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The Southern Captivity of the GOP (Oldie but goodie - 1998)
The Atlantic Monthly (AtlanticOnline) ^ | June 1998 | Christopher Caldwell

Posted on 01/10/2004 6:37:10 AM PST by Amelia

In a geographic and cultural box, with political demography tilting against it, the Republican Party is an "obsolescent one," argues the author, a senior writer for the conservative Weekly Standard

by Christopher Caldwell

The online version of this article appears in three parts. Click here to go to part two. Click here to go to part three.

SHORTLY before the 1994 midterm elections, when House Minority Leader Newt Gingrich began talking about a coming Republican takeover of Congress and outlining plans for his speakership, David Dreyer, a White House aide, remarked, "He's done Lord Acton one better. He's corrupted by power he doesn't yet have." After Election Day it was Dreyer who had egg on his face. The Republicans did take over the House and the Senate, controlling the two for the first time since 1955 -- and by a broad enough margin that they seemed likely to hold both houses indefinitely. Everyone spoke of a "revolution" -- both politicians and the wider public, both those who favored and those who feared one. Pundits resurrected the decades-old metaphor of the political analyst Samuel Lubell, according to which America has essentially a one-and-a-half-party system. One party is the sun, illuminating all the planets. The other is the moon, giving off only reflected light. For the first time since before FDR's election, it looked as if Republicans were the sun and Democrats the moon.

Today Dreyer and others who scoffed at a Republican ascendancy seem likely to have the last laugh. There has indeed been a movement to the right on some issues, but it has not translated into a partisan shift. A stunning mid-1997 ABC/Washington Post poll, asking voters "Which party do you trust more to ...," showed the Democrats besting the Republicans on practically all issues, including such Republican staples as taxes, crime, and budget balancing.

Trust more to ... Democrats Republicans
Improve education 51% 30%
Help middle class 51% 30%
Handle economy 43% 39%
Hold down taxes 41% 38%
Balance budget 39% 36%
Handle crime 38% 34%
Handle foreign affairs 38% 40%
Reform campaign finance 34% 31%
Maintain strong defense 32% 50%

Suddenly it looked as if either the 1994 election was a fluke or the 104th Congress had done something dramatically wrong. The Republicans have narrowed the gap in party registration until they're only four percentage points behind the Democrats (39-35), but the Democrats still lead on the issues. The Republicans hold a majority in Congress, but that Congress has been trumped by a Democratic President on every major policy initiative of the past three years. And when a midwinter sex scandal initially sees the President's job-approval ratings rising to about 70 percent, the Republicans have cause for worry. There is now no sense in which they are the sun of American politics. Far from it: they are a majority giving rise to second thoughts among those who made them one.

This is something the Republicans seem not to realize. Their party was thrashed in the 1996 national elections. In presidential politics they were stuck on the Goldwater-McGovern-Mondale landslide-loser plateau of 40 percent, as they had been in 1992. They lost nine seats in Congress. Yet the party is approaching the 1998 election as if it won the last time out. Republicans of all persuasions view their party's problems as temporary, remediable through either ideological fine-tuning or image buffing and spin. Certain Republicans -- particularly cosmopolitan governors on the East and West Coasts, such as Christine Todd Whitman, of New Jersey, and Pete Wilson, of California -- claim that the party has moved too far to the right, and that its stances on social issues, notably abortion, are driving away centrist voters. Others -- particularly those at Christian organizations, such as Gary Bauer, of the Family Research Council, and James Dobson, of Focus on the Family -- say it's too far left, lacking the guts to assert itself on family dissolution and related family-values issues on which the public is in its corner. Still others -- among them such Class of '94 congressional firebrands as Steve Largent, of Oklahoma; Linda Smith, of Washington; and Mark Neumann, of Wisconsin -- say that the party has ignored centrist, Reform Party-style outrage and made itself a campaign-finance-swilling incumbency-protection machine. Another line of thinking is that the party has merely been victimized by accidents of personality: the mysterious ability of Newt Gingrich to generate loathing and of Bill Clinton to generate support.

