David Kirkpatrick

November 4, 2010

GOP establishment v. Tea Party movement

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:24 pm

Not hard to predict, and now it begins …

From today’s Playbook:

RECRIMINATIONS: WHY REPUBLICANS DON’T CONTROL THE SENATE -Jonathan Martin and Manu Raju: “With tea party-backed candidates going down in Delaware, Colorado and Nevada, depriving Republicans of what would have been a 50-50 Senate, a bloc of prominent senators and operatives said party purists like Sarah Palin and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) had foolishly pushed nominees too conservative to win … Movement conservatives pointed the finger right back at the establishment, accusing the National Republican Senatorial Committee of squandering millions on a California race that wasn’t close … ‘Candidates matter,’ said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). ‘It was a good night for Republicans but it could have been a better one. We left some on the table. … If you think what happened in Delaware is “a win” for the Republican Party, then we don’t have a snowball’s chance to win the White House. … If you think Delaware was a wake-up call for Republicans, then we have shot at doing well for a long time.’

“Former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott put it plainly: ‘We did not nominate our strongest candidates.’ Had Republicans run Castle in Delaware and establishment favorites Sue Lowden in Nevada and Jane Norton in Colorado, Lott said, … ‘we would have won and been sitting at 50.’ … Another high-profile senator [placed] the blame … at the feet of Graham’s South Carolina colleague, DeMint. … ‘It’s like you’re on the five-yard line ready to score and the quarterback calls the play and some member of your team tackles one of your members and keeps you from scoring. … We came tantalizingly close to a majority … I’m completely mystified by it.”http://bit.ly/br1xoW

Update 11/5/10 — Peggy Noonan piles on.

Advertisements

September 5, 2010

The GOP’s demographic problem

Filed under: et.al., Politics — Tags: , , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 7:25 pm

The Republican Party can legitimately lick its chops getting ready for the upcoming midterms. It would take more than an epic collapse of public opinion to keep November from being an absolute bloodbath for Democrats. Looking down the road, however, things are little more bleak, and the darkest spot is the demographic reality of the United States electorate in the coming decades.

After serious outreach during the first Bush 43 term (largely orchestrated by Karl Rove), the GOP has done nothing to court the Latino vote and a whole lot to alienate Hispanics of all ages. It’s no stretch to say the Republican Party has absolutely destroyed at least three generations of a bloc that otherwise would be fairly sympathetic to a socially conservative pro-business message.

Take a moment to think about all the ways the GOP has turned on Latinos — starting with the extreme immigration stances around the nation — and then ponder these numbers:

  • 62% of Hispanics are under the age of 34.
  • 33% of Hispanics will be under the age of 18.
  • In Texas, California, New Mexico, Hawaii and the District of Columbia, the white portion of the population is already a minority (representing less than 50%).
  • At the DMA, level there will be 19 markets where the minority is the majority. In 15 of them, the dominant minority is Hispanic; in two markets the dominant minority is Black, and in Hawaii, of course, it’s the Asian/Pacific Islander.
  • By 2020, minorities are expected to account for 40% of the country.

See a little problem there? Now the figures above came from an Ad Age blog post and not a political consultant, but that should be cause for even more concern because marketers are not going to fudge demographic numbers since doing so would only serve to reduce the effectiveness of marketing efforts. Political numbers on the other hand are about as reliable as a weather forecast. Pretty much any demographic numbers coming from a political source have been massaged to placate someone. Maybe not massaged a whole lot, but you can bet the numbers have been skewed one way or another.

Going back to the Ad Age piece, Isaac Mizrahi, co-author on a paper covering  how the 2010 census is going to affect marketing, was quoted thusly, ” … in today’s economy, marketing to ethnic minorities may possibly be the competitive advantage they need.” I think we all know the answer to the question of how the GOP has been marketing to minorities, particularly Hispanics. Couple the last six years or so of Republican rhetoric excoriating Latinos with the latest iteration of hard nativism sweeping the party and the long-term prospects of the GOP don’t look so good. Will the 2010 election cycle be the last hurrah for the current GOP? Demographic numbers say yes.

August 27, 2010

From the department of, “no duh” …

… Fox News is a shill for GOP talking points. And that statement isn’t really fair to Fox News because in many ways it’s giving some measure of marching orders to the current Republican Party.

Either way you want to slice that one up, this chart is only the most recent “exhibit A” in the lack of balance (and fairness as far as it goes) in Fox News coverage of issues involving or affecting the GOP:

Mehlmanmention

What this chart refers to is Ken Mehlman, campaign manager of Bush 43’s 2004 successful reelection and subsequent chair of the Republican National Committee, recently announced he is gay. This announcement makes him one of, if not the, highest ranking members of the Republican Party to publicly come out as homosexual.

Although he is being given solid support by party leaders and insiders, this announcement can’t jibe well with the current GOP brand. The party as a whole is fighting the issue of gay marriage tooth-and-nail right now, and the christianist religious right leg of the party considers homosexuality an abomination deserving of nothing less than annihilation.

So what’s Fox News to do? Interview current party chair Michael Steele who said, “His announcement, often a very difficult decision which is only compounded when done on the public stage, reaffirms for me why we are friends and why I respect him personally and professionally.” Or maybe talk to his old boss, George W. Bush, who has also been supportive. Or how about the many GOP insiders in DC and around the country who have no truck with Mehlman’s declaration (or Dick Cheney’s daughter, or any other gay Republicans for that matter.)

