some love! (0+ / 0-)

      That's wrong, there is nothing wrong with the GOP! It's perfectly fine! It's all the Democrats fault anyway!
      Give you love!?! Are you crazy?! You so called Dr's and your belief that everything will just work out how dare you!!! I mean seriously, can't you just try to see what the GOP is trying to say is sometimes right? I mean, look, it just takes the occasional effort to work with us. Help keep women pregnant and men in the closet and we'll help on what you think is serious problems, I mean come on, a little helping hand here is all we need. But you won't, your kind never does, and we end up looking like losers, and we are losers I suppose, and if you just... God, just want to slit the GOP's wrists.
      If only you could just see our side of it, but you never do. Maybe If the GOP did die, you'd finally get the hint of what it's like to live with... with those creatures! Those things... but you won't. And maybe that's why we've been losing, because they hide too well in the public eye, just carrying on in life while the true believers are thought of rancid and mad. Maybe we are mad...
      Fine! Here's your love!! We're dead any ways... at least someday... someone will carry on our work.

      (Something like that?)

      So the terrorists of Gitmo are stronger, faster, and better than the USDOJ? The Senate thinks so. My. How "American".

      by RElland on Sat May 23, 2009 at 08:16:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The 5 stages in Emoticon (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RElland, Abra Crabcakeya, mdmslle

    Z<:oooo <br>>:-{}
    (<:--C <br>*|:-)

    Cheney-bu$h tortured people
    To get false confessions
    To fraudulently justify
    Invasion of Iraq!

    by OleHippieChick on Sat May 23, 2009 at 07:22:25 AM PDT

  •  Are Republicans ever otherwise than in denial (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OleHippieChick, ETF

    and anger? How else can the sometimes intelligent , often generally goodhearted people I know allow themselves to swallow the GOOP Party line?

  •  Individually many are in denial. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    st minutia, ETF

    It takes two forms:
    Bush isn't a 'real' conservative.
    I'm not a Republican (any more.)
    Both are ways of denying their role in re-electing Bush.

    Blackwater is changing its name to Xe.

    by Toon on Sat May 23, 2009 at 07:47:04 AM PDT

  •  I think they're in the first stages of bargaining (0+ / 0-)

    but that's between themselves mainly with Dick getting ahead due to the others staying quiet at his behest so he can at least keep the party going a little longer.
    Once the press really starts realizing that he's a torturing sociopath who loves biting heads off little kittens, then the last stages will follow.

    So the terrorists of Gitmo are stronger, faster, and better than the USDOJ? The Senate thinks so. My. How "American".

    by RElland on Sat May 23, 2009 at 08:05:15 AM PDT

  •  Much of the Republican Leadership (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    st minutia

    is in the bargaining stage. I'm not sure where to place Cheney, although I think the man was born angry, he is now out there convicting himself of war crimes every time he opens his mouth. His daughter isn't helping, either. Bush sounds depressed, but then, he sounded depressed all his last year. I'll bet anything he wishes Cheney would shut up.

    Some of the die hard, conservative constituents are still stuck somewhere between denial & anger.Some of my Republican neighbors are so angry that it is impossible to even engage them in a conversation that doesn't turn into an angry diatribe about Obama, Democrats, liberals, socialism, communism, fascism, C/T about birth certificates, stolen elections & what have you. Some of it is rather scary. In a forum in the local paper, there was some users who hoped for nuclear attacks on "liberal" American cities and some other horrendous comments about the First Lady & the children. The comments were removed but it has not stopped less offensive comments to continue. There is no reasoning with them, either, as they just get personal. I no longer comment as I became a target for their ire.
     I believe the Democrats recovered more quickly from the defeats, thanks much to Howard Dean and the Republicans themselves. Democrats suffered losses in elections but did not lose the number of voters who now either identify as Independents or Democrats, basically because Democrats accept diversity. I think the Republicans will stay angry for some tome to come


    "By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes" Wm. Shakespeare, "Macbeth"

    by TheMomCat on Sat May 23, 2009 at 08:33:45 AM PDT

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