By all current measures it seems increasingly certain that Mitt Romney is going to lose the 2012 Presidential election and there is some possibility that with his continual gaffes and flailing and "candid remarks," he loses pretty big. For most of us, the prospect of an Obama victory, especially following the 2010 debacle and four years of Republican obstructionism will be extra sweet.
We also know that winning the Presidency is only half the battle because without continued control of the Senate and either large gains or (please please) outright victory in the House, the prospects for continued turmoil and stalemate for a second term seem equally likely.
But there is another battle which will begin shortly, driven in large part by the likely outcome of the Presidential race and that is the battle over which branch of the current GOP assumes control from election day forward -- the traditionalists or the hard conservatives. It is a battle which is already shaping up, and by all indications it is going to be lengthy and nasty. Get some popcorn and head south of the orange slurpy logo for more perspective.
First, following a Romney loss, there is going to be the obvious outcry from the most conservative wing...evangelicals, Tea Partiers, Paulites:
Romney was not really our choice. He didn't truly believe in our cause and he could not/would articulate our philosophy.
(Amazingly, many from this sector think what Mitt said in the infamous 47% tapes was the message he should be promoting full bore and that doing so would make him a winner and not a loser.) They also seem convinced that if only Ryan were unleased (and ideally running for the top spot) things would be a lot different.
On top of that, add the fact that the "traditional GOP"....and I would identify that as the Boehner, McConnell, Rove branch, is now well and truly detested by the far right. You could see it in Huckabee's famous e-mail to his supporters in the wake of the traditional GOP's frantic efforts to cut Aikin off at the knees.
Who ordered this "Code Red" on Akin? There were talking point memos sent from the National Republican Senatorial Committee suggesting language to urge Akin to drop out.And yet, even with all those behind-the-scenes bully tactics to try and get Aikin to quit after his infamous quotes on women and rape, the traditional GOP was absolutely and totally helpless as Aikin held a press conference to effectively stick a finger in their eye and tell them, " You may think you can dump me, but I'm here, I beat your wishy-washy candidate in the primary and I am on a mission for myself and my backers, and you can't make me go away."
Political consultants were ordered to stay away from Akin or lose future business with GOP committees.
Operatives were recruited to set up a network of pastors to call Akin to urge him to get out.
Money has changed hands to push him off the plank.
It is disgraceful. From the spotlights of political offices and media perches, it may appear that the demand for Akin’s head is universal in the party. I assure you it is not.
There is a vast, but mostly quiet army of people who have an innate sense of fairness and don't like to see a fellow political pilgrim bullied. If Todd Akin loses the Senate seat, I will not blame Todd Akin. He made his mistake, but was man enough to admit it and apologize. I'm waiting for the apology from whoever the genius was on the high pedestals of our party who thought it wise to not only shoot our wounded, but run over him with tanks and trucks and then feed his body to the liberal wolves.
It wasn't just Todd Akin that was treated with contempt by the thinly veiled attack on Todd Akin. It was all the people who have faithfully knocked doors, made calls, and made sacrificial contributions to elect Republicans because we thought we were welcome in the party. Todd Akin owned his mistake. Who will step up and admit the effort being made to discredit Akin and apologize for the sleazy way it's been handled?
And he is not alone. The Ron Paul wing of the party spent months during the primaries digging into the GOP rules and used them better than anybody to buttress their strength in terms of delegates to the GOP convention last month. They wound up with more reps than the primary elections had awarded them, but they did it using the GOP's own rules. And what did the "traditional" GOP do....they simply ignored the rules at the convention and cut the Paulite delegates off at the knees. That did NOT win the GOP leaders any friendship points with this wing of the far right.
And you can see the far right already gearing up for the blame game:
“If Barack Obama wins this election, the Republican Party as we know it is finished, it is dead, it is toast — you can stick a fork in it,” he told TPM Friday at the Values Voter Summit in Washington. “And conservatives, grassroots conservatives, are either going to start a third party or they are going to launch a hostile takeover of the Republican Party.”Santo Ingrilli posted a message on a "Tea Party Perspective" blog entitled...Dear GOP Establishment...don't #&*% this up!
Yesterday's attempted power play by the GOP establishment is a stark reminder of how much work conservatives need to still do to gain the relevancy we deserve within our own ranks. Though I understand the Romney’s campaign desire to show a united front at the convention, they should achieve that unity by convincing people not by silencing them.And you want it REALLY spelled out? Let Rushbo do it for you:
It is also a reminder of how the GOP throughout its history, has grabbed defeat from the clutches of victory. What kind of people look at 2010 election results and say to themselves, “What can we do to piss off our grassroots people”? It is as if 2010 didn’t even happen. Well it did and it is time for the GOP to understand that we are here and we are here to stay.
You see to the Republican Party, the Tea Party is truly a double-edged sword. We force them to campaign and vote farther to the right then many of them are comfortable doing. They know our movement, especially in the primary season, has great power in determining winners and losers. We have put the RINOS on notice and they hate that we hold them to a higher standard.
"So the base of the Republican Party, the voters, have been bottling up for 25 years, a resentment -- an anger, if you will -- that their own party won't fight for them, won't fight for itself, won't fight for what's right. So when Newt gets teed up with these questions from Juan Williams and John King and whoever else and simply says what they've been thinking for 25 years, they say, "Finally!" What they want right now is fight-back, what they want is push-back, what they want is kick-back, what they want is smack-down! What they want is for these people who have been laughing at them and mocking them and impugning them, put in their place.And more Rush:
"They're tired of the cultural rot taking place in the country. They're tired of the incessant growth of government and spending. They're tired of it, and they're frustrated as they can be that members of their own party who get elected can't seem to articulate their own passions. Politics is about passion, and the Republican Party doesn't seem to have it! "
"The only problem is, right now Romney's not running a conservative campaign. But they're gonna set it up to say, "Well, the right sat home," or, "The right made Romney be other than who he is." They'll try to deflect the blame, but they got who they want."In conclusion, I see a couple of options here....either the hard right takes over the GOP, or alternatively, it splits off and forms a third party, thus dividing and crippling the traditional party. As long as they and the GOP continue to ignore the shifting demographics of the American electorate and cling to the belief that if they can just get their true ideology across, they will ride to victory, it is going to be a bitter conflict between the two sides.
One way or the other, I think the GOP as we know it is headed for a brutal restructuring or collapse. What about you?