No, instead of reporting on this bit of news involving the GOP — you know, the balance part of “fair and balanced” — Fox News just pretends Mehlman’s announcement didn’t happen and spends zero airtime on his coming out statement.

This type of selective reporting does a grave disservice to the Fox News viewers who get no input into the world of U.S. politics outside of the right wing echo chamber. There’s a lot of those people out there, and Fox News execs know it. I even bet some of these people will hear about Mehlman’s homosexuality and claim it’s a plot by socialist “lame-stream” media to sully his image since it can’t be true — Fox News didn’t report on it.

The one-sided reporting from Fox News is bad for the current GOP, bad for United States politics and in the end bad for democracy in America.

Here’s conservative pundit, former Bush 43 speechwriter and administration member; and current GOP apostate and mob-declared RINO, David Frum on the party making the mistake of grabbing a tiger by the tail, “Republicans originally thought that Fox worked for us, and now we are discovering we work for Fox.”

May 13, 2010

GOP wants to block “Euro bailout”

Filed under: Business, Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 7:07 pm

This is simply shortsighted, puts the cart before the horse and is, well, really inane. I abhor the idea that US dollars could be used to bailout foreign companies or governments, but the reality is we do it regularly. And whatever code words someone wants to throw around, like “new world order” to offer one example, we actually do live in a global economy where if any of its moving parts — US, Asia or yes, even the European Union — catastrophically fails, everybody else does, too. Ever try to drive a car with one blown-out tire?

From the link:

After a week of preemptive attacks on a possible IMF bailout of Greece, Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) introduces the European Bailout Protection Act, aimed at preventing taxpayer dollars from going to a rescue plan.

“This legislation would require that countries like Greece cut spending and put their own fiscal house in order,” says Pence, backed up by other members of the House GOP, “instead of looking to the United States for a bailout. We face record unemployment and a debt crisis of our own, and American taxpayers should not be forced to bear the risk for nations that have avoided making tough choices.”

(Hat tip: Drudge Report)

May 1, 2010

About that Arizona “green card” law

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 7:48 pm

Here’s the first two bits from today’s Mike Allen Playbook:

The Arizona Republic, the state’s largest newspaper, will publish a full-page, front-page editorial on Sunday calling on state leaders to put politics aside and work toward meaningful immigration reform. The newspaper, a partner in the POLITICO Network, will condemn the lack of leadership it says has been demonstrated by a host of elected officials, including senators John McCain and Jon Kyl, former governor and now Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, as well as other local, state and national officials.

And:

Secretary of State Clinton, the first guest on the new HD ‘Meet the Press’ set, to NBC’s David Gregory (taped yesterday for air tomorrow): ‘This law … is written so broadly that if you were visiting in Arizona and you had an accent — and you were a citizen from, you know, my state of New York — you could be subjected to the kind of inquiry … that this law permits.’

GREGORY: ‘You think it invites profiling? Racial profiling?’

SECRETARY CLINTON: ‘I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. … I think … a state doesn’t have the authority to … try to impose their own immigration law — that is really the province of the federal government. … I don’t want to offer a legal opinion. … I’ll leave that to the Justice Department. But I know the attorney general of Arizona has raised questions about the legality.’

There’s been a lot of discussion about the Constitutionality of the law, the undue and unfair burden it will place on law enforcement officials in the state, and obviously its impact on illegal immigration in Arizona.

Another meme that’s going around and getting traction on both sides of the aisle is it could end up being something of a death blow the GOP nationwide. Maybe even as soon as this electoral cycle, taking some steam out of a likely very favorable Republican November.

I think the GOP lost the Latin vote with wild-eyed nativism during the Bush 43 years, particularly the second term, but any Latinos who had any inkling to vote Republican have most likely banished the thought. This attitude will last at least a generation, or maybe longer, right at a time when the Latino population (legal and voting) is growing around the country.

Now the idea that Bush 43 had some unusual mojo with the Latin vote is way overstated. It was a Karl Rove talking point and point of emphasis because he saw the demographic future and knew it was key for Republicans to court the Latin vote. Cue the crazed and rabid GOPers in Congress who went into an anti-immigration frenzy overriding any efforts by the White House to own the issue.

At the time of Bush’s two elections, the Bush 43 administration publicly touted how he grabbed a historic level of Latino GOP support. That was a lie. I have it on very good authority (a deep insider in the White House at the time) that by the actual numbers Bush 41 claimed a higher portion of the Latin vote than the son, so don’t think the GOP began wasting a golden opportunity in the mid- to late-2000s with that bloc. The real issue is Karl Rove was right. The party desperately needed to begin gaining Latino support to remain a force nationwide in the coming decades.

The anti-immigration zealots in Congress began nailing that coffin shut with abandon, and this legislative move by Arizona just might have hammered the final nail home.

April 22, 2010

The party of “no” pulls gun …

… shoots foot.

Here’s a bad procedural move by the GOP today:

Senate Republicans on Thursday blocked an effort by Democrats to start debate on legislation to tighten regulation of the nation’s financial system, and the two sides traded bitter accusations about who was standing in the way of a bipartisan agreement.

There is some political jujitsu going on right now, and the GOP stands to lose a lot more than the financial reform debate.

Also from the link:

The majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, asked Republicans to agree to begin debating the measure, which would impose a sweeping regulatory framework on Wall Street and big financial institutions. But the Republican leader, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, objected, saying Democrats were pre-empting negotiations to reach a deal.