Many, if not most, Republicans view the 1994 election as a mandate stolen from them by accidents of leadership and the collusion of the press and other "elite" institutions. In this reading Bill Clinton lifted "their" issues by mouthing conservative positions on the budget and welfare reform, and the credulous media have abetted Clinton's public-relations war of "micro-initiatives" such as school uniforms, the V-chip, portable phones for neighborhood-watch groups, and various small education proposals.

Priveleged conservative Republican problems go deeper than that, however. The party faces a crisis of confidence that has many symptoms -- repudiation in the most sophisticated parts of the country, widespread distrust of the Republican leadership, an inability to speak coherently on issues. All of them grow out of the same root cause: a vain search to rediscover the formula that made that unformulaic President, Ronald Reagan, so broadly appealing -- even beloved. Congressional Republicans triumphed decisively in 1994 on such Reaganite issues as free trade, welfare reform, and shrinking the government. But thanks to a deficit-dissolving economy and a dwindling memory of the Cold War, those issues were of declining importance even then, and they have given way to a bipartisan consensus. "Consensus," of course, is only another way of describing the issues that have been taken off the table. What remains for the party to talk about? On first thought, not much. The Republican strategist Ed Gillespie says, "We're like the dog that caught the bus."

(Excerpt) Read more at theatlantic.com ...


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Government; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS:
Yes, it's old, parts are now outdated, and I know there is bias in it - but lentulusgracchus recommended it to me on another thread and then suggested I post it for further discussion. I thought it provided a good analysis of the issues that tend to divide us here on FR.

It's too long to post the whole thing, so I excerpted it. Definitely worth reading the whole thing, however.

1 posted on 01/10/2004 6:37:12 AM PST by Amelia
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To: All
Rank Location Receipts Donors/Avg Freepers/Avg Monthlies
30 Colorado 260.00
10
26.00
293
0.89
125.00
9

Thanks for donating to Free Republic!

Move your locale up the leaderboard!

2 posted on 01/10/2004 6:38:13 AM PST by Support Free Republic (I'd rather be sleeping. Let's get this over with so I can go back to sleep!)
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To: Amelia
The Republican party is werker than the RATs at the grass roots, no question about it.

Much of the Republican mass vote on election day is engaged in productive, nonpolitical pursuits between elections.

Much of the RAT mass vote is making a living of of politics, politicians, or their excretions.

3 posted on 01/10/2004 6:46:37 AM PST by Jim Noble
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To: Jim Noble
weaker
4 posted on 01/10/2004 6:46:58 AM PST by Jim Noble
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To: lentulusgracchus; Publius; Cato_the _elder; x; Freedom Wins; Mr Rogers; D'Boy
Here you go! Have at it!

I also found that it had been posted here a long time ago, with some interesting comments by Publius, Cato_the_Elder, x, Freedom Wins, Mr Rogers, and D'Boy.

I think the graph above, if still accurate, might be a clue right now - I think that especially after 9/11, people trust the GOP more on foreign affairs and defense - it would be interesting to see if the trust factor has risen in other areas.

5 posted on 01/10/2004 7:10:39 AM PST by Amelia
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To: Amelia
Wow, even though it's only 5+ years ago, it seems like a generation ago.

I still can't believe people were so fooled by Clinton (they trust Dems more than Repubs to be tough on crime????).

What do you think caused such a shift since then? And it can't just be the War on Terror. Seems Americans are thinking differently these days, if not necessarily moving en masse to the GOP.
6 posted on 01/10/2004 7:20:17 AM PST by Conservative til I die
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To: Jim Noble
Much of the RAT mass vote is making a living of of politics, politicians, or their excretions.

Did you read part 3 yet? The author argues that since the GOP has failed to reduce the size of government, it's now the same:

People are finding out that the Republicans don't want anything at all, other than to re-elect enough of their members to keep enjoying the fruits of a congressional majority. Lacking a voice on the new 1990s issues, the Republicans are retreating to the issues on which they used to have a voice. In this they resemble those "boomerang kids" who after their first career reversal return home in their late twenties to live with their parents. Republicans are going home to Ronald Reagan but are finding that theirs is no longer the only house on the block promoting the most popular part of his agenda -- free-market economics. They're finding that there's nothing to do around the house except dress up their old ideas in the clothes of Clintonite insincerity. Where is the broad argument of a "natural majority" here?

