Wednesday, October 16, 2013


I rarely disagree with DougJ, but I suspect he's wrong about the second part of this, even though he's absolutely right about the first part:
For all the No Labels wanking about non-extremist Republicans forming a "centrist" third-party, the truth is Joe Scarborough and Lindsey Graham will leave the Republican party in a wooden box. Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin, though....they've got the moxie to strike off on their own.
I don't think moxie is the issue. Cruz, Palin, and the rest of the 'baggers may have the nerve to leave, but they don't because they feel entitled to dominate the GOP, just the way they feel entitled to run the country even when they lose elections. They want the Republican Party's levers of power, which they think they deserve.

They don't leave for the same reason they don't commit terrorist acts with the frequency of the left-wing '60s radicals they otherwise resemble: they think they should be the Establishment. They think they are the Establishment, entitled to run their party and America, but everything is so out of whack that their entitlement goes unrecognized. (It's their enemies who are "Republican in name only"; their rallying cry on Twitter is #tcot, "true conservatives on Twitter," all others being the pretenders.)

And let's face it, they're right not to walk away from the party, because the party does keep ceding power to them, doesn't it?


Doug continues:
David Frum (correctly) gives a good argument to this effect and then (incorrectly) claims that a Palinista exodus would be good news for conservatives. You can guess why: it will free up Burkean moderates to appeal to the radical center. Nah. Guh. Happen. There may be all kinds of great reasons to vote for Republicans 2.0 or whatever the Teabagless GOP decides to call itself, but Republicans spent the last 40 years aiming their sales pitch at Neoconfederate nut jobs. Karl Rove (et al.) is a certain kind of girl, and Joe the Plumber is his ideal boyfriend.
Frum's argument is that ditching the 'baggers would help Republicans in the way that (in Frum's view) the departure of the Dixiecrats and Henry Wallace lefties from the Democratic Party helped Harry Truman in 1948: Truman's support among black voters increased, as did his credibility as a Cold Warrior.

I'm not sure I buy that -- Truman barely won in '48 -- but I think Frum has a point about opportunities for political parties in the mushy middle. I've lived in the Northeast all my life, and I've watched voters in these supposedly liberal states swoon repeatedly over moderate (or moderate-seeming or moderate-on-social-issues-only) Republicans -- Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Bloomberg, Scott Brown, Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, Al D'Amato, George Pataki. Hell, Chris Christie's going to win a blowout in New Jersey next month, and he's barely to the left of the 'baggers. I think voters all over America are naive enough to fall for Kochism in gay-tolerant clothing (Christie, of course, barely falls into the latter category).

Yes, "Republicans spent the last 40 years aiming their sales pitch at Neoconfederate nut jobs." I think they could stop if Establishment Republicans and Chamber of Commerce donors worked together to freeze out the burn-it-all-down crazies. At this point, though, appealing to those crazies is a hard habit to break. For a while, Republicans who had no real intention of voucherizing Medicare or banning abortion just used wingnut rhetoric the way fast-food outlets use salt, sugar, and fat -- as intoxicants meant to hit pleasure centers in the brain. Now they've created a generation of voters who expect them to mean what they say -- and a generation of politicians who also took all that talk seriously, and are now acting on it.

But even if Establishment Republicans and their donors grew a spine, I don't think the crazies would bolt the party anytime soon. They'd just keep fighting for the dominance they think is their due. There'd be a couple of decades of tension between the crazies and the less-crazies. (There were still white Southern Democrats in fairly significant numbers into the 1980s.) And meanwhile, the mainstream media would develop a massive crush on the new GOP.

But it's not going to happen, so why are we talking about it?


Victor said...

Poor, Steve.

Having go spend the whole morning, playing "Whack a Troll!"

Monty said...

And of course the Establishment Republicans absolutely needs the baggers to win elections. Indeed, it would behoove everyone to recall that the baggers are utterly synonymous with (if not identical to) the Republican base...representing the GOP's last successful effort at rebranding.

Victor said...

Your record is skipping... skipping... skipping...skipping... you loon... you loon... you loon... you loon... bye again... bye again... bye again... bye again...

Dude, check out Einstein's definition of insanity!

aimai said...

I just don't think Palin and Cruz are the same kind of people at all. Palin is political plankton, she goes where the currents take her. If enough money donors came to her tomorrow and asked her to run on a third party ticket she'd do it because she'd reckon the money made siphoning money from third party loser voters is as good as the money being third or fourth ranked speaker at a republican event. She's in it for the grift and she doesn't care whether her supporters are high dollar or low, high status or low, so long as they pay the bills.

Cruz wants to be in the elite so bad he can barely contain himself. HE wants to dominate the GOP as it exists and the current Tea party is the way he sees of jumping the que. If the highest dollar donors approached him and asked him to run in the GOP primary as a conciliator/moderate he'd do it because he wants to run things, he wants the whole kit and caboodle. He doesn't have any loyalty to the tea party fringe, they are just tools. So he will never jump ship from the regular GOP even if he excoriates it for now.

Steve M. said...

I don't agree with that, Aimai. Cruz's ego is bound up in the notion that he pisses the Constitution and craps the Declaration of Independence. I'd say the same thing about Palin as well. The real difference between them is that he has the patience to run for and hold office (in his fashion); Palin's just plain lazy.

And if you think that Palin is a grifter where Cruz isn't, check out his recent fundraising numbers.

Victor said...

If not the comments themselves, you should leave a record of Dennis's attempts at commenting.

It's a track record of insanity that some mental hospital can one day refer to, when they're admitting him.

Steve M. said...

I'd rather not. If he takes a crap on my couch, I don't want to leave it on my couch just so the cops will know he took a crap there. i'm just tidying up my house.

aimai said...

Its not that I don't think Cruz has a huge ego and also is a grifter, in the sense that he is coining the money and will continue to do what the money rewards--its that I don't think he could ever fall for the third party candidate thing because he wants the whole enchilada and the real money will always be inside the GOp circus and not outside. Palin might/could go third party because that money is good enough for her and she really doesn't identify with the GOP. But Cruz wants to dominate important people. Its not going to ever be enough for him to be the darling of a fringe group.

Victor said...

Ok, I get that.

It's just that, sometimes it looks like I'm arguing with phantom trolls.

Steve M. said...

I'll state for the record that you aren't. There was a pest here until I got out the bug spray.

peabody nobis said...

I've been saying for some time now that Republicans should force the Teabaggers out of the party. Make them run on a third party ticket and find out just what a fringe group they are.
Sure, they might lose a few races at first, but at least they would get their self-respect back. The Teabaggers need to be marginalized, and removed from all positions of power. They have proven themselves willing to destroy the economy of the entire world, just out of spite. They have shown themselves to be unfit for public office. If the Republican party ever wants to be trusted again, they will divest themselves of the likes of Cruz, Lee, and Jim Jordan.