WP: “Republicans See Long-Term Victory in Defeat on Stimulus Plan”

According to the Washington Post, the Repubs are angling towards a long-term, more strategic game in Congress.  Really, as far as that goes, all you need to see is the title.  But if you read further into the article, it becomes interesting.  I’ve managed to confirm my suspicions- the Republicans see this as 1993, and all they have to do, in their minds, is be obstructionist and stick to Rush’s mantras.  And I may have said this before, but I don’t think that will work.

It’s almost as if the Republicans learned nothing when they got their asses handed to them in November.  They seem to think that the only reason people didn’t vote for them was because of El Jorge.  So they think that Democrats and people who voted for them in November will just take a nap now that El Jorge is back in Texas.  There’s a name for this.  It’s called wishful thinking.  As the article points out, the Republicans have lost ground almost everywhere except for the South, and the Democrats have the highest number of self-designated party IDs in over 25 years.  I don’t see this being 1993, because history does not really repeat itself.  The fact that the moderate Republican wing has been decimated in Congress means that most of the people left are the “Southern nut” wing.

Furthermore, I’m skeptical of this attitude that “we can get out of this hole by digging more”, when I see numbers like this (H/T Wonkette).  Given that many people obviously disapprove of the Republican handling of the stimpak, how can they possibly say, “W00t, we’re winning!”?  As Lewis Black once said, “I wonder, what kind of a drug could make one so delusional?”

Of course, those numbers are numbers for right now, and say nothing of how the Republicans will be perceived in the coming months.  As the article notes, it likely depends on how well the stimpak goes.  Well, we’ll see.  I just don’t think any of the backpatting among Repub leaders is the least bit justified.  Maybe I’m wrong, but again, we’ll see.

The Long Slow Descent of the Republicans

Today in the Department of Stupid Jokes:

A candidate for the Republican National Committee chair [Chip Saltsman] sent out a holiday CD to committee members that includes the song “Barack the Magic Negro,” a parody first aired on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show.

And here’s the heck of it.  Mr. Saltsman may have done a good thing- for his campaign:

Four days after news broke that the former Tennessee GOP chairman had sent a CD including a song titled “Barack the Magic Negro” to the RNC members he is courting, some of those officials are rallying around the embattled Saltsman, with a few questioning whether the national media and his opponents are piling on.

It’s not piling on to question the judgment of someone who would like to head the Republican National Committee when he sends out a borderline-racist bad satire of the president-elect.  If the Republicans wish to become more than just the party of the South (and not all of the South, as Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida would testify), they need to stop pulling these sorts of stunts.  First of all, it’s not funny.  I read the lyrics for that song and it just wasn’t funny.  Second of all, you’re not going to gain more people by reaching to the right.  If anything, the GOP should be reaching out in other directions.  But this is the sort of thing that alienates moderates who want civil discourse, not bad satire.  And finally, let me offer a reason to question Saltsman’s fitness to be chairman of the RNC for a different reason.  He managed Mike Huckabee’s campaign.  As in, a failure.  I admit, Howard Dean became chairman of the DNC after failing and may have paved the way for Barack Obama to sit in the Oval Office come January, but Dean had some new ideas.  He failed because he was ahead of the curve.  The Internet, which Dean almost managed to harness, became Barack Obama’s biggest asset in the election.  Saltsman’s idea of change for the RNC?  Blame “[l]iberal Democrats and their allies in the media” for making a big deal out of his little Christmas gift.  Please join me in a communal eye-rolling at the old Republican excuse.  It’s like “the dog ate my homework,” except dumber.  Particularly because people like NEWT GINGRICH are criticizing him.  Newt Gingrich is many things.  A “[l]iberal Democrat” he is not.  Let this be the end of “Magic-Negro-gate”:  Chip Saltsman is hereby judged to be a tool.  He should be banished to the netherlands of Shame, if the Republicans hope to regain a majority.  While some people might share Rush Limbaugh’s sense of humor, I doubt there are many not on the right.

(H/T Politico, via The Daily Beast)

Republicans in the Wilderness

As I stated before, there is no doubt that the Republican Party will be spending some time on the outside looking in.  The only thing they can do at this point is to determine how long they’ll be out of power.  And of course there are all sorts of suggestions flying around, and a lot of them center on an argument similar to the one Bill Bennett advances in this interview, that the Republican Party has lost its roots, and needs to find them again.  Let me state that I think that a simple return to the past is not possible at this point.

Let me take a page from my World Civilization Class, and talk a little bit about the Congress of Vienna.  At the post-Napoleon rearranging of Europe, the dominant figure, Klemens von Metternich, the foreign minister of Austria, tried to arrange Europe so that none of the principles of the French Revolution would persist.  He tried to put the revolutionary djinn back into the bottle, so to speak.  And yet it didn’t work.  Within a few years, student movements had sprung up in Saxony and had to be eradicated by Austria and Prussia.  A few years later, revolutionary movements broke out in Spain and southern Italy.  Then, of course, there was the disastrous year of 1848, when most of Europe experienced revolutionary unrest.  In fact, 1848 led to the final downfall of the French Bourbons, and a short-lived reestablishment of the French Republic.  Of course, very few revolutions actually succeeded in changing much, but the fact of the matter was that they still happened, despite reactionary efforts to pretend that the French Revolution had never happened.  The fact of the matter is that once people gain knowledge, it’s near impossible to take it back.  There are no do-overs in history.

So color me skeptical that the GOP’s way forward is the way back.  It’s entirely possible that I could be mistaken.  But I think that there will have to be some changes.  And it won’t come easily.  The Democrats are supposed to be the “progressive”, the “forward-thinking” party, and some Dems had to be dragged into the new reality, kicking and screaming.

“Return to our roots” is the mantra that Bennett and many others hum as the gutting of the GOP continues.  And really, only time and the voters of the U.S.A. will be able to prove Bennett, myself, and the rest of the punditocracy right or wrong.  All speculation and assertion is useless for this sort of thing.  Because whether the GOP likes it or not, change is coming to them.

Don’t Write the Republicans’ Eulogy Yet

If there’s one thing I have learned in my fairly short life so far, it’s that one should not completely trust any predictions, whether they be about the weather or the stock market.  And so I cringe a bit as I hear of serious conversations on DailyKos and the Huffington Post about banning the Republican Party.  Perhaps you can recall a few years ago, when Karl Rove and the Republicans were talking about a “permanent” Republican Party, and Zell Miller came out with a book entitled A National Party No More, condemning the Democrats for catering to the far left.  The irony, of course, is thick enough to choke on.  Every party has its ups and downs.  Four years ago, the Democrats seemed belaguered, having lost 2 presidential elections in a row, and having had no control of Congress, aside from a few brief patches, since the Class of ’94.  Yet the Democrats have come back to win the Oval Office with greater margins than either of the elections George W. won, and have secured their hold on both houses of Congress, drawing close to the crucial 60 votes in the Senate.  Unless the Republicans turn out like their predecessors, the Whigs, they will return to power, in all likelihood.  And the comparison to the Whigs seems a false analogy, since the Whigs never really gained traction; they only had 2 elected presidents, and both died.  My sense is that the Republicans will probably spend 6-8 years in the wilderness (don’t even consider another 1994; the circumstances are quite different), figuring out why they lost and retooling their message (hopefully).  Then they’ll come back onto the political stage, and the cycle will begin anew.

Here’s a justification for 2010 not being 1994 redux, which I agree with.

And, also from Marc Ambinder, thoughts about how the Republicans might respond to the Obama Administration.