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The Moose Stops Here
November 19, 2008 3:58 PM   Subscribe

The conservative (post-election) Crack-Up. In the wake of their recent defeats, many American conservatives have formed a circular firing squad, with some arguing that the GOP needs a little less GOD, while others say it's just a matter of returning to their roots. At this point, it looks like the party is headed for civil war and electoral disaster. Democrats and liberals may be enjoying the show these days, but what does the future hold for the GOP? (Previously.)

It should be added that some people saw this coming.
posted by you just lost the game (102 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Ha ha!

/Nelson
posted by i_cola at 4:04 PM on November 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


Dear republicans:

1. Less Palin
2. More Ahnuld
3. ???
4. PROFIT

You're welcome.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:12 PM on November 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


Sometimes, the cruelest thing one can do is to give someone what they think they want. As much as I am enjoying watching the Republicans twist in the winds of their own breaking, I hope the Dems aren't blissfully filling up with beans in the meantime.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:14 PM on November 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


Prison. Hopefully. To answer your last question.
posted by spicynuts at 4:17 PM on November 19, 2008 [4 favorites]


But if they are, Flo, I assure you that we at MetaFilter will be ready to overthink those beans.
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:17 PM on November 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


No schadenfreude tag?
posted by defenestration at 4:19 PM on November 19, 2008


Eponysterical!
posted by jokeefe at 4:20 PM on November 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


If you're in the mood for a change from beans, you could always overthink booty.
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:20 PM on November 19, 2008


"The Moose Stops Here" - great title.
posted by dougzilla at 4:20 PM on November 19, 2008


As someone (here?) pointed out, the corporatist warmongering Orwellian policies of the last 8 years could easily be adapted to a Democratic majority.
To the extent that MetaFilter is liberal, go ahead and celebrate.
But don't get too smug.
posted by Richard Daly at 4:20 PM on November 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


I propose on every future ballot that God be a selection option in all categories against all candidates. If he wins, then he must appear for his swearing in, and failing that, the second place succeeds him. I can't imagine why anyone would not support this proposal.
posted by Brian B. at 4:25 PM on November 19, 2008 [12 favorites]


I like listening to talk radio when I'm driving around during the day, and the right wing really started going haywire a few weeks before the election, sort of the time when Joe the Plumber surfaced - that's when they jumped on the socialism/marxism/terrorism thing and rode it hard. Since the election, it's gotten even worse - just completely loony stuff, way more zany than what one heard during the summer, for example. For one thing, the hard-line conservatives have all really turned on McCain - he's definitely persona non grata right now in the Party. For another thing, they've just completely lost their disciplined messaging and have now just gone full bore, really trying to hammer home this idea that Obama will lead America to a new Nazi state. You hear lots of, "Look, I'm not saying Obama is going to be like Hitler, but..."

For instance, this morning I was listening to Glenn Beck and he basically accused Obama of being this weird amalgamation of Chairman Mao, Joseph Stalin, and Jim Jones. Seriously. Beck's argument was that Jones was also a...wait for it..."community organizer," that he made his followers "drink the Kool-Aid" like Obama has (!!!) and that Jones "killed more black people than the KKK ever has," a claim that was both dubious in accuracy and completely unrelated to whatever crazed path Beck was traveling down. For the next five minutes he implored his listeners to band together so as to prevent Obama from taking away their freedom of religion. Beck stated that he was worried that the goverment would outlaw religion because that is the first thing that tinpot dictators and authoritarian leaders always do (after making this point, Beck graciously allowed his listeners to reach their own conclusions about Obama).

So basically, when they're not yelling at each and castigating the more moderate members of the party, they're accusing Obama of being the next Hitler and comparing him to Jim Jones.

If this keeps up it's going to be a cakewalk for Obama in 2012, though I have feeling they'll get their act together at some point. Another thing to keep in mind is that although the talk radio guys have big audiences, they don't really have all that much influence - for instance, they were all pushing Romney hard in the Republican primary and couldn't even motivate the "base" to get him past McCain in South Carolina, of all places.

What is unfortunate for the Republican Party right now is not so much that Limbaugh and Hannity and Beck and Savage and O'Reilly are viewed as these misguided fringe media guys who are pulling the Party too far to the right (even though they are) - it's the fact that there is such a vacuum of power and absence of leadership in the Party that when people look to discern the "voice" of the Republican Party, they turn to one of these jokers. That is not good. Normally, the way it's supposed to work is you have a national leader like Reagan or Bush who try to appeal to the "middle" and then you have these fringe guys shore up the base and get them out to vote. So the notion that the mouthpiece of the GOP is now Sean Hannity is really more destructive to the Republican brand than I think many of them are letting on.
posted by billysumday at 4:35 PM on November 19, 2008 [26 favorites]


The entire country needs about 90% less God. The GOP is two orders of magnitude worse.
posted by DU at 4:37 PM on November 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


They were pretty decent people before they went crazy. I always assumed the same thing happened to the party that happened to Jim Boggess, my parent's neighbor, who was a pretty fun guy until a hammer fell on his head at work, and suddenly he got mean and paranoid and started talking about the blacks taking his money. Come to think of it, he became a born again Christian about the same time, and used to shove those Chick Tracks under the doors of people's houses. He was also convinced Mrs. Grimm down the street was a communist, and he would call her sometimes late at night and threaten her until she got a police order.

Eventually they put him on a pill that calmed him down, but he was never the same guy that he once was. Last I heard he was in a home.
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:38 PM on November 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


but what does the future hold for the GOP?
posted by rusty at 4:39 PM on November 19, 2008


Also, I would like to reassure the GOP: You definitely want to run Palin in 2012. We liberals are quaking with fear because she is a deeply powerful intellect who could be a serious challenger to Obama. Please don't do it!!!
posted by DU at 4:42 PM on November 19, 2008 [23 favorites]


For one thing, the hard-line conservatives have all really turned on McCain - he's definitely persona non grata right now in the Party.

