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The End of an Era?
November 11, 2008 11:12 AM   Subscribe

According to political scientist Wayne Parent, “The South has moved from being the center of the political universe to being an outside player in presidential politics.” Are we finally seeing the end of Nixon's infamous Southern Strategy? For years Republicans have depended on the region to win elections. Some now argue that the G.O.P. has "transformed itself from the Party of Lincoln into the Party of the Old Confederacy." In any case, playing to racism and resentment [PDF] isn't as effective as it used to be. Furthermore, many Republicans have publicly disowned such tactics.
posted by 912 Greens (75 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
I would have more respect for this change of position if it weren't obviously a case of all these assholes running scared because a black man has been elected president.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:28 AM on November 11, 2008


Some old saw about reaping what you sow comes to mind.
posted by rokusan at 11:29 AM on November 11, 2008


(To be fair, FoB, the "disowned" link is from 2005, well before the ascension of Teh Scary Black President.)
posted by rokusan at 11:32 AM on November 11, 2008


I have met Wayne Parent a couple of times (he teaches at LSU, and he's a regular at my neighborhood coffee shop) - we consider him one of the the 'three wise men' of Louisiana politics. He's a really sharp guy... but anyways...

I think that while we can point a lot of fingers at white racism (and, believe me, I've heard more than an earful of it in the leadup to the election - the biggest single allegation I heard over and over again was that African-Americans were "set to riot like the sixties" and that you'd need to "stock up on guns and ammo") there are some other factors at stake. Despite the fact that Obama is/was by no means a race-baiting radical (a la Farrakhan), people seemed pretty willing to accept that template. Add to that the fact that Louisiana doesn't really have much of a record of talented, non-controversial black leaders (save Baton Rouge's Kip Holden) - Nagin and Morial are seen as corrupt failures in New Orleans, as is William Jefferson,and it stoked a lot of fears of suburban moderates.

But, really, the answer is Obama didn't really campaign here at all. He wrote off the whole South Central region, after securing the nomination, he visited Alabama exactly ZERO times. Same for Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. Texas, Mississippi, and Tennessee got exactly one visit a piece.

For instance, I'm a regular campaign volunteer, a loyal footsoldier who has called over 1500 households for Democratic candidates in Louisiana. I've knocked on 200-300 doors for Democratic candidates. I've given Democratic candidates hundreds upon hundreds of dollars for elections. Any campaign worth a damn should be contacting me VERY early on to get ahold of my dollars and my labor.

When did the Obama campaign contact me? Saturday, November 1st, 2008, THREE DAYS BEFORE THE ELECTION, merely reminding me to get out and vote. This, I consider, to be a huge organization failure. Because Obama effectively wrote off Louisiana (the second blackest state in the union), he effectively killed all coattails for all downticket Democrats (like Don Cazayoux in LA-06 and Don Cravins in LA-07). Mary Landrieu only won because of her own VERY aggressive campaign.
posted by The Giant Squid at 11:32 AM on November 11, 2008 [4 favorites]


What do we want? SHAMELESS PANDERING!

When do we want it? NOW!
posted by ZenMasterThis at 11:32 AM on November 11, 2008 [7 favorites]


Looking at the 2008 electoral map, it occurred to me that the Dixiecrat party had reconstituted itself.
posted by adamrice at 11:34 AM on November 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


And speaking of Louisiana, I don't think it's Sarah Palin that we should concern ourselves with in 2012. I'd say it's the Indian-American governor we have down here.
posted by gordie at 11:38 AM on November 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


I didn't notice that, rokusan. I withdraw some of my venom. Not all, but some.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:39 AM on November 11, 2008


gordie: Jindal's will be ready to trash the state (the legislature and media are helping) all to keep his presidential bid intact. In some ways, Obama's actually paving the way for PBJ.
posted by The Giant Squid at 11:40 AM on November 11, 2008


Some old saw about reaping what you sow comes to mind.

This is exactly what the difference between the new Democrats and the old Democrats is. In the old days, the Dems wouldn't make them pay for underhanded tactics--there was no cost to use them. Now the Dems enforce a cost for such manuvers. I think we've seen the end of this crap.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:40 AM on November 11, 2008


The old Yankee-Cowboy war made new again. "when the left was right"
posted by hortense at 11:41 AM on November 11, 2008


In some ways, Obama's actually paving the way for PBJ.