McConnell has a great point about negotiations, but his policy of all-out obstruction against all things Democrat in the legislature is working against him here. The Dems are very happy to force the GOP to block this move and substantially raise the floor of compromise. The longer the GOP opposes debate on the bill, the more the party appears to be in the pocket of Wall Street.

Fast forward to November and you’ll find a lot of ads hammering this point home to an electorate very, very sick of Wall Street and all things existing in the rarefied air of high finance. The economy is likely still going to be in the tank by the time election day rolls around and the GOP stands to gain, maybe gain a lot. The one thing it does not need is to be saddled with a tangible partnership with those evil-doers on Wall Street. And that is what has already started with today’s move.

Here’s the New Republic’s Jon Chait three days ago on why the Dems eagerly anticipated this move:

Chris Dodd says the Senate is going to hold a vote on his bill Wednesday or Thursday. Republicans still say they can muster 41 votes in opposition. The ideal for Democrats would be to have the whole GOP vote to filibuster the bill, then have a huge debate, and then have one or more Republicans defect and pass the bill anyway. Then you get an accomplishment and a chance to expose the GOP as carrying water for Wall Street.

April 6, 2010

When David Frum …

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:41 am

… isn’t “conservative” enough for the GOP, the term has lost all meaning.

I guest-blogged at FrumForum (then New Majority) at the launch of the site and quickly figured out as a fiercely independent little “l” libertarian, I had essentially nothing to offer the conversation the GOP was getting into. Now it seems the same is happening to Frum himself. The American political term “conservative” has been stretched beyond belief to the point it either doesn’t mean what most people on the right think it does, or more likely it just doesn’t have any true meaning to speak of anymore.

The politics of Karl Rove are not conservative. The presidency of Bush 43 was not conservative in almost every aspect, and the ramblings of Sarah Palin are absolutely not conservative. And these self-described “conservatives” on the right are further and further marginalizing themselves and the party. The GOP should see some gains this electoral cycle, and in a way that might be the worst possible thing for the long-term viability of the Republican brand. A tiny ray of political hope might keep the party from the dramatic re-imagining that needs to happen sooner, rather than later.

February 28, 2010

Isn’t this a case …

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 9:38 pm

… of the pot calling the kettle black?

RedState’s Erick Erickson on ridding the GOP of its extremist elements:

The attempt “to clean up our own house,” as Erick Erickson, founder of the influential conservative blog RedState, puts it, is necessary “because traditional press outlets have decided to spotlight these fringe elements that get attracted to the movement, and focus on them as if they’re a large part of this tea party movement. And I don’t think they are.”

February 22, 2010

Greenwald on the Tea Party movement and GOP

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 7:07 pm

Glenn Greenwald certainly sees a lot more libertarian-minded purity in the Tea Party movement than I do. As a little “L” libertarian watching the movement from afar I see a lot of doctrinaire GOP ideals in Tea Party rhetoric and a whole lot of christianist nannyism to boot.

He does make a very salient point about the disconnect between what the Tea Partiers are purportedly for and what the Republican Party stands for.

From the link:

But that GOP limited government rhetoric is simply never matched by that Party’s conduct, especially when they wield power.  The very idea that a political party dominated by neocons, warmongers, surveillance fetishists, and privacy-hating social conservatives will be a party of “limited government” is absurd on its face.  There literally is no myth more transparent than the Republican Party’s claim to believe in restrained government power.  For that reason, it’s only a matter of time before the fundamental incompatibility of the “tea party movement” and the political party cynically exploiting it is exposed.

February 20, 2010

If you are gay and politically active …

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:29 pm

… the GOP is not for you. Really. The Republican Party platform includes explicitly anti-gay planks. I have gay friends who vote GOP for purely economic reasons, but they stay far out of the political trenches. The Log Cabin Republicans have long been relegated to bottom of the party latrine, and a new group — GOProud — joined the festivities at the latest CPAC only to get knee-capped by the National Organization for Marriage.

From the second link:

One of the odd coincidences of CPAC is the location of the National Organization for Marriage’s booth just 20-odd feet away from the booth of GOProud, the upstart gay Republican organization. On Thursday, leaders of both groups posed for an impromptu meeting in view of CNN’s cameras, joking about the possibility of a beer summit. But on Friday morning, the National Organization for Marriage preemptively blasted GOProud in a surprisingly acid press release.

Many reporters, including Politico, have asked us how we feel about the fact GOProud is just a few booths over from us. We welcome everyone’s right to participate in the democratic process, but we have a message for GOProud on marriage: If you try to elect pro-gay-marriage Republicans, we will Dede Scozzafava them. The majority of Americans, and the vast majority of Republicans, support marriage as the union of husband and wife, and NOM is here to make sure these voters and their voices are heard loud and clear.

Now I don’t harbor any ideas that NOM speaks for the Republican Party as a whole, but commenter ACCESSlineIOWA at the Washington Independent link has a very good point on NOM’s “threat:”

Wouldn’t the definition of “Dede Scozzafava-ing” be “Splitting the conservative votes so an even less conservative candidate can with the election?” The big tent has definitely been torn down, and NOM does not play well with others.

February 1, 2010

The party of “no” is hard at work

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:19 pm

Hard at work doing nothing productive in the midst this extremely challenging economic climate. These tactics might (yes, might — there’s no given that this electoral cycle will favor the GOP) work in November, but real long-term damage is still being done to the Republican brand. Going with all tactics of negativity with no strategy or vision for the future aside from attempting to harm Democratic plans will not lead to electoral success.

