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Thread: Where to Now for the GOP - Presidential Elections

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    Senior Contributor Bigfella's Avatar
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    Where to Now for the GOP - Presidential Elections

    heardThere has already been some post-election analysis going on elsewhere. I thought it might be useful to start up a thread focussed on this particular issue. I'll post a few articles & observations from elsewhere & hopefully get some good responses.

    The question was sparked by a couple of interesting observations I heard (I'm hoping I remember them correctly).

    The first was that there are a bloc of states (about 16) that have voted Democrat in the past 9 Presidential elections. Together they have about 240 EC votes. The problem for the GOP is obvious.

    The other was that the Dems have won the popular vote in 5 of the last 6 Presidential elections. While the EC is what matters, it is just as obviously easier to win if you are consistently getting the most votes.

    If true, these seem to indicate a long term problem for the GOP in Presidential elections. While the Democrats are always capable of nominating tragically awful candidates (and will probably do so again), the GOP can't really rely on this as a strategy (given that they are capable of much the same).

    I am not jumping into the 'GOP is finished' category. I've seen too many political eulogies finish with the 'corpse' jumping to life to do that. Still, there are some intresting questions that arise. So, is there a long term problem? Is there an entrenched or entrenching Democrat advantage? What should the GOP do to increase its chances in future Presidential elections?


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    Senior Contributor Bigfella's Avatar
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    Its easy enough to find people from the 'other side' telling you what you did wrong. Here is someone with pretty strong conservative credentials. he addresses some tendencies that have arisen in conservative politics in America. I'm going to edit a bit because of length.:

    Republicans at a crossroads

    By Rod Dreher, Senior editor, The American Conservative

    In the aftermath of defeat against a vulnerable president, an inquest is under way in the "Grand Old Party".

    Surveying the smoking rubble of the Republican Party's election hopes, the right-wing talk radio giant Rush Limbaugh made a declaration.

    "Conservatism, in my humble opinion, did not lose last night. It's just very difficult to beat Santa Claus."

    Read those two sentences carefully, for they tell you a lot about the massive psychological problem the Republicans face - and why it will be extraordinarily difficult and painful for them to deal with reality.

    On his popular radio show, the highly influential Limbaugh explained in detail how the election results prove that the American people have become weak-minded, jelly-spined degenerates.

    Why, they even allowed themselves to be bought off by a welfare-state liberal Democrat who promised them the moon!

    Though it is hard to see how one builds a successful democratic political movement around blaming the demos for its collective stupidity and bad character, one must concede that Limbaugh may be right.

    That is, it is always possible that the people of any given polity could have become so corrupted by greed, sloth, spite, or by all manner of vice, that its judgment fails. Boobs and knaves win elections all the time; sages and gentlemen lose.

    Democracy means only that the people are sovereign; it does not mean that they are infallible.

    Limbaugh's analysis will surely find many sympathetic ears on the American right.

    The problem, obviously, is this self-serving conclusion frees us conservatives from having to examine critically our own principles, arguments, and strategies.

    However grounded in reality, self-righteousness rarely leads to clear thinking about the way out of a slough of despond.

    Compounding the problem is the Limbavian dogma, widely shared on the ideological right - Conservatism cannot fail, it can only be failed......




    It is far easier to dismiss voters as fools and unsuccessful GOP candidates as wretched sinners unworthy of conservatism.

    It was only yesterday, it seems, that frustrated American liberals salved their wounds after electoral thrashings by convincing themselves that voters were too bigoted or stupid to know what was good for them.

    Back then, it was so clear to conservatives how misguided and self-defeating the liberal pity-party was.

    Along those lines, I'm old enough to remember when American conservatives snickered at delusional campus Marxists who believed communism - holy and immaculate! - had not failed, it had simply never been properly tried.

    Roman Catholicism holds a doctrine declaring the Church to be the "spotless bride of Christ". To be sure, Catholics recognise that this is a theological claim, not an empirical one.

    Limbaugh and millions of grassroots conservative militants approach politics as if it were a dogmatic religion. For them, conservatism is the Spotless Bride of Ronald Reagan and nothing about it can be falsified.

    If voters reject the religion of conservatism, it's because they are too sinful to see and embrace the truth.

    That, or particular conservative politicians and strategists lack faith. Activist American conservatism has a name for such slackers and heretics: RINO, which means "Republican In Name Only".

    To be denounced as a RINO by the likes of Limbaugh is to be identified as a snivelling outcast who, if it were possible, would have deceived the elect into soul-destroying compromise with liberals.


    To treat politics as if it were a kind of religion is to make a category error. It is also to lose touch with reality......



    The point is simply that imputing politics with moral grandiosity and quasi-religious fervour makes deviation from ideology an extremely risky proposition.

