BUT WHAT IF REPUBLICANS DON'T REALLY WANT TO COMPROMISE SO THEY CAN GOVERN?
A couple of days ago, BooMan was speculating again about the possibility of a big Democratic win this year. I've previously expressed my doubts that that can happen, but, just for the sake of argument, I'll accept the possibility that President Obama could win a blowout. What happens then?
... if this is what happens, the GOP pretty much has to do a major reassessment. They will have to figure out a way to win back constituencies. My prediction is that their two biggest obstacles to regaining viability as a national party will be Latino voters and suburban women. They will have give up being the party of angry white men and make some kind of deal on comprehensive immigration reform. And they are going to have to stop these incredibly aggressive attacks on abortion rights and women's health. If they don't, they simply will not win the presidency ever again.
But what if Republicans just don't care about winning the presidency on right-centrist terms? What if the lesson of recent years -- the lesson, particularly, of the Clinton/Gingrich years and of Obama's first term -- is that they don't have to win (or at least not win the presidency) in order to advance their far-right agenda? What if they've decided that they can fall short at the polls but advance their agenda through other means, and that that gets them closer to their utopia than they'd be with a victorious moderate presidential candidate?
Look at how they demonized Obama in his first two years to make their ideas (labeled "tea party" ideas) seem like the political vanguard, denying that status to the brand-new president. Look at how the energy generated by anti-Obama resistance led to congressional, gubernatorial, and state legislative victories for the GOP in 2010. Look at what's happened in GOP states since then. And look at how even journalists at the national level who should know better now take seriously the fraudulent ideas of Paul Ryan, while young people hippie-dance around Ron Paul. Isn't right-wing extremism in better shape now than it was in 2008? Isn't it possible that it'll be in better shape next year than it was in 2008, even if Obama wins big?
I sense that the far right thinks it needs a win only once every few election cycles, combined with a relentless campaign of demonization, legislative obstruction, and litigation at all other times, to score a net advance for the cause of the right. If you live in Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida, Ohio, or Maine, tell me: does that sound about right? If righties think that, can we really say they're crazy, given how quickly they can pass extreme legislation when they do gain power, and how much obstruction they're capable of at other times?
I know, I know: the GOP is facing a demographic time bomb. Hispanics! The young! But are the young really permanently loyal to the Democratic Party? Isn't there a sense of wariness, caused largely by the awful economy? Isn't it quite possible that the right thinks it can steal this generation eventually, perhaps in part by encouraging the maturing generation to blame its economic woes on "big government" and various minority groups?
I'm not saying this is a sound strategy for the GOP. I'm just saying I don't know for sure that it isn't. And I think the GOP may think it works.