If I can just curl up on the floor and shriekingly paraphrase Our Favorite Show here: "YOU'RE GOING THE WRONG WAY!!!"

But I mean, I guess I'm okay with that; if they're really too blind to see what killed McCain was Sarah Palin and not the other way around, Obama's got two terms for sure, right?

....right?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:43 PM on November 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


Can someone turn on the douche-lantern and hope for ParisParamus to make an appearance?


I miss that dude. Seriously.
posted by spicynuts at 4:43 PM on November 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Can I get one of those pills?
posted by tkchrist at 4:44 PM on November 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


they're accusing Obama of being the next Hitler

To be fair, accusing the president (or president-elect) of having a resemblance to Hitler is not something you'll only see on the Republican side.

The losing side always freaks out for a while, whether it's justified or not. I'm sure Repubs who mocked Democrats unhappy about 2004 felt the same way that Democrats mocking Repubs now feel like. I'm sure the crazy will have toned down inside of a year.
posted by davejay at 4:44 PM on November 19, 2008


President Ronald Reagan was able to bring bold ideas and innovative solutions to the American people. This is what we need now--new solutions that capture the unique American ideal and advance our core principles of liberty, freedom and self-determination.

They need to get over their deification of Reagan, for one thing. Admitting/realizing that they've been fucking things up since the Nixon administration, would be too much to hope for.
posted by doctor_negative at 4:44 PM on November 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


A better Duelling Banjos
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:45 PM on November 19, 2008 [4 favorites]


I don't think there's been an abandonment of Republican principles by the wider populace. I don't think there's a lot of voters out there that would disagree that the government should be spending money more wisely and getting out of their lives. But when you have political principles you need to stick with them. Otherwise when you do dopey shit like deficit spending and running the government tab up to 13 figures during unprecedented boom times people tend to doubt your reputation as fiscally responsible and abandon your implementation despite your proclamation of said principles.

It's not hard: Get back to basics and do what you say you will instead of doing the complete opposite and yelling "WELL THIS IS HOW WE BE SPENDING MONEY WISELY! DEMOCRATS WOULD DO THE SAME THING BUT INCREASE TAXES BY A TRILLION PERCENT AND THAT MAKES US BETTER!! REAGAN! REAGAN! REAGAN!"
posted by Talez at 4:47 PM on November 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


Admitting/realizing that they've been fucking things up since the Nixon administrationexcept for the Eisenhower administration...

The Party of Big Monied Interests is rarely going to do what's best for The People. Warren G Harding proved it, Reagan proved it and now Bush has proved it.
posted by DU at 4:47 PM on November 19, 2008


The Republicans earned 46% of the popular vote in the last election, hardly a devastating loss, and indicative of the strong support the party holds, and in spite of a frightening economic meltdown and the dismal record of the "worst President in American history" from their own party.

There will be no crack-up of the Republican Party. They will be back, and will probably prevail in the mid-term elections two years from now.

I haven't seen any analysis (haven't been looking), but it seems like the Republicans lost out on "electoral vote rich" urban areas. If they can take back the traditional Red State cities, they will be fine.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:50 PM on November 19, 2008


Jonah Golberg & Ross Douthat talk about the conservative crackup
posted by Jaltcoh at 4:51 PM on November 19, 2008


There is a power vacuum of sorts and something will, eventually fill it.

And the Democrats will get entrenched and screw things up and be replaced by the Republicans who will get entrenched and screw things up.

And everyone will make noise about how we can't change the way we hold elections or work on fixing our form of government because its working.

Working, being defined, as the two major parties getting entrenched and screwing things up.

And we will retire and watch the young people decide that instead of replacing the broken machinery, that they should use the same old broken machinery again, taping it together with the same spittle and paper that we once used.

And this will continue until an external force acts to end our country.

And this is how its always been and how it always will be and there's a certain awful comfort to it.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:56 PM on November 19, 2008 [11 favorites]


Good! Fuck 'em.
posted by notsnot at 4:58 PM on November 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


The Republicans earned 46% of the popular vote in the last election, hardly a devastating loss...

While running a war veteran who was loved by the media. And in key Republican states. And also losing at least 7 (and maybe 9) Senate seats plus some number of House seats. Oh and were completely ejected from the Northeast. With the base's love/loathing of the candidate and running mate being exactly opposite the entire rest of the country. Hardly devastating at all!
posted by DU at 4:58 PM on November 19, 2008


Reagan-ism is the problem. George W. Bush was not some aberration of the Reagan way, he was the perfection of it. Reagan wasn't fiscally responsible, or all that fiscaly "conservative" to begin with.

They need to find some other model. Start with Nixon, and update from there.
posted by spaltavian at 5:00 PM on November 19, 2008 [8 favorites]


and running the government tab up to 13 figures during unprecedented boom times

I would argue that without A there would not have been B.

The post-Nixon "Government is the problem, not the solution" basis of the conservative message only works when times are good, which in my lifetime has been 1983-1989, 1995-2000, and 2003-2006.

money more wisely and getting out of their lives

Stopping gays from entering into civil unions or even re-criminalizing sodomy.
Reducing the availability and even legality of abortions
Mandating the weakening of the teaching of evolution in our schools.

The only base the Republicans still have is the fundy base, and they want more government, not less.
posted by troy at 5:07 PM on November 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


Since the election, it's gotten even worse - just completely loony stuff, way more zany than what one heard during the summer.

I talked to a guy the other day who was "investigating" how to move his family to Canada, to get away from the impending socialism.

Yes, really.
posted by rokusan at 5:09 PM on November 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


The Republicans earned 46% of the popular vote in the last election, hardly a devastating loss...

It actually was for the most part. With the increasing polarization of the electorate there is a ceiling and a floor for major party candidates. A tomato with a "R" beside it would still get 30% of the vote. McCain, barring some terrible dark revelation, probably got pretty close to the least amount of votes a Republican can get.