    Several more moderate Republicans lost their political lives to hard-right Tea Party primary challengers, who later proved too radical to win in Tuesday's general election.

    "I went to bed last night thinking we've lost the country," said Limbaugh, on the day after. "I don't know how else you look at this."

    So a plain-vanilla Republican like Mitt Romney losing a close election to Barack Obama amounts to the Conservative Apocalypse? Good grief. Where does this pants-wetting hysteria end?

    The true-believing conservative grassroots and leaders like Limbaugh have constructed a perfect system of epistemic closure.

    Under their framework, there is no need to rethink what conservatism means or how conservatives behave in light of new facts or changing circumstances.

    And how circumstances have changed! Eight years ago, same-sex marriage was toxic at the polls. This year, voters in three states - Maryland, Maine, and Washington - legalised it.

    What's more, the "McGovern Coalition" - the melange of white liberals, college students, young adults, racial minorities, and labour - upon which Democratic presidential nominee George McGovern built his catastrophic 1972 campaign, has now become the majority.

    In the wake of Obama's triumph, political professionals of both the left and the right credit this trend, and warn that it is unlikely to reverse itself.

    The demographic tide, which includes a dramatic waning of religious faith among younger Americans, is coming in too fast.

    The Republican Party is becoming a perversely rigid sect, more concerned with being militantly correct than being pragmatic and successful. With each passing election cycle, their purity will become the purity of the desert.

    There are many American liberals who counsel conservatives that all would come right for us again if only we would jettison our principles and become liberals.

    No, thanks. Conservatives must be conservative, but we must also recognize that conservatism is not an ideology, but a way of approaching the world, the chief virtue of which is prudence.

    As the great modern conservative Edmund Burke taught, the act of governing - indeed, "every human benefit and enjoyment" - requires compromise.

    The talk-radio Jacobins and the suburban sans culottes may not like that kind of treacherous talk, but it is the essence of the conservative political temperament.

    Burke once observed that "a state without the means of some change is without the means of its conservation."

    He might have said the same thing about the Republican Party. Then again, the old boy was probably a RINO.
    BBC News - Viewpoint: Republicans at a crossroads


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    Senior Contributor Bigfella's Avatar
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    This is a post from a guy on another forum. Generally his posts are just this side of 'foaming at the mouth right wing' (today he was seriously spruiking mining the whole Mexican border). That is why I found this so interesting - I was thinking about some of the same points when I put on my 'what should the GOP do now' hat. Don't know enough about the implications of 3) to go along with it at this point, but the other points all have some merit. It isn't about the GOP ditching its principles, its about how, where & how hard they choose to fight on particular points.

    Anyway:

    Ahh....the GOP. Or not-so GOP depending on your opinion.

    After this election, I think the GOP needs to seriously rebrand. And I don't mean just make some small changes to platform. I mean seriously rebrand. Heck, change the name entirely, like Consitution, or Prosperity, or Classical, or something else that evokes classic ideals and a strong American image.

    As for platform changes, here are my suggestions:

    1) Moderate on the Military. The US does not need to be Team America: World Police. Bring it down reasonably, and show the people that the defense budgets you support are 100% lean muscle without a lot of extraneous trimmings. Cutting the Defense pork will hurt....a lot. But face it, a lot of Americans are sick of the DoD being someone's personal cookie jar for their district. You'll draw wider support, and appeal to the younger crowd, by letting this dog take a bit of a nap. And since the Democrats are very hard against Defense spending, you aren't going to lose a significant number of votes, because you're still FOR defense, just not making the US Military's status as a global superpower force a huge issue.

    2) Moderate on Immigration. I'm not talking about amnesty. I'm talking about sitting down with groups of established 1st gen immigrants that came here legally, and working out a definitive plan for dealing with the illegals. You might be surprised what they come up with. Better enforcement of current regulations on those with work or student visas. A focus by LE on hunting down the traffickers themselves, even if some border jumpers get away. Working out a 'probationary' method for illegals with jobs that are currently residing in the US to get proper papers and then work their way towards permanent residency. As has been said and seen, immigrants, and especially asian and latino ones, are generally hard working, moral, and fiscally/socially conservative people. If you partner with them on this one issue that is basically the only thing you disagree on, you can pick up this voting block that really does like a lot of the same things you do.

