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"Losing my faith in humanity ... one neocon at a time."

Monday, October 25, 2004

Analysis: Future of the GOP

posted by Jazz at 10/25/2004 09:18:00 AM

NOTE: YOU ARE VIEWING AN ARCHIVED POST AT RUNNING SCARED'S OLD BLOG. PLEASE VISIT THE NEW BLOG HERE.

There is an analysis in the New York Times by Elisabeth Bumiller which is a must-read for all moderate Republicans. In this piece, she examines commentary from a number of respected observers of American political evolution regarding possible future shifts in the Republican party should Bush (hopefully) lose this election. The outlook, as Ms. Bumiller paints it, is not rosey for us.

After some prognostication about the inevitable finger pointing and who the fall guys would be, she gets down to the meat of the article. She sees John McCain as coming into great influence as a bridge builder between the parties during a Kerry presidency, but sadly not as an influencer of the direction of the party.

"But on the central question of whether a loss would shift the party more to the center, Republicans say no. Yes, there would be a huge fight over Iraq. Yes, there would be bigger fault lines between the tax-cutters and deficit hawks. And yes, the party would experience a massive depression as it picked itself up from the loss. But Republicans say that a defeat of Mr. Bush would not usher in a moderate new era."

Newt Gingrich continues to be one of the most destructive forces in the party's downward spiral. I fail to understand how he continues to wield so much influence. The man is living in denial of America's clear rejection of the theocon agenda.

"I don't think we have to overhaul the Republican party under any circumstance,'' said Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the House, who is writing a book on America in the 21st century. "We have the governors of the four largest states, we have the House, we have the Senate, and the senator from Massachusetts is going to Ohio to hunt two weeks before the election. John Kerry is having to pretend to be us.''

David R. Gergen, a professor of public service at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and a veteran of the Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton White Houses said "I don't think that is going to happen. Conservatives will argue that it's not because of our conservatism that we lost. They'll look for scapegoats on the national security team. They'll say the war was a good idea, it was just poorly executed.''

"Bush lost because of Iraq - O.K., but that doesn't suggest a change in policy because Iraq was not central to any part of the Republican party or its philosophy,'' said Grover Norquist. "It was a judgment call. It may have been a good idea, it may have been a bad idea. So the Republican party will decide not to do more Iraqs. If you weren't the president, you weren't doing Iraqs anyway. The party will continue to be anti-tax and push for more. We will still be the deregulation party, and still the free trade party.''

Apparently, according to Norquist (who has been drinking somebody's koolaid, though I'm not sure who's) the best we can hope for from a Bush loss is no more Iraqs?!? Is this a tacit confession that they are planning "more Iraqs" if Bush wins?

Walter Russell Mead, a Democrat who is the Henry A. Kissinger fellow in United States foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, gave perhaps one of the most depressing forecasts.

"Brent Scowcroft represents the center right of the old foreign policy establishment, and that establishment has no real future in Republican Party politics. Part of it is just the sheer passage of time. While people like Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage could carry on that tradition, that would only happen in a Republican administration in 2008. These guys only come alive when a president picks them.''

There's plenty more, but I'll leave you to read it yourself. It is exactly these types of attitudes among the largest mouthpieces of the GOP which make it imperative that moderate Republicans take up the call for reform very loudly over the next four years. If we fail in this, you're going to see a clone of George W. Bush running against Hillary Clinton in 2008, and we're going to get stomped soundly, a minority party wallowing in a rejected sea of ultraconservatism.