To be fair, Dole and George H.W. Bush got a smaller percentage in 1996 and 1992, but in both years the major parties split votes with a strong third-party candidate in the form of Perot.

McCain got only 0.3% more of the vote than Michael Dukakis did in 1988, which is usually considered a landslide. And McCain didn't have Willie Horton to deal with.

As another point of reference, consider that McCain lost by more than double the margin that Kerry did in 2004, which the GOP claimed was a mandate.
posted by spaltavian at 5:09 PM on November 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


Nixon was the best Republican president since Teddy Roosevelt. They could do worse than to emulate him. Hell, Nixon's crimes are peanuts compared to what has become the norm under 43.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 5:11 PM on November 19, 2008 [4 favorites]


and the right wing really started going haywire a few weeks before the election, sort of the time when Joe the Plumber surfaced

Is this an elaborate way to say that the crack in the Republican party is a plumber's crack?
posted by qvantamon at 5:13 PM on November 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


Okay, this makes me a little gleeful.
posted by lunit at 5:15 PM on November 19, 2008


I would argue that without A there would not have been B.

The argument was that by cutting taxes dramatically and causing huge surges in economic growth there would be a huge jump in tax revenue dramatically outweighing the cost of the original tax cuts.

Which obviously never happened otherwise the debt might still be measured in billions not trillions.
posted by Talez at 5:15 PM on November 19, 2008


I'm sure Repubs who mocked Democrats unhappy about 2004 felt the same way that Democrats mocking Repubs now feel like

You understand the important difference here right. Shrill hatred of the incumbent president in 2004 does not legitimize shrill hatred of the president elect in 2008. I mean, it's one thing to go on Amazon writing hyperbolic reviews of crappy books you've suffered through. It's another when you've only read the dust jacket.
posted by fleacircus at 5:21 PM on November 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


> They need to find some other model. Start with Nixon, and update from there.

Wasn't Cheney the updated version of Nixon? Sneaky, paranoid, all-powerful, and contemptuous of the press, the law, and the Constitution?
posted by mosk at 5:22 PM on November 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


I suspect that the first party to realize that Americans actually like civil liberties will crush the other, regardless of which one it is. Note that I am not talking about "libertarianism", seeing as how "civil liberties" do not necessarily have to be accompanied by incredibly loopy economics -- I just think that a party which actually doesn't exist to enrich the prison-industrial complex in this country has a great chance of reaching voters on both sides of the aisle.

This election saw many disillusioned old-school Republicans ditch McCain due to his gun-grabbing and support for the Patriot Act. It also saw many Democrats who disapproved of Obama's support for telecom immunity and the Drug War. Someone, please, bring these people together and form a third party!
posted by vorfeed at 5:22 PM on November 19, 2008 [5 favorites]


Well, I was going to say "Good! Fuck 'em!" but my husband beat me to it (he stole my line!)
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 5:23 PM on November 19, 2008


Otherwise when you do dopey shit like deficit spending and running the government tab up to 13 figures during unprecedented boom times people tend to doubt your reputation as fiscally responsible and abandon your implementation despite your proclamation of said principles.

I wasn't about to put a damper on the election festivities (I was thrilled, too), but what people, exactly? You mean after all the nonsense, the lies, the crimes, and the completely one-sided election in terms of candidate caliber in the face of an economy going completely into the shitter, the 6.8% difference in popular vote? Those people?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 5:27 PM on November 19, 2008


Man, wouldn't it be awesome if Obama actually did all the things the far right thinks he's going to do?
posted by Horace Rumpole at 5:30 PM on November 19, 2008 [14 favorites]


>They need to find some other model. Start with Nixon, and update from there.

Wasn't Cheney the updated version of Nixon? Sneaky, paranoid, all-powerful, and contemptuous of the press, the law, and the Constitution?


You're looking a personality rather than policy. Nixon was a brilliant pragmatist on domestic policy and who had a clear idea of how to leverage American power abroad. Cheney, Reagan and Bush II are ideologues on domestic policy, hung up on narrow goals and are blinded by hubris and ignorance on foreign policy. They see American strength almost exclusively in terms of military power and fail to realize how deft negotiations can bring about a far greater victory for the United States than missiles ever could.

For sure, Nixon did terrible things regarding Watergate and possibly Cuba, but I posit his corruption was on par with Johnson and the Kennedys. If Watergate was somehow erased from history, Nixon would probably be considered the best president of the 20th century, after the Roosevelts. He may very well have been.
posted by spaltavian at 5:33 PM on November 19, 2008 [11 favorites]


I'm sure Repubs who mocked Democrats unhappy about 2004 felt the same way that Democrats mocking Repubs now feel like. I'm sure the crazy will have toned down inside of a year.

I hope to heck in a year there hasn't been a unparalleled disaster, threats against our civil liberties and a war we didn't want -- I remember saying, "Bush couldn't be as bad as all that. Life isn't so one sided. He could be an awesome president to right the mediocrity of his dad like Mayor Daley." It took the world ending a few times for me to go from Bush detractor to screeching Bush hater.
posted by Gucky at 5:37 PM on November 19, 2008


"Hell, Nixon's crimes are peanuts compared to what has become the norm under 43."

Tell it to the Cambodians.

KokoRyu is right - the Republican candidate is following a Republican President who is seriously considered in Ulysses S Grant territory. Smoking hole in lower Manhattan, one seriously soggy major city, two military defeats, a doubling of the national debt and the first drop in median family incomes *ever*. The only thing that fucker didn't do is come over to your house and kick your puppy. And they still only lost by 7 points.

"President Palin". Get used to saying it.
posted by bonecrusher at 5:45 PM on November 19, 2008 [8 favorites]


I wasn't about to put a damper on the election festivities (I was thrilled, too), but what people, exactly? You mean after all the nonsense, the lies, the crimes, and the completely one-sided election in terms of candidate caliber in the face of an economy going completely into the shitter, the 6.8% difference in popular vote? Those people?