    3) Trade. This is going to alienate some of the corporate higher ups. It's going to be a major sacrifice thing here. But you need to get really tough on overseas markets. China is the whipping boy in the news for this one, but a perfect example of a country looking out for its own interests. The US needs to reciprocate its trade policy with its trade partners. If they're going to levy tariffs, we levy reciprocal ones. We don't support our companies that outsource, and we give breaks to foreign companies that insource to us. That's not to say we penalize outsourcing....we just don't make it as attractive as it currently is. Make the party the party of the American worker....for sensible regulations on commerce that benefit American business and workers while staying reasonably global. That'll draw away from the huge democrat machines that are the unions. A lot of union workers are also fiscally and socially conservative. But if you come off as the party of the white-shirts, you lose them.

    4) Don't get overly vocal in social issues. The 'base' will continue to support you because the Democrats are so far to the Left that they're in the next county from the ball-park. But don't try to get the vote of those in that camp either. Just ignore those social issues like abortion and gay rights. They're just a stick the Dems beat you with. When they bring it up, counter by saying that only X% of American women have had an abortion, but 100% of American women benefit from a good economy. Make the Dems seem like a rabid fringe group for bringing it up. And highlight that for most Americans, abortion is only a philosophical issue....not a practical one. And the same goes for gay marriage.....it's not a practical issue to discuss when your country is going in the tank. Better to leave it to the states. As for most of the other social 'issues' that the Dems champion regularly beat the Dems with the stick that they're only focused on the very narrow self interests of groups that are by and large 'fringe' groups. Continue to show how practically marginal these non-issues are, and how the party instead wants to spend its time on healing the country and getting it out of its slump....and if the several states haven't resolved the social issues once that's done we'll revisit them with compassion and consideration.


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    Defense ProfessionalSenior Contributor tbm3fan's Avatar
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    Here is a few more. The Republican party has always counted on getting the white male vote. Nixon perfected that in the 1972 race. So far it has held true. However, the white male vote of 2012 was 2% less than in 2008. It is predicted it will be another 2% less in 2016 while all others voters are on the rise. If that group is declining, and they rely on only white males, then they can't win a national race again. Can they change their ideology to appeal to those other groups or will their right wing insist that they were simply not conservative enough.

    Not only did they win the popular vote but totaling the voting for the House the Democrats total is greater than the Republicans. The only reason the Republicans have the House is because they controlled the redistricting in several states. Look at Pennsylvania in 2008 and 2012 to see it was gerrymandered to hell after the Republicans won the state in 2008. You can gerrymander for Representatives but not the Presidency. Texas was another where they got 5 new districts due to the Hispanic increase yet all seats ended up Republican as the Hispanics were spread out across the board.

    Demographically it is projected that Georgia, Texas, and New Mexico will become battleground states and no longer sure red states in 2016. Could even be blue in 2020. How do they deal with that? You are right in one thing the Democrats have a huge electoral vote head start even before the voting begins. That head start is not likely to decrease as those states are solid blue and it would take an amazing Republican candidate to sway some of them. Haven't been many of those around in more ways than one. I voted Nixon (when 19 no less), Ford, Reagan and Bush I. During the middle of Clinton they started doing things I didn't agree with. Then started using words in their platform I didn't like. Where there is smoke their is fire and since a lot of those words dealt with morals I backed away from them ever since. Can they ever get me back? They would definitely need to get rid of their religious right and that ain't gonna happen.

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    Senior Contributor Bigfella's Avatar
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    crap! typo in the title - can I fix this or do I need some Mod magic?


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    Defense ProfessionalSenior Contributor tbm3fan's Avatar
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    4) Don't get overly vocal in social issues. The 'base' will continue to support you because the Democrats are so far to the Left that they're in the next county from the ball-park. But don't try to get the vote of those in that camp either. Just ignore those social issues like abortion and gay rights. They're just a stick the Dems beat you with. When they bring it up, counter by saying that only X% of American women have had an abortion, but 100% of American women benefit from a good economy. Make the Dems seem like a rabid fringe group for bringing it up. And highlight that for most Americans, abortion is only a philosophical issue....not a practical one. And the same goes for gay marriage.....it's not a practical issue to discuss when your country is going in the tank. Better to leave it to the states. As for most of the other social 'issues' that the Dems champion regularly beat the Dems with the stick that they're only focused on the very narrow self interests of groups that are by and large 'fringe' groups. Continue to show how practically marginal these non-issues are, and how the party instead wants to spend its time on healing the country and getting it out of its slump....and if the several states haven't resolved the social issues once that's done we'll revisit them with compassion and consideration.
    If this is the rabid fellow you mentioned then he is still rabid. The Democrats were far left in the 70's and 80's. It took Clinton to pull the party back from the left wing to the middle since the middle candidate almost always wins. He says paint the Dems as a rabid fringe group. Not all Dems are rabid anymore than all Reps are rabid. I know the difference and so do others so I don't think it will be so easy to paint the Dems as rabid since many now know better. Fooled once but not twice one could say. The rest of what he says sounds very reasonable but also demands an entire remake of the Republican Party and the ditching of their rabid and very vocal right wing to achieve. If I see they only laying back there is still no way I get near the Party. Tell the right wing, conservative Christian groups, or whatever you want to call them, to make their own third party so they can have their 5-10% of the vote. Once out the moderate Republicans would have a real fighting chance with the other 90-95%.

