I Wish Andrew Were Correct, But…

…when he writes stuff like this:

…by adding Ryan to the ticket, Romney has ensured that the far right will not be able to blame defeat on a RINO candidate. They will have to accept that a teenage Randian vision of domestic society and a revolutionary militarist foreign policy are not acceptable options in a free and sane polity.

he hasn’t begun to plumb the depths of the crazy.

See, e.g., this:

“If Obama wins re-election, the Republican Party will react by moving right, not left,” observes Ramesh Ponnuru, a well-connected conservative writer, in a Bloomberg op-ed Monday. “It will become less likely to compromise with Obama, not more.”

Radical right fanaticism can never fail.  It can only be failed.  Andrew Sullivan may believe that there is a rational core remaining somewhere in the bowels of the Republican Party.  There isn’t.  And the very piece of evidence he advances to claim otherwise — that the selection of Ryan is an 11 dimensional-chess-worthy move that will handcuff the asylum’s inmates when the loss sinks in — is so swiftly and easily swatted away it is almost pathetic that he would pin any hopes for a return to sanity on so tattered a reed.  Hell — the retort isn’t even wrong:  if and when Mitt Romney goes down to defeat, and even if and when the Dems hold the Senate and (FSM willing) pick up the house (I dream big when I dream), the radical right’s true believers will be able to say, accurately, that Romney lost the election.

Remember:  Palin didn’t lose in 2008, McCain did — and even if you conceded that Palin didn’t help, the fact that remains that it’s the guy on top that takes the fall.  Plus, you have now something even more deeply felt than it was four years ago:  the radical right is tolerating Romney; he’s on permanent double secret probation with them.

If and when the R-Money/Granny Starver ticket loses, the obvious place for the radical right to go is (a) to demand a true believer in position one in 2016 after two failures with the squishy folks at the top of the ticket discredit (in their eyes) the notion that even the simulacrum of moderation is electorally valuable.  Then there’s (b):  when you’ve gone all in on the worldview that says Obama and Democrats in general are illegitimate, no matter how many elections they win, then the radical right have no reason at all to resume taking their oh-so-necessary meds.  The Kenyan Mooslim Commie Usurper must be opposed by any means necessary, and no amount of actual, you know, votes, can change that conviction.

There is no future in the Republican party.  Its sane remnant, if it wishes to retain that modifier, is going to have to do what Abe Lincoln’s Republican party did to the Whigs back in 1854: separate and disembowel.  Nothing less will do, I think.  The mad dog sunk its teeth in too long ago; the time for treatment has passed; one should merely mourn the walking corpse and move on.

Factio grandaeva delenda est!

Image:  Thomas Rowlandson, A Mad Dog in a Coffee-House, c. 1800.

67 replies
  1. 1

    I believe we are witnessing the death of the Republican Party. Oh, they may still win a few elections — hell, they may win this one — but they lack cultural power, no matter how much political power they may gain. So these wins won’t be lasting.

    And I don’t hold out much hope for what replaces the modern GOP. I think it will be far more fascist, far less religious.

    But I could be wrong!

  2. 2
    Chris says:

    I agree completely.

    Was about to use the Palin analogy too – despite the fact that she never polled all that well with the public, the lesson they took away from 2008 was that Palin was the reason McCain did as well as he did and we should have more people like her, in higher positions of power.

    If they lose this election, there’ll just be more “because he wasn’t a real conservative!” rhetoric, coupled with claims that voter fraud is what put us over the top and we really have to crack down on those uppity minorities exercising their right to vote – you know what I mean.

  3. 3
    J says:

    True enough, although the sane remnant must be truly tiny by this point. ‘Its’ not ‘It’s’ 2nd sentence, last paragraph.

  4. 4
    KG says:

    I want Sullivan to be right, but I fear/suspect that you are right. There were moments during the primary when I thought the sans was going to break through… Like Newt “fucking” Gingrich saying the Ryan Plan was right wing social engineering in a bad way. But then there were moments like every candidate rejecting, out of hand, a hypothetical budget plan that would cut $10 of spending for every $1 of tax increases.

    If the Republican party is to survive, I do think it means losing this year and then seeing a true believer get smoked in 2016… But even then, I just don’t know

  5. 5
    Tom Levenson says:

    @J:

    ‘Its’ not ‘It’s’ 2nd sentence, last paragraph.

    Fix’t. Thanks.

  6. 6
    Steve says:

    The quote makes no sense. They blamed McCain’s loss on the fact that he was a RINO, even though he had Palin on the ticket. They blamed Bush I’s loss on the fact that he was a RINO, even though he had Quayle on the ticket. They call Bush II a RINO (actually, they call him a liberal) even though Cheney was the VP.

    Romney is running a very right-wing campaign, but in terms of his actual credentials and past positions, Romney is the most un-conservative nomineee the GOP has had since, uh, maybe Wendell Willkie. Of course they will call him a RINO if he loses!