That's 8.5 million votes. And the house republicans have been ejected completely by north east voters.

Yeah. That's a LOT of people who have abandoned the republican party in its current incantation and one hell of a consequence.
posted by Talez at 5:54 PM on November 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


"President Palin". Get used to saying it.

You can't be serious. In four years, Palin's kids will all be in jail or rehab. And she'll have had another baby already. And Trig will be four years old and will need a lot of attention. And you can bet your ass that cretinous troglodytes like Dr. Laura will not approve of a woman at the top of the ticket in four years (Dr. Laura could hardly swallow it this time around).

Romney and Huckabee and Gingrich have nothing but distaste for Palin and they will take her down in the primary if she's dumb enough to run. She should take her $7 million book deal and her multi-million dollar Fox hosting contract and live a fat and happy life in Florida or something, far away from the icy tundra of Alaska and the vicious halls of power in Washington.
posted by billysumday at 5:59 PM on November 19, 2008 [6 favorites]


Couldn't have happened to a nicer crazier bunch of wingnuts.

Also, I would like to reassure the GOP: You definitely want to run Palin in 2012. We liberals are quaking with fear because she is a deeply powerful intellect who could be a serious challenger to Obama. Please don't do it!!!

Well, let's not get too far ahead of ourselves, but, oh yeah.
posted by fuse theorem at 6:00 PM on November 19, 2008


It is a perfect moment for the party to be cleaved into those with brains and those with Jesus. Those with brains have been in bed with Satan for 8 years. Those with Jesus believe that they have been in bed with...well...Jesus. Now the brains have said "no more" and they are trying to beat down Palin so that her germinating political seed will not germinate.

I honestly believe we will see a Christian Party start as a 3rd Party in the next 10 years so that the Jesus people have someone to vote for. The Brains want simple policy (that I generally disagree with) an some nuanced viewpoints. The Jesus people will not allow the Brains to paint in gray, only in black and white.

It will be interesting. The Republicans have alienated: hispanic voters (immigration), gays (gayness), blacks (religious rights are civil rights), intellectuals (creative design), free marketeers (bailout) and on and on.

Who will be left standing? Gingrich and Palin? Robertson and Hitchens?

Schadenfreude.
posted by zerobyproxy at 6:03 PM on November 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


That's a LOT of people who have abandoned the republican party in its current incantation and one hell of a consequence.

Of course it is. Under different circumstances I wouldn't wonder about the other 58.3 million. I'm not saying it wasn't a major achievement. I'm saying you can carry that "people start to doubt" thing too far. Cause the tens of millions remaining apparently require the literal sky to fall down around them.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 6:07 PM on November 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Cause the tens of millions remaining apparently require the literal sky to fall down around them.

Well, one thing to consider is that those people are, on average, old. They're going to die sooner. On the other hand, the Democrats are defining themselves at the party of a new generation of voters who will be less likely to switch allegiances, just as Republicans who came of age during Reagan found themselves aligned with that party for the last 28 years.

It's not like there are 20 million voters who just flip a coin every year. You can track demographic patterns, and that's what has the Republicans scared - in the groups that are growing (specifically youth voters and Hispanics), the Democrats are kicking their ass. How exactly are the Republicans going to win future elections if they don't start to make connections with a new generation of voters and with the ethic groups that are fast outpacing whites? The answer is they're not. And that's what really has them flustered. They're like the Celtics a few years after they won all those championships in the eighties - they had a good run, but now that they look around, they see that everyone on the team has busted knees and needs shoulder surgery, while everyone else in the league had been building their teams with fresh talent. And then of course the Celtics were shit for about 20 years.
posted by billysumday at 6:18 PM on November 19, 2008 [5 favorites]



Man, wouldn't it be awesome if Obama actually did all the things the far right thinks he's going to do?

What would be awesome would be if at the conclusion of his inauguration, he raises both arms, looks to the sky and says. "Allah be praised"
posted by notreally at 6:31 PM on November 19, 2008 [7 favorites]


The GOP needs a new advertising campaign
posted by lalochezia at 6:37 PM on November 19, 2008


For the last 40 years, the Republican Party has been an unsteady coalition of unhappy bedfellows, and it will never be rebuilt in its recent form. The narratives that held it together have lost all power, and there is no evidence of philosophical success to point to.

I expect a small-government group to hold on to the Party structure and title, and for the socially conservative planks to be far less emphasized and, in some cases, abandoned. The religious conservatives will probably move toward private action, alienated as they are by the Party that used them so soullessly for decades, leaving them free to vote on a philosophy of government rather than hot button moral issues which cause them to vote against their self-interest. They're going to want out of that bind.

But even the small-government folks don't have an attractive product to offer. Americans have witnessed unrestrained capitalism, and can't even functionally imagine a government that offers, say, only half of the supportive services ours does now. Few people even do the work to understand what their tax dollars are paying for. It'll be a while before the rhetoric of the right sounds interesting to a majority again. By then the country is likely to have made a noticeable leftward shift that will redefine what center-right is, just as it did under FDR; even at the right's strongest, no one ever dared to undo some of the entitlements left us by that generation. They have become birthright, and part of most Americans' understanding of what government is and does. This next Democratic administration is likely to make similar gains that shift the playing field in a fundamental manner.
posted by Miko at 6:43 PM on November 19, 2008 [6 favorites]


I wonder if any Republicans are going to realize that if you demonize everyone who's not a white straight Christian small town dweller, then the only people who vote for you are going to be white straight Christian small town dwellers. Once you subtract out blacks, hispanics, anyone on the east or west coast, urbanites, gays, non-fundamentalist Christians and most women, there isn't much of a voter base left to rally. The country is less than 66% white non-hispanic and that number isn't going up. The Republicans are on the wrong side of demographics and this year was only the start, it's going to be a steeper and steeper up hill battle from now on for them to find enough voters who will fall for their bigotry.
posted by octothorpe at 6:44 PM on November 19, 2008 [6 favorites]


the tens of millions remaining apparently require the literal sky to fall down around them.