From the link:

I got this note from someone with many decades’ experience in national politics, about a discussion between two Congressmen over details of the stimulus bill:

“GOP member: ‘I’d like this in the bill.’

“Dem member response: ‘If we put it in, will you vote for the bill?’

“GOP member:  ‘You know I can’t vote for the bill.’

“Dem member:  ‘Then why should we put it in the bill?’

“I witnessed this myself.”

I wrote back saying, “Great story!” and got the response I quote below and after the jump. It is worth reading because its argument has the valuable quality of being obvious — once it is pointed out. The emphasis is mine rather than in the original; it is to highlight a basic structural reality that has escaped most recent analysis of the “bipartisanship” challenge.

Also:

As I have pointed out a time or two or a thousand, the structural failures of American government are the country’s main problem right now. In this installment, we see that the US now has the drawbacks of a parliamentary system — absolute party-line voting by the opposition, for instance — without any of the advantages, from comparable solidarity among the governing party to the principle of “majority rules.” If Democrats could find a way to talk about structural issues — if everyone can find a way to talk about them — that would be at least a step. And the Dems could talk about the simple impossibility of governing when the opposition is committed to “No” as a bloc.

January 19, 2010

Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat goes to GOP

Not any great surprise to anyone who’s been watching the lead-up to this special election. Scott Brown takes over Ted Kennedy’s Massachusetts Senate seat and deals quite a blow to any flexibility the Democrats have with health care reform. By all accounts, Brown’s opponent, Martha Coakley, ran a positively dreadful campaign and even had the embarrassment of leaking a memo today while voting was still in progress with a weak sauce list of excuses why she failed to keep the Senate at 60 Democratic seats.

Another pretty weak move was to hold a press conference — also while voting was still in progress — claiming “voting irregularities” to try and get a fingernail-hold on any hope of stretching the final verdict out a bit further.

All in all the Defeatocrats got just what they deserve in this election. And given the political reality of Massachusetts Brown will likely be perfunctorily voted out of office in 2012.

From the link on the excuse list (second link), Marc Ambinder’s excellent fisking of the memo (Ambinder’s comments in bold):

Claims about Coakley’s Scant Campaigning and Miscues Were exaggerated

— Because of the failure of national Democrats to support Coakley, she was forced to devote significant time to fundraising in December. She also released a variety of plans in December and had a public event nearly every day.

[Coakley had 19 events after the primary through Sunday; Scott Brown had 66.]

November 21, 2009

Media figures are truly taking over the GOP

Filed under: Media, Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 6:59 pm

This isn’t going to end well for the Republican Party.

From the link:

Pundits have used their media stages to encourage political action before, but people like Mr. Beck and Mr. Hannity are taking on outsize roles now, political experts and conservative commentators say. One reason, they say, is the weakened state of the Republican Party.

The media figures’ roles may exacerbate the ideological feuds that are already roiling the party. For the diffuse tea party movement that taps into anti-government sentiments, “the media guys are the closest things we even have to a leader,” said Adam Brandon, the vice president for communications at FreedomWorks, a conservative advocacy group.

These efforts are reminiscent of the Contract With America pledge made by conservatives during the 1994 elections, though some Republicans who are uncomfortable with media personalities taking on new political roles note that that effort originated with lawmakers.

November 4, 2009

New York-23

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:10 pm

I’m of a split mind on this race and what it portends. Once a third-party (Conservative Party no less) entered the race and actually got enough traction to boot Scozzafava, the GOP candidate with New York state moderate Republican bona fides, I immediate thought this is beginning of the end of the GOP. The three-legged stool has been broken for a while and the 2008 election cycle busted it for good. The question has been how will the GOP regroup. The response so far has been a reduction to a theocratic, angry, white rump of a party with around a quarter of of the voting population willing to admit to even being a member of the Republican Party.

My second mind on this race is I see some sanity from different pundits around the blogosphere who argue not to make too much out of an off-year election in a tiny district.

The issue, now that the election is done, and has been won by a Democrat for the first time in more than 150 years. It’s just one vote in the House, but the national GOP leaders — and sadly that group doesn’t really contain any office holders and is largely comprised of entertainers — happily lost a Republican vote that was going to be a little squishy (and thus a RINO) for a Democratic vote that potentially will never cross the aisle.

The end result is the Democratic leadership has little to fear from a new Conservative Party leaving the GOP and a lot to gain from just that occurrence. The entertainers-in-chiefs leading the current GOP have been proven to be quite toothless in swinging elections and the angry rump of the GOP has been shown they can be quite effective in ridding the party of those less-than-pure RINOs. This group will trade ideology for elections any day believing that as the GOP becomes more “pure” — that is, pure to their thinking — it’ll start winning elections again.

This does not make for a winning combination. It’s telling the big GOP wins yesterday in governor elections did not come from the frothy edge of the right. Sadly for the GOP the frothy edge of the right owns the national spotlight, and as long as entertainers set the Republican standards that will remain the status quo. Money for the entertainers, Democrats in elected office.

October 31, 2009

Is New York 23 a microcosm of the GOP’s future?

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:50 pm

If so I see a dead party.

October 16, 2009

Palin and the GOP

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:48 pm

I really don’t understand the ongoing appeal of Sarah Palin to the Republican Party.