  7. 7
    RoonieRoo says:

    I understand Sully. I agree with you that he is wrong on this but I get why he is clinging to this wishful thinking. I think we need a healthy 2nd party to keep the Dem party healthy. Since I want the left wing to stay healthy, I really wish the GOP would come back to sanity so we can have the healthy debate that begets a fully functioning government.

    I think it is that desire that makes Sully hold on to the last threads of possible reform for the GOP. I gave up on the GOP coming back from the edge a couple of years ago. I do think Sullivan will see reality too but I don’t begrudge him the hope. Kinda happy that at least someone still has a smidge of hope if I don’t.

    Also, I find it rather frightening that they will move further right. I think their shifts rightward are going from just aggravating to downright scary and truly dangerous.

  8. 8
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Sully is a lousy pundit because he writes from the perspective of what he hopes will happen and he seems too hopeful most of the time.

  9. 9
    KG says:

    @Southern Beale: I suspect, at first anyway, two (at least) parties forming. One would be a Christian Democrat type party… Socially conservative, economically populist. The second would be something of a moderate/rational libertarian type party, socially moderate to liberal and economically conservative. There would probably also be a far right remnant type party

  10. 10
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @KG: Eventually, perhaps, but not until the Civil War is over.

    I give it another hundred years, hundred-and-fifty, tops.

  11. 11
    jl says:

    Nice to see some political cartoons from the corrupt heyday soon to be twilight or the rotton old old school Brit empire. Might be lots of material there for this election.

    But translated to today, who is the coffee house clientele? I hope it would be the public. It can’t be the GOP base or the pols, since they would be running toward the mad dog, to give it a big sloppy hug.

  12. 12
    Soonergrunt says:

    @ Tom Levinson, top:

    The Kenyan Mooslim Commie Usurper must be opposed by any means necessary, and no amount of actual, you know, votes, can change that conviction.

    It is for this reason, with plenty of supporting evidence like the common wingnut meme that Obama will take away their guns in his second term, that I believe that one of these yahoos is going to try something.
    Honestly, I’m surprised there hasn’t already been a couple of assassination attempts, but I’m certain there will be one if Obama wins re-election.

  13. 13
    Zifnab says:

    If and when the R-Money/Granny Starver ticket loses, the obvious place for the radical right to go is (a) to demand a true believe in position one in 2016 after two failures with the squishy folks at the top of the ticket discredit (in their eyes) the notion that even the simulacrum of moderation is electorally valuable. Then there’s (b): when you’ve gone all in on the worldview that says Obama and Democrats in general are illegitimate, no matter how many elections they win, then the radical right have no reason at all to resume taking their oh-so-necessary meds.

    I do think you’re overlooking one thing. And that’s voter turn-out. We saw GOP voter turn-out wane under McCain, then rebound in ’10. We get to find out how passionate these people are at the polls in ’12. Are these people going to keep pulling their asses out of their sofas and keep pulling the lever for failed candidates?

    I don’t know what kind of turn-out Romney is going to get. My suspicion is that a lot of people just aren’t going to be inspired to vote for this guy, and that’s going to hurt a lot of down-ticket GOoPers.

  14. 14
    eric says:

    Even if Romney was a true troglodyte, then they would blame the liberal media for siding with Obama and tainting the GOP message and lying for Obama. Just read any comment section to any story seemingly positive for Obama. Sully is just wrong.

  15. 15
    walt says:

    Republicanism is a brain-eating disease. You don’t tell the white victim class that they have to get serious about policy and behave sensibly. The days of Gerald Ford are long gone. Today, the party’s soul belongs to Rush Limbaugh, Ted Nugent, and Todd Akin.

    Right-wing populism does not self-critique. It marches inexorably to the cliff and will gladly take the nation with it. We’ve seen this movie before. Repeat: there is not cure except Armageddon itself.

  16. 16
    General Stuck says:

    I don’t see Obama losing, and therefore there is only one direction or path we are currently on. Polarization to the maximum of the electorate, and regional hardening of positions with the whole north south thing. I don’t think the southern wingnuts now in the GOP are caring one bit about governing the country from a minority point of view. They see their country being invaded from within, and without and not much else. I still believe that we will work this shit out, some how, but not before a period of pain and chaos with increasing seditious behavior coming from the right wing. If Obama wins, they are committed, based on what comes out of their mouths without hesitation, or in a bluffers tone, to ever more extreme right wingnuttery. And I’m basically an optimist.

    Or , @Southern Beale: said

  17. 17
    eric says:

    @walt: or demographic Armageddon. One can hope

  18. 18
    Gregory says:

    @Southern Beale:

    And I don’t hold out much hope for what replaces the modern GOP. I think it will be far more fascist, far less religious.

    As Sinclair Lewis pointed out, the two aren’t mutually exclusive.