Not really- they just require the atmosphere around them to change. A lot of people are confused, fuzzy thinkers about politics. In four years, their whole conception of government will be different.
posted by Miko at 6:45 PM on November 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't think there's been an abandonment of Republican principles by the wider populace. I don't think there's a lot of voters out there that would disagree that the government should be spending money more wisely and getting out of their lives. But when you have political principles you need to stick with them.

Not just stick with them. Execute well, and consider the flip side.

Execute well: if the war in Iraq had been well-planned, if they'd planned for counterinsurgency and moved in troops and hadn't disbanded the Iraqi army and any number of better decisions and by 2004/2005 we'd been able to see even levels of success we've got now, the war might not have become the wedge issue (even though pre-emptive war in the service of a doctrine of martial social reconstruction would have still been a nightmare of moral philosophy).

Consider the flip side: a little embrace of regulation might have gone a long way in mitigating the financial crisis before it blew up.

Those two things alone might have swung 10% of the vote the other way. Maybe they'd even still have control of each branch of the government.

And if they were genuinely effective and principled, maybe I wouldn't even be dismayed about it.

But that's alternate history at this point. And I have my doubts that this will be their future, either. Most of those pounding on Republican principles seem to be advocating being *more* dogmatic rather than more pragmatic. And the values wing often doesn't look closely enough at policy to understand if it's being effective, so there's not going to be the right pressure there.

And I consider that something of a loss. I can actually believe in some Republican principles. It'll be a shame if their politics ultimately take those down with the party.
posted by weston at 6:49 PM on November 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


Good point, billysumday.

Let's hope so, Miko! I've never been so willing to hope as I am now.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 6:50 PM on November 19, 2008


What billysumday says about demographic changes reminded me of this speech by republican Tim Pawlenty,
"We cannot be a majority governing party when we essentially cannot compete in the northeast; we are losing our ability to compete in the Great Lakes states, we cannot compete on the West Coast,” Pawlenty argued, also citing similar problems in the mid-Atlantic and the Mountain West. “Similarly, we cannot compete and prevail as a majority governing party when we have a significant deficit as we do with woman, where we have a large deficit with Hispanics, where we have a large deficit with African-American voters, where we have a large deficit with people of modest incomes.”
“The Republican Party is going to need more than just a comb-over.”
And from another republican
“I’m not one who buys the idea that it’s just an aberration. We’re fundamentally staring down a demographic shift that we’ve never seen before in America,”
posted by holloway at 6:50 PM on November 19, 2008


They'll adapt. The only real questions are how long will it take (I predict 8 years) and which of the up-and-comers will shape their new framework. Step 1 is selecting a new RNC chair. Hilariously, every person I see described as "a young Republican of the new generation" is nothing of the sort.
posted by Tehanu at 6:59 PM on November 19, 2008


I'm as happy as anyone with Obama's election, maybe happier even than most, but folks don't forget:

It took an extremely unpopular president (him personally, not just his party) and an world-wide economic meltdown for this to happen. In 4 years, certainly in 8, neither of these key factors will remain, the game will have changed again.

It's simply not the case that all young people are natural democrats, a majority likely, but not all.

That, as people age many tend to become more conservative, balancing to some extent the liberal-when-young demographic effect.

And, do not discount the Democrats' game-changing use of the internet which the Republicans will, if they've any brains at all, emulate next time around.

The Republicans may well succeed in either 4 or 8 if they manage to move to the center, to tone down the far-rightist stuff referred to in this post. The next election may well be fought for the center. We may see both parties and their supporters stop pulling so hard in "their" direction and attend to the center. Although that may not make for entertaining TV...

Btw, when is Mefi's spell checker going to stop flagging the word "Obama"?
posted by scheptech at 7:15 PM on November 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


The GOP's problem? It's not right-wing enough.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:18 PM on November 19, 2008


Metafilter has a spell-checker?
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 7:20 PM on November 19, 2008


Metafilter has a spell-checker?

Yeah, I think his name is Raul. And the admins are only paying him, like, $2/hour. Personally I think he needs to start a union but he's waiting for the card check legislation.
posted by billysumday at 7:24 PM on November 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


Following what zerobyproxy said, it was Reagan who forged a bridge between Jesustan and the Rockefeller-Republicans. That bridge could have lasted a few more decades, IMO, if Bush II hadn't been, in purely objecctive terms, so incredibly disastrous as POTUS.

So if I was a Republican, I could almost see a bright side to all of this. The center could not hold with the insane contradictions of what the fundies wanted (government legislating morality) and what the libertarians and free-marketeers wanted (less government). So yeah, I'm thinking that by 2012 we'll have some sort of "Liberty Party" or somesuch, with the likes of Huckabee and Palin duking it out for who talks to God more often.
posted by bardic at 7:43 PM on November 19, 2008


And, do not discount the Democrats' game-changing use of the internet which the Republicans will, if they've any brains at all, emulate next time around.

They've already launched a site.
posted by Tehanu at 7:57 PM on November 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


They've already launched a site.

Wow that site is such fail. For those of you that don't want to create a throwaway account, its only functionality is to create video and text comments (with no ability to reply to comments) on what you think the future of the GOP is. That's not empowerment or use of the web, that's magazine letters to the editor. Until they allow their constituents to communicate directly with each other and to organize independent of the GOP hierarchy (pfft doubt it), the only game they're changing is the aesthetic use of reflections and web2 color schemes.
posted by amuseDetachment at 8:19 PM on November 19, 2008


If you are Libertarian, this means you make you're move now.

The Republicans forgot that the two party system is run by each party claiming new good ideas. You have some new good ideas like legalizing pot. If you can unseat some red state based Republicans campaigning on these ideas, then you'll fundamentally alter the Republican party to your favor. You might even supplant them if you were extremely lucky.

