cessante causa cessat et effectus
October 7, 2004 12:22 PM   Subscribe

The summer of Republican discontent. The sudden decline and eventual fall of the GOP.
posted by four panels (11 comments total)
Well then, I suppose that settles it.
posted by loquax at 12:45 PM on October 7, 2004

Yeah, how do you pronounce "wishful thinking"...?
posted by twsf at 1:18 PM on October 7, 2004

Yeah, how do you pronounce "wishful thinking"...?

"eye rack"
posted by quonsar at 1:28 PM on October 7, 2004

Well, I think the GOP is in for some serious consciense-exploration, but I also think it's kind of rich to look to Cato for validation of that. After all, it's the "take no prisoners" attitude of ideological purists like Newt and Grover that put the GOP into its current quandary; so we look to a cadre of fellow-travelling ideological purists like Cato to condemn the mess they helped make?

If there's a group of Republicans who pose a threat to the party, it's the so-called "moderates": People like McCain, Chafee, and Snow. When they feel confident enough to move with resolve, you could potentially see a sea change, wherein the business-interest Republicans wheel to follow like a flock of swallows. Real business-focused conservatives know that having a Don in charge is a bad thing, whether he's named "Clinton" or named "Bush." And they know that while defense industries and oil are a great way for a segment of folks to earn a shitload of money and accrue undogly amounts of power, they do tend after all to allow a segment of folks to earn a shitload of money and accrue undogly amounts of power -- meaning, that is, folks other than you.

So Arnie and Pataki and even JEB Bush could shift like swallows to follow a new wave of neo-Rockefeller-Republicans. See, I think that GW's presidency represents a land grab not only within the American landscape as a whole, but within the smaller world of commercial oligarchy. GHWB represents the older way: Make your money the quiet way, by working the existing networks, using your connections, running things quietly from behind the scenes. What you might call the "Old World Order." The World Bank way. GWB and his neo-con handlers represent the real New World Order. They're revolutionaries. The main-liners were probably scared to move against them. Now maybe they won't be so scared anymore.

Does this mean the end of the GOP? I sincerely doubt it. The GOP is a superbly evolved organism. Its survival skills are impressive. It will reshape itself in whatever way it needs to in order to persevere.
posted by lodurr at 2:36 PM on October 7, 2004

A second Bush term could be more damaging to the Republicans and more beneficial to the Democrats than a Bush defeat. Lessons from history, well yes, British history. How's that relevant? Take a look at what happened to the Republicans transatlantic soul-mates, the British Conservatives
posted by grahamwell at 3:40 PM on October 7, 2004

lodurr-- I think the opposite is true. The Gingrich Republicans and the CATO folks have principally argued for low taxes, military isolationism, balanced (and small) budgets, cost-benefit analysis of regulation, a loser-pays tort system, and the line-item veto. Furthermore, a substantial portion of this "wing" of the party favors decriminalization of marijuana and other drugs, means-testing of Social Security and Medicare, removing social engineering from the tax code, and abolishing corporate welfare.

Heck, I bet at least a third of Metafilter would vote for these principles.

The majority of these principles are conspicuously absent from the Republican party platform nowadays. The party has no young Bill Buckley-- a notable conservative with the brain and the nuts to admit that the War on Drugs is a "miserable failure." It has pushed the limited-government voices off the stage while engaging in myriad new spending programs. It has defamed capitalism by passing ostensibly laissez-faire laws which are nothing of the sort, serving only to give substance to the once-hollow cries of plutocracy! coming from the Left.

Indeed, the Right is digging its own grave, but espousing CATO and the limited government crowd is not the cause of the downfall.
posted by Kwantsar at 3:44 PM on October 7, 2004

It's too early to prophesy the "eventual fall" of the Republican Party.

Any "big tent" party—and this includes both major U.S. parties—has to strike a delicate balance between the many groups it represents. Pander too much to one group within the big tent, and you risk alienating other groups. Certainly the Republicans have not been balancing their groups well over the past few years, but I see no reason to believe their error is irreversible.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:44 PM on October 7, 2004

I don't think that the author of the Washington Monthly article is claiming that the GOP is going to be annihilated. The GOP, like the Dems are both highly evolved, adaptable organisms. It is the nature of the two-party system that each party will choose a set of issues that will allow them to get around 51% of the vote. They will simply shift their stances in order to get about half of the electorate on their side. The Cato article itself doesn't claim that the party will fall; it claims that the GOP principles will fall.

The claims being made in the FPP links are that the GOP is ripe for a shakeout that realigns their core beliefs and leadership. That's not an unreasonable assessment.
posted by deanc at 4:17 PM on October 7, 2004

Can I trade in my tax cut to get some of my civil liberties back?
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 4:25 PM on October 7, 2004

>Yeah, how do you pronounce "wishful thinking"...?

>>"eye rack"

Winner. [/cheerleader post]
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:16 PM on October 7, 2004

Kwantsar, Newt led the charge and set the tone. We have him largely to thank for the ethos that drives Republican politics right now, and Cato and others like them helped establish that ethos.

You're right that the specific policies they'd espouse don't get much play; and yet, they go along anyway, driving forcefully ahead changing "by any means necessary!" I wonder how they can continue to hold dear the fantasy that their so-called ideals are served in any way by their pragmatic actions.
posted by lodurr at 6:19 PM on October 7, 2004

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