Mmmm, PBJ.
posted by rokusan at 11:49 AM on November 11, 2008


Does anyone find it a bit odd that the final citation in the wikipedia entry for Southern Strategy (linked in the post) is the article that is the first link in the post, and that it was cited in the future:

^ Adam Nossiter, "For South, a Waning Hold on Politics", New York Times, 12 Nov 2008, accessed 12 Nov 2008

If only the NY Times article had linked to wikipedia...
posted by snofoam at 11:50 AM on November 11, 2008


i had noted the early statement about wooing black votes. Clearly the GOP did not listen to its own people. The new America consists of blacks, whites, orientals, hispanics, both genders, all ages. And the GOP has gone its way ignoring the newer realities. This constituency will win elections if it can be moved to vote.
posted by Postroad at 11:59 AM on November 11, 2008


The South will still be distinctly represented regardless of whether or not the Republican Party adapts in an effort to attract moderate and independent voters. There are a lot of evangelicals, Baptists, Pentecostals, and Christian Dominionists in this country, particularly the South, who vote for Republican candidates but will bolt the Party in a heartbeat if their theocratic fever-dreams are thrown out in an effort to appeal to suburban voters in, say, Wisconsin. Either the Republican Party continues to cater to these nutjobs for the next 5 years as the Party continues to get pummeled all over the country, even now in Western and Plains states, or the Party tries a new direction by giving a little ground on abortion and other cultural issues; by coming up with plan to fix our health care crisis, energy failures, stagnating wages; and by admitting that government isn't 100% bad and has the ability to do perform well and function positively.

But I don't think that's going to happen, because the theocrats would simply start their own party. Dobson and Robertson are grade-A narcissists and the thing they fear most in the world is losing their grip on power in the party they've helped create. If they are at all marginalized, they will simply support a new party or a strong third-party candidate. I actually thought that that would happen this year, but the combination of people being too scared of the Afro-Leninist baby-killer Obama and the selection of Sarah Palin actually brought many of these loonies back in line and got them to the polls. It won't happen again if they elect, say, a Mitt Romney or a Bobby Jindal to the top of the ticket. No, the Talibaptists want a die-hard born-again, not some silly Mormon or Catholic running the show. Basically, I think that things are going to get worse for the Republican Party - much, much worse - before they get better. The Party is simply constructed of too many disparate parts, and each is blaming this year's failure on some other faction. But if you look at a map, and if you read exit polls, then you can see that liberal ideas are ascendant, that Democrats are starting to stake out moderate and centrist positions (pushing Republicans in power even further to the right), and that Republicans don't even realize yet that they are going to lose even more seats in two years. They think it's going to be 1994 again, where Clinton overreached and then Republicans took control of Congress, but the circumstances are way different now.

For the sake of the future of the Party, they need to blow the fucker up and start over again. And though I wish them no luck, I would admit that Ross Douthat has probably the best ideas for re-imaging the Republican Party based on solid conservative ideas. Also, there is something to be said for marketing and image-making, and the Republicans have been dreadful these past 10 years or so. This is where the race angle comes in, I think. Not so much that the Republicans are a party of racists, but they are certainly not reaching out to ethnic minorities and women like the Democrats have been doing. So you see the RNC and it's just a sea of old, white, angry faces. And then of course the DNC is 80,000 cheering Americans of all colors, ages, incomes, etc. So the Democrats just look and feel like a multicultural, inclusive, fun, exciting, young, energetic Party, and the Republicans look like your grandpa's breakfast club, and you don't want to get too close because their flannel shirts smell like mothballs and canned peas.

The Republicans need to not only change a few of their policy positions, they've got to sell their whole bag of tricks in a more productive way. How does their tax policy benefit a middle-class black family? A second-generation Hispanic family? How does their health care policy help a single mother or a recent retiree? They failed in this election because they thought they could get by with the tried and true method of scaring people about the other guy instead of defending the virtues of their own guy. The Republican brand is shit right now, and they need a few sales(wo)men who aren't Fred Thompson and Tom Tancredo. A few more women, some Hispanics, some African-Americans, and, most importantly, young candidates. And once they have that, they need to go back into Connecticut and New Hampshire and Ohio and Wisconsin and Colorado and tell the people there why Republicans are going to fix our problems any better than the Democrats. I just don't see it happening.
posted by billysumday at 12:00 PM on November 11, 2008 [15 favorites]


i had noted the early statement about wooing black votes. Clearly the GOP did not listen to its own people. The new America consists of blacks, whites, orientals, hispanics, both genders, all ages. And the GOP has gone its way ignoring the newer realities. This constituency will win elections if it can be moved to vote.

Some of my favorite rugs vote Republican.
posted by aswego at 12:01 PM on November 11, 2008


My Persian votes Reformist.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:04 PM on November 11, 2008


The South, no longer as important in politics? Well yee-haw!

As to the "orientals," what do you want, "Asians"? Some of my favorite cuisines vote Republican! Walk all over them or eat them, your pick.
posted by adipocere at 12:06 PM on November 11, 2008


When did the Obama campaign contact me? Saturday, November 1st, 2008, THREE DAYS BEFORE THE ELECTION, merely reminding me to get out and vote. This, I consider, to be a huge organization failure.

Turns out it wasn't a failure, because he was elected. Obama has shown that he knows what he is doing and can pick the right people, up to this point. It's not like he benefits from ignoring local races and putting more Democrats in office, but he's got to maximize his resources, and I don't think anyone can accuse him and his team of not thoroughly studying all their options. Maybe I'm overly naive on this, but I think it's pretty neat to have an upcoming administration in which I'm not worried about basic competence or their ability to see reality. Intelligence is back in style.

Also, I wouldn't be surprised if there were safety concerns about appearances in the South; I grew up there, and the shit runs deep. I would have been worried to have him down there, at least--particularly in the climate that McCain/Palin was fostering.
posted by troybob at 12:11 PM on November 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


My afghan liberty blanket votes Third Party. But it really ties the room together.
posted by joe lisboa at 12:12 PM on November 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


There's a lot of black folks in the south. Just FYI.
posted by Eideteker at 12:20 PM on November 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


he visited Alabama exactly ZERO times

Blame the Electoral College.

If Obama had been in a position to win Alabama, he would have won basically every other state first anyway, so it just wasn't important.
posted by designbot at 12:35 PM on November 11, 2008


If the era of the Southern Strategy is really over, the Republicans are going to be a footnote for a long time to come. I really can't imagine what an effective Plan B would look like. In other words, what billysumday said.
posted by diogenes at 12:41 PM on November 11, 2008


One election does not end an era. Put up someone more credible than crazy old John and his sidekick Bubblehead Barbie and a lot of those votes are coming back to the elephant.
posted by caddis at 12:43 PM on November 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


In any case, playing to racism and resentment isn't as effective as it used to be.

Until, y'know, it is effective again.

And, I'm getting pretty tired of all this "great new era in America" crap. It's one election. As happy as I am that Obama won, if we're still in a big mess four years from now, you're going to see things turn red once again.

My little state went blue by the slimmest of margins and only because Obama's campaign targeted the larger population centers in the Chicago area, Indy, and the counties where there are state universities. The rest of the state went fire engine red. It won't take much for the Republicans to take it back.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:51 PM on November 11, 2008


This is as good a place as any to wonder what happened to all those predictions that no Democrat could win without appealing to the "center" which was supposedly way off to the right of anything remotely liberal. I do not think Obama did that. Some of the wingnuts apparently do think so, but they're insane.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:57 PM on November 11, 2008


And, I'm getting pretty tired of all this "great new era in America" crap. It's one election. As happy as I am that Obama won, if we're still in a big mess four years from now, you're going to see things turn red once again.

BURN THE INFIDEL!
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:58 PM on November 11, 2008


Thorzdad, I don't disagree that Obama may be held to impossible standards in four years. But the fact is that EVERY SINGLE COUNTY in Indiana voted more Democratic this year than in 2004.