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    Senior Contributor Bigfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbm3fan View Post
    If this is the rabid fellow you mentioned then he is still rabid. The Democrats were far left in the 70's and 80's. It took Clinton to pull the party back from the left wing to the middle since the middle candidate almost always wins. He says paint the Dems as a rabid fringe group. Not all Dems are rabid anymore than all Reps are rabid. I know the difference and so do others so I don't think it will be so easy to paint the Dems as rabid since many now know better. Fooled once but not twice one could say. The rest of what he says sounds very reasonable but also demands an entire remake of the Republican Party and the ditching of their rabid and very vocal right wing to achieve. If I see they only laying back there is still no way I get near the Party. Tell the right wing, conservative Christian groups, or whatever you want to call them, to make their own third party so they can have their 5-10% of the vote. Once out the moderate Republicans would have a real fighting chance with the other 90-95%.
    He is still rabid (did I mention the minefield?), but I think he had a moment of clarity after getting a good kicking on election day.

    I think there is a good point in there - the activist wing of any group can me made to reflect badly on the whole. There are definately social activists on the left who will overreach & who can be held up as 'dangerous extremists' or 'out of touch'. Whetenr or not there are enough of them or the GOP can tame its own fanatics well enough to make them an issue with swinging voters is another question. I'm going to post in more detail on this, but if I were in the sane part of the GOP the phrase 'personhood pledge' would keep me up at nights.


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    The View from Red State

    Another view of the problem - pretty much in direct conflict wiht the first one I posted. It is worth logging in to the link just to read the comments. If these folks represent the GOP 'base' the party is in REAL trouble.

    Sadly, since I first read this they have taken down the popup that encouraged you to give money to 'defeat Obama & the Hollywood elite'. it had a date counter counting down the days left to accomplish this - it was sitting at 0. I know, I'm just being nasty.

    Status Quo Ante

    By: Erick Erickson (Diary) | November 7th, 2012 at 01:15 AM | 328


    Like when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object, we now know what happens when a candidate so weak anybody can beat him meets a candidate so weak he cannot beat anybody. Americans vote for the status quo. $6 billion later, Americans voted for the status quo. Karl Rove, call your donors.

    Republicans will keep the House. Democrats will keep the Senate. Obama will keep the White House.

    It is what it is. The next two years are going to be some of the most fun and exciting years within the modern American conservative movement.

    We know in American politics that nothing is permanent. The question we are going to have to assess is whether Barack Obama’s coalition is a Democratic coalition or a Barack Obama coalition. My personal opinion is that Barack Obama built a winning coalition for Barack Obama and it may not translate to a long term Democratic coalition. Just ask Minority Leader Pelosi and that now endangered creature known as the Democratic Governor.

    As the jockeying for 2016 begins soon (and it will begin very soon) we will find out.

    The Obama campaign ran a very good campaign. The Republicans did not. There was no fraud. There was no stealing the election. There was just a really good ground game from Barack Obama and a lot of smoke and mirrors from Team Romney and outside charlatans, many of whom will now go work for Republican Super PACs making six figure salaries, further draining the pockets of rich Republicans when not on television explaining how awesome and expert they are. Whether you can bring yourself to say it or not, like it or not, Barack Obama is, today, your President.

    There will be a lot of blame to go around, but, if Republicans are honest, they’ll have to concede that the Romney campaign ran a bad campaign and only almost won because the President had a bad debate. Romney could not even win his home state, his second home state, or his vacation home state.

    Neither side bothered to put forward a serious agenda that stood for much of anything. Barack Obama ran on beating up Mitt Romney and Mitt Romney ran on running away from himself. He stood for nothing and everything at the same time. At least Barack Obama campaigned on the consistent message of hating Mitt Romney.

    Compare Romney to Scott Walker. Scott Walker took on the unions in Wisconsin and won big. Romney barely took on Barack Obama. He drew few lines in the sand, made those fungible, and did not stand on many principles. Americans wanted to assess a contrast between the candidates and got blurred lines instead. They went with the politician they knew instead of the one who was different depending on the election season, constituency, and time of day.

    At the same time, Romney made a conscious decision to blow off Hispanic voters. Yes conservatives, we must account for this. The Romney campaign to the hispanic community was atrocious and, frankly, the fastest growing demographic in America isn’t going to vote for a party that sounds like that party hates brown people. That does not mean the GOP must offer up amnesty. It does mean that a group that is a natural fit for the GOP on social issues, must in someway be made to feel comfortable with the GOP.

    One more thing before moving on to my larger point, both parties should henceforth agree to never, ever nominate for President anyone from Massachusetts.

    As for you conservatives who are convinced today that suddenly we are a socialist nation, sober up and pay attention: the next two years are going to be some of the most impactful and fun years in the conservative movement. Republicans who, overnight, were screaming about the country headed toward socialism are, if we are honest, not yet deprogrammed from defending Mitt Romney. The Romney campaign, truth be told, has been pathetic at defining a real, right-of-center alternative to Barack Obama. It’s hard to say Americans embraced, overnight, socialism, when Americans delivered back the status quo — including the “crazy” tea partiers in the House of Representatives — rejecting only Mitt Romney’s brand of “I’m going to do what the President is doing, but with more tickle.”

    The quicker you accept he ran a crappy campaign of tofu ideas the better off you will be. Reagan beat Carter by being drawing bright lines and simply explaining why his way was better. Romney never really tried that, then picked a Vice Presidential nominee who had done that and promptly taped his mouth shut.

    Over the past two years the GOP has atrophied into a party of intellectual lightweights in the House and Senate. They have run on “saving the free market”, but actively collaborated with the Democrats to drive-up the national debt to more than $16 trillion. Major conservative groups on the outside have, instead of reinforcing conservatism, continued their Bush era habit of reinforcing the party line.

    Just go back to the primary and look at the major conservative influencers who went quickly to Mitt Romney before the field had even fully shaped up. He was the Republican, not the conservative. Even worse, look at the rest of the GOP field. Romney, the man so weak anybody could beat him, beat the rest of the field. That speaks volumes about the rest of the field.

    Once in the arena for President, Romney failed to define and articulate a conservative foreign policy beyond a muddling of the Bush policy. He failed to truly advocate any reforms of the fiscal house, even muzzling Paul Ryan. And the party went right along with it. Back in November of 1976, columnist George Will wrote this:


    If nature is not as bountiful, or men’s capacities as equal, as once was assumed, then equality must be forced on men. That is a paralyzing thought for liberals, whose philosophy derives its name from the word liberty.

    Conservatives are comparably disarrayed. True conservatives distrust and try to modulate social forces that work against the conservation of traditional values. But for a century, the dominant conservatism has uncritically worshiped the most transforming force, the dynamism of the American economy. No coherent conservatism can be based solely on commercialism, but this conservatism has been consistently ardent only about economic growth, and hence about economies of scale, and social mobility. These take a severe toll against small towns, small enterprises, family farms, local governments, craftsmanship, environmental values, a sense of community, and other aspects of humane living.

    Conservatism often has been inarticulate about what to conserve, other than “free enterprise,” which is institutionalized restlessness, an engine of perpetual change. But to govern is to choose one social outcome over others; to impose a collective will on processes of change. Conservatism that does not extend beyond reverence for enterprise is unphilosophic, has little to do with government and conserves little.


    It rings true today with where the GOP finds itself — intellectually bereft of actual conservatism, replaced instead by pretty faces, spray on tans, and platitude. When it actually advocates sound, conservative policies, it wins. It won in Michigan last night on union issues. It won in Wisconsin. Hell, we kept our 2010 tea party gains that were won on reining in government.

    Barack Obama won because his campaign team ran a tremendous ass kicking ground game while the Romney campaign clearly ran smoke and mirrors so convincingly inside the echo chamber of the GOP as to fool a lot of great Republican pundits and Dick Morris.

    But Barack Obama also won because the public knew him and stacked him up to a nothing burger on the other side. That nothing burger was not, per se, Mitt Romney, but the GOP as a whole. Consider, if you will, the GOP’s Senate nominees, many, but not all, of whom were backed by the party establishment.

    Tommy Thompson, Heather Wilson, Connie Mack, Pete Hoekstra, Linda McMahon, Todd Aiken, and Richard Mourdock were not exactly founts of rhetorical genius or articulate mouthpieces for conservatism in the way Mike Lee, Pat Toomey, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz have been.

    Add to them Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, and the like and the GOP has had very few skilled salesmen for conservative ideas and values. The party then put its fate in the hands of a moderate from Massachusetts who, just trust the GOP, was really more conservative than he let on. Conservatives, many of whom did not buy it, were happy to be loyal soldiers because he was the nominee — a loyalty that too few establishment Republicans send the other way to conservatives when the establishment gets beaten.