Some of the article is dated, some is biased, but IMO there are some interesting points about how and why the GOP has failed in some ways to "capture the hearts and minds" of average America, and also, perhaps more importantly for our purposes, why those of us on FR can have such vehement disagreements - i.e., the GOP being made up of economic conservatives, social conservatives, and foreign policy hawks, all of whom have different agendas.

7 posted on 01/10/2004 7:23:13 AM PST by Amelia
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To: Conservative til I die
What do you think caused such a shift since then? And it can't just be the War on Terror. Seems Americans are thinking differently these days, if not necessarily moving en masse to the GOP.

I'll tell you what I think, but keep in mind, I'm no Karl Rove, and this is just my opinion. ;-)

I think it's a combination of the War on Terror - people perceive an outside threat to our country, and they trust the GOP to deal with that threat most effectively - and "compassionate conservatism" - some of us see GWB as "moving too far to the left", and middle America sees "he's not as much of a right-wing fanatic as I'd feared."

I think it's mostly the War on Terror, however.

8 posted on 01/10/2004 7:31:12 AM PST by Amelia
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To: Amelia
Some conservatives are very pessimistic about the Republican Party future, and Caldwell is one of them. There is a very strong reality that no one wants to talk about for fear of racism. The majority of white people vote Republican and over 70% of white men vote Republican. Also, 35% to 40% of Hispanics vote Republicans and that is very significant chunk of this segment of voters. The Republican Party is not in a bad shape as Caldwell tries to describe in his articles. The Republican Party is doing quite well and the elections are showing it since 1994. Republicans since that time hold the majority in the Congress, Governors of States, legislatures, and a Republican President since 2000.
9 posted on 01/10/2004 7:37:21 AM PST by jveritas
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To: Howlin; justshe; Southflanknorthpawsis; DaughterOfAnIwoJimaVet; Chad Fairbanks; deport; ...
For your perusal (if you're in the mood for a long read) and comment. Parts are outdated, parts I think lead to questions which are still quite relevant:

Does the GOP have a focus other than the War on Terror?

Does the party really want to reduce the size of government, or do the American people in general really want government to remain at approximately the size it is, and will they reject serious attempts to reduce it?

Are the disparate parts of the GOP (social conservatives, economic conservatives, and foreign policy hawks) too disparate to maintain a strong and coherent party as a whole?

Worth discussing, I think -- if it's possible to do so in a civil manner.

10 posted on 01/10/2004 7:44:41 AM PST by Amelia
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To: Amelia
As elections go, 40% go to the left, 40% go to the right, and 20% vote based on one-liners from the press. But having said that, poll after poll is showing that the country is probably leaning to the right more heavily now than ever before. Even college students are favorable towards Bush (aka republican president/candidate) than the opposition which I doubt has ever existed before. Compare that to the fact that a vast majority of college professors are left wing. To all the people who criticize Bush and Rove, they have should realize that Bush and Co have done a phenomenal job redefining the one-liners that the Dims always pull up during election season and try to sway the 20% that matters. We will never have a real right wing president as will the leftists who will never get a left wing kook. Granted that 9/11 had a lot to do with that, but if the playing field was fair (unbiased media), we would probably have a lot less compromises to republican ideals and positions.
Compare the immigration proposal where Bush is being attacked by both the left and the right. So that tells me that he is in the middle and thats where the vast majority of the country probably is. Issue after issue can be analysed in the same manner...
11 posted on 01/10/2004 7:44:58 AM PST by futureceo31
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To: jveritas
There is a very strong reality that no one wants to talk about for fear of racism.

Do you think the GOP is racist? How can that perception be overcome?

The Republican Party is doing quite well and the elections are showing it since 1994.

On what issues do you think the American people are turning to the GOP? Which issues do you think they trust the Dems more on?

12 posted on 01/10/2004 7:51:13 AM PST by Amelia
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To: Scenic Sounds
Does the party really want to reduce the size of government, or do the American people in general really want government to remain at approximately the size it is, and will they reject serious attempts to reduce it?

Weren't we discussing this recently?

13 posted on 01/10/2004 7:52:15 AM PST by Cathryn Crawford (¿Podemos ahora sonreír?)
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To: futureceo31
that tells me that he is in the middle and thats where the vast majority of the country probably is. Issue after issue can be analysed in the same manner...