But you won't induce change or even win if you campaign solely upon "balanced budget" credentials. You must campaign on new good implementable ideas like legalizing pot.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:26 PM on November 19, 2008


The problem with Republicans... Remeber the end of Kill Bill 2 when Bill is talking to Beatrix about Superman and how clumsy, bumbling Clark Kent is Superman's critique on the human race? Well, uneducated, embarrassing Joe the Plumber is how Republicans view the average American.
posted by MegoSteve at 8:39 PM on November 19, 2008 [5 favorites]


Wow that site is such fail.

Yeah but Obama's not even in office yet. It's a botched attempt but they are trying.

Plus it's fascinating to read the comments, once you figure out how to get to them.
posted by Tehanu at 8:42 PM on November 19, 2008


So jeff, I guess you want pot legalized?
posted by Caduceus at 8:59 PM on November 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


embarrassing Joe the Plumber is how Republicans view the average American.

? I think it's safer to say that the person that called himself Joe the Plumber is the average Republican. Republicans have their world view, and are going to stick to it.
posted by troy at 9:11 PM on November 19, 2008


"As another point of reference, consider that McCain lost by more than double the margin that Kerry did in 2004, which the GOP claimed was a mandate.

Uh, and it was bullshit then.

I hate to keep being the wet blanket in these threads, but you guys know that the election was just a couple weeks ago, right? That pundits are eating each other right now is no real surprise (especially since the GOP pundits tend to be vicious, evil people who prey on the weak), but doesn't mean that this is the end for a political generation or any such nonsense.

Those same folks were just talking about how dead the Dems were, not too long ago.
posted by klangklangston at 9:30 PM on November 19, 2008


Hence which the part where I typed claimed it was a mandate. A nearly 7 point margin is not a small margin in a modern election. The point was simply that in a period of relative GOP strength, they could not accomplish what Obama just did- the Republican talking point that November has been turned on its head. (Though, if the presidential election was in 2002 they would have done better, to be fair.) The point was not that Obama had some "double" mandate.

I see few people in this thread arguing that the GOP is doomed, but you can acknowledge that the hydra will grow another head and accept that this was a near-landslide election at the same time. McCain was effectively trounced, and while the GOP will come back with a fury, how this election is seen will influence what they do.
posted by spaltavian at 9:40 PM on November 19, 2008


Actually, one esteemed political science person, Ted Lowi, was predicting an inevitable breakup Republicans in a series of early 1990s, later published in 1995, just a year after the Republican takeover of the House, for the reasons being discussed here. The book based on the lectures is called The End of the Republican Era (a dual use of "Republican" here, used regarding the party as well as the nation's government). It's a sort of history of ideology in America and a comparison of what ideology means here versus what it means in European nations, etc. But it's also a prophetic polemic. Lowi knew the score.
posted by raysmj at 10:26 PM on November 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


I should add that the Lowi book also addresses the inherent fragility of governing/party coalitions, so in that sense yes the Dems. will not be safe forever even with GOP civil war. What Lowi suggests, however, is the GOP's fault lines were just more easily identifiable. And he particularly sees the Christian Right as dangerous, regardless of how things work out for the GOP. He sees its politicization as eventually leading to the end of "the Republic," not just the Republican Party. (And he's not a flaming or doctrinaire liberal, something more along the lines of a social liberal and economic conservative.)
posted by raysmj at 10:33 PM on November 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


embarrassing Joe the Plumber is how Republicans view the average American.

Are they wrong? Viewing the election from the east side of the atlantic, I'm left wondering how on earth the McCain/Palin ticket could have gotten as many votes as they did. Any political party with the kind of history the GOP has had for the past eight years would have been disappeared by the electorate over here.
posted by DreamerFi at 10:56 PM on November 19, 2008


The entire country needs about 90% less God. The GOP is two orders of magnitude worse.

9000% percent less god? Not that I'm disagreeing with you, of course, but that's a lot less god right there.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:44 PM on November 19, 2008


Any political party with the kind of history the GOP has had for the past eight years would have been disappeared by the electorate over here

Indeed. There is quite a divide between Dems and Republicans here. Compared to other first-rank countries, on the individual level I'm afraid we're horribly miseducated, , and that goes both ways WRT party support. I defensively a Dem these days, but 20% of my fellow Dems are no doubt just as functionally retarded, in different ways perhaps, as McCain voters.

Let's not forget that the vote to ban gay marriage got 50% of the vote in California. This nation has an IMMENSE bloc that is intensely culturally conservative when compared to Europe, and, like Europe and places with conservatives running about loose, fundamentalist religion drives this conservatism.

Something like 60% of the fundies expect Jeebus to come back in their lifetime. This bloc votes 70%+ Republican and are about one-fourth of the electorate (25M votes).

Palin's place on the ticket was McCain's Hail Mary (heh) attempt to keep this bloc in his column on election day. It worked to some extent, but it wasn't enough, since the main candidate was selling conservatism more like Bob Dole than St. Reagan.
posted by troy at 1:26 AM on November 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


Joe the Plumber is how Republicans view the average American.

Yes, THIS. As the Republican Party becomes viewed more and more as the party of older white men in industrial states and the South, who do they choose to be their spokesman in the waning days of the campaign? A skinheaded, lying tax cheat, an unlicensed plumber looking to make a quick buck, a Dittohead who thinks that Social Security should be destroyed. I mean, really guys. Later they wised up and added "Tito the Builder" but by then it was too late.

It's like if, in the waning days of the campaign, the Democrats chose a black lesbian ACLU lawyer as the typical American who needs government help.

