Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sunday Question for Conservatives

Do you expect significant change of any kind in the Republican Party now? Policy, procedures, style, personnel? Or will they wind up deciding to chalk the election up to circumstances (or, perhaps, to Mitt Romney in particular) and continue on without significant changes?


  1. I think in some instances where the Republican Party had shown a degree of flexibility in the past (I'm thinking largely about immigration), the election is a perfect excuse to modernize, at least in some way. I do wonder if Republican commitment is expedient enough that they wouldn't want to risk warring factions of their base, though, and it's something I'm keeping in the back of my head. I was surprised, and delighted, to hear Bill Kristol talk about increased tax revenues on millionaires on FNS but I doubt this is going to be a popular refrain among Republicans. It'd be great if Republicans took this as a sign that on social issues (gay marriage, carelessly talking about rape/contraception), they are no longer the voice of the people, but I would be surprised to see an overwhelming change in rhetoric. (I'd never be happier to be wrong though.)

    I've already seen Republicans chalk the loss to Romney alone and while he deserves a lot of blame (his campaigning style was mind-blowingly mediocre and I think if he moved to the center earlier he would have had a much stronger shot), there's enough to spread around the whole party. In general, I'd like to see Republicans move past patent tokenism and genuinely embrace (or open themselves up to) more diverse party surrogates/future faces for 2016. And I don't just mean those that will parrot the party line or give them cover (I'm thinking of Herman Cain as I write this) but truly bring back the "big tent," advocated by, of all people, Lee Atwater.

    On a personnel note, I got to thinking about technology and how the Project ORCA debacle is a good indicator of the contrast between Republicans and Democrats. In general, I think Democrats are a lot savvier when it comes to hiring specialists trained in mobile technology/apps, innovative new techniques like that, whereas Republicans are (to their credit, I guess) more likely to engage with the technology without specifically delegating such roles. It'd be cool to see Republicans, in earnest, make a stronger effort for GOTV using apps/websites in the future.

    Also, if I never hear about UnSkewed polls again I would be very happy.

  2. Recently I was talking about this very thing with a Libertarian friend of mine. We both agreed that if there's any party capable of full-bore and lock-step change it's the Republicans.

    Their current iteration, a coalition of fiscal and social conservatives, is an unsustainable mixture. In a Romney victory, the unlikely duo would remain quietly grumbling amongst themselves. However, since both sides will charge the other with their loses, this divide will be now be greatly exacerbated.

    We're on the edge of a GOP civil war and, if there's any justice to be had, a viable 3rd party of fiscal conservatives and social moderates. The dust may settle between them quickly enough to avoid this, but to look through the comment sections of sites like NRO is to view this feud happening, from a constituent's level, in real time.

    The next two years are going to be very exciting.


    1. I've been predicting this for years. I think a schism is very likely if they can't find a way to moderate as a whole. The Tea Party believes that they can take over the party. If I were a fiscally conservative, socially moderate Republican, I'd let them, and take my like-minded brothers and sisters to a new party.

    2. Reverting to old squabbles is natural when you've just lost and you're lacking a unifying leadership and purpose.

      It's not so hard to build unity -- Rand Paul is liked by both the libertarians and the tea party and evangelical conservatives. Now that's some serious crossover appeal!

  3. I know this question is not for me (I'm a liberal), but I would appreciate anyone's insights (including Jonathan): at the state level, conservatives appear to adopt a practical policy agenda (one I often don't agree with) and attempt to implement it. I would give Walker's anti-union measures as the classic example of this, but ALEC helps coordinate state policy among conservatives across a range of issues. At the national level, I don't sense this same coherence of agenda-- the GOP agenda seems mostly motivated by whatever Jim de Mint and Mitch McConnell can agree upon that week (which is not much, obviously), as well as blanket denunciation of whatever Nancