What a difference a year makes in American politics!
As Tommy G. Thompson would say, "Isn't it great to be a Republican!"
And you know what, kids? It really is! You should try it some time.
I never despaired over Barack Obama's victory a year ago. He did not even get 53 percent of the national vote. I am just old enough to remember the 1964 drubbing that Barry Goldwater took. The Republican party was dead, dead except that four years later it took the White House.
But I was very wrong in assuming that he would govern from the center. He has not. The fact is that the United States is a center-right country.
While the Republican brand is in some difficulty nationwide, more Americans consider themselves conservative than liberal; 40% of Americans interviewed in national Gallup Poll surveys describe their political views as conservative, 35% as moderate, and 21% as liberal. [Gallup Poll, June 2009]
By now we know that Republicans regained the governorships in Virginia - by a 17 percentage point margin - and in solid blue New Jersey, which Obama had won by 15 percentage points in 2008. The President had expended a fair amount of political capital in both races.
Obama now faces a much tougher challenge persuading these mostly moderate Democrats to put themselves further at risk by backing such liberal priorities as expanding government's role in heath care or limiting greenhouse gases. [Politico: Democrats, incumbents get wake-up call]
True, the (big C) Conservative third-party candidate lost in a three-way race in New York's upstate congressional district after the nominally Republican nominee, Dede Scozzafava threw her support to the Democrat. That act of betrayal only confirmed conservatives' view that Scozzafava was a wolf in sheep's clothing.
The party bigwigs screwed the pooch by nominating poor Dede, whose legislative voting record was to the left of most Democrats. In other words, the Republican wing of the Republican party spoke up, as Dr. Dean might say.
Nationally, Republicans from Sarah Palin to Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said, in essence, where's the beef?
This has former Republicans like Bill Kraus bewailing the GOP they once knew and loved: the toothless pre-Reagan brand of incremental Republicanism exemplified by the Gerry Ford/Charlie Halleck show - "we'll have what the Democrats are having," but a little bit less and a little bit later.
Bill Kraus has spent the last 30 years bemoaning the Reagan Revolution. He actually refers to the people opposed to Scozzafava as "anarchists."
As recently as last week the unholy combination got rid of a moderate who was running for an open congressional seat because she would split the Republican vote in this once-safe district and cost the coalition's troglodytic candidate a special election. [Kraus: Death by Wedgie]
Um, Bill, think long, think hard. "Got rid of a moderate?"
Question: What did the Democrats do to Joe Lieberman?
John Nichols has gone from blaming the radio talkers to crediting "tea party and town hall activists" with being "the new GOP." I don't think he meant that as a compliment but it is, because he is finally acknowledging that the real conservative base consists of wage earners, trades people, and small business owners. True to form, he cannot resist a little conspiracy mongering. He faults "their mentors and funders such as former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas ..." [John Nichols: ... The New GOP]
"Former majority leader?"
That would also suggest a man who knows how to make a governing majority.
One might think that Kraus, having once worked for Lee Dreyfus, Nichols and Ed Garvey might applaud the sacking of this Republican nominee. She was, after all, the hand-picked maiden of the party bosses. Where are the references to Old Fighting Bob's battle with the party poobahs, open primaries, will of the people, etc.? (Cue crickets.)
Bill's reference to anarchists could be merely coincidental but how to explain Paul Soglin's use of the term as well?
There is an unholy alliance between moderate business leaders and extremists from both the religious right and the libertarians who border on anarchy. [Soglin: Republicans Continue to Divide]
Anarchy? Voting against union card check, government-run health care, and trillion-dollar bailouts for big corporations is "anarchy?" Of course, "moderation" is only for the other guys, right Paul. That's how you can say:
"It does not mean that compromises need to be made on national health care or rights for gays."
Tell that to the voters in Maine, who on Tuesday undid their state legislature's recognition of same.
If only the Republicans would follow the advice of John Nichols, Ed Garvey, and Havana Paul they would be so much better off!
As the worm turns
In that vein, Stuart Rassmussen offers this expert analysis:
As a result, the New York 23rd Congressional District race will end up being between a Conservative Party candidate and a Democrat. In many ways, that pairing reflects the reality of national match-ups more than the typical partisan competition. There are more conservatives than Democrats in America, and there are more Democrats than Republicans.
One reason for this is that while Republican voters overwhelmingly consider themselves conservative, only 56% of conservative voters consider themselves to be Republicans. In other words, nearly half of all conservatives nationwide reject the Republican Party label. This means that Republicans looking to broaden their party's outreach cannot ignore the need to attract a large number of conservative voters along with some political moderates.
Get it, Bill? Want to broaden the base? Go conservative. A political party should stand for something. But what do you expect of a guy who blogs on Ed Garvey's web site?
If Havana Paul Soglin thinks you're a swell Republican, you better examine your platform for termites.
Health care update
- The health care bill headed for a vote in the House this week costs $1.2 trillion or more over a decade, according to numerous Democratic officials and figures contained in an analysis by congressional budget experts, far higher than the $900 billion cited by President Barack Obama as a price tag for his reform plan. Read it and weep!
- How about 230 pages instead of 1,990? House Republicans have produced a draft proposal of their own. It's much shorter and focuses on bringing down costs rather than extending coverage to nearly all Americans. ... The Republican plan increases incentives for people to use health savings accounts, caps non-economic jury awards in medical malpractice cases at $250,000, provides various incentives to states with the aim of driving down premium costs and allows health insurance to be sold across state lines. Read it and rejoice!
- What Washington doesn't want you to know, Rep. Paul Ryan.
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Justice David Prosser's smackdown of Fighting Bobfest entertainer Mike McCabe is recounted by the Illusory Tenant.
Five rules for a happy man's life:
- It's important to have a woman who helps at home, who cooks from time to time, cleans up and has a paying job.
- It's important to have a woman who can make you laugh.
- It's important to have a woman who you can trust and who doesn't lie to you.
- It's important to have a woman who is good in bed and who likes to be with you.
- It's very, very important that these four women do not know each other.