And (as I've mentioned on metafilter too many times) my father, who lives in a town of 200 in Benton County, had NEVER voted for a Democrat before, and who closed the gas station he was working at and HID when he first saw a black man at age 13, went for Obama. I don't think the assertion that the rest of the state went FIRE ENGINE RED holds up.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 1:06 PM on November 11, 2008


caddis-- you're right to an extent. I personally think the Republicans intentionally ran a weak ticket because they didn't want to risk any future stars getting damaged by losing an election widely considered to be unwinnable for them, which is why they threw a near-retiree and an old-guard culture warrior in the ring against someone like Obama, who was riding a tide of change that people were obviously craving. At the same time, though, I don't think better candidates are going to necessarily solve their problems, for two reasons:

For one, what billysumday said-- the massive demographic shift in America combined with the cultural perspectives of the lower segments of the population pyramid, which break pretty starkly with "grandpa's breakfast club" in many (if not most) areas suggests that we may be seeing the beginning of a major political realignment akin to the Reagan era. I think Obama has the potential to be that kind of a transformational figure.

Secondly, the fracturing we're seeing as a result of the fallout from this election is going to give the Republicans a hell of a time figuring out what a good Republican candidate actually looks like. McCain/Palin was sort of this mutant synthesis that in many ways symbolizes the friction between the major Republican factions-- on the one hand you've got the moderate-but-stalwart old-boy who's done his time (figuratively speaking there), talks tough, and spouts the Reaganite mantras with aplomb; on the other hand, you've got the hardcore culture warrior who appeals to the moonbats and draws lines in the sand so starkly she wouldn't acknowledge pro-choice Republican Congressmen on stage at campaign events and tried to keep them from even getting on stage for that very reason. Getting these two factions to play along worked great for Rove's 2000 and 2004 strategy, but the last two years of lame duck politics frayed them along the edges enough that the writing on the wall was pretty clear even during the primary season-- hell, the only guy who even sounded remotely like a Republican didn't have anything resembling a chance. The recent post-election reports of the tensions and sometimes hostility between Palin and McCain's camps underscores this. Given this kind of internecine, do you really think the Republicans can get their shit together enough in the next 4 years that they can manage to field a solid candidate in a national election? In the next 10?
posted by baphomet at 1:08 PM on November 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Thorzdad, Obama doesn't have to win Indiana in 2012. In fact, he could lose three or four of the states he won this year and still win the EC pretty easily. So, in four years, if the trade off is that Obama loses Indiana and Ohio because of changing demographics and increasing white resentment, but wins Montana and Arizona, then no worries. It's still a landslide, and the Dems are still the vibrant, multicultural party of the future.
posted by billysumday at 1:09 PM on November 11, 2008


And, I'm getting pretty tired of all this "great new era in America" crap.

We are witnessing the dawn of a progressive era that will last for generations! At least that's what I'm going to assume for the next two years. It makes me feel better.
posted by diogenes at 1:12 PM on November 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Isn't Jindal a Catholic convert? Ignoring all other issues, why would the evangelicals be that fired up for a Catholic, as much as he panders? Palin at least went from Catholic to Pentecostal or whatever it is they practice in her Church between an exorcism and a seminar to cure gays from their mental illness. Jindal already converted once, from his native Hinduism, can he seriously convert again? I'm asking, I'm not saying.
posted by matteo at 1:14 PM on November 11, 2008


No, matteo, you're right. He's a Catholic and he actually once performed an amateur exorcism. I wonder what Hagee has to say about that?

All this talk of Jindal seems really silly to me. I mean, the two most prominent arguments against Obama were 1) he's too inexperienced/young and 2) he's too different and exotic. How is that not the argument against Jindal? You think Republicans in Tennessee and Kentucky and West by God Virginia are going to line up around the block to vote for the "slightly less dark" guy?

I think Jindal is a super-capable politician and by every measure seems to be doing a good job in Louisiana. But he seems to be a really great trumpeter in a mediocre folk band - he's wonderful at what he does, but nobody else in the group really wants him there, and doesn't know how to utilize him.
posted by billysumday at 1:20 PM on November 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


The South gets behind its leaders - there was no one to get behind this race, that's all. In the future, any southern candidate is going to have the southern vote. I don't see how this election changed anything, it was just the contingencies of who was running - McCain was never a strong candidate from day 1 and everyone knew it because everyone knew the Repubs were not going to win anyway because of Bush. McCain was always the fall guy, someone had to be the loser. McCain showed himself to be the fall guy in Vietnam, taking one for the team, he did it again.
posted by stbalbach at 1:32 PM on November 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm hopeful, but not optimistic, that the Republicans will, in deciding to be a party of something other than old white people, discover they are on the wrong side of a lot of issues for an entire generation of younger people (PDF).
posted by milkrate at 1:42 PM on November 11, 2008


billysumday : They failed in this election because they thought they could get by with the tried and true method of scaring people about the other guy instead of defending the virtues of their own guy.

