Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The pendulum swings

There was at one time a large swath of American voters whether right or left leaning that made up a middle ground. It was the target of any politician running for office. It was a necessary function to appeal to that middle. Somewhere along the line the concept of promoting and campagning to the middle got lost. Maybe it was the "Contract for America" that set all this in motion I don't really know, but when the republicans signed on to that it seemed like they were signing a blood oath with the mafia. It's as if they had checked their morals at the door and all were to agree with their leaders no matter what. As they gained more and more power the idology moved swiftly to the far right where it remains today. The voters however are not as stupid as they might appear. But there is another factor here. It used to be that the political pendulum would swing quite slowly. With a core of politicians it was only the edges that gradually changed faces and the core people were focused on pleasing the center. They knew if they didn't they'd soon be out of office. Now in the last 15 or 20 years the pace of change has accelerated. Everything must now happen in an instant. A time frame of years is now expected to happen in months.
If the republicans ever hope to want to regain any power they're going to have to swallow hard and do an Oprah makeover the likes that has never been seen. Clinging to ideals to an ever shrinking base is not going to win elections. Specter put his finger square on their problem when he pointed out that there is no longer room in their party for moderates. To have Steele get up and say the party is looking for the hip hop urban and suburban folk is nothing more than trying to put tinsel on a turd. It still stinks. It's all become very clear that the republican party does not come close to representing the majority of America but a very small and elite class of wealthy. They are just trying to sucker you in to do their dirty work i.e. giving them more weath and power while you suffer and grow poorer.
America was fed up with what happened the last eight years and yanked the pendulum in the other direction. For the republicans to try and yank it the other direction at this point would be foolish. It's a guarantee for more lost seats in congress. If they don't change they will disappear. That's a basic law of nature. Adapt or die.


an average patriot said...

There were three now there are two. The fascist right has polarized so just the extremists are left in the Repug party.
Now I want to see Olympia Snowe and Sue Collins come over from the dark side and join the new right. I do not see it happening but being moderates they are better off with us.

Tom Harper said...

I've seen that exact rumor, that Sue Collins and/or Olympia Snowe might jump ship too. Even if they don't, that party is driving out everybody who isn't either a warmonger or a snakehandling Biblethumper.

At some point, moderate Republicans and rightwing extremists will have to go their separate ways. They've had a nice cozy coalition since 1980, but it isn't working any more. Thank God.

Demeur said...

That would depend on their district voters. Remember Specter had no real choice in this. If he didn't switch it would have meant the end of his political career.

Snave said...

Adapt or die, indeed!

I also want to see the two Senators from Maine make the jump. Would they do such a thing if they weren't facing huge challenges to keeping their seats? Maybe, maybe not... it might depend on how much farther the GOP moves to the right in the next year or two. And I think those who currently run the GOP are too dumb to try and bring the party back toward the center any time soon, because to do so would mean to admit defeat, or that there are things wrong with their party.

Is this the beginning of the GOP schism I have been longing for the last 20-30 years? I hope so!

S.W. anderson said...

Republicans kicked it off with Reagan's 1980 presidential race. Reagan's campaign chief and most ardent supporters and backers set out to demonize Democrats, liberals and anyone who wasn't with them. At the same time, they disdained moderates, including Republican ones, shoving them aside once they gained power. It was the start of the "if you're not with us, you're an enemy" mindset. Not just a political opponent, but an enemy.

I think that arose from the fact that for decades far-right conservatives had been kept to the fringes of the Republican Party. They behaved like a pressure group. When they got hold of power, they continued to operate like a pressure group.

Pressure groups are narrowly focused, highly disciplined and tend to play much more roughly than tradtional big-tent political parties. Their leaders exert top-down command and control, and don't tolerate being challenged and questioned. Those in pressure groups tend to be absolutist in their beliefs. They look on compromise as selling out, whereas compromise is necessarily standard operating procedure in big-tent parties.

The Nixon administration exhibited the pressure group mentality after Tricky Dick started running into trouble. The Bush administration behaved that way from its beginning.

Congressional Republicans also behaved that way after the so-called Republican Revolution in '94, when Newt Gingrich became House Speaker and Dick Armey was his No. 2. It got even worse when DeLay became speaker and Republicans had total control in Washington.

Re: Specter, keep in mind that he was in the Senate and the thick of GOP politics that whole time. His hide must be as thick as a rhino's.