>>The Future of the Republican Party after the win in Massachusetts.
Posted January 22, 2010on:
One of Greensboro’s prominent bloggers and a friend has written his analysis of what the Scott Brown victory in Massachusetts means for the future, and especially the future of the Republican party. I am happy to bring his post home for my readers. Thank you Spag Spagnola Report
I highly recommend Spag’s site become a daily stop. His posts are usually short, relevant and to the point ( as one would expect from a serious young attorney). That is unless Spag has something he feels is important to get across to his readers.
Why The Democrats Are Losing
Yesterday, President Obama attempted to understand the forces that swept Scott Brown into office. Having gone 0-3 when campaigning for Democrats running for statewide offices, Obama tried to assert that he finally got the memo:
“People are angry and they are frustrated. Not just because of what’s happened in the last year or two years but what’s happened over the last eight years.”
He’s right- except for the last eight years part. That isn’t because voters weren’t mad at Bush- they were, but that anger really goes back about five years, not eight. But Obama couldn’t miss the chance to blame his misfortune on George W. Bush, and when that is considered along with his track record and that of his ardent supporters on dealing with anger, it’s hard to believe he really gets it.
The “angry” people made their voices known over the summer in the form of protests at Town Hall meetings and in the “Tea Party” movement. Rather than acknowledge the anger, the Obama Administration and its friends in the liberal media sought to ridicule and discredit it. It was fun to pejoratively call the angry voters “teabaggers”. Funny until Tuesday when they destroyed Obama’s agenda by going to the polls in Massachusetts.
Suddenly, Obama and the liberal Democrats (actually not just the liberal ones) have gotten the religion. I don’t think you’ll be hearing “teabagger” anymore as the mainstream media tries to help the President out by hoping everyone will forget that liberals ever uttered the word. We even experienced the dismissal of the movement locally as one liberal blogger accused the Tea Party of being manufactured by corporate interests and conservative political operatives.
They tried to classify the movement as “angry white men”, “kooks”; sore losers who couldn’t accept that Obama won and who were even more unsettled by the fact that he was half African American. But they were wrong. Dead wrong. The movement was real and it was made up of disenchanted independents and conservatives, not a cabal of bitter racists.
Many of these people had supported Obama in 2008 because there were themes of responsibility and conservatism that Obama often espoused and they were legitimately angry at the Republican Party for its excesses. But they quickly abandoned Obama and the Democrats when it became clear that they were no better than the GOP despite their campaign rhetoric about openness, ending earmarks, fiscal responsibility, and ending the domination of lobbyists. In fact they were much worse in many respects. Obama wasn’t just a garden variety liberal either, he believed in very big government.
In his first few months, Obama was on track to spend more money and increase the deficit more in one year than Bush had in his whole first term. Obama doubled down on spending and the bank bailouts to support the very institutions and their wealthy executives that created much of the crisis in the first place. The taxpayer got fleeced and nothing else in return. Already upset with Bush for his spending spree and lack of fiscal restraint, these voters defected from Obama in a hurry when they realized he was going to take the fiscal health of the country over the cliff and send even more money to bailout troubled institutions.
Increasingly, these voters viewed both parties as tools of corporate interests at the expense of taxpayers. They wanted smart and pragmatic political policies, not bigger government and corporate welfare. In short, they wanted real conservatism, not the phony brand that had invaded the Republican Party and certainly not anything close to what Democrats were offering.
The media made the mistake of identifying conservatism with the Republican Party as if they were one in the same. This caused many of the media elite and some Democrats to proudly and confidently declare conservatism to be dead. They claimed that the GOP was reduced to nothing but a regional party that only appealed to racist southern white men. It was a completely false narrative all the way around. The GOP may have been defeated as a party, but conservative ideology was still very strong.
The 2008 election was never a mandate for liberalism as Obama and the media claimed. Independents gave the White House to Obama because they believed he might have the talent to change the politics as usual, not because they wanted liberalism. Many conservatives stayed home out of anger at the GOP or voted for Obama because they picked up on some of his conservative themes- or to send a message to the GOP that their vote was not to be taken for granted.
Many believed, as I did, that a defeat might be the best thing to happen to the Republican Party. I wrote before the election that an Obama victory might not be the worse thing in the world because he would prove to be incompetent and ineffective. That has largely been the case. Meanwhile, it appears that the GOP has gotten the message and is starting to return to their roots. But they too have to understand the tea leaves from Massachusetts.
The GOP would be badly mistaken if they believed that their recent electoral successes were because the party had redeemed itself. They are simply the least offensive alternative- much the way these voters believed in 2006 and 2008 that the Democrats might have learned their lesson after 12 years in the wilderness and have something new to offer. But the Democrats had nothing new to offer at all, and in fact emerged even farther to the Left than they were before 1994.