I hope that whatever group survives the upcoming schism in the Republican party learns from this and embraces it as the way to go in the future. One of the things I have hated the most about politics the last few years was the fact that everyone tended to get dirty and aggressive in their attacks, rather than showing me why they are the better candidate.

I wonder if part of why the Republican terror machine failed this time, is that it was used too hard the last eight years. They kept people so scared for so long that instead of the sheep they were used to seeing, they found a bunch of burned-out survivors who have been frightened a few too many times to be easily spooked anymore.
posted by quin at 1:47 PM on November 11, 2008


The South gets behind its leaders - there was no one to get behind this race, that's all.

The question is not whether or not the South will get behind a leader, the question is: which leader? If the Republicans choose to tack to the middle and give up on the dream of a tax-free theocracy, then Southern voters may choose to align themselves behind a leader of neither party. A third-party ticket may attract a plurality of votes in those states, and if I remember correctly, something like that happened before. Yeah, what was that, The American Independence Party, or something or other? It's all so hazy.
posted by billysumday at 1:49 PM on November 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


In a previous thread someone referred to it as the "Southern Stratergy" and that's my preferred pronunciation since then.
posted by snofoam at 2:29 PM on November 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


I like that Ken Mehlman, an enthusiastic practitioner of this crap, goes and apologizes to NAACP when those despicable tactics no longer work. Yeah, real credible turn-around there, Ken. Those naive NAACP members are sure to swallow your sincerity.
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:43 PM on November 11, 2008


Reading articles about the deep south in the New York Times never fails to make me rest my head in my hands and groan. Sometimes I feel like they just drove into the parking lot of the jitney jungle (or shop and save, apparently, this go round), tied a confederate flag to a microphone pole, and let the tape run.

Don't get me wrong, people like those quoted exist, and in droves. Uncomfortably large droves. Christ, I'm related to a few them. But please, world, I beg of you, please do not think that the entirety of southern white america is best represented by George W. Newman, a director at a local bank and the former owner of a trucking business, who loves both fish and steak.
posted by gordie at 2:54 PM on November 11, 2008


Not the Southern Strategery, snofoam?
posted by Faint of Butt at 2:55 PM on November 11, 2008


The new America consists of blacks, whites, orientals, hispanics, both genders, all ages. And the GOP has gone its way ignoring the newer realities. This constituency will win elections if it can be moved to vote.

Some of my favorite rugs vote Republican.


Now, now there...some of my best friends are rugs. I even know an afghan or two.
posted by jonp72 at 3:03 PM on November 11, 2008


Over 40-45% of the popular vote went for the GOP... that's not exactly indicative of the end of an era.
posted by crapmatic at 3:07 PM on November 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


As to the "orientals," what do you want, "Asians"?

And furthermore, Dude, orientals is not the preferred nomenclature - Asian American, please!
posted by LilBucner at 4:08 PM on November 11, 2008


Over 40-45% of the popular vote went for the GOP... that's not exactly indicative of the end of an era.

Perhaps not socially, but if that becomes a trend then politically speaking it does.
posted by baphomet at 4:08 PM on November 11, 2008


Reading articles about the deep south in the New York Times never fails to make me rest my head in my hands and groan.

At least since those morons fired Rick Bragg.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:15 PM on November 11, 2008


I miss Willie Morris. Not the New York Times, I know. But still. I miss him. I need someone to give home some dignity.
posted by gordie at 5:50 PM on November 11, 2008


All this talk of Jindal seems really silly to me. I mean, the two most prominent arguments against Obama were 1) he's too inexperienced/young and 2) he's too different and exotic. How is that not the argument against Jindal? You think Republicans in Tennessee and Kentucky and West by God Virginia are going to line up around the block to vote for the "slightly less dark" guy?


