Saturday, July 13, 2013

How does a national party die?

Coming out of the 2012 elections there were a lot of questions about what the Republican Party would do in response to their massive losses. Would they regroup or would they continue to cling to the dying beast of privileged white male patriarchy? I think we can safely say that those questions have been answered.

So far they've gone against the wishes of over 90% of Americans to defeat gun background checks, tried to eliminate food stamps, and defeated the attempt to keep interest rates low on student loans. Next week they'll hold their 38th vote in the House to try to kill Obamacare  and the crown jewel in their hostage note on raising the debt ceiling involves privatizing Medicare.

Meanwhile state GOP parties are doing their best to alienate women by stripping them of their rights to reproductive health care and doing their best to suppress the rights of people to vote.

Coming in to all this most people thought the bell weather of whether or not there was a shred of sanity left in the Republican Party would be their position on immigration reform. And we all knew that rested primarily on the shoulders of House Speaker Boehner. Would he be willing to stand up to the lunatic caucus in the House and work with the bi-partisan bill passed in the Senate? This week he said "no."

I rarely find myself agreeing with Kathleen Parker. But today I do.
Republicans seem to be adopting the self-immolation tactics of principled martyrs.

Of course, principled or not, you’re still dead in the end...

Before you can govern, you have to win. And before you can win, you have to offer something people want to buy.

What Republicans are selling appeals to an ever-diminishing market that doesn’t even include their erstwhile allies in business and industry. And their self-immolation may prove to have been nothing more than a bonfire of vanities.
It seems to me that the only remaining question now is: "What does the death of a national party look like?"

The truth is - we haven't witnessed that in modern times in this country. What we've seen is a shift between parties in response to the Southern Strategy. And when Democrats were on the brink of a challenge to their sustainability in the 70's and 80's, they regrouped and survived. Of course that was aided by a 1984 electoral college map that looked like this:

That's not likely to happen again.

I don't think anyone knows how this plays out. The one thing I can guarantee is that it will take some time. And as we can see, while its happening things are going to get really ugly. 

Think about that when you want to despair about how crazy our politics seem these days. What we are witnessing isn't like anything we've ever seen before. We are watching a national party go off the rails - hell bent on its own destruction. Any attempt to lay this at the feet of a President who has done nothing but reach out in attempts to find common ground is nothing short of nuts. 

The only way we ultimately lose on this one is if we let the ugly and the darkness from which it springs overtake us. What we need is resolve...the kind that keeps us shinning our collective little lights no matter what.


  1. Great post. Here's a companion piece by James Fallows...

  2. I read that article. Ezra Klein sounds like a fucking idiot. What is wrong with him? When a president talks about an issue it's all of a sudden polarizing. Huh? They need to take away his keyboard. How in the hell is a man that stretches out his hand to everyone he sees polarizing an issue? So when you see some abnormal phenomena we look to the past when shit like that didn't happen. Then draw some dumbass conclusion as to how someone should handle some out of the ordinary thing. I'm really tired of these damn "experts" and "whiz kids." How about the GOP as of right now is demented. If one accepts that then we have a better understanding as to what our options are. Ezra Klein was better off tracing all of the president's problems to the number of red and blue seats since he wants to be pedantic.

    And congressman Menendez sounds like a damn coward. "You make republicans feel pressured." We used to call it constituent services. They're supposed to feel pressured if people want to do something that certain people don't want to do. I'm sorry the GOP catered to the Fox News crowd all these years. It sucks that a congressperson's constituents get to see the truth about him. Menendez really needs to see the Wiz about that backbone.


  3. You can tell I'm in a good mood today.


    1. That's OK. I agree with you. You happen to pout it better than I could ever imagine. Same with Smartypants.

  4. I had just moved back to MN from Illinois in 1984. That map still hurts. My older sister was a driver for the Mondale campaign. We were at the Civic Center the night of the returns. a lot of crying going on and just stunned. I still don't think the electorate was ready for even A VP person. I don't think they are really ready for a female President either. At least not Hillary.