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Right-Winging Yourself to Death

March 3rd, 2009

As Obama’s popularity remains high and Republicans hang low in defeat, the more extreme zealots of the party gather at CPAC, cheering to Limbaugh, Coulter, and Joe the Plumber. More notably, they are beginning to fall on each other. Not as much as they are demonizing Democrats, but they’re getting pretty nasty. Steele and Limbaugh are taking pot shots at each other. Huckabee (among others) took a shot at McCain. Gingrich took shots at Bush, an increasingly popular pastime among the crowd. Joe the Plumber took a shot at the whole GOP. In defeat, incriminations abound. The general reaction: go even further to the right. Appeal to the young–but the only place left to get them is among the young Christian extremists, who are already fully accounted for. Appeal to women, but only those who are not pro-choice. Appeal to Hispanics, but only those who are anti-immigrant. They want inclusiveness, but only to people who accept their hard-core values, no compromises. They don’t seem to realize that enlarging the tent means going to the center, not the other direction.

Or, more likely, they are under the delusion that they won’t have to. It’s almost as if they are working almost entirely on faith that this is 1993 all over again, and all they have to do is hold course and the ’94–er, ’10 elections will start the sway of power right back into their hands, just like it did before. The problem with that is that this ain’t 1993. We didn’t just have the relatively popular Reagan and Bush Sr., we had a monumental disaster with 8 years of Bush. In 1993, the Republican Party was not completely discredited and in decline like it is now. In 1993, Newt Gingrich was steering the party with sharp gutter instincts, playing all his partisan cards right–unlike the present stumbling doofus they have now in Michael Steele. There wasn’t fatigue with that kind of game like there is now. And Clinton was a lot less popular, with Whitewater and sex scandals, breaking his own back out of the gate with his don’t-ask-don’t-tell and his abortive failure with health care.

1993 was a completely different time, but the GOP today seems to think that it can be as extreme as it wants to be, and just a little smearing and obstructionism is all it’ll take to win back power in a few years. But that’s unlikely–in fact, the Republicans stand to lose two or three seats next year–if they do not first alienate Specter, Snowe, and Collins so much that one or more of them pulls a Jeffords and the GOP falls below 40 in the Senate that much earlier. Either way, the GOP stands to lose even the ability to filibuster in just a few years, and one has to wonder if there’ll be much of a party left after then.

Money quote from CPAC: “One thing we can all do is stop assuming that the way to beat [the Democrats] is with better policy ideas.” That’s Rush Limbaugh, who seems to understand that his party has no ideas, and feels that it needs to depend on obstructionism and slime even more to gain any traction. Read his speech (transcript at the link above) and you’ll see more or less a manifesto of his politics, and where the GOP is headed, if it’s not there already.

Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results. Republicans seem to think that if you do something and it fails, then if you do it again but more so, then it’ll work.

Good luck to them on that.

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  1. Troy
    March 4th, 2011 at 09:43 | #1

    This post did not age particularly well . . .

  2. Luis
    March 5th, 2011 at 00:53 | #2

    Nope, it sure didn’t. However, I stand by the opinion that had Obama and the Dems showed even the smallest amount of spine, confidence, or conviction and the smallest iota of political savvy, this post could have been spot on. However, I should have known that it wouldn’t be that way.

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