I don’t know about you, but I’m getting kind of sick of reading stuff like this, the last two weeks. (The emphasis in bold is mine):
Despair has led many Republicans to question their earlier confidence that America is a “center-right country.” … What the country does not have is a center-right party that explains how to act on these (conservative) impulses to improve the national condition.– Ramesh Ponnuru, Senior Editor of the National Review.
“I feel very comfortable with where the Republican leaders are right now…We should be much more confident. We should emphasize growth and do a better job spreading the message to all voters. — Grover Norquist, the “no new taxes pledge” guy, 11/23/12
If Republicans want to stop taking losing positions on issues, they need to find a way to downplay those things they believe strongly in despite their unpopularity and to give up those things they don’t really care about– Greg Sargent, Washington Post columnist, 11/23/12
See what they’re saying? The problem is not with the right’s political beliefs or agenda. All the Republicans and conservatives have to do to come back is: do “a better job of explaining,” “a better job of explaining the message,” of “downplaying the things they believe in strongly(!),”
Got that? And I only gave you three examples. I’ve been reading day after day of stuff like that from political columnists, conservatives, and Republicans–for weeks now. Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham, Rick Santorum (Santorum said the problem Republicans had this election was that Americans didn’t want to “buy the box” conservatism came in. Seriously, he said that.)
You see: the election results and demographic trends mean that media conservatives, the Christian Right, and the teabaggers can no longer argue that they are the ones who really represent “the American people.” Republicans can’t even argue that America’s actually a “center-right” country, any more.
Those are the new premises that Republican leaders and conservative experts seem to agree on, post-repudiation. Most of them also agree about the proposed cure.
And their proposed cure is not to change the conservative agenda to catch up with reality. Rather than change (or even moderate!) the program of the right: the conservative and media experts are trying to convince their audiences that the way for Republicans to return to national prominence is explain better, spread the message better, get a new “box”–and at the same time downplay what they actually believe.
“Brother conservatives! From now on, the GOP agenda will be a secret agenda! No more Republican primary debates where voters are offered a choice of eight liars and loonies all trying to out-kook each other! No more telling people you think that Rush Limbaugh is a great American!”
“Conservatives, stifle your real opinions and stop shouting “let him die!” when the talk turns to health care! Despise the majority of your countrymen, but do so in secret–our very survival depends on it!”
Conservative leaders and mainstream media spent the first part of this year making wildly inaccurate predictions about the demise of the Obama administration. Then they spent much of this year promoting wildly inaccurate polling about the preferences of Americans. And now conservative leaders and mainstream media will spend the remainder of this year: making wildly inaccurate statements about how to save the Republican Party from national irrelevancy.
So let’s ignore them for a second and get back to reality. If the GOP fails to reform and dries up and marginalizes into regional obscurity this very week: nobody outside the ranks of the regular GOP would miss it at all. The country would go on just fine without a GOP: and a new “anti-tax” party–theoretically opposed to liberalism but more moderate in agenda–would be created out of its ashes within that same week.
We know that because America’s seen the demise of major political parties before. We’ve seen it happen more than once: when a major American party loses its relevance to the policy debate and sufficient popular support, it becomes extinct. And a new party (which often includes some of the leaders and backers of the old, now-extinct party) takes its place. This is in fact how the Republican Party was born, prior to the Civil War.
So the problem is not that America will become a “one party” state if the GOP really does go the way of the dinosaur. A one-party America won’t happen; there will always be enough eager billionaires, multi-millionaires and angry cranks to form and fund an effective opposition party.
The real problem is merely a career problem, and that career problem affects only a tiny minority of Americans. The people who have a personal stake in selling paranoid right wing politics to Americans…will lose their power, money and careers if the Republican Party changes its right wing agenda in order to stay politically relevant.
National conservative pundits, broadcasters, authors, “scholars,” “experts,” activists…they’re gone, if the GOP adopts a relevant agenda in order to stay politically relevant. How about all those Republican politicians who mouth conservative rhetoric in order to win or keep office? If the GOP does moderate–those guys become strictly regional, no significant influence except at the margins, and no chance at all of appointment to national leadership.
It’s the people who’ve made their careers spouting the right wing agenda who’d be finished nationally–if the GOP moderates its current right wing agenda. That’s why those same opportunists and liars are sweating right now, telling everyone who’ll listen: “It’s not the right wing agenda! Really! Americans actually love our right wing agenda! All we gotta do is “fine tune” the message a little–a new “box!” No! Don’t replace us with a new set of propagandists! PLEASE!”