Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The GOPs Problems in a Nutshell

In a HuffPo piece on the RNC looking at Howard Dean's fifty state model for inspiration, this nugget:

    "By relying on wedge issues to win, they've used issues to divide people and worked to appeal to an increasingly smaller group of people," said the aide. "Dean's point has not just been that we need to show up in all 50-states but also that as a party we need to ask people for their votes, listen to what they have to say and be willing to work to solve issues in areas where we have common ground, even if we don't agree with everything."

    Part of that is simply showing up. The leading Republican presidential candidates this cycle famously shunned an African-American themed debate, much to the chagrin of moderates like Jack Kemp, who worried that the party had become too country club.
It's entirely true that running on a politics of red meat and hot buttons is inconsistent with running across the map. One indication of how far the party has gone toward rigid dogmatism: the fact that Jack Kemp is now being called a moderate. It was surreal when wingers derided McCain as a moderate, but Jack Kemp? He was one of the intellectual drivers of the Reagan revolution for God's sake. He is, to be sure, consistently concerned about elevating the poor, but he has just as consistently stood firmly for market-based solutions and limited government.

Yes, this is a characterization by a liberal blogger and yes, probably "pragmatist" is a better description than "moderate." Still the point remains -- Jack Kemp, once a mainstay of the conservative wing of the GOP is now an outsider and the conservative wing is nearly coextensive with the party itself.

One of my reading obsessions since the election has been anything and everything about how the Republicans can bounce back. It's in the best interests of the country that there be two viable parties to keep each other in check. But more and more it feels like conservatives aren't particularly interested in coming back if it means anything less than fielding a uniformly conservative party.


Anonymous said...

The past three elections have not really been run with typical republicans. George Bush won only because he had fewer negatives than John Kerry. John McCain couldn't even fire up my families base who has maximum out to the RNC each year for the past few years. I think the real test will be post-Rove and starting with the new Chairman. Jack Kemp does more closely represent my political leanings but lately, he has been off the wagon. January will be an interesting month for the GOP.