  19. 19
    Misterpuff says:

    I read with great glee the death notices of the GOP after the 2008 election, yet they came roaring back in 2010, Until the roots of the party are pulled out of the Congress, the states and local govt they will continue to be a threat.

    Yes, with their brew of the cracked pot and rancid racism, they may never regain the top prize (and those lovely SCOTUS bids)but they will continue to play the obstruction games.

    Heaven help us, if one of their crazed issues becomes devisive enough for them to get off the couch and off their Rascals to really take up arms, which they have more than enough of. I suppose it would be when Obama comes to take there smoking guns out of their cold dead hands, but in reality, it may be when Obama tries to take the bankroll out of their sweaty grip.

  20. 20
    trollhattan says:

    “It will become less likely to compromise with Obama, not more.”

    What does less-than-no compromise look like? Does it have a name and eat from a dish on the floor? How will I recognize it?

  21. 21
    General Stuck says:

    But I will add, that despite it all, I hope to be very wrong. And there is at least a glimmer of hope that dems pull off such a true patriotic convention, that it breaks the ‘fever’ of enough republican voters to do what needs doing to fix this country. Pollyanish for sure.

  22. 22
    AnotherBruce says:

    Let’s try this, and see if it fits.

    “If Obama (fails to) win re-election, the Republican Party will react by moving right, not left,”

    See how this works?

  23. 23
    Chris says:

    @Southern Beale:

    And I don’t hold out much hope for what replaces the modern GOP. I think it will be far more fascist, far less religious.

    That’s a general concern of mine when looking at the modern backlash against neoliberalism (e.g. the Thatcher/Reagan model that’s dominated since the eighties) combined with the rise of nationalism. If the moderate left (e.g. Democrats here, the Socialist/Social-Democratic parties in Europe) can’t make a credible alternative to neoliberalism stick, the alternative could end up looking… yeah, a lot more like the goose-steppers.

  24. 24
    eric says:

    the one true wild card is the MSM. If, and it is a big and unlikely if, the MSM goes on about unprecedented GOP obstruction, then the GOP could lose in 2014 and might alter its ways mildly. I certainly would not bet my house on that

  25. 25
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    I think assuming the right wing will back away from the crazy is a suckers’ bet at this point. They’ve been going down this road for decade. But I do wonder, in the short term, if the public perception of the 27%-er crowd from the middle of the road will change. I think that if Obama wins a second term, all the whining and footstomping on the right will look less like principled opposition and more like sour grapes, and a lot of people who don’t particularly follow politics will see it and say “Christ, get it over it already.” As simple-minded as this sounds, I think by virtue of winning a second term, Obama will seem more like Clinton in the eyes of many-and Clinton is generally seen as a good president in the public eye. My memory’s a bit hazy, but didn’t the anti-Clinton hysteria cool down a bit after ’96? (Before the blowjob, that is.)

  26. 26
    ellennelle says:

    has anyone been making a list of the crists, snowes, chaffees, etc., leaving the GOP?

    add this one.

  27. 27
    Shawn in ShowMe says:

    @Southern Beale:

    I believe we are witnessing the death of the Republican Party. Oh, they may still win a few elections—hell, they may win this one—but they lack cultural power, no matter how much political power they may gain. So these wins won’t be lasting.

    As long as Citizens United is still in effect, these creeps will remain in business. They just won’t be able to rely on dog whistles as their primary method of persuasion.

    Someday someone in the GOP leadership will figure out that they can stay in office as long as they want if they throw some crumbs to those making over $90,000. Many totebaggers would grudgingly accept “eat the poor” as a fiscal policy. The fact totebaggers are currently included in feeding time is what they find objectionable.

  28. 28
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @KG:

    I really wouldn’t mind a system like that. Although I vote strategically, I don’t think it should have to be that way. When all the non-crazy, non-evil people have to huddle together just to fend off the crazy/evil ones, let alone actually forming a governing coalition, something’s gone wrong. I’d love a system where there are three or four or even five ‘major’ parties that regularly get seats in government: not only could people vote their conscience more, but the parties would have to actually form coalitions to get things done, as opposed to just grandstanding and feeding red meat to their voter base.

  29. 29
    Scott says:

    I find it interesting but there are several bloggers and writers (e.g. Daniel Larison and Noah Millman)at the American Conservative that are increasing anti-Romney and think the right wing radicalism they are observing is not really conservative. It will be interesting to see how that plays out.

  30. 30
    Chris says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    Johnson famously said that if America was a European country, the Democrats would be five different parties. I’d say four but I agree with the general sentiment. Republicans would be too. Weird system we’ve got.

  31. 31
    David Hunt says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    I’m surprised there hasn’t already been a couple of assassination attempts, but I’m certain there will be one if Obama wins re-election.

    There were those army wackos (the one who killed their friend and his girlfriend) who were planning to make an attempt along with the rest of so their crazy plans. I expect there are others that never got out of the planning stage that the Secret Service has foiled that I never heard about or forgot.