Just bad, bad, bad branding on the part of the GOP.
posted by billysumday at 4:11 AM on November 20, 2008 [7 favorites]


I couldn't agree more. The Republicans don't respect their base, actually. Did you see Bill O'Reilly on The Daily Show? Admittedly, he was clowning around, but he told Stewart that he needed to get out into the "real America' and meet the "centre-right" people; however, he said Stewart couldn't actually do this as those people would kill him, unless O'Reilly was there to protect him. It was a gag, obviously, but it showed his lack of respect and regard for his own audience. That's what he thinks of the "real America" - that they're a bunch of liberal-lynching rednecks. If I was a Republican voter, I'd be mortally offended.
posted by tiny crocodile at 5:02 AM on November 20, 2008


I got into this discussion late, but here's what the Republicans need to do. They need to divide themselves in two and sell each part to different markets, sort of like Disney giving birth to Dreamworks. The Republican Independents will tell you that they are for fiscal responsibility and pipe-smoking fathers who aren't crazy about the life choice of their lesbian daughters but, gosh darn-it, we're all family. The New Republicans will cater to the locust-eating desert dwellers with a firebrand gospel.
Then when they get elected they all caucus and vote exactly how they would if they didn't have two names. They'll still ignore the religious wing and overspend but now they'll do it with two brands.
They will run Jindal in 2012 because he's the new black.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:30 AM on November 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think it's funny that people try to promote Jeb Bush as a Republican candidate in 2012. The taller, smarter, better-looking Bush brother must hate Georgie for ruining his chances.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:49 AM on November 20, 2008


I was just reading this post and I noticed something very interesting. If you compare
GOD
and
GOP
As abstract logotypes, you notice pretty fast that GOP is just like GOD but with a sort of shrunken D-with-a-dangly-bit there at the end. So, just purely from a design standpoint, this suggests strongly that Republicans are very religious and have tiny penises.
posted by seanmpuckett at 8:26 AM on November 20, 2008


"I'm left wondering how on earth the McCain/Palin ticket could have gotten as many votes as they did."

Bigotry. McCain/Palin had a lock on the "anyone but the black guy with the funny name" vote. I think around here we're too quick to discount the bigotry motive.
posted by aapep at 9:33 AM on November 20, 2008


^ I largely disagree about the bigotry. It is still present but the black man with the middle name of Hussein won after all.

Large blocs of this country get their worldview reinforced listening to Rush, Beck, and further wingnut radio personalities. There is a certain amount of antipathy toward the urban black gangster culture from these quarters, but let's not forget that Condi Rice and Powell before her -- Obama did not rise from the same milleiu as Sharpton and Jackson (though the Reverend Wright connection did raise many flags with the Country-First crowd).

If we're going to break down the numbers, I'd say 25% of McCain's vote is from the country-club conservatives looking to avoid the reinstitution of "socialism", 25% are single-issue fundies looking towards more supreme court picks and other goodies like they got from the present occupant, 25% are in fact bigots with fucked-up worldviews, and the last 25% vote Republican for its national security state branding.

That's just off-the-cuff generalization but this nation is deeply divided and looking at where the Republicans get their support is rather depressing.
posted by troy at 10:07 AM on November 20, 2008


After being shut out of power for several cycles, the Whig Party crushed the Democrats in 1840 (hot on the heels of the economic collapse of 1837). In the mid-1850s, they would effectively cease to be a party.

Hell, even the election of Taylor (the only other Whig to win) in 1848 was by a greater margin than Obama.

The blunt fact, which has been already aired by plenty of the cooler heads, is that the destiny of the Democrats (and by proxy, the Republicans) turns on how well Obama governs. If he can win convincingly in '12, and has done a decent job giving a successor a platform for '16, then the Republicans may have to do some real reformation. For the time, all they need to do is make it hard to govern, hope they regain congress in '10, and not let too many of their media personalities alienate each other beyond reconciliation.
posted by klangklangston at 10:35 AM on November 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'll just repeat my election-night wish for the Republican Party.
posted by WCityMike at 1:03 PM on November 20, 2008


But it's not just a matter of strategy - it's a matter of meaning and message. If the Republican Party is going to recover, how? What will it stand for that will attract an enthusiastic and growing majority of voters? What message will they strike upon that will make sense to people in four or eight years? Their ideas on security have worn out or proven shortsighted, even dangerously alienating to today's world and to our major allies Their ideas on the economy have utterly failed to produce the promised results. These are not just branding strategies, they are fundamental philosophical convictions of this party, and they seem to have aged beyond usefulness. They were formed in and for a world that no longer exists.

That's why this situation is a little more than a party needing to regroup. It's a party needing to re-examine its basic platform and find its own honest convictions, with a message that's appealing to the huge center. This country really isn't as "deeply divided" as we think; there is a rightist extreme fringe which does have a polarizing effect, but those hardcore social conservatives just don't have sway in terms of numbers - 15-25%, maybe. The rest of the country isn't really deeply divided - the majority of people are not strongly party-aligned and will vote for the party trumpeting the message they want and need to believe in at the moment of the election. While the right looked like winners, that big mushy middle went along with them. When the 'winning' strategies failed them, they began to look elsewhere. And now, even those who held their nose and voted Republican will have their hearts and minds up for grabs, in a time when they may see government taking an interest in the material conditions of their lives. That may really create a leftward adjustment in the national polarity. I don't expect hardcore righties ever to change, but over time I've learned that most people, no matter how vociferously partisan they seem, go with the flow. Whoever has the best flow wins. Right now it's the Democrats. The Republicans could certainly develop some flow, but it's not a matter of just getting their act together organizationally. It's a matter of coming up with a thorough new vision of what 'Republican' could mean in the early 21st century, and why that should be of interest to the majority of Americans.
posted by Miko at 2:09 PM on November 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


That pundits are eating each other right now is no real surprise (especially since the GOP pundits tend to be vicious, evil people who prey on the weak),

A friend stopped in a gun store the other day to pick up some cleaning solution, and the guy behind the counter explained that since the election, they can't keep ammunition or ARs in stock, in some cases, they've completely run out of bullets to sell.

So apparently the pundits are telling their listeners that the end times are here and we can expect the race-wars to begin shortly.