Yes, yes I do. Be prepared. He is Obama's most likely competition in four years, and he is far, far more formidable than Crazy Joe. If you were running a business you would salivate to hire him to run it and if you are looking for someone to run your country...... If the economy is still in the tank at that time, Jindal will become president, mark my words. (well I am going to mark them just so I can rue or exalt them in four years, but then hopefully the economy will be pulling single digits in the quarter mile by then and Obama will win again like Reagan in '84).
posted by caddis at 6:10 PM on November 11, 2008


caddis: Exactly, the media did (and will) ignore the exorcism stuff, and Jindal has already made HUGE inroads with evangelical protestants (most recently, be overturned an executive order banning discrimination against hiring gays in state government). Expect him to do a LOT of these 'culture war' type things, while assiduously taking high profile (yet meaningless) stances and doing high profile (but meaningless) things in government.

For instance, he cut $185 million in budget items earlier this year. In all truth, it was a series of direct attacks on his political enemies (people who embarrassed him over a legislative pay raise which he failed to oppose). The local news media: "Jindal trims ALL of the fat from an already bloated budget". $185 million of a 30 billion dollar budget... FRACTIONS of a percent.

But, expect the media to carry water for him.

He and the state legislature went on a tax cut orgy, and ended up running a billion dollar deficit in the process.
posted by The Giant Squid at 6:25 PM on November 11, 2008


My 76 year old mother, lifelong Republican and this-time-Obama-convert, made an observation before the election: Obama represents the passing of the torch to a new generation of politicians. The cold-warriors, and the fears and aggressive attitudes they championed, are obsolete. Cooperation - both at home and internationally - will have to be the watchword for the forseeable future.

I really do think we are on the verge of a more progressive political scene. People are clamoring for a more hopeful and positive tone from the top, and are ready to respond positively if they hear it. Obama is bringing calm and thoughtfulness to the table; the question now is how well he'll be able to play the truly shitty cards he's been dealt.

The pundits keep claiming we are a "center-right" country. We'll see. If there is one thing I've learned in my almost fifty years on this planet, it's that Americans, in general, are much less conservative than they think they are.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:32 PM on November 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


That hanging chad related illness has gone from the South to the far North.

"Alaska Update: Thousands of Ballots 'Found', One-Third Remain Uncounted in the State's Still-Fishy '08 Election "

This just in from Alaska, where thousands of new ballots continue to be found each day, since it was first reported that turnout in 2008 was 11% lower than in 2004. Thousands of ballots, nearly a third of them, remain uncounted nearly a week after the election.

ugh. Can you imagine if that corrupt barracuda Palin were elected? It's truly a sickening thought.

We Americans HAVE to get this Diebold corruption disconnected from the voting system and demand a better system. North or South there is no democracy without votes that can be relied on as an expression of the voter, not the trickery of the person who wants to be voted in.
posted by nickyskye at 6:42 PM on November 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


This Jindal guy... A Rhodes scholar who believes in teaching intelligent design? Does not compute. Can someone please explain? I don't know much about him.
posted by drpynchon at 7:04 PM on November 11, 2008


Evangelicals like Catholics a lot more lately. They're fiercely anti-abortion, and ex-Catholics class up an Evangelical congregation. They already know the basics of theology. The "unwashed" masses require a lot of resources to bring them up to speed.

Some comments about the Southern Strategy: it's the only way Republicans can win national elections (Democrats can win without the South). It's also cheap: throw in a "dog whistle", and rail about abortion (without actually promising to halt abortions) and all those electoral votes are pretty much yours.
posted by coldhotel at 7:06 PM on November 11, 2008


Everything I'm hearing about Jindal's administration and tax cuts in this thread reminds me of how Governor GW Bush screwed up the Texas state budget with his tax cuts to prepare for his presidential run. The timing's off, but I'll be keeping an eye on him from next door.
posted by immlass at 7:12 PM on November 11, 2008


Look for Texas to go blue in a few more cycles. It's getting more and more Hispanic, and it wouldn't totally shock me if Obama took it in 2012, depending on what the economy looks like in four years. Even if he doesn't, it won't be more than a decade or so before it's a swing state leaning slightly toward the Democrats, which is going to put the GOP in an awful pickle regarding the Electoral College.
posted by EarBucket at 7:51 PM on November 11, 2008


He does break with his church on intelligent design.
posted by caddis at 9:02 PM on November 11, 2008


Over 40-45% of the popular vote went for the GOP... that's not exactly indicative of the end of an era.

There is not a single Republican US Representative in all of New England. That has never happened in the history of the party.