The Daily Dish ran this year-long favorable/unfavorable poll of polls today:

Palin's favorables/unfavorables over the last year

Palin's favorables/unfavorables over the last year

Those numbers look decidedly bad. There’s a firm trend line at work. Of course it’s going to hit something of a Maginot Line at 20-25 percent favorables. She has that tiny rump locked up — and really it’s practically impossible for anybody or anything polled to dip below around 15 percent — so Palin fans can be pleased  the current trend lines will eventually level off.

The problem is there’s no reason to expect they will significantly reverse. Certainly not before the 2012 election cycle, and maybe not ever. She’s insanely damaged goods for all but the die-hard, blinker-wearing movement “conservative” faithful.

There is no political redemption for anyone carrying her baggage. Take away every other negative, and boy there are plenty to choose from, and the fact she fled her only major elected post before serving even one term is a killer. I’m discounting mayor of Wasilla and below as “major” elected posts Palin held before the Alaskan governorship.

The fact she’s even in any sort of running for the top of the GOP presidential ticket at this point ought to have the party in a state of panic. Obama may be turning a lot of independent voters off right now, but believe me he would easily outdraw Palin under just about any conceivable set of political and economic conditions the U.S. might be facing in about two and half years.

September 11, 2009

The echo chamber in the GOP …

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:54 pm

… is deafening right now. It’s like the entire Republican Party gets all its news and information from one source.

Oh.

August 4, 2009

Conservatism as a movement of “no”

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:24 pm

Andrew Sullivan made a very pertinent point today at the tail end of a post on a related, but more focused, topic. His point is conservatism as it’s realized today in the United States is against a lot of things, but not really for anything.

At one point in time you could honestly believe conservatism sought limited government and civil liberties. Those days are long over. Sure many self-styled conservatives in the GOP will sp0ut these ideals, but as nothing more than platitudes while doing nothing in terms of public policy, promoting legislation or even simply offering philosophical arguments on the hows and whys of this approach to government.

It’s easy to shake your head “no” at every proposal offered by those across the aisle. It’s a lot more difficult to actually counter with solutions and ideas to join all that dissent. Just ask today’s Republican Party.

From the link:

I repeat to conservatives: we know what you’re against, in healthcare, energy, counter-terrorism, taxation, gay rights, abortion. What are you actually for? How do you intend to actually address the questions of our time and place? And if conservatism cannot do that, what use is it?

May 23, 2009

The GOP is not conservative

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:47 pm

What passes for conservative in today’s parlance and politics is not the least bit connected to traditional Western political conservatism. Quoted here is a great graf from

From the link:

At the same time, Burke recognized that governments were obligated to use their powers to meliorate intolerable conditions. He had, for example, supported the American Revolution because its architects, unlike the French rebels, had not sought to destroy the English government; on the contrary, they petitioned for just representation within it. Had King George III complied, he would have strengthened, not weakened, the Crown and Parliament. Instead, he had inflexibly clung to the hard line and so shared responsibility for the Americans’ revolt. “A state without the means of some change is without the means of its conservation,” Burke warned. The task of the statesman was to maintain equilibrium between “[t]he two principles of conservation and correction.” Governance was a perpetual act of compromise–“sometimes between good and evil, and sometimes between evil and evil.” In such a scheme there is no useful place for the either/or of ideological purism.

May 20, 2009

GOP purism and the incredible shrinking base

Filed under: Politics, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:49 pm

Before I get into the heart of this post, the shrinking of the Republican Party is not hard to understand given that this bit of stupidity is still making news:

Republican Party leaders are trying to avoid airing a family feud over a GOP effort to rename the Democratic Party the ”Socialist Democrat” party.

Here’s some new and daunting numbers from Gallup on GOP party identification.

This can be chalked up to a popular Democratic president:

i67t4vi4dus

But this is just brutal. The GOP is losing people who self-identify as Republicans across the board aside from weekly church attenders where the party remained flat. Just take a look at these numbers and start wondering when the GOP will regain a viable chance to win anything aside from hyperlocal elections and very, very safe national seats.

The Gallup chart:

tsv7ekhtmkmkzrt5kcyt_g

There are many, many reasons for this dramatic decline and the first bit linked in this post is very indicative of the sheer brain-dead brain trust in the GOP.

Another place to look for people leaving the party is the idiocy and vitriol from national figures. Many traditional Republicans, particularly fiscal conservatives, no longer want to be associated with the GOP as the party has given over to stronger and stronger theocratic tendencies over time.

Another place is something I’ve blogged about before and somewhat blew off as a novelty and a fun distraction — right wing comment boards.

Here’s what I wrote last month:

The second area where the Internet has truly changed the electorate can be found on the forums, comment sections and user communities of partisan websites. I’m sure you’ve read about the “wing nuts” on the right and the “moon bats” or “nut roots” on the left. The latter is a takeoff from Netroots, the online political activism arm of the left.

The change these groups bring is the tone from both the right and the left. Much more raw, much more virulently partisan and much more attacking. If these sites are all you read, you’d think all political discourse in the U.S. has devolved into little more than petty spats and rumor-mongering. My take is the overall electorate is pretty sane and even-headed, whether partisan, or not. The net simply gives the fringe voice a very public, and loud, so-to-speak, outlet. At one point in time these voices might occasionally get a letter to the editor published in a local newspaper, but probably not all that often and the tone would be subject to editorial control.

Internet communities, particularly unmoderated forums and message boards, give this part of the electorate an unchecked outlet that reaches anyone online who chooses to visit the site and read the messages.