I think you're right. Do you think that's a good thing or a bad thing?

A lot of people here think the President has moved too far to the left to reach the middle, and abandoned his base.

14 posted on 01/10/2004 7:52:45 AM PST by Amelia
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To: Cathryn Crawford
Weren't we discussing this recently?

There was a poll about this right after the election, and try as I might, I can't find it now...too many polls out there to google it without searching through hundreds of pages.

In section 3 of the article, the author makes the argument that so many people have so much money invested in government programs such as medicare and social security that they can't afford to have them taken away - those programs must be protected so that the people have some hope of recouping their "investments".

15 posted on 01/10/2004 7:58:12 AM PST by Amelia
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To: Amelia
In section 3 of the article, the author makes the argument that so many people have so much money invested in government programs such as medicare and social security that they can't afford to have them taken away - those programs must be protected so that the people have some hope of recouping their "investments".

Right. And that really is a valid point that a lot of us (including me) forget about. We talk about "reducing government" but we neglect to take into consideration the fact that perhaps the American people actually oppose that train of thought.

And it's probably not that they oppose the idea in itself - they oppose (as you said) the loss of their investments. They've grown to expect certian things of the government and the thought of having it taken away (even for the sake of smaller government) doesn't appeal to them.

16 posted on 01/10/2004 8:02:22 AM PST by Cathryn Crawford (¿Podemos ahora sonreír?)
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To: Amelia
The problem is we really have no where else to go. I'm pissed at Bush's stand on illegal immigration - but every democrat candidate is far worse! I'm pissed at the never slowing expansion of government - but the dems would accelerate the growth.

I expected George to be a compassionate conservative - which I now know means "too 'compassionate' to be conservative. Last election, I donated $700 to Bush. I won't donate anything this time, but I'm stuck with voting for him.
17 posted on 01/10/2004 8:05:38 AM PST by Mr Rogers
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To: Amelia
A lot of people here think
LOL....... that may be your first mistake...... This forum isn't representative of the populace as a whole, imo. A large percentage of the population doesn't follow politics, etc and only becomes involved at election time if at all [what maybe 50% or so even bother to vote].

You would think this immigration issue is a burning issue within the populace at large by reading the articles and post on this forum. But if you can believe or think that polls have some symblance of accuracy then immigration doesn't rate that high.... Here's a question from a poll just taken. Note where immigration falls on the list .


8. Later this month President Bush will give his State of the Union Address to the nation. What topic are you most interested in hearing the president talk about during his speech? (OPEN ENDED)

The economy/jobs 35%
Iraq 17
Terrorism 10
Health Care 4
Medicare/
prescription Drugs
4
Education 3
Immigration/
illegal aliens
2
Social Security 2
Taxes 2
Budget Deficit 1
Other 5
None 6
Not sure 9

Thanks for the ping... Catch you later.........