    In the next two years, conservatives are going to have some fun fights within the GOP to move beyond a cliched defense of free markets into really articulating a vision for defending free markets and what it means. At the same time, it will be forced to deal rationally and charitably with the issue of immigration. And it will have an opportunity to drive out those who now think the time is right to give up on fiscal conservatism or social conservatism. Primary season 2014 should be spectacular.

    Compromise? Like hell. We’re going to keep fighting. And we will find someone who actually doesn’t speak conservatism like he learned it from Rosetta Stone last week. For those of you on the left licking your chops thinking this spells doom — the nation just spent $6 billion for the status quo. I’ll take my chances.

    The nation did not drift left. It was just unpersuaded Mitt Romney would actually take us right and sure as hell did not know what it would get even if it went with Romney. The next two years will set the vision of a more populist oriented conservatism of which I am excited to play a part. And I think, when the Democrats finally realize the new Democratic coalition is only a Barack Obama coalition, conservatives and the GOP will be ready.

    Just please, GOP, PLEASE — in four years let’s not go with the “he’s the most electable” argument. The most electable usually aren’t.
    Status Quo Ante | RedState


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    what i find funny is that Erick Ericksen says "over the past two years the GOP has atrophied into a party of intellectual lightweights in the House and Senate."

    wait a sec, i thought the Tea Party revolution was supposed to have undone all of this?? so quickly do they turn into intellectual lightweights...

    and besides, when did the whole base go for intellectual heavyweights? i thought that was a sign of hah-vad country-club elitism!
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

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    Global Moderator Defense Professional JAD_333's Avatar
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    BF:

    This is where I am, especially in spirit. Limbaugh remains an entertainer to me, one who thrives on the bold statement. To say people voted for Santa Clause is probably true for many of those people. But consider this: The two greatest margins of victory in the popular vote in the post-WWII era went to two Republicans, Nixon and Reagan, 18 and 17 million respectively. Both were in their second elections. Obama's margin in his second election is peanuts by comparison: 3.2 million. In the bigger picture, the Dems are waning and the GOP is closing in, and would have won this cycle but for the cleverness of the Obama campaign and a few key mistakes on the GOP side.

    Asty note the bolded para.

    Charles Krauthammer: The way forward » The Commercial Appeal

    Charles Krauthammer: The way forward

    Washington Post Writers GroupPosted November 10, 2012 at midnight

    WASHINGTON — They lose and immediately the chorus begins. Republicans must change or die. A rump party of white America, it must adapt to evolving demographics or forever be the minority.

    The only part of this that is even partially true regards Hispanics. They should be a natural Republican constituency: striving immigrant community, religious, Catholic, family-oriented and socially conservative (on abortion, for example).

    The principal reason they go Democratic is the issue of illegal immigrants. In securing the Republican nomination, Mitt Romney made the strategic error of (unnecessarily) going to the right of Rick Perry. Romney could never successfully tack back.

    For the party in general, however, the problem is hardly structural. It requires but a single policy change: border fence plus amnesty. Yes, amnesty. Use the word. Shock and awe — full legal normalization (just short of citizenship) in return for full border enforcement.

    I've always been of the "enforcement first" school, with the subsequent promise of legalization. I still think it's the better policy. But many Hispanics fear that there will be nothing beyond enforcement. So, promise amnesty right up front. Secure the border with guaranteed legalization to follow on the day the four border-state governors affirm that illegal immigration has slowed to a trickle.

    Imagine Marco Rubio advancing such a policy on the road to 2016. It would transform the landscape. He'd win the Hispanic vote. Yes, win it. A problem fixable with a single policy initiative is not structural. It is solvable.

    The other part of the current lament is that the Republican Party consistently trails among blacks, young people and (unmarried) women. (Republicans are plus-7 among married women.) But this is not for reasons of culture, identity or even affinity. It is because these constituencies tend to be more politically liberal — and Republicans are the conservative party.

    The country doesn't need two liberal parties. Yes, Republicans need to weed out candidates who talk like morons about rape. But this doesn't mean the country needs two pro-choice parties either. In fact, more women are pro-life than are pro-choice. The problem here for Republicans is not policy but delicacy — speaking about culturally sensitive and philosophically complex issues with reflection and prudence.

    Additionally, warn the doomsayers, Republicans must change not just ethnically but ideologically. Back to the center. Moderation above all!

    More nonsense. Tuesday's exit polls showed that by an eight-point margin (51-43), Americans believe that government does too much. And Republicans are the party of smaller government. Moreover, onrushing economic exigencies — crushing debt, unsustainable entitlements — will make the argument for smaller government increasingly unassailable.

    So, why give it up? Republicans lost the election not because they advanced a bad argument but because they advanced a good argument not well enough. Romney ran a solid campaign, but he is by nature a Northeastern moderate. He sincerely adopted the new conservatism, but still spoke it as a second language.