    Fortunately, someone who wants to make a real try at the President has to be willing to die in the attempt to have any real chance and that degree of mental illness can interfere with rational planning.

    My own pet theory is that most of the rational people who are sick enough to want to try something like that are too in love with themselves to accept that the Secret Service would gun them down in a heartbeat if that’s what will save the President. Or the shorter version: most of the right wing asshole gun nuts are too chicken to make the attempt ,thank FSM.

  32. 32
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Southern Beale:

    I believe we are witnessing the death of the Republican Party. Oh, they may still win a few elections—hell, they may win this one—but they lack cultural power, no matter how much political power they may gain. So these wins won’t be lasting.

    __
    SB, for the most part I agree with your analysis in other comments, but this part in this comment doesn’t feel right to me.

    It seems to me that cultural power (well that, and the financial backing of a fistful of billionaires) is about the only thing keeping the GOP going these days. For better or for worse we have a schizophrenic culture in the US, and our cultural Confederacy isn’t going away anytime soon.
    __
    If the formally constituted GOP were to vanish tomorrow, if their entire organizational structure, all the officeholders, operators, hacks and hangers on, etc, were all to be abducted by aliens tonight (crop circles optional), and if we were to wake up in the morning to discover that there was no longer any GOP, it wouldn’t matter. The entire appartus would reconstruct itself within a year or two under a new name, from the Confederate culture that is out there all over the country, even in the nominally blue states.

    We will always have a viable and electorally potent Confederate political party for as long as we have a Confederate culture. And I’m not convinced that the demographic shifts running against so-called “white people” in early 21st Century America are dooming that culture; in the past it has shown a remarkable ability to mutate and absorb new members as the definition of “whiteness” changes. What remains constant is a politics of resentment and opposition to the perceived cultural elitism of the other culture, for example as documented in Nixonland. I don’t see that going away, or even being muted to any great extent, anytime soon. Here’s hoping I’m wrong.

  33. 33
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @David Hunt:

    I wonder about Secret Service (I know almost nothing about it). Do they prefer people who have no political leanings, so there’s no subconscious thoughts of “I won’t take a bullet for that guy, I don’t like his politics”? Seems like that would be the smart move.

  34. 34
    gene108 says:

    to demand a true believer in position one in 2016

    What scares me shitless about 2016 is Citizen’s United money. Obama can weather it because he’s an incumbent President.

    What twisted lies the billionaires can plant about an up-and-coming candidate versus someone like Santorum really gets me worried.

    It’ll be like 2000, with regards to all the hypersenationalism Gore had to deal with, in regards to anything he said that was taken out of context.

    The Dem candidate in 2016 opens his mouth and a string of negative ads hits the airwaves.

    Unless of course Obamacare becomes wildly popular, which can easily negate all the CU money.

  35. 35
    Chris says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    And I’m not convinced that the demographic shifts running against so-called “white people” in early 21st Century America are dooming that culture; in the past it has shown a remarkable ability to mutate and absorb new members as the definition of “whiteness” changes.

    Yes, but – it takes time for the definition of whiteness to change, and the definition of whiteness doesn’t always change in time for “Confederate Culture” to remain politically viable; it can take years or even decades for it to catch up. And that’s your window of opportunity.

    Yes, I’m sure that in time, the GOP will adapt so that large sections of the immigrants they currently hate (those with white skins and Castillan ancestries, probably) will be defined as “white” and many of them become part of the “Confederate” culture. But for now, the Angry White Conservative base isn’t willing to make that distinction – they just hate all Latino immigrants, period. And it’s going to stay that way for the immediate future, at least – and it’ll probably take a few losing electoral cycles to make it clear that that strategy is no longer sustainable. During that time, hopefully, liberals can gain enough power for enough time to do some good in the system, as we did in the middle part of the twentieth century.

    At least that’s my take on it (granted, it relies on being able to overcome their voter suppression efforts, otherwise they can maintain the status quo for longer than demographics would suggest).

  36. 36
    Patricia Kayden says:

    “There is no future in the Republican party.”

    Amen. How will moving to the Right help them in 2016? The US as a whole is not moving to the Right on social issues. By 2016, marriage equality may be a fact of life in more states, and the number/power of minority voters can only increase. I don’t see a world where extreme Rightwingism wins the day. It’s a losing strategy that T’Baggers have embarked on.

  37. 37
    Schlemizel says:

    Its Sully fer crissake! November 8th he’ll be right on board with the “not true conservative” meme I “Even rAyn couldn’t save the closet liberal”.

    The man is a waste of bits and bytes

  38. 38
    Schlemizel says:

    Its Sully fer crissake! November 8th he’ll be right on board with the “not true conservative” meme I “Even rAyn couldn’t save the closet liberal”.

    The man is a waste of bits and bytes

  39. 39
    mamayaga says:

    @gene108:

    Unless of course Obamacare becomes wildly popular, which can easily negate all the CU money.

    I think the next few years with the full implementation of Obamacare are really critical for what happens politically after that. If the insurance available through the exchanges turns out to be genuinely affordable, and the numbers of people subject to the mandate fine are no more than expected, then I think the country will be very reluctant to go back to where it was before. There are a number of ripple effects that could follow, including people waking up and realizing how easily they can now take on self-employment, and realizing they don’t have to endure a shitty job (and shitty boss) just to keep their health insurance. All bets are off, however, if Obamacare is excessively expensive or so bureaucratically freighted that it’s difficult to use.

  40. 40
    Peter transplanted to VA says:

    @Southern Beale:

    After the birth of the Republican party in the 1850’s, and it’s very rapid rise, the next president elected was James Buchanan

    Mainly in agreement with your point, and in acknowledgement that things can get a lot worse even if the Republican party is dying.

    There are probably many more parallels to the antebellum period than I’m thinking of. McPherson’s Battle Cry of Freedom

    Like many, I’m blown over backwards by the parallels.

  41. 41

    @Spaghetti Lee: They prefer people who are professionals who have amply demonstrated it before giving them protective detail for anyone, let alone POTUS.

  42. 42
    Van Buren says:

    @KG: Umm, that far right remnant would be about half the party, as far as I can see.

  43. 43
    General Stuck says:

    In the age of mass digital instant communication, even a dying party can be kept breathing with a brain fart now and then. Add in Fox News and the Wurlitzer, not to mention dumptrucks full of cash, and they are good to go. Or, all of that putting up the imagery of a coherent pol party, that is devolving more and more every day, both in time and mind, running no longer on failed ideas, that did fail, but putting forth a case for wooing voters with delusions of vivid nostalgia.

    They are building a hologram of before the 60’s came along and let the progress cat out of the bag in a big way. Ozzie and Harriet, and a ready made enemy on the other side of the world. Romney’s speech had nothing in it, on what and how he would govern. The reason is that he is sitting on top of an insane party, with factions so disparate, it be best just to skip policy prescriptions, except for a few slogans like repealing Obamacare, and more tax cuts for the rich. A serious Romney speech with practical solutions for fixing our mess, would likely light this or that fuse connected to a GOP faction that is not much more than a political bomb waiting to go off. They are really several parties in one, at war with each other, as will as liberals and Obama.

  44. 44
    runt says:

    None of the disasters of the last three decades have made Andrew Sullivan go the full John Cole and denounce his own imaginary Real Conservatism, so why does he think the teabaggers and randroids are more likely to give up their beloved fantasies? Sullivan is living proof that his theory is wrong.

  45. 45
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Chris:

    Yes, but – it takes time for the definition of whiteness to change, and the definition of whiteness doesn’t always change in time for “Confederate Culture” to remain politically viable; it can take years or even decades for it to catch up. And that’s your window of opportunity.

    I agree about the differing rates of change here. Our problem is that at the federal level the US Constitution and the extra-Constitutional bits that have accumulated in places like the US Senate give a stubbornly determined minority party ample opportunity to engage in sabotage and to obstruct, delay and frustrate the will of the majority. So the definition of “politically viable” really depends on what you are trying to accomplish. If giving a giant middle finger to the Dems in particular and to the rest of the non-Confederate parts of our culture more generally is the GOP’s minimal goal, I don’t see any reason why they cannot accomplish that goal more or less indefinitely even if their share of the national vote shrinks to something like 35 percent, so long as that 35 percent is distributed across enough low-population rural states to give them a solid voting block in the US Senate. Prying their cold dead fingers from that is going to be awfully tough.

  46. 46
    Chris says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    Oh, I don’t know, the Hispanic population’s been rising in places that until recently were considered pretty damn white/Confederate, like Texas, Colorado, Arizona. You don’t think they can flip enough states to be viable?

  47. 47
    Sly says:

    Though I would agree that the Republican Party is in trouble, the Whig analogy is severely problematic.

    First: Reactionaries thrive on doom-and-gloom conspiracism, making them a more nationally-coherent force when they are in a position of self-perceived weakness. It’s the cornered animal phenomenon. The modern Republican Party is dominated by reactionaries, while the Whigs never had much of a reactionary wing… in fact the foundation of the Whigs as a national party stemmed from a revolt of local officials against the reactionary policies of Andrew Jackson and the Democrats.

    Second (related to the first): The Whigs were never really a nationally-coherent party. The sectional interests that rebelled against Jackson didn’t congeal into any kind of workable national platform. Clay’s “American System” met fierce opposition in the South and West. This made them incredibly weak as a national force, because they became dependent largely on a few elite national leaders (like Clay) who left a major power vacuum when they started dying off in the 1850s. Though I think the national coherence of the Republican Party is vastly overstated, its appeals to racial/class antagonisms is fairly broad, and its ability to speak (though often out of both sides of its mouth) to its various constituencies still holds up. And it doesn’t appear to be facing any kind of leadership crisis.