It’s empowering for the everyday voter, for certain, but the signal-to-noise level is so low I can’t help but wonder if the fringe of the electorate on both sides might not be having an inordinate effect on undecided and independent voters. Either through spreading baseless rumors – and both parties have been victims of this tactic – or through just distracting voters from the message the party is promoting.

I have to admit reading these forums offers a certain voyeuristic appeal, and culturally they are a fascinating phenomena. I’m just not too sure what value they are adding to political discourse.

One thing that changed my thoughts on this is for every rabid commenter, almost any political website will have many, many more readers that never make their presence known, but likely read the comments.

After reading views they hold render them RINOs who need to get out of the GOP to ensure party purity — and true conservatism, whatever that means. I’m convinced most of those railing about RINOs have no idea what political conservatism honestly means — decide that maybe those commenters hoping to enforce party purity are correct and the more independent-minded Republican becomes a right-leaning voter who no longer is a sure GOP vote at the ballot box.

There’s a lot of hand wringing in the GOP over the state of the party, but all those party leaders who publicly call out more moderate Republicans are fueling the comment section purity tests. And they might just end up getting their way — a GOP that matches their belief system perfectly, and matches the beliefs of about 20 percent of the electorate. Good luck winning any election with those numbers.

May 1, 2009

Ed Crane on the GOP

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:01 pm

This is about as good an explanation on what happened to the GOP over the last ten years or so as you’ll find anywhere — Edward H. Crane, president of the Cato Institute, on Obama as a statist and where the Republican Party has gone wrong.

The only major factor he left out is Karl Rove’s horrible, and failed, plan for a “permanent GOP majority” (and what a joke that phrase sounds like only a few years later) that entailed pissing off 49.9% of the population and winning every race by the thinnest of margins.

It could be argued Rove’s plan unraveled when he lost control of the immigration debate and rogue party members ruined his Latino plan. It can also be argued (with better internals) that the GOP never had the Latino vote in a bloc as large as was advertised. As it turns out Bush 41 did better among the Hispanic vote than Bush 43, a rarely explored or aired fact.

Here’s Crane’s excellent analysis from the link:

Time for those conservatives serious about limited government to re-read Goldwater’s Conscience of a Conservative. Strategically, conservatives have made three major mistakes. The first was to follow the advice of supply-side guru (and big-government Democrat) Jude Wanniski and not talk about spending cuts, much less the proper role of government. Economic growth replaced individual liberty as the rallying cry of far too many GOPers. Second, the neocons — mostly statists themselves — should never have been accepted into the fold. All they give us is a war against a country that never attacked us and schemes for “national greatness” like going to Mars. Enough. Finally, conservatives should jettison the social agenda of gay marriage, flag burning, and school prayer, and focus instead on federalism. Politics is about man’s relationship to the state. That relationship, to be healthy, should be minimal

April 30, 2009

The GOP — rhetoric v. reality

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:33 am

Looks like Specter’s defection has created a certain level of soul searching within the Republican Party.

Here’s one thing I find almost comical about this process:

Patrick J. Toomey, a former head of the Club for Growth whose primary challenge to Mr. Specter led the senator to bow out in the face of what he thought was a probable defeat, said Republicans should be open to a “wide range of opinions on a wide range of issues.”

“But I think fundamental common ground that the vast majority of Republicans share is the belief in limited government, freedom and personal responsibility,” Mr. Toomey said.

If the GOP actually stood for those three “shared beliefs,” it wouldn’t be in the position it finds itself right now. You can blame it on the brand, on the sputtery right-wing media or any other number of things, but those three ideals sell very easily to most independent voters and independents do not like the current incarnation of the GOP. The Republican reality is pretty bad and the brand is much, much worse. A huge problem is the brand has taken over the party and there seems to be no real effort from the inside to right the ship.

I don’t see any easy answers and I still think the GOP could honestly fall by the wayside as a theocratic stump of a party and find itself replaced with something new that actually believes, lives and most importantly votes, those three shared beliefs — pretty much summed up with the two governing tenets of small government and civil liberties.

Here’s another bit from the first link:

The question of how the party should respond to Mr. Specter’s departure was the main subject of a Senate Republican lunch on Wednesday. The party can be a “big tent,” said Senator John Ensign of Nevada, “but here are some core principles: fiscal responsibility, more personal responsibility, looking for a smaller, more effective government.”

Mr. Graham scoffed at the notion that the party was suffering because it was not conservative enough.

“Do you really believe that we lost 18-to-34-year-olds by 19 percent, or we lost Hispanic voters, because we are not conservative enough?” he said. “No. This is a ridiculous line of thought. The truth is we lost young people because our Republican brand is tainted.”

A new note to the GOP — right now no one is buying that the core principles of the party is fiscal responsibility and personal responsibility after the Bush 43 years. And its pretty hard to back away from those failed eight years when just about no one in the party fought back against the drunken sailor spending, unbelievable government encroachment into personal behavior and massive expansion of the federal government’s bureaucratic structure.

Hypocrisy doesn’t play all that well when it’s this naked and the GOP doesn’t seem to be learning the lesson.

April 28, 2009

Arlen Specter switches parties

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:44 pm

The Pennsylvania senator leaves the GOP and doesn’t even simply become an independent. That says a lot about just how toxic the Republican Party has become.

It truly is getting down to the rump, and … you know, I’m not going to make a bad joke about rumps and toxicity right here. You can supply your own punchline with that softball setup.

From the link:

I have decided to run for re-election in 2010 in the Democratic primary.

I am ready, willing and anxious to take on all comers and have my candidacy for re-election determined in a general election.