The Republican Party is treating this as the end of an era. They haven't been so unpopular since Nixon.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:30 PM on November 11, 2008


Bush is less popular than Nixon was when Nixon resigned in disgrace.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:58 PM on November 11, 2008


kirkaracha: Wow. And Congress wasn't falling over themselves to impeach Bush. Talked about squandered political capital.
posted by JHarris at 2:21 AM on November 12, 2008


The Republican Party is treating this as the end of an era. They haven't been so unpopular since Nixon.

If the Democrats want to retain any of this new found popularity they will refrain from being too cocky and smug about it. It's a gift too easily taken back.
posted by caddis at 4:15 AM on November 12, 2008


This Jindal guy... A Rhodes scholar who believes in teaching intelligent design? Does not compute. Can someone please explain? I don't know much about him. - drpynchon

It's all an act. Jindal doesn't really believe any of it, it's just convenient cover to lock up a few million votes for his presidential bid. As has been said before, if Jindal were born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, he'd be a liberal Democrat, but, as he was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, he figured tacking hard-right would be the best way to win votes. For instance, this is a guy who publicly states that he's opposed to public education (pushes for vouchers and charter schools), despite the fact that he went to some of the most prestigious public schools around.
posted by The Giant Squid at 5:03 AM on November 12, 2008


> Jindal already converted once, from his native Hinduism, can he seriously convert again? I'm asking, I'm not saying.

Paging Vicar of Bray, come in Vicar of Bray, sir.
posted by jfuller at 5:39 AM on November 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Jindal's heading to Iowa on November 22. Here we go! Fire up the ole fivethirtyeight.
posted by yeti at 5:59 AM on November 12, 2008


Oh great, I could go listen to Jindal at... the Iowa Family Policy Center's dinner? I'll take a pass, thanks.
posted by mikeh at 9:47 AM on November 12, 2008


Y'all are hilarious, declaring Republicans dead and deceased roughly ten minutes after Dems won their first presidential election in eight years, and having elected only the second Dem pres in nearly 30 years. Not only that, but seriously entertaining the idea that the Republicans tanked this on purpose? No matter the Republican, nearly all their interests would have been better served with McCain than Obama.
posted by klangklangston at 12:50 PM on November 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


No matter the Republican, nearly all their interests would have been better served with McCain than Obama.

And that you think you know this already is not hilarious?
posted by troybob at 2:42 PM on November 12, 2008


Y'all are hilarious, declaring Republicans dead and deceased roughly ten minutes after Dems won their first presidential election in eight years, and having elected only the second Dem pres in nearly 30 years. Not only that, but seriously entertaining the idea that the Republicans tanked this on purpose? No matter the Republican, nearly all their interests would have been better served with McCain than Obama.

Republican leaders have been all over the news talking about how they are going to reform the party. This is the reality. The Republican Party itself is taking it seriously.

Sometimes a political party will let the weak candidate have the shot so as to be able to regroup, sort of go for the three pointer, but you don't really expect to get it (Hunter S. Thompson theorized that the Democrats did this in '72 with McGovern, that they only allowed him to have a shot because they never thought he could win, and they wanted to save their allstars for next time when their chances would be better). This isn't that unbelievable, because good strategy usually acknowledges that winning all the time is impossible, so sometimes you have to lose strategically. Also, I don't think they wanted to inherit the problems we're facing, and they're no good at social justice, which is what people are clamoring for. They are planning on the typical cycle, where the Democrats will come to be the party that overreaches, and they'll run against that next time around. But these strategies generally acknowledge that winning is always preferable, and you're right, the base would have been happier with McCain than Obama, but a lot of Republicans are not happy with the party as it is right now. Discussions are raging at this moment about where to take the party ...
posted by krinklyfig at 4:29 PM on November 12, 2008


"Republican leaders have been all over the news talking about how they are going to reform the party. This is the reality. The Republican Party itself is taking it seriously."

