Monday, March 18, 2013


Jennifer Rubin has written a post imagining the GOP's future, The post gets good marks even from BooMan, who calls it "thoughtful"; it does avoid Rubin's usual shrieking Demophobia.

But her vision of the future leaves something to be desired:
So where does this lead the party? I believe it will sort itself out in the primary itself, which becomes more akin to constructing a parliamentary majority (alliances, concessions, truces, compromises of convenience).... The candidate who can both win the biggest share of and recruit more supporters to the GOP is the winner, and at the end factions agree to disagree on some items in common cause against an opponent devoted to the domineering welfare state....

Imagine a debate in which candidate X says, "I don't care much about gay marriage. But if you vote for me I will go to the mat on replacing Obamacare and here's how I will do it." Another will say, "I don't want to replace Obamacare with anything. And I don't want much of a military either." No one strains to abide by principles he does not hold dear; the voters figure out which formulation is, while not ideal, most appealing and most likely to appeal outside the party.

Rather than conformity, heterogeneity is prized and special interest factions lose their sway....

That could be pretty exciting and unpredictable....
I have no idea why she believes that can work out in 2016 any more than it did in 2012 or 2008. In those years, the party had all that, to some extent. Maybe it didn't exactly have anyone who said, "I don't care much about gay marriage. But if you vote for me I will go to the mat on replacing Obamacare," or "I don't want to replace Obamacare with anything. And I don't want much of a military either" -- but it did have a candidate favoring a drastic cutback in military adventurism (Ron Paul in '08 and '12) -- and he was loathed by everyone who didn't adore him. It had an Iraq War skeptic in '08 (Paul again) -- and that was heresy. It had a supporter of abortion rights and some gay rights in 2008 (Rudy Giuliani) -- and he was forced to make a quick exit from the primaries. In 2012 it had a candidate who actually believes the scientific consensus on evolution and climate change (Jon Huntsman) -- and he was forced to make a quick exit from the primaries. It had a candidate in 2012 who supported HPV vaccination and in-state tuition breaks at state colleges for children of undocumented immigrants (Rick Perry) -- and he went from front-runner to also-ran (for this and other reasons) within weeks.

The problem with Rubin's "let a hundred flowers bloom" fantasy is that GOP base voters don't want to let a hundred flowers bloom -- they still imagine that the ideal combination of electability and purity is out there somewhere.

I still think Republicans could win the White House back in 2016 if they find someone who can thread this needle, especially if the Supreme Court gives the GOP a boost by allowing a broad range of vote-suppression techniques, and if the party learns to use technology and Citizens United money more effectively. But the party's core voters aren't going to make it easy. They're going to want a pure candidate next time as much as they did this time. The GOP needs a Sister Souljah moment, but its Sister Souljah is its own voter base.


Victor said...

100 flowers can't bloom in the desert that is Modern Conservatism.

Hell, WEEDS, can barely grow there.

Take one look at that freak-fest they had in the primaries they had last year, and you can clearly see that all of them were peon-you's, but not one peonie.

Turd-blossom's, one and all.

Monty said...

Interesting that Rove's strategery relied on appeals to the base. With, you know, the math.

My observation, for what its worth, is that the GOP has spent the last several decades attempting to reconcile the interests of the Base with those of the Establishment.

But they can't. McCain tried to mix the two by bringing Palin on board in 2008...ROFL. Rmoney doubled down with Paul Ryan and got stomped.


I don't know to what extent, if any, the likes of Rubin are taken seriously by the GOP. The neocon wing, yeah I guess so. But at this point the GOP is so deeply fractured (movement conservatives v plutocrats v neocons) I suspect actual cohesion is impossible.

That said, even with the obvious overlaps, my money's on the plutocrat contingent.

Examinator said...

as political wonks are missin' tha fun'ament'l thang.

that is that their philosophy is based on what they share.... selfishness and xenophobia.
They are interested in them and their own world view (pseudo Christianity/ family(?)values and their supremacy... the right to enforce it on others.
e.g. contrast it with say my 'liberal' (sic) views .... I don't want to make abortions mandatory nor do I want to Make Christianity illegal.
They are only libertarian as an interim step i.e. their views should be allowed then made law.

This has been perverted by the *Vulture/predatory* capitalists as opposed to open capitalism .