Thursday, May 7, 2009

GOP's Walk in the Wilderness

Newsweek today published a cover story on the current state of the Republican Party, its walk in the "wilderness." It's a good and fair read, but it reinforces the notion that the party is currently in a death spiral, possibly an "endangered species" according to this article's opening sentence. Money quote:
As the party has shrunk to its base, it has catered even more to its base's biases, insisting that the New Deal made the Depression worse, carbon emissions are fine for the environment and tax cuts actually boost revenues — even though the vast majority of historians, scientists and economists disagree. ... This plays well with hard-core culture warriors and tea-party activists ... but it ultimately produces even more shrinkage, which gives the base even more influence — and the death spiral continues. "We're excluding the young, minorities, environmentalists, pro-choice — the list goes on," says Olympia Snowe of Maine, one of two moderate Republicans left in the Senate after Specter's switch. "Ideological purity is not the ticket to the promised land." (emphasis mine)

This current party exile, however, is affecting candidate recruitment, as the GOP is having difficulty recruiting high profile candidates to run for office. Today, former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge decided not to run for the nomination for Senate, and yesterday, Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL) decided not to run for the Illinois Senate seat.

Tangentially speaking, several Republicans think that the party should move beyond the nostalgia for Ronald Reagan (see Jeb Bush and a Wall Street Journal op-ed today), and while I have always found this nostalgia curious, I cannot envision how this will be catalyst among the party base. I would love to get some conservative thoughts on this.


JCWhite said... conservative thoughts here...........sorry!

Hokie Guru said...

Drew, yes this is true... the GOP is in the widerness right now. However, we can't take anything for granted right now becaue Virginia might lead these guys at least to the river for a drink.

Case in point: George Allen, back in 2006, was well on his way to win reelection in his Senate seat... he was one of the few guys in the GOP that could consonlidate the pro-business, anti-tax, libertarian, anti-abortion crowd... many factions... and appeal to some independents with his smile alone... save Macaca, he would have been the Republican nominee for President in 2008.

I'm worried because I see the same type of parallels with Bob McDonnell... he can keep all of those factions together that Geoorge Allen had... Democrats cannot rest or be complacent in Virginia... I live in Alexadria, one of the bluest of blue cities in Virginia and we lost two Democrat seats on the Alexandria City Council (granted, the Independent will be easy to work with)... but you see what can happen when people are not highly motivated... Bob McDonnell could be the GOP's flashlight in the woods... I'm still waiting for the Macaca moment from him... if he wins in Virginia, he will be given serious consideration on being the Republican nominee for President in 2012... mark my words on that.

Drew said...

Hokie Guru,

You are absolutely correct. I toyed with putting the following sentiment in the post, but declined for flow issues. The Newsweek article said that, in truth, Republicans are currently pinning their hopes on Democratic stumbling. And, as a Democrat, you should know, like I, that we, Democrats, are good at stumbling. We know how to mess up a sure thing. For example, Democratic complacency is going to be an issue this fall and 2010. Couple that with the Republican anger to reclaim the Governor's mansion, and Virginia is not going to be easy for us.

Hokie Guru said...

Virginia will never be easy for us... it wasn't in 2008, either... this is still a very red state, but turning purple.

Alexandria, VA, on the other hand, is New England... seriously... it's that blue... I'm not happy about our losses here