Well, not so much. The Republicans are doing the same sort of thing that they do after they lose an election, just like any party does after it loses an election—a bit of rededication and recrimination. And, because we're the absolute dregs of reasoned punditry here, we see it as either the inevitable shift toward a pummeling of socially-conservative positions or as the harbinger for a third party run from folks in Alabama ("talibaptists")? That's huffing our own farts, man. Obama competed hard and won narrow victories in a bunch of places that were unexpected. Demographic trends favored him in places like the West and Virginia. That does not mean that those demographic changes are written in stone, or that they can't be successfully undercut. They "took it seriously" in '92 and '96 too, and guess what—they managed to get the second-worst president elected twice directly afterwards! I don't want to come off as too much of a prick here, because this is the first time that I've voted for a winner for president, but y'all sound like you've got no conception of the history of American politics prior to Facebook.

"Sometimes a political party will let the weak candidate have the shot so as to be able to regroup, sort of go for the three pointer, but you don't really expect to get it (Hunter S. Thompson theorized that the Democrats did this in '72 with McGovern, that they only allowed him to have a shot because they never thought he could win, and they wanted to save their allstars for next time when their chances would be better)."

All due respect to Mr. Thompson, but that's a narrative fallacy and you'd be well-served by remembering that he was more on the entertainment side than the accurate analysis side. The McGovern Democrats came about due to an explosion in youth energy, a notoriously divided ticket and a fractured party—he was the "best" man that the Dems could have put forward, and they worked hard for him. Did he get all of the enthusiasm from the party establishment that he could have? Nope, and he also didn't get the support of the Dem base. Individual actors within the Democratic Party establishment felt they'd be better served by a Nixon victory. But the notion that they were "saving their all-stars" is ridiculous—who were their all-stars? Certainly no one that ended up being President at any future time. It's not like they were holding Carter in reserve. People who didn't think they could win the presidency didn't run, but there was no conspiracy to prevent them, and to argue for it is either to shoot for comedy or to be a drug-addled paranoiac (or both). Likewise with McCain—Jindal turned down the Veep slot, but that was when it was already clear that the GOP was tanking. Any other a-lister who was in a serious position to run did run, and McCain was what they ended up with.

It's like arguing that a team in the playoffs would bench their starters in order to give their reserves more experience for next time—it sounds nice if you lost, but it's absolutely insane as an actual strategy. Winning 2008 was more important to the future of the GOP than making sure that Bobby Jindal didn't get knocked around with a loss to everyone except Bobby Jindal.
posted by klangklangston at 5:22 PM on November 12, 2008


But our own fats smell so good.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 6:21 PM on November 12, 2008


Er. Oh well.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 6:21 PM on November 12, 2008


Sometimes a political party will let the weak candidate have the shot so as to be able to regroup, sort of go for the three pointer, but you don't really expect to get it

Not sure how McCain was weaker than any of the other candidates. Who was stronger? Romney? Ha!
posted by billysumday at 4:23 AM on November 13, 2008


but y'all sound like you've got no conception of the history of American politics prior to Facebook.

Interesting. Well, believe what you want.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:52 PM on November 13, 2008


Not sure how McCain was weaker than any of the other candidates. Who was stronger? Romney? Ha!

Did you hear the howls from within the party when he was nominated?
posted by krinklyfig at 4:52 PM on November 13, 2008


"Did you hear the howls from within the party when he was nominated?"

Sure, but who else was there? This isn't something like Drew Bledsoe being started by the Patriots despite Tom Brady waiting in the wings. This is like the Lions starting Joey Harrington despite everyone knowing that he was a mediocre QB because, seriously, who else did they have? I mean, fuck, Romney couldn't even beat McCain in the primaries. Pawlenty and Jindal have their own problems and likely wouldn't have been able to beat McCain. It was a rebuilding year for the Republicans, and that shouldn't be confused with somehow imagining that the GOP tanked this on purpose (likewise '72 for the Dems).
posted by klangklangston at 5:41 PM on November 13, 2008


klangklangston writes "Sure, but who else was there?"

That spells trouble.

As far as intentionally tanking it, I don't think there is ever a plan spelled out, but I do think that sometimes this is what the party decides. Political strategy that doesn't involve losing sometimes is not realistic. You don't plan to lose, but sometimes you don't really plan that hard to win, because winning next time might be preferable, and no party wins consistently. You take what you can get, but you try to time it so you come out ahead. Sprinting an 800 meter run doesn't work after the first 300 meters or so.

Anyway, like I said, believe what you want, that all players are always sincere and all in the game for the same reason. I don't think it's true. This is politics, a blood sport.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:38 AM on November 14, 2008


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