I deeply regret that I will be disappointing many friends and supporters. I can understand their disappointment. I am also disappointed that so many in the Party I have worked for for more than four decades do not want me to be their candidate. It is very painful on both sides. I thank specially Senators McConnell and Cornyn for their forbearance.

I am not making this decision because there are no important and interesting opportunities outside the Senate. I take on this complicated run for re-election because I am deeply concerned about the future of our country and I believe I have a significant contribution to make on many of the key issues of the day, especially medical research. NIH funding has saved or lengthened thousands of lives, including mine, and much more needs to be done. And my seniority is very important to continue to bring important projects vital to Pennsylvania’s economy.

I am taking this action now because there are fewer than thirteen months to the 2010 Pennsylvania Primary and there is much to be done in preparation for that election. Upon request, I will return campaign contributions contributed during this cycle.

While each member of the Senate caucuses with his Party, what each of us hopes to accomplish is distinct from his party affiliation. The American people do not care which Party solves the problems confronting our nation. And no Senator, no matter how loyal he is to his Party, should or would put party loyalty above his duty to the state and nation.

April 9, 2009

The GOP in Texas …

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 7:49 pm

… shoring up the rear guard in teh stupid.

Oh, man.

From the link:

Here’s a really interesting moment in state-level politics: A GOP state Representative in Texas, Betty Brown, asked a representative from a Chinese-American group if they could just adopt new names that would be “easier for Americans to deal with.”

March 27, 2009

PINO

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 10:44 pm

Marc Ambinder totally nailed today’s Republican Party – ” … the GOP is a PINO — a Party In Name Only at this point.”

GOP budget plan?

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:37 pm

Apparently this …

GOP budget chart

GOP budget chart

The Republican Party isn’t even trying anymore is it? This has already been very widely (and rightly so) mocked on the blogosphere as being a bit too reminiscent of South Park’s underwear gnomes profitability plan.
The “Rebpulican Road to Recovery” rectangle is where all the “magic” happens here. Too bad the curtain has long been pulled aside exposing exactly what that “magic” entails. And it’s not policy, brains or, judging by this chart, any iota of seriousness.
The long walk in the wilderness just got a little longer for the GOP.
(Hat tip: the Daily Dish)

March 12, 2009

Pat Ruffini is stupid

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:03 pm

Stumbling upon GOP stupidity right now is akin to shooting fish in a barrel, but I’m just sick of it all. Sick of the stupidity and very sick of being given such easy blog material by the loudest voices on the right on a daily basis.

This passes for right wing punditry  at the moment? I’ve blogged on the topic quite a bit, but every day I become more convinced the GOP may actually be slowly dying.

From the link:

The larger and more influential Rush’s audience, the more mobilized the base will be against Obama. This has nothing to do with Rush exerting policy leadership over the GOP — and everything to do with Rush as a popularizer of conservative principles and a rallying point for opposition. The best reaction to the Limbaugh “controversy” is for GOP politicians to avoid it entirely — while Rush’s audience grows and grows.

Er, Pat — the point isn’t the size of Rush’s (overinflated) audience. It’s the message and who it resonates with. Right now it resonates with out-of-touch cranks who are almost exclusively old, white and male and impervious to logic and reality. The Rush brouhaha is hurting the GOP, not helping. Anyone who doesn’t get this basic fact is either dissembling or is just stupid. (See the header for my opinion on this matter.)

I’d of never guessed I’d witness the death of a political party in my lifetime given how ossified the current landscape has been for decades, but it is actually happening right now. The Republican Party has no leadership and its base is somewhere south of 25 percent of the voting public. The three-legged stool is gone — not just broken, but gone — and whatever was left of the “big tent” has long been abandoned and used for toilet paper by the hobos who last used it for shelter.

March 9, 2009

Frum on the GOP and Limbaugh at Newsweek

Filed under: Media, Politics — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:30 pm

David Frum has an excellent cover story at Newsweek on the ongoing “discussion” within the GOP on Limbaughism and the general state of conservatism. It’s a long-form piece, but well worth the time taken to read the entire article.

Frum is doing some great work at NewMajority.com, but his message is being shouted down by the lowest common denominator in the GOP.

I did a guest blog post in the early days of NewMajority back in late January, but have yet to follow-up. The initial plan was for me to provide a few posts a week. A spate of freelance work and a bout with the flu has kept me from keeping that schedule up right now. I do intend to continue contributing to NewMajority as long as Frum will have me, but I also have to admit I’m not sure I have a lot to add to the GOP debate given the current state of affairs.

My libertarian moderate message really isn’t part of a shouting match on exactly what the Republican Party should be going forward. Right now it looks like some sort of “pure” hard right politics that appeals to roughly a third (or more likely much less) of the electorate versus a political party interested in debating the subjects of the day and engaging all voters in some fashion. Depending on the outcome of this internecine conflict, the GOP will either no longer compete on a national scope or it will become a solid opposition party and hopefully inject ideas and policies into U.S. government.

The options are that stark and Frum gets it. Here’s his lede establishing his conservative and GOP bona fides. A laundry list necessary because the rabid right has idiotically decided Frum is just another RINO. Good move there guys. Try to alienate someone who is honestly seeking solutions instead of shouting at walls.

From the first link:

It wasn’t a fight I went looking for. On March 3, the popular radio host Mark Levin opened his show with an outburst (he always opens his show with an outburst): “There are people who have somehow claimed the conservative mantle … You don’t even know who they are … They’re so irrelevant … It’s time to name names …! The Canadian David Frum: where did this a-hole come from? … In the foxhole with other conservatives, you know what this jerk does? He keeps shooting us in the back … Hey, Frum: you’re a putz.”