    The trouble that the Republican Party faces is due to the gradual weakening (70s and 80s) and then sudden evaporation of the post-war liberal consensus, changes in demography, and the failure of conservatism to adapt to the seismic shifts in political culture that accompany them. And that last problem is due entirely to the party being overtaken by reactionaries; reactionaries can’t adapt to change because they don’t want things to change.

    If this persists, and I see no force within the party to change it, the Republican Party will slowly lose its ability to lose national elections, interspersed with sectional-driven victories that depend almost exclusively on low voter turn-out nationally. In this sense, 2010 was more a death-rattle than the realignment conservatives are hoping for but are doing nothing to realize.

  48. 48
    Turgidson says:

    Yep.

    The groundwork is already being laid for the “if only we had run a true conservative with a truly conservative platform” post-mortems.

    It’s a win/win for the GOP knuckledraggers – if they win, they’ll have dragged Romney so far to the loony fringe that he’ll have to sign whatever batshit bills make it to his desk in the likely barely-GOP Senate and House. If they lose, they have the built-in excuse of ZOMG why did the “party elite” force us to nominate a Massachusetts moderate?

    They’re running Paul Ryan to Obama’s LEFT on Medicare, in a way. Repeat – the Zombie-Eyed Granny Starver himself is being held out as Medicare’s true protector, saving it from that shifty guy in the White House who wants to take it from hard-working (white) folk and give it to the (not hard-working or white) people who stand to benefit from the ACA.

    So if Romney loses, I can already see the breathless Halperin/Politico dirty laundry articles after the fact – there will be anonymous accounts of Ryan’s begging and pleading with the Romney brass to have the Medicare debate on his granny-starving-coupon turf rather than pulling this prank they’re trying to pull now. There will be testimonials to Ryan’s fervent belief in real conservatism as opposed to Romney’s…whatever it is he’s peddling. There will be stories about how Ryan had trepidation about joining RINO Romney’s ticket, but thought he could save it from within.

    Book it. This will happen if they lose. None of this “we heart Medicare” and wishy-washy stuff on entitlements will have been Ryan’s idea. He fought it tooth and nail you see, but was ultimately a team player (hmmm, sounds eerily similar to his excuse for voting for all of Bush’s spending) and worked his arse off for the ticket even though he knew the strategy was fatally flawed because it was not conservative enough.

  49. 49
    Dave says:

    Agree with many points here. The GOP that was borne in the middle of the 19th century and reached its political zenith late in the 20th century appears destined to die sometime shortly after the middle of the 21st.

    I think the Republican party splits into its current components: a Christian faction and a libertarian/Occupationista faction. The next GOP president, elected in 2020, comes from the latter group.

  50. 50
    HelpThe99ers says:

    I think (hope, very much) that President Obama will be reelected.

    I also think that’s going to force the GOP to move even further to the right: there is no peak wingnut, and the Overton Window can move just as far as they want it to.

    I think (hope, very much) that Democrats will keep the Senate, but not the House.

    If we do keep the Senate, Harry Reid has already said he’ll introduce rules to reform the filibuster. That will help.

    But it’s going to take two, maybe three election cycles to neutralize the gains the GOP made in 2010.

  51. 51
    danimal says:

    I suspect the GOP is bluffing, whether knowingly or not. Their strategy requires complete solidarity, even a 10% defection rate means the Dems are able to control the agenda. While most of the ‘safe seat’ Republicans and true believers will hold the line, they really need to watch for potential turncoats. If the GOP loses the presidency in 2012 and the House/Senate numbers remain tight, I predict they will be unable to maintain their unity on their more extreme policy positions. They may want to reprise their obstructionist gambit, but I don’t believe it will work as well after Obama’s reelection.

  52. 52
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Scott: They will lose.

  53. 53
    MikeJ says:

    @Turgidson:

    They’re running Paul Ryan to Obama’s LEFT on Medicare, in a way. Repeat – the Zombie-Eyed Granny Starver himself is being held out as Medicare’s true protector,

    And Cameron said the Conservatives were the party of the NHS, and yet he’s still trying to destroy it. You would have to be a moron to believe anything a [Cc]onservative says.

  54. 54
    Turgidson says:

    @MikeJ:

    Agreed. This should have sunk in with the electorate long, long ago and certainly no later than 2004. Alas.

    And like I said, their mendacity on the issue has the added benefit of giving the morans a plausible way to scream “NOT CONSERVATIVE ENOUGH!” if they lose this election. And my money is on Ryan being the hero who tried to show Romney the way to win as a real conservative behind the scenes but ultimately couldn’t get the squishy moderate to go along and just proudly say they’re going to voucherize Medicare, which people secretly support even though it polls worse than athlete’s foot, because it’s truly conservative.

