It is counterintuitive, but the very best thing Republicans ought to be hoping for if they care about the long term health of the party and the nation is that in 2012 their party will lose both houses of Congress badly and the White House remains in the hands of Democrats under an Obama Administration for four more years.
How can Struggles for Justice say something so seemingly nonsensical to Republican conservatives among our regular readers whom we respect and appreciate? It’s simply the only way to get the fringe elements of the party’s most conservative wing, that have moved the party so sharply to the right, back to the periphery where they belong.
The conservative wing of the GOP displaced the old moderate wing in the Reagan years of the 1980’s. The fact that so many pundits and political operatives are making the obvious point that a Ronald Reagan of the 1980’s today would essentially be in the moderate wing of the Democratic party tells you a lot about this problem.
What’s more, the longer this veering to the almost fascist right continues it is simply bad for the country; a disaster of the first magnitude that is distinctly not in the national interest. The Tea Party wing of the Republican Party has forced those older, more experienced, and previously sensible members of the party to behave like raving lunatics when they speak of the President or his party. And they are unable to compromise at all with the Democrats. Even total capitulation by the Obama Administration still means gridlock.
It has gotten that goofy and we are still in the front end of the silly season. This blog has argued forcefully for the view that the GOP is running at best their second tier of poorly or totally un-vetted candidates in the 2012 Presidential race. And they often say the darndest things as Art Linkletter used to say about the kids he interviewed (this is inside to Baby Boomers and older here). The top rated comedy reality show in television is no longer Jon Stewart or David Letterman. It is not even The Donald’s The Apprentice. It is the almost nightly presidential debates among the Republican presidential field. Sixteen debates thus far with who knows, another sixteen to come before Obama and the winner of this Republican American Idol show hooks up for the main event.
There are two overriding observations to make about this mess here. First, Republicans won’t work with Democrats on anything—period. Second, the basic social contract between the Federal government and even state and local government to serve the broad needs of the American people has been broken seemingly beyond repair. That is among the reasons the Occupy Wall Street protests have had such steam and surprising support and staying power this fall.
Those demonstrators along with, it is hoped, an increasing number of Americans are getting it. Getting big money out of politics and pushing the Republican Party back a little toward the center/right on the political spectrum is required for national survival as a power in our world or for the America Dream turned nightmare to return at all.
A smack down or some sort of meltdown of the Tea Party reactor core next year would provide support for even the slightly more moderate elements of the party to argue that the GOP should move back to the center toward Reagan. They have been actually moving right of him for a couple of years and more now. With this move they would capture the lion’s share of independents. Better yet, if they could somehow press the base to adopt more compassionate views toward immigrants and to put away the fear of Sharia Law and Muslims per se, along with some real concern for the Middle Class and people of color generally they could not be beaten. The challenge for the GOP is to take the Democrat’s issues so squarely aimed at Latinos, blacks, and Muslim Americans and the broad decaying Middle Class and dance to the Democrat’s tune but with Republican direct jobs programs and not just deficit or tax cuts. It would be a liberal’s set of initiatives but with a distinctly Republican twist.
Can the GOP do it? Will they do it? No. Unless they get totally destroyed in next year’s general election where it becomes necessary for their very survival as a party to turn toward the center it won’t happen. The wackos will be rewarded and here will be no stopping them. If they do turn centerward and a bit more moderate, then it is the Democrats who would have to punt. The GOP would thrive even more and strangely and so counter-intuitively, the nation would be so much better off.
We might even see Democrats and Republicans staying in D.C. more and drinking and chasing women or nowadays men like they used to in that town. While they did it back in olden days that got to know the human side of each other. It made good law and cooperation and compromise easier and more natural. So Bill Gates, George Sorros, Warren Buffet, and the Koch Brothers, buy a fifth of Jack Daniels and two shot glasses for all 535 members of the Congress and encourage them to mingle.
Before we too, join the silliness, it is a basic truth that whenever a major party strays too far from the center of where most ordinary Americans actually reside or wish they could, it is bad for Uncle Sam. So let’s have a toast to absolute, total, and humiliating GOP defeat in 2012 greater than in 2008 and watch the Republican Party thrive. If they win as they are next year, we can say goodbye to our democracy and much that has made our nation not only great but allowed it to work as well. Foreigners are watching and they are frankly just at a loss observing our contemporary political scene. Let’s get them proud of all of us again. A GOP attitude adjustment in 2012 and a resounding victory perhaps waiting in 2016 as a Christie or Rubio slide to the center afterward and drag the rest of the party with them might be good for us all. Alas, the Tea Party? Well, let them be found pouring and being mother amongst their teacups and saucers.