Sunday, May 03, 2009

Running To The Right

I am still amused to see the Republicans on my teevee lamenting their loss of power and conspiring on how to win it back. Having witnessed the same with the Democrats previously (and really, isn't history full of political come back stories?), I can only offer the following:
  • America is not a "center right" country -- that statement is, and always has been, as convenient for Republicans as it is off-the-mark. In today's polling, America is actually looking like center left. By assuming Americans are naturally on their side, Republicans will continue to commit the sin of overreach.
  • Americans are reactive and America is self-correcting. It's the giant swinging pendulum theory at work. It's a good thing for our political system... a healthy thing. If the Republicans are now out of power, it's because they went too far to the right.
  • Americans are tired of operating out of a place of fear. It's not our style... the American spirit has always been a mix of visionary optimism and heads-down determination. Neocon Republicanism (Cheney-style) had its moment in the sun after 9/11 but that moment was an anomaly and an aberration. America is not immune to such moments... we interred Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor, for example, but it never takes long for us to come to our senses. See self-correcting, above.
  • Here's the most important point: As long as Republicans try to force-feed social conservatism to the entire country, they will continue to lose. The convenient but unnatural coupling of social conservatism with fiscal conservatism is simply a losing long term strategy, and the far right's insistence on driving socially liberal conservatives out of the party all but guarantees a long and industrious Democratic rule. Dems learned this lesson well, which is why they have a big coalition of blue dog Dems now driving the lefties crazy. But it's a healthy mix and the resulting debate is healthy for the party and for the country, in general. I likes it.
If the Republicans think the way to win is by moving even further to the right, God bless 'em. A long and industrious Democratic rule doesn't bother me in the slightest. But if they figure out that maybe christianist social cons are best left to the southeast districts and that the GOP can tolerate a few paleocons in the northeast and west, the road to recovery might become a little shorter.

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