As a gun guy, I find this behavior deeply embarrassing.
posted by quin at 2:15 PM on November 20, 2008


This is what alienating the rest of the world looks like.
posted by amuseDetachment at 2:21 PM on November 20, 2008 [3 favorites]


You folks do realize that it wasn't but a couple of years back that Republicans were touting the idea of a permanent majority in this country? Face it - what looks overwhelming one year (or even one month) may look transient the next. The world is changing fast, and the sort of developments which Democrats tout as their own key to the kingdom may very well turn against them.
Hispanics? Minority voters, yeah, but also overwhelmingly belonging to either the Catholic or evangelical branches of Christianity. Youth? Youth age, and as they age they tend to become more conservative. There is no demographic or social trend which will place either party "above" having to fight for its life, tooth and nail, every single election.
So what the future depends on is, fundamentally, how the individuals comprising either party go about their work in the interim. Will we, as Democrats (I'm technically unaligned, but I've voted Democrat the past two elections and couldn't legally vote before that anyway) go on a binge of partisan legislative and fiscal initiatives, or will we hew to a middle course? How will we balance our own "extreme" progressive wing (extreme in the views of many centrist Americans of both parties) with the necessities of governance and the will of the political center? Will we continue to reach out, through "50 state" strategies or less overtly political initiatives, or will we chose to try to shut out the opposition and lynch those who haven't been doctrinaire enough (I'm thinking especially of the kerfluffle over Lieberman)?
And there are a vast number of unknowns: further terrorist strikes, the present economic troubles, relationships with China and Russia. The worst thing we can do is fall prey to the same self-satisfied "the world is going our way" tripe that the Republicans deluded themselves with back in 2000-2006. The world, or rather the country, will go in the direction we work hard to persuade it to go in.
Anyway, rant over. Obama put it much more succintly than I did, anyways. This is the beginning of the real work, not the end.
posted by AdamCSnider at 2:22 PM on November 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


So apparently the pundits are telling their listeners that the end times are here and we can expect the race-wars to begin shortly.

To be fair, some of this also stems from the paranoia that Obama is going to outlaw the sale of guns and bullets. So they're stocking up while they can, pretty much.
posted by lullaby at 3:49 PM on November 20, 2008


So apparently the pundits are telling their listeners that the end times are here and we can expect the race-wars to begin shortly.

"Look out...Helter Skelter...She's coming down fast...Yes she is."

overwhelmingly belonging to either the Catholic or evangelical branches of Christianity

Big, big difference between the two.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:04 PM on November 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


The argument about people getting more conservative as they grow older doesn't stand up to historical evidence; they might get a little more socially conservative, but they become more, not less, interested in entitlements. See my comment here, which took on this argument and took a look about how the relative power spread among the generations is shifting.

I also don't think the Catholicism among Hispanics will wear well over time; nor will it translate into social conservatism very well. American Catholics have largely emphasized the social agenda and have a lot of trouble looking at the issue of protection of life as solely an abortion issue.
posted by Miko at 5:11 PM on November 20, 2008


You have some new good ideas like legalizing pot... You must campaign on new good implementable ideas like legalizing pot. -- posted by jeffburges

Your revolution is over. Condolences. The bums lost. My advice is to do what your parents did; get a job, sir. The bums will always lose. Do you hear me? The bums will always lose!
posted by rokusan at 6:07 PM on November 20, 2008 [3 favorites]


I also think we need to be careful about getting ahead of ourselves. Clinton won by 6 percentage points and had a majority of the congress. Carter only won by 2 percentage points, but he also had about 60% of the congress when was elected. So we have seen similar democratic situations before. After Nixon, it sure looked like the Republicans were in major trouble - vietnam, watergate, the entire culture changing with the sexual revolution, feminism, stonewall, civil rights, even environmentalism - there was no place for the Republican mindset anymore.

And then along came Ronald Reagan and reintroduced the 1950s to america - family values, nuclear fear, the cold war, anti-communism, consumerism... That's why those Repubs are so in love with Reagan. He saved their ass last time around.

Whether anyone will show up to try to pull it off again is another question. But what supposedly killed Carter was all that talk about "we have to give up a little bit in order to get through this" - Americans didn't like that shit! Not when Reagan came in saying, fuck that, we're cowboys, we got a nuclear bomb and loads of cash, buy what you want and we'll be fine.

Maybe we've learned from our mistakes and are older & wiser now; maybe we just have a better leader to say what carter was saying and the repubs don't have a charismatic enough one to represent what Reagan was going for. Maybe domestic problems will dominate and foreign issues can't be made to stand out the way they were in the 1980s. But let's not assume republicans will just disappear. 58 million people voted for a ticket that had Sarah Palin a heartbeat away from the presidency, when they could have chosen Obama. 80 million more eligible voters did not bother voting at all.

It's hard to imagine Palin pulling it together - she's been so discredited at this stage - but if Obama has a rough first term, I wouldn't put it past the American people to make that kind of heart-sinking decision. Or more likely, perhaps some other new republican voice will arise and stand for Freedom, Buying Shit, Killing Bad Guys, and Being Right, and people will get behind him or her again.
posted by mdn at 7:23 PM on November 20, 2008 [3 favorites]


BREAKING NEWS:
GOV. PALIN APPARENTLY OBLIVIOUS TO TURKEY CARNAGE OVER HER SHOULDER
posted by Rhaomi at 7:42 PM on November 20, 2008


overwhelmingly belonging to either the Catholic or evangelical branches of Christianity

Big, big difference between the two.


The Knights of Columbus brand of Catholicism can make an uneasy truce with the fundies over most social / kulturkampf issues.
posted by troy at 11:02 PM on November 20, 2008


GOV. PALIN APPARENTLY OBLIVIOUS TO TURKEY CARNAGE OVER HER SHOULDER

"Oh my go, they're turkeys! Oh, they're crashing to the earth right in front of our eyes!"
posted by kirkaracha at 11:29 PM on November 20, 2008


Study Shows "Center-Right Nation" Narrative Spiked Immediately After Election Day
posted by homunculus at 11:54 AM on November 22, 2008


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