  55. 55
    Commenting at Balloon Juice Since 1937 says:

    after the current bosses fail, if the party is to continue, some state organization will need to dominate. this is likely christi’s. he’s probably unelectable but he likely has a significant org-i don’t get the impression he’s dependent on the kochs. cuomo has this org in ny and will be formidsble in 2016.

  56. 56
    John M. Burt says:

    The best hope I am able to hold for the survival of this country is for the Repub party to move further right, deeper into the Wingnut Singularity of irrelevance.
    This will allow the Democratic party to return to its traditional position as the nation’s conservative party, while the Greens, Working Families, Peace & Freedoms, &c. form a new party of the left.
    Olympia Snowe can become a Democrat. Al Franken can stop being one. Paul Ryan can remain a Repub for the rest of his life (please!).
    Indeed, in this scenario, we should hope that the Repub party stays on the ballot in as many states as possible, to bleed off the crazies harmlessly and let responsible progressives and conservatives go about the nation’s business.

  57. 57
    gene108 says:

    @danimal:

    People don’t pay enough attention to realize “moderate” Republicans vote in lock-step with the party leadership.

    My Congressman, John Runyan, has ads up about how he’s “bi-partisan”, but he just seems to me to be a lazy backbencher, who votes the way the higher-ups tell him to vote.

    I think a fair number of voters, who don’t pay much attention will believe this, because he’s not gone on T.V. and actively courted the Wingnutistanians.

    The same probably goes for any non-openly right-wing-bat-shit-crazy GOPer in that they can wall paper over their voting record because no one really checks that shit out.

    As long as they don’t seem like a right-wing-bat-shit-crazy GOPer people will wrongly assume they aren’t working in lock step with the bat-shit-crazies, who run the joint.

  58. 58
    mclaren says:

    I come not to praise the Republican party but to bury it. Alas, like Dracula, the Republican party has a way of rising from the grave even after we pound a stake in its heart and set it on fire and dissolve it in acid and riddle it with machine gun bullets. The modern Republican party is like the Dracula in those cheesy 70s Hammer horror films — it keeps getting destroyed in one film, only to return stronger and more evil in the sequel.

    Guys like Southern Beale mean well but they’re off on the wrong track when they proclaim the alleged “death” of the Republican party. First, one of the greatest achievements of the modern post-Nixon conservative movement in America is to make itself independent of the Republican party. If the Republican party vanished tomorrow in a puff of smoke, the conservative movement in America would get stronger. That’s because conservatives in America have a network of phony think tanks spewing out lies and an entire propaganda network (Faux News) generating a complete alternative reality and legions of talk radio and TV goons like O’Reilly screaming the same counterfactual talking points and armies of remora-eyed fanatics like the Ayn Rand cultists and the return-the-gold-standard Ron Paul crackpots and the far right survivalists and racists who will march forward regardless of whether there’s a political party to represent them. The entire miltiary-industrial-surveillance-torture complex is profoundly twisted and warped with neoconservative values, so a huge part of the federal and local government is already owned by the post-Reagan conservative movement. Every cop you interact with, every DHS goon who harasses you on a bus, every TSA thug who gropes you at an airport, every Pentagon colonel who spends his days sending assassins to murder women and children in countries with which we’re not at war, all these people are totally 100% fanatically on board with the Fox News neocon far-right alternative reality. These people are heavily armed, have immense unaccountable power over you, and they all believe to the last man that Barack Obama is a Kenyan Marxist Machurian candidate muslim who was sent to America to bring about a socialist caliphate revolution. All of these people believe that any kind of taxes are the root of all evil, that “fiat” money is a disease that must be wiped out, that liberals are a cancer in the American body politic that must be purged with fire and sword.

    In any case, the stats show that America is becoming more Republican, not less. Every presidential election is now a “must win” death struggle for liberals. One slip, one more Republican senate candidate or one single Republican presidential candidate winning an election and we’re told by the Democratic party that all is lost, America will be destroyed, it’s the end of everything. And given the reign of error of the Drunk Driving C student from Texas in the Oval Office, there’s good reason to believe that.

    That doesn’t sound like a Republican party in its death throes to me. That sounds like liberalism in its death throes. That sounds like the rasping convulsive Cheyne-Stokes final breaths of democracy as it dies.

  59. 59
    danimal says:

    @gene108: In large part, you’re right. For issues that don’t get a lot of attention (including non-SCOTUS judicial nominations, the GOP will get away with obstructionism. But on the issues that generate public attention, the so-called rational Republicans will have a hard time holding the line.

    (BTW–We’re better off assessing Republicans according to partisanship rather than ideology, they’re all zealots ideologically, but some of them still have the ability/desire to cut a deal when necessary). BTW, I expect the Dems to maintain a lead in the Senate, and Harry Reid will push through a filibuster reform, though not one that will satisfy us all.