18 posted on 01/10/2004 8:07:56 AM PST by deport (..... DONATE TO FREEREPUBLIC......)
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To: Amelia
I think that both parties have people who have probably racist tendicies. Reading the threads on immigration on FR could prove that. But having said that, I think that the republican party is probably more the party of inclusion than the Democrats. The Dims have already embraced left wing ideologies and the media is actually playing into the Dimwits ideologies but showcasing the rallies and the caucuses which brings out the most radical of the Dims. I think quite a bit of the country is turned off by this, evidenced by the favorability/unfavorability ratings of the leading Democratic candidates. No one knew about most of the 9 dwarves, even a year and and we are talking most democrats. If there was really such anger against Bush, we would not see 60% approval ratings especially after the last few months have been non-stop Bush attacks. People on the whole are turned off by these attacks I think, and Bush by moving to the middle and by trying to move the discussion to the right on leftist pie in the sky socialistic concepts such as health care for all naming just one has taken over the debate and has left the Dims to be "I am not for that" or "I want to give away the bank" rants.
But coming back to the issue of racism, I think that Bush by going into full steam on the issues that Dims bring upp election after election has blunted the charges of racism, that the Dims always bring up. It wasnt that long ago that Dim party leaders like Hillary was using idiotic analogies such as church burnings and compared that to the republicans. That still continues with Bush = Hitler analogies but the people doing these ads have communistic leanings and probably to them, Hitler is the boogeyman broiught up whenever there is a right wing radical without understanding the utter evil that Hitler possessed.
I am again regressing but I think with Bush as president, the republican party has done than any other time before in reaching out to minorities, especially Hispanic who in 10-15 mins could be the ones who determine who becomes president and not whites. The interesting thing tho is that Hispanics identify themselves more as white as much as "Latino". Looking at it from a non-"Lationo" perspective, they dont have the ingrained imprint of slavery that is still in the African american population that automatically identifies the republican party with racism even though Republicans have done a lot more than Democrats for African americans. So this will be an interesting debate to watch but being someone of Asian decent myself, and Asians like Hispanics have more conservative ideologies than liberal ideologies, the republican party has more ideals for us to embrace than the Democratic party. But again, the bias is much harder to overcome, since the media proudly displays the mistaken concept that if any minorities are on the republican side, its vote pandering and its hard to ovecome that with talk. No other administration has had the most powerful people in power of African American decent (Colin Powell and Condi Rice) and if this had been a democratic administration, there would be articles upon articles praising the president of such diversity, never mind that Bush has choosen to surround himself with people that are brilliant and might not have had to do so much with race. I think I have taken up too much of my post here about racism so will continue with issues in another post..:)
19 posted on 01/10/2004 8:08:24 AM PST by futureceo31
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To: Mr Rogers
Just something you might want to consider as I mentioned in my other post, but dont you think that it is Bush that is defining the debate in this country after having taken away all of the democratic issues and deflecting the "rabid right wing proposals as the media potrays them" by quietly implementing them anyways. I really believe that Bush in his next 4 years will be implementing policies with the compassionate conservatism in mind which is really a middle of the road conservatism with rightist leanings.
Everyone of the issues that he has taken away from the democrats, he has done something about it, and it might not be conservative enough or too liberal for you, but the fact of the matter is that he has done something about it and that identifies with the % of the population that makes a difference in elections.
Having said that, Bush certainly has coattails. Look at the last election in 2002 and then the one this year where Republicans have never been in a stronger position not only nationally but in local and state governments. Having said that, there is still a long way to go to bring the country' thought process over to the conservative side, and the debate has to start from the middle. It cannot start from the right and it sure is not attracting a lot of people by starting the debate on the extreme left which all 9 of the dwarves are doing now evidenced by their favorability/unfavorability ratings.
My humble opinion is that people who are upset with Bush for his policies would be upset with any president even if he is far right wing, as we are never going to get a far right wing president. Even Reagan, almost given deity status among many conservatives espoused some liberal values (amnesty to illegals) being one of them.
I think one point missed by a lot is, that Bush really cares about the invididual which is a strong precept of conservatism and the inate goodness of most people, and that same belief was espoused by Reagan and that is why both presidents to this date have been successful and are personally liked by most of the populace (again in my humble opinion..:))
20 posted on 01/10/2004 8:17:01 AM PST by futureceo31
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To: jveritas
I really think that this article really misread the electoral populace. People tend to identify with the underdog and Clinton (with the help of Dick Morris) successfully came out as that and showed the republicans as bullies and no one likes a bully. But having some that, if you identify the majority of this country, I would venture out on a limb to say that most of them would probably identify themselves as conservative leaning then liberal leaning. I think the polls are skewed by those that are leftist anyways, because a middle of the road conservative is not going to say, that he wants to kill gays, or take away food from school children, or kill seniors by taking away their health insurance etc etc etc.. and that automatically makes him a liberal according to the polls.
The reason why elections are and have been so close is that the Dims have a good busing policy and bring in legions of their voters who beat to the tune of the same drum. Racism is a factor in all elections and the democrats have been very successful in using this to sway 10-15% of the voting public to vote for their candidates and in effect the policies.
21 posted on 01/10/2004 8:23:02 AM PST by futureceo31
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To: Cathryn Crawford
They've grown to expect certian things of the government and the thought of having it taken away (even for the sake of smaller government) doesn't appeal to them.

Unfortunately, true.