The Republicans will not be able to sustain these victories if they don’t understand the populist element among this independent voting block that decides elections. The GOP cannot simply be a low tax party that does the bidding of corporate interests. The government bailouts were the straw that broke the camels back and neither party can afford to ever allow that to happen again. True conservatives opposed the bailouts and understood that a free market entails risks. The government should not be a crutch to bailout those risk takers. Yet, most Republicans supported the bailouts and this was seen as a sellout to conservatism by the Right, and an unfair, fiscally irresponsible gift to irresponsible financial interests by independents.
The movement is real, and it has legitimate complaints. More importantly, it is growing and it is becoming more bipartisan- actually non-partisan. Those candidates who can inspire confidence of fiscal restraint and appear to be on the side of the people instead of Wall Street or the labor unions are the candidates who are going to win, regardless of party. Americans believe that they are losing their country to the interests of a few and going broke along the way.
Meanwhile, liberal Democrats continue to sow the seeds of their own destruction as they call for Obama to take on an even bolder liberal agenda with greater fervor. That is a recipe for disaster and advice for fools. Only 20% of Americans consider themselves liberals and the voice of the majority has been heard in the last three elections since Obama took office. A veer farther to the Left will destroy the Democratic Party for another generation. Yet, there are liberals who refuse to believe that Americans simply don’t want what they are selling. These are the folks that pushed Bill Clinton to the cliff before 1994 caused his political survival instincts to drag him back to the center and the Right. Obama is an even more precarious position because he is more liberal than Clinton and has more liberal leadership in Congress than Clinton.
The problem for Democrats is that they need these liberal voters in every election, yet if they give in to their liberal demands the result is disastrous as they are once again finding out. It is a precarious position to be in, but Obama has thus far followed the Leftward path- not far enough to please the liberal extremists that make up his base, and too far for the rest of America.
If the Obama plan is to continue on course, pay lip service to the anger out there, or try to once again to redirect that anger at George W. Bush, his party is going to lose big time in November and he will certainly be a one term President, a destination that he is already on course to meet.
Yesterday, I envisioned a scenario where Obama calls all of his aides in to his office demanding to know what happened in these elections and to his agenda. A top aide steps forward and quietly says “You started to believe your own press. We all did.” That is the other part of the equation that he has to overcome. He was overhyped by the liberal media as a messianic figure who could perform miracles, when the truth was far less flattering. Obama is spectacular in front of an audience; anticlimactic, boring, and disappointing elsewhere. You cannot govern by words and personality, but Obama seemed to believe otherwise, largely because his own ego and the fawning liberals in the press and on his staff allowed him to. He seemed to buy into all of the notions about his own majesty and believed the proud pronouncements from liberal pundits that conservatism was dead and his election was a clear signal of America turning sharply to the Left. Newsweek boldly claimed on its cover “We’re All Socialists Now”.
Jumping on that bandwagon and believing every accolade written about him, he and the liberal media set out to discredit and destroy those perceived as enemies. At the top of the list was FOX News and Rush Limbaugh who dared to challenge the Obama myth or point out his shortcomings. Glenn Beck was lumped in with the Tea Party as was Sarah Palin, and all were mocked by the White House and smug liberals like Keith Olbermann, Bill Maher, and Jon Stewart. Meanwhile, the liberal intelligentsia was turned over to the ponderings of Paul Krugman, an arrogant and bitter man filled with contempt and hatred for conservatives, and who has a modern socialist agenda that puts him well outside of the mainstream. From there, the attacks went on.
All throughout Obama’s first year, dissent was labeled “hate” and “extremism” and ignored. The writing was on the wall, but the supposed smartest man in the world was too blinded by his own light to see it and his allies in the media tried to destroy it.
They learned the hard way that they are the odd ones out, and that the dissenters represented the majority of Americans. FOX News, Beck, Limbaugh, and conservatives ended up the winners, not because they were leading people, but because they understood the dynamics in play and the real mood of the majority of Americans. The Left, the Democratic Party, the White House, and the liberal media (Newsweek, MSNBC, and writers such as Joe Klein) are the losers. There is no other way to spin it.
If the GOP understands the fundamental grievances and finds its soul again, expect more of the same in November. They cannot allow the Tea Party to become a legitimate political party instead of a movement, or they will split votes and send the hardcore Left back in November. They also cannot be the GOP of the Bush years. They must offer the public something of substance, a real agenda to get America on the right path, and not simply rely on being opposed to Obama and the Democrats. Of course, they must remain vigilant in the face of liberalism and big government but they better have some real alternatives.