Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Incredible Shrinking G.O.P.

Arlen Specter quits the Republican Party. Michelle Bachman stays in it. That's just about all you need to know about the Republican strategy for re-taking a majority in 2010. They're counting on the Extremist Ignoramus Vote.

Steve Benen:
[T]he Republican Party is home to Limbaugh, Tea Baggers, Palin, right-wing blogs, the Rove/Cheney/Gingrich triumvirate -- and no one else. The party that's been shrinking to generational lows just got even smaller.

For three months, the conservative message has been that President Obama, his widespread popularity notwithstanding, is some kind of radical ideologue, far from the American mainstream. Specter's departure from the GOP sends the exact opposite message. Moderate Republicans are teaming up with Obama, and leaving the party that has "moved far to the right" behind.

That said, the Republican Party is unlikely to go the way of the Whigs. While the nation is sharply divided over political, social, religious, economic, environmental, and educational issues, political parties in the United States have a history, even in deeply troubled times, of reforming from within rather than being displaced by wholly new parties. The only exception is the Whig Party, and that quite clearly was due to unbridgeable differences over slavery that ate at the very foundation of the Republic for the entirety of its first eighty years.

Count us among those who want a vibrant, reasonable Republican Party. It's never good when the opposition is peopled principally by religious crazies and know-nothings. We cannot divine how and where the Republican Party will find the reformers with the courage to remake it. If history is any guide, it may take a generation or longer, which means the saviors of the Republican Party, right now, probably are just learning to toddle and eat from their highchairs.

History also strongly suggests -- once again, opposition to slavery being the exception -- that the fortunes of any political party inevitably will decline when it falls into the grip of a great religous awakening, such as the Republicans have experienced since Reagan. Reform requires embracing secular pragmatism over rigid religiosity. Wrenching though it may be, in the end we Americans have always returned to our secular roots, strengthened the wall of separation between church and state, and allowed the revivalists to retreat from the public sphere to their private sanctuaries where they can concentrate on saving themselves and their flock.

In short, history teaches that political party reform is inversely related to dominance by what, in former times, was known as the 'religious faction.' To find its way back to reason and vibrancy, the Republican Party will have to separate from the religious faction, and let each go their respective ways.


Anonymous said...

What a pompous bunch of hogwash. Religious factions? You gotta do better than that.

How about explaining to us how the Dems social programs now lovingly called entitlements have brought the masses forward to be responsible educated working citizens and how you can do the same with health care.

The whole system needs some house cleaning. The buddy system has not worked for the average citizens bringing home less and less and being asked to support more and more.

Let's hope O keeps his big promises, and it all works out. Even if he hedged on one of the first simple promises with the twisted tale of the puppy adopted via Ted Kennedy, I still hope he can do it.

BLehman said...

Why is TV and radio filled with nuts like Hannity and Limbaugh and Ann Coulter and Glenn Beck etc? Whacked out religious nuts watch them because they can't read, that's why. Just about all that is left of the grand old party.

Anonymous said...

Why did the religious nuts flee England in search of a place they could practice religion and have a government founded on certain moral principals and belief in a higher power?

Why don't the religious hating morons that want to take the basic principals on which this country was founded away, just go live in Haiti or another fav third world country?

panicbean said...

Anon at 3:15pm

It is hilarious that you don't see (as in really see) what it is that you said in your comment.

We left England so that we could escape tyranny and empirical rule by the Church, not so that we could start a new nation with the same damn stupid rules.....get it?

No, I suppose you don't. Wave your teabag high and proud while the rest of us take this country into the new world and leave your ass to the Hannitys and the Limbaughs.

Oh my aching back said...


fyi the US = tyranny? got a history book or did you drop out and become a porch sitter waiting for your check?

Like it or not this nation was founded on basic religious principals-

I have no idol and I have no use for Limbaugh or Hannity and I don't rely on the liberal media that twists a dog "adoption" via Ted Kennedy into an adopted animal story

or some made up story to support O's point about who said what about torture during the war,

or the tale of the multi uses for cigars .

What I care about is the foundations of this country, not stifling the American dream for those who want to work and figuring out a way to get those who don't off their dead lazy asses or off the welfare for life programs.

Back to your porch bean. Today is the 3rd. Check's in the mail.