Now, of course, Mark Levin knows perfectly well where I come from. We’ve known each other for years, had dinner together. I’m a conservative Republican, have been all my adult life. I volunteered for the Reagan campaign in 1980. I’ve attended every Republican convention since 1988. I was president of the Federalist Society chapter at my law school, worked on the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal and wrote speeches for President Bush—not the “Read My Lips” Bush, the “Axis of Evil” Bush. I served on the Giuliani campaign in 2008 and voted for John McCain in November. I supported the Iraq War and (although I feel kind of silly about it in retrospect) the impeachment of Bill Clinton. I could go on, but you get the idea.

I mention all this not because I expect you to be fascinated with my life story, but to establish some bona fides. In the conservative world, we have a tendency to dismiss unwelcome realities. When one of us looks up and murmurs, “Hey, guys, there seems to be an avalanche heading our way,” the others tend to shrug and say, he’s a “squish” or a RINO—Republican in Name Only.

February 15, 2009

Ken Starr opens mouth and expels gas

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 11:14 am

Why is Starr even given a mic to embarass himself with?

From the link:

Kenneth W. Starr has a warning for the Obama administration: what goes around comes around.

During a speech yesterday in Boston, Starr told a group of attorneys that President Barack Obama could face an uphill battle over his Supreme Court nominees because as a senator he opposed two of George W. Bush’s Supreme Court picks, Samuel Alito and John Roberts.

Starr’s message: elephants don’t forget.

The former independent counsel during Bill Clinton’s Whitewater and Monica Lewinsky scandals, Starr said an aging Supreme Court meant that Obama could be able to name perhaps two or more nominees to the high court. And that could lead to a showdown with Senate Republicans who were livid with Democratslike Obama who filibustered and voted against the Bush picks.

Er, leaving Obama’s actions as a senator aside, if I were part of the GOP braintrust I’d put Ken Starr in deep mothballs. I certainly wouldn’t want to remind the public of the GOP’s cockblocking Clinton at every turn and actually moving forward with a failed impeachment effort.

Taking a longer view I’m betting history sees the last sixteen, and probably an even longer block of time, as the dark ages of the GOP. That is, if the party doesn’t completely implode which is still a very real possibility. Right now you have pundits, the right-wing blogosphere and the far right bloc looking to unseat the three Republican Senators who voted for the stimulus plan. Slick move there — it’s always a good idea to force your party into an even larger minority position at the ballot box.

History will see this period as the dark ages of the GOP because the party is purely obstructionist, partisan and hypocritical.

Partisan because every move the GOP has made over the last two presidential terms, and now the beginning of a third is to promote the GOP. Even if that means putting party over the nation. The voters have recognized that fact and if nothing changes in tone and action, the GOP may find itself in a very compromised position as an ongoing concern.

Obstructionist? See the Clinton years with the inane impeachment dog-and-pony show and the treatment offered the Democrats during the early Bush years when the GOP had the White House, Senate and House.

And hypocritical is the worst sin of all. The “small government” party spent taxpayers money like they controlled the printing press and ran up gigantic deficits to saddle the next several generations of Americans. A lot of the think tank ideas that finally went into practice under Bush 43 clearly should have remained in the filing cabinet.

The GOP coalition is in complete shambles and having a washed-up player in a failed farce making public statements isn’t going to help solve any of the many problems facing the party.

After the election I feared, and made the dark prediction, the GOP would continue to marginalize itself through a hard right-wing turn. The Palinistas were, and still are, very, very bitter. Bitter enough to bite their own noses off to spite the electorate that utterly rejected them.

That is the lesson the GOP needs to learn — the electorate has rejected them and demographics look very dismal indeed for any hope of a comeback unless drastic steps are taken. I’m not seeing those drastic steps.

I’ve contributed to NewMajority.com, and I like a lot of what I’m reading there, but I don’t see any real answers to the core problems right now. Culture11, another great new blog of conservative thought went belly-up recently. Former right wing blogosphere powerhouse Pajamas Media changed their business model to some ridiculous and soon-to-fail two-bit version of TMZ for politics. Joe the Plumber is their “star.” That’s all that needs to be said there.

I hope whatever new party rises from the ashes of the still burning brightly GOP corpse gets back to civil liberties, small government and personal responsibility. I’m not holding my breath — well, except when I keep voting Democrat because the GOP if full of folly, fools and fecklessness.

February 12, 2009

GOP sees, shoots, foot

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 9:26 pm

The Grand Old Party is bereft of decent ideas, is morally bankrupt and is transparently hypocritical to an embarrassing extent. The party was soundly trounced at the polls not three and half months ago and this is the response.

Attacking a president who swept into office with a massive portion of the vote doesn’t seem like the path resurgence to me. Maybe the Republican braintrust knows something none of the rest of do, or more likely they just have head-in-the-ass syndrome.

From the Daily Dish link:

This much is now clear. Their clear and open intent is to do all they can, however they can, to sabotage the new administration (and the economy to boot). They want failure. Even now. Even after the last eight years. Even in a recession as steeply dangerous as this one. There are legitimate debates to be had; and then there is the cynicism and surrealism of total political war. We now should have even less doubt about what kind of people they are. And the mountain of partisan vitriol Obama will have to climb every day of the next four or eight years.

Older Posts »