Wednesday, September 29, 2010


I like Matt Taibbi's tea party article a lot, but I don't agree with this, near the end:

Of course, the fact that we're even sitting here two years after Bush talking about a GOP comeback is a profound testament to two things: One, the American voter's unmatched ability to forget what happened to him 10 seconds ago, and two, the Republican Party's incredible recuperative skill and bureaucratic ingenuity. This is a party that in 2008 was not just beaten but obliterated, with nearly every one of its recognizable leaders reduced to historical-footnote status and pinned with blame for some ghastly political catastrophe. There were literally no healthy bodies left on the bench, but the Republicans managed to get back in the game anyway by plucking an assortment of nativist freaks, village idiots and Internet Hitlers out of thin air and training them into a giant ball of incoherent resentment just in time for the 2010 midterms.

The part about the freaks and Hitlers is correct, but the GOP was never obliterated. After the election, right-wingers still had a near-monopoly on the AM radio dial, and Fox News was still far and away the top-rated cable news channel.

Moreover, ten minutes after he conceded, John McCain instantly became the go-to guy for Sunday morning talk shows (again), along with Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, and other old white Republican men.

I think it's safe to say that the GOP had more people deemed respectable and desirable by Sunday talk shows bookers immediately after Election Day 2008 than the Democrats did at the same moment -- a moment that was presumably the Democrats' pinnacle. (Democrats have never really tried to insist that their career politicians are elder statesmen, while even a sleazebag like Newt Gingrich can have that status accorded to him on the other side.)

In 2006 and 2008, Democrats and progressives set out to win elections. By contrast, Republicans and right-wingers have spent the last couple of decades building a standing army and a series of fortified bunkers. Even after the disastrous Bush years, the right-wing message had a loyal core of obedient followers, cultivated by advocacy radio and TV. And the mainstream was still cowed by the notion that, Democratic victories notwithstanding, "real" Americans are white, non-coastal and conservative.

So it was only a question of how the GOP would come back, and how soon.

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