The link above shows that even in a “liberal rag” like the New York Times, there’s a tendency to play it safe, and do the typical American press song and dance: “both parties are equally flawed and equally valid, and there are two sides to every issue.” This is, in part, why people are so horrifically misinformed in our country, and it goes to the heart of why so many Americans vote against their own best interests. However, more specific to the topic at hand, as to whether the Republican Party is finished, the take by all six pundits completely misses the point: the Republican Party is finished (fact), because their voters are complete idiots.
I know it sounds harsh to brand an entire group of people as idiots, but in the case of Republican voters, there is no more apt description. They say they care about the deficit, but all they did while Bush was running it up was fly American flags and put partriotic bumper stickers on their trucks saying stuff like, “These colors don’t run,” and “Freedom isn’t free.” Republican voters say they care about jobs, but they’re supporting members of Congress that either refuse to bring jobs bills up for a vote, vote them down, or block them (in the case of the Senate). The worst is that they simultaneously bitch about the fact that we’re broke while demanding that we drastically cut taxes (especially for the rich and corporations), then insist that running our economy in this fashion will create more revenue because it promotes growth. What a laugh!
“But wait!” you say. “If all the idiots vote, then there’s no reason the Republicans can’t win—and they certainly are still viable as a party.” That’s a good point in theory, but here’s why it doesn’t matter: primaries.
You see, to win a primary, candidates have to out krazy the other candidates, which is fine for idiot Republican voters, but it’s going to be really bad when they have to run against a sane, rational person in the general election. See, Mitt Romney might have had a hell of a chance against Obama if he actually stuck to his views, which are, or at least were, pro-choice and pro-health care. Unfortunately for ol’ Mitt, he’s renounced both positions, so at the very least, he’s a tremendous craven hypocrite. This, Republicans, is your front runner.
The next closest guy, Rick Santorum, recently said that he doesn’t believe in the separation of church and state…care to guess how that is going to go over in the general election should he pull off the upset over Romney? And this is, of course, leaving out the other incredibly unpopular stances they’ve taken, like being opposed to women having health insurance coverage for birth control, or pledging never to raise taxes on the rich or corporations.
I mean, what are they going to do during the debates, stand up there and call Obama a “socialist” to his face, or suggest that he wasn’t born in this country, like they do on right wing radio? That may excite the hell out of the Republican base, but to Independents and Democrats it’s going to make them look low-brow and unserious—not exactly what we would call presidential material.
The problem is, if they do treat Obama with respect (which they should), that is going to piss off the base! So the Republican candidate is going to have to make a choice to either say things the base believes in (but everyone else knows is totally absurd), or approach the general election like an adult, and get ridiculed by his base for not representing their views. Views which everyone else agrees are insane.
A point several of the pundits made in the Times article is that Republicans can re-brand themselves, and that over time, both parties have done so to win new voters. This is true; however, the problem for the Republican party in this instance is that its core voters are so extreme and so orthodox in their views, that it will be almost impossible to modernize the brand. In other words, a moderate can’t get elected by these people, yet the further right they go, the more starkly insane they appear to non-Republican voters.
Finally, suppose that somehow the Republicans did manage to win back the White House and control of both Houses of Congress. To keep their base energized, they’d have to do some very conservative things a la what George W. Bush did during his reign of terror from 2000 to 2008. The result would be an even clearer picture of why the modern conservative philosophy is a complete failure; I’ll remind everyone that in 2006 Bush lost the House and the Senate, and in 2008 Obama slaughtered, earning more than twice as many electoral votes as McCain. 2010, the vaunted year of the Republican comeback, was an anomaly—an election in which many Democrats stayed home, and when the Tea Party, now a national laughing stock, was at its apex of strength. The result of that election has been much the same: Congress now enjoys one of the lowest public approval ratings in history as a result of its Republican member’s obstructionism and unwillingness to work in a bi-partisan manner.
The bottom line is that unless the Republican Party can somehow manage to take more mainstream positions on both economic and social issues without totally alienating their base, they are done. Prediction.