22 posted on 01/10/2004 8:25:59 AM PST by Amelia
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To: Mr Rogers
The problem is we really have no where else to go. I'm pissed at Bush's stand on illegal immigration - but every democrat candidate is far worse! I'm pissed at the never slowing expansion of government - but the dems would accelerate the growth.

I think one problem is that most people in the U.S. don't think like we do....in fact, obviously, there are many who agree with the Dems.

23 posted on 01/10/2004 8:27:34 AM PST by Amelia
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To: jveritas
Also, probably the large bloc of voters who don't want to be tortured to death by Muslim fanatics or see their wives and children turned into footstools by them.
24 posted on 01/10/2004 8:35:51 AM PST by Ukiapah Heep (Shoes for Industry!)
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To: deport
This forum isn't representative of the populace as a whole, imo.

Not at all - and we deceive ourselves when we think "most people" think as we do.

I suppose the challenge, if we want "our" agenda enacted, is to convince the rest of the country that our way is better - but first we have to convince them to care!

25 posted on 01/10/2004 8:43:33 AM PST by Amelia
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To: Cathryn Crawford
Weren't we discussing this recently?

Yes, we were. I don't think that either of the two major parties represent a movement to reduce the size of government. For the most part, I think that their differences concern by whom the costs of government goodies should be borne and to whom the benefits should be directed. The biggest loser right now seems to be future taxpayers.

26 posted on 01/10/2004 9:30:33 AM PST by Scenic Sounds (Sí, estamos libres sonreír otra vez - ahora y siempre.)
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To: Amelia
Fascinating article, Amelia!!

Good post! ;-)

27 posted on 01/10/2004 9:32:36 AM PST by Scenic Sounds (Sí, estamos libres sonreír otra vez - ahora y siempre.)
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To: jveritas
Also, 35% to 40% of Hispanics vote Republicans and that is very significant chunk of this segment of voters.

The split is more like 30-70 in recent elections. Bush got 40% in some districts of Texas when he ran for re-election as governor of Texas; that was the high-water mark so far.

Bush and his "audience" (in John Q. Wilson's sense of the word) are pushing the GOP over the cliff by insisting on opening up the Mexican border to mass immigration. The 'Rats know this; that's why they encourage Hispanics to run for all their top posts. In 2001, only one of the top three or four statewide office-seekers on the 'Rat ticket was a white male. Their problem is somehow to get the "yellow dogs" to keep voting for them even though they're in danger of becoming the "anti-white-man" party. They failed in 2001; the soup was too thin, and the hostility was just below the surface. Tony Sanchez in particular sometimes sounded like Santa Anna himself. The East Texas white male voters in particular could look at the 'Rats and say to themselves, "if these guys get in, I'll never have a friend in government again -- and I probably will have trouble keeping my job, or getting a new one".

I think a lot of people have noticed by now that the 'Rats are trying to politicize the workplace and turn jobs into an identity-political spoils system in which men are one-down and whites are one-down, and for that matter Christians and straights generally are all one-down to their opposite counterparts. In a 'Rat-run country, you'd have to be a Spanish- or Vietnamese-speaking black Moslem lesbian transsexual recycling engineer to get ahead.

28 posted on 01/10/2004 10:37:56 AM PST by lentulusgracchus
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To: futureceo31
So that tells me that he is in the middle and thats where the vast majority of the country probably is. Issue after issue can be analysed in the same manner...

Better to look at polls than to try to wing it that way.

Bush and the plutocrats are by themselves on immigration. Even a lot of Hispanics are flinching at the new amnesty-not-amnesty proposal. They're finally beginning to realize what unlimited immigration does to wages.

29 posted on 01/10/2004 10:44:33 AM PST by lentulusgracchus
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To: Amelia
You might also look at the January 3 David Brooks article in The New York Times which is archived by the Houston Chronicle in its January 5 issue under another title (original title: "Running on Reform"). The NYT article, unfortunately, is pay-per-view.

Brooks argues in the article that the GOP can no longer run as the party that wants to shrink government because a) the issue gets no traction now and b) the GOP no longer has any credibility on this issue after two years of Bush's "big-government" agenda carried forward in the name of conservatism. (That's why it is so very important to dissent and not let someone use your name/credit card when they are doing something objectionable, as Bush has done.)