    More Ford '76 than Reagan '80, Romney is a transitional figure, both generationally and ideologically. Behind him, the party has an extraordinarily strong bench. In Congress — Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, Kelly Ayotte, (the incoming) Ted Cruz and others. And the governors — Bobby Jindal, Scott Walker, Nikki Haley, plus former governor Jeb Bush and the soon retiring Mitch Daniels. (Chris Christie is currently in rehab.)

    They were all either a little too young or just not personally prepared to run in 2012. No longer. There may not be a Reagan among them, but this generation of rising leaders is philosophically rooted and politically fluent in the new constitutional conservatism.

    Ignore the trimmers. There's no need for radical change. The other party thinks it owns the demographic future — counter that in one stroke by fixing the Latino problem. Do not, however, abandon the party's philosophical anchor. In a world where European social democracy is imploding before our eyes, the party of smaller, more modernized government owns the ideological future.

    Romney is a good man who made the best argument he could, and nearly won. He would have made a superb chief executive, but he (like the Clinton machine) could not match Barack Obama in the darker arts of public persuasion.

    The answer to Romney's failure is not retreat. It is to make the case for restrained, rationalized and reformed government in stark contradistinction to President Barack Obama's increasingly unsustainable big-spending, big-government paternalism.

    Republicans: No whimpering. No whining. No reinvention when none is needed. Do conservatism, but do it better. There's a whole generation of leaders ready to do just that.
    To be Truly ignorant, Man requires an Education - Plato

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    I'm going to make this real simple barney style. The GOP has a demographic problem. 80% of Mitt voters were white. Forget about policy. The GOP needs to separate itself from the Rush Limbaugh types that race baits because from a minority perspective,if the GOP doesn't mind keeping these guys around, we want no part of it. It's a turn -off for all minority groups blacks,asians,hispanics etc. Until this happens, even changing policies won't help. Minority groups aren't stupid. As soon as the election was lost Hannity change his position on immigration..I would love to tell Hannity, its not just your policies that turn minorities off, its your commentary during the other 364 days.

    The image problem goes far beyond selling free enterprise and other conservative ideals. Until these facts are realized, 2016 with the forever changing demographics will produce the same results.
    Last edited by blackboard79; 10 Nov 12, at 17:36.

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    I read a differing view in the Richmond fishwrapper this AM and it surrounded the PAC money ($350 million I believe) which was spent for Romney mostly and for some Senate races against Democrats.

    The argument was made that the PAC money actually did more to keep Romney in the campaign than he would have been otherwise. They did the great dirty work (which did not work) and were 2 for 7 on the Senate side.

    And I think the Nixon and Reagan margins had more to do with their challengers...McGovern and Mondale. Both were lousy choices who ran lousy campaigns who made lousy vice-presidential choices. I am not saying that Nixon and Reagan didnt have widespread appeal but the Decmocrats went into both of those elections almost disarmed.
    “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackboard79 View Post
    I'm going to make this real simple barney style. The GOP has a demographic problem. 80% of Mitt voters were white. Forget about policy. The GOP needs to separate itself from the Rush Limbaugh types that race baits because from a minority perspective,if the GOP doesn't mind keeping these guys around, we want no part of it. It's a turn -off for all minority groups blacks,asians,hispanics etc. Until this happens, even changing policies won't help. Minority groups aren't stupid. As soon as the election was lost Hannity change his position on immigration..I would love to tell Hannity, its not just your policies that turn minorities off, its your commentary during the other 364 days.

    The image problem goes far beyond selling free enterprise and other conservative ideals. Until these facts are realized, 2016 with the forever changing demographics will produce the same results.
    Dude,Dems are playing identity politics and you talk about the GOP as having such a problem?For all their sins,they don't speak of White interests,nor are those advocating such things given a public voice.And you know what,it's because of that they lose.They need to play that more.Otherwise they'll lose those 80%.Which 80% is less than 95% blacks and 80%+ Latinos.And yes, your country is already divided,they won't divide it more,they'll just make it clear.And no,they didn't divide it,it's those pandering to identity politics that did it.Good luck fixing that on the long term,because the thing that starts said luck is doing homeworks and attending school.
    Those who know don't speak
    He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. Luke 22:36

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    My thoughts:

    Hispanics and blacks are a losing proposition, despite their social conservativism. The issues that consistently poll as important with them are issues that the Republicans would need to become Democrats to make inroads on. And as the saying goes, if you give people a choice between a Democrat and a Democrat, they'll vote for the Democrat every time. George W. Bush was probably the most Hispanic-friendly candidate it would be possible for the Republicans to run, and he still lost them nationally by over 10%.