  60. 60
    danimal says:

    @gene108: In large part, you’re right. For issues that don’t get a lot of attention (including non-SCOTUS judicial nominations, the GOP will get away with obstructionism. But on the issues that generate public attention, the so-called rational Republicans will have a hard time holding the line.

    (BTW–We’re better off assessing Republicans according to partisanship rather than ideology, they’re all zealots ideologically, but some of them still have the ability/desire to cut a deal when necessary). BTW, I expect the Dems to maintain a lead in the Senate, and Harry Reid will push through a filibuster reform, though not one that will satisfy us all.

  61. 61
    Turgidson says:

    @mclaren:

    One slip, one more Republican senate candidate or one single Republican presidential candidate winning an election and we’re told by the Democratic party that all is lost, America will be destroyed, it’s the end of everything.

    You know, I actually don’t hear the Democratic Party itself saying this very often. I wish they would in the abstract – except that the media would hit the fainting couches so hard that NYC and DC might split off and float into the Atlantic due to the force of the sudden quake, and the speaker would be tarred as a loony lefty in the Grayson mold. All that guy did to get that treatment was tell the truth in an unusually blunt way, and he became a leper, even in his own party.

    It’s getting harder for people to avoid saying it, though, as the GOP descends further and further into irredeemable insanity, which is apparently a bottomless pit.

  62. 62
    gene108 says:

    @John M. Burt:

    The best hope I am able to hold for the survival of this country is for the Repub party to move further right, deeper into the Wingnut Singularity of irrelevance.

    There’s a large group of voters, who welcome the GOP’s rightward drift.

    As pointed out up thread, as long as the GOP maintains a stranglehold on a few states, even if it’s just low population states like Wyoming, they will be able to gum up the works indefinitely.

    The Democratic Party in much of the South really took a dive after the 1990’s.

    That’s really where the manufactured Clinton scandals have hurt us, because the local Democrats could no longer identify with the national party not because of any serious policy dispute – other than maybe the Assault Weapons Ban – but because the right-wing wurlitzer made an otherwise charismatic young President toxic in their districts.

    I’d throw in some Bush, Jr. DoJ ratfucking into the mix, especially with the prosecution of that Alabama governor on corruption charges, as another reason the Democratic party really dropped off the map in many Southern states.

    What are now seemingly one party states, like South Carolina and Georgia, had Democratic governors and/or Senators throughout the 1990’s.

    Democrats need to do a lot of work to rebuild the Party at the state and local level or else the whole idea of the demographic shift dooming Republicans will be premature, in my opinion.

    Also, too look for North Carolina to become very Republican very soon. The state Democratic Party still has the taint of the Easley-era corruption scandals and perception of entitled good ‘ole boys and I don’t think there’s anyone on the NC Democratic bench, who can really get the state party beyond the negatives of the Easley-era.

  63. 63

    It won’t be this election that kills them, but things will change if they lose.

    A low, middle-of-the-road, nothing-goes-hideously-wrong estimate for new jobs over the next 4 years is 12 million. Health care reform will finish kicking in. Things will be doing better. And their screaming just won’t work. I think in 2014, they’ll lose seats, and *that* will be what kills the extremism.

    I could be wrong, of course. And if they win this election, and repeal health care reform, they’ll take credit for improving economic conditions, and Dems will have nothing left; that combination would give new life to the crazies.

  64. 64
    burnspbesq says:

    @Dave:

    The next GOP president, elected in 2020

    Not a chance. Gillibrand will be re-elected with >320 electoral votes.

  65. 65
    danielx says:

    @mclaren:

    I’d like to disagree, but…I’m afraid (and I mean that literally) that in many ways you’re right. I know we’re venturing off into tinfoil hat land, but I’m beginning to think that political parties as such are becoming irrelevant. What counts – the fact on the ground, so to speak – is authoritarianism and the national security/surveillance state. That will go on accumulating power no matter what party controls Congress and no matter who occupies the White House. The two parties disagree violently on cultural issues, but they agree wholeheartedly on the main issue – money and the defense of those who have most of it.

  66. 66
    priscianusjr says:

    @danielx: The two parties disagree violently on cultural issues, but they agree wholeheartedly on the main issue – money and the defense of those who have most of it.

    This comment is so totally clueless that I don’t know where to begin. So thanks for sharing, now run along and play.

  67. 67
    danielx says:

    @priscianusjr:

    Well, I do have a few clues…

    Republic, Lost – Lawrence Lessig

    Predator Nation – Charles Ferguson

    With Liberty And Justice For Some – Glenn Greenwald

    Freefall – Joseph Steiglitz

    ECONned – Yves Smith

    Griftopia – Matt Taibbi

    along with several others, all of which I have read and which informed my opinion. I have reason for saying what I think. If you disagree with me, fine, tell me how I’m wrong, cite sources if you would, and skip the personal insults…troll-boy.

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