He is basically saying that it's over, that conservatism is dead as an idea and that Bush killed it fair and square.

Of course, this is a neoconservative talking, which label I define as a New Deal socialist with a defense policy.

See what we get for voting for a Bush?

30 posted on 01/10/2004 11:50:32 AM PST by lentulusgracchus
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To: deport
Thanks for the poll data. Source?
31 posted on 01/10/2004 11:57:26 AM PST by lentulusgracchus
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To: Amelia
Does the party really want to reduce the size of government, or do the American people in general really want government to remain at approximately the size it is, and will they reject serious attempts to reduce it?

Well, I think this is a tangential question to what the Party wants, which is to get and keep the fruits of holding national power, and to use that power for the benefit of their "audience", i.e. their real constituency, the people the political investments come from.

In this landscape, conservative voters have no friends.

The Bush wing of the Party hijacked the party in 1988 and has marginalized the conservatives ever since. We've been paying for that hijacking as the GOP's agenda has become less and less conservative, and more openly plutocratic. The ascent of Ronald Reagan in 1980 was just another means to power for the money interest.

As proof of the pudding, watch to see whether Tom Tancredo attracts a well-oiled GOP primary opponent. If he does, you might as well change the opponent's name to "Bush", because that will be who is really running against Tancredo.

32 posted on 01/10/2004 12:12:21 PM PST by lentulusgracchus
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To: lentulusgracchus
January 3 David Brooks article

Got link?

33 posted on 01/10/2004 1:28:50 PM PST by Amelia
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To: lentulusgracchus
Click the link..... It goes to the poll.... Fox news Opinion poll....
34 posted on 01/10/2004 1:36:56 PM PST by deport (..... DONATE TO FREEREPUBLIC......)
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To: Amelia
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=+running+on+reform++david+brooks

Click the first article on this google search...... or some of the others down page
Running on Reform.... David Brooks

35 posted on 01/10/2004 1:43:01 PM PST by deport (..... DONATE TO FREEREPUBLIC......)
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To: Amelia
David Brooks New York Times Article of January 3rd, 2004, "Running on Reform".
36 posted on 01/10/2004 1:47:15 PM PST by lentulusgracchus
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To: lentulusgracchus
Brooks argues in the article that the GOP can no longer run as the party that wants to shrink government because a) the issue gets no traction now and b) the GOP no longer has any credibility on this issue after two years of Bush's "big-government" agenda carried forward in the name of conservatism.

Thanks for the link to the article.

That's not how I read it - in fact, I think Brooks' argument here is very similar to Caldwell's in the 1998 article posted above - the American people don't really want the size of government cut, even if they say they do:

Republicans have learned through hard experiences that most Americans do not actually want their government sharply cut. Voters are skeptical of government, but they elect candidates who promise solutions for their problems, not ones who tear down departments. They do not respond to politicians whose primary message is "No, no, no."

In any case, it's almost a Catch-22: the GOP can't enact its agenda if it isn't in power, and it can't stay in power if it doesn't give the voters what they want.

37 posted on 01/10/2004 4:12:26 PM PST by Amelia
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To: Amelia
Of course I do not think the GOP is racist. In fact it is the Democratic party who is the racist one by playing the race card in every election for political gains. The Republicans should go on the offensive to expose how the Democrats use Race for political advantage and I think this will make it clearer in the mind of many people, in particular independents, that the GOP is not racist but the Democrats are.

In regards to your second question, I think that the hard working, tax payers Americans who are very proud of being Americans tend to vote for the GOP because they want less taxes and the want a party that preserve the pride of the US all over the world. They want a party that is strong on national security and defense and this party is the GOP. On the other hand, the Democrats created the perception that they are the defenders of the needy, the poor, and the minorities from those "Evil Rich Republicans". Unfortunately, many Americans are deceived by the Democrats malice and hypocrisy and out of fear they vote for them. However, the good news is that the when the economical situation of these peopole gets better, many of them tend to leave the Demcoratic party and vote for the Republicans.

38 posted on 01/10/2004 4:16:40 PM PST by jveritas
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To: jveritas
I agree with you.
39 posted on 01/10/2004 7:57:17 PM PST by Amelia
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