    The biggest warning sign for me in the 2012 demographic breakdown isn't race or gender - it's the marriage gap. Singles are a heck of a growing demographic and Democrats carried them by over 20%. That's huge! Even unmarried men went for Obama over Romney (although not nearly the landslide that unmarried women were). As the percentage of the population that's married continues to dwindle, Republicans really might need to reconsider focusing on singles and trying to come up with policies that appeal to them. I suspect this would mean a move away from socially conservative positions, at the very least.

    Asians aren't huge demographically, but they're a a small block that it might be possible for Republicans to break off the Democrat minority monolith. Affirmative Action would probably be a good wedge issue to do it - and also one that would could be used to appeal to white young college-age singles.

    Republicans have failed to learn the lesson in 2008 that the media, on the whole, needs to be treated as a hostile organization. They'll probably fail to learn it again after 2012. A few conservative pundits have said, half-seriously, than Republican super-PACs should focus on buying TV stations instead of TV airtime. I agree - as well as magazines, radio stations and newspapers. I also think that the RNC need to push to either seriously revise the way that debate moderators are selected or for unmoderated debates in 2016. And the Republicans still suck at utilizing the internet as a campaign resource.

    There's something broken with the Republican primary process. Not sure exactly what or how to fix it, but it's something that needs to be looked at before 2016.

    NEVER STOP CAMPAIGNING. Forget about not looking presidential. ESPECIALLY IN THE HOME STRETCH. McCain took a huge hit when he dropped his campaign to return to Washington after the financial crash. Romney seems to have taken a similar hit when he suspended campaigning during the Sandy cleanup.
    "Nature abhors a moron." - H.L. Mencken

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    Quote Originally Posted by Genosaurer View Post
    My thoughts:

    Hispanics and blacks are a losing proposition, despite their social conservativism. The issues that consistently poll as important with them are issues that the Republicans would need to become Democrats to make inroads on. And as the saying goes, if you give people a choice between a Democrat and a Democrat, they'll vote for the Democrat every time. George W. Bush was probably the most Hispanic-friendly candidate it would be possible for the Republicans to run, and he still lost them nationally by over 10%.


    The biggest warning sign for me in the 2012 demographic breakdown isn't race or gender - it's the marriage gap. Singles are a heck of a growing demographic and Democrats carried them by over 20%. That's huge! Even unmarried men went for Obama over Romney (although not nearly the landslide that unmarried women were). As the percentage of the population that's married continues to dwindle, Republicans really might need to reconsider focusing on singles and trying to come up with policies that appeal to them. I suspect this would mean a move away from socially conservative positions, at the very least.

    Asians aren't huge demographically, but they're a a small block that it might be possible for Republicans to break off the Democrat minority monolith. Affirmative Action would probably be a good wedge issue to do it - and also one that would could be used to appeal to white young college-age singles.

    Republicans have failed to learn the lesson in 2008 that the media, on the whole, needs to be treated as a hostile organization. They'll probably fail to learn it again after 2012. A few conservative pundits have said, half-seriously, than Republican super-PACs should focus on buying TV stations instead of TV airtime. I agree - as well as magazines, radio stations and newspapers. I also think that the RNC need to push to either seriously revise the way that debate moderators are selected or for unmoderated debates in 2016. And the Republicans still suck at utilizing the internet as a campaign resource.

    There's something broken with the Republican primary process. Not sure exactly what or how to fix it, but it's something that needs to be looked at before 2016.

    NEVER STOP CAMPAIGNING. Forget about not looking presidential. ESPECIALLY IN THE HOME STRETCH. McCain took a huge hit when he dropped his campaign to return to Washington after the financial crash. Romney seems to have taken a similar hit when he suspended campaigning during the Sandy cleanup.


    The Republicans need swing states to win the election. Not sure how you plan on winning in 2016 by ignoring minority groups considering the population is growing. I find it somewhat ironic your strategy for Asian Americans revolves around presenting a wedge issue. This strategy imo is one of the big reasons why the GOP can't get the minority votes to begin with.; it's ineffective and easily seen right through. Think to yourself why Asians are voting 70% for Obama.

    Would it not make sense for the GOP to step out of the GOP and get sound advice and a great discussion from citizens who voted the other way? Ask those people
    what kind of image the GOP is presenting outside of the GOP bubble.

    I don't care how many ads you run, when Foxnews front page on election day is a picture of a 50 year old black panther, and pundits are calling a landslide victory for Mitt clearly shows me someone is out of touch. To get back in touch, you don't call a meeting, inviting the same folks that help create this mess by trying come up with plans to further divide America.

    The GOP needs a new image and it won't happen until the party decides to accept reality and not associate itself with the extreme right.
    Last edited by blackboard79; 10 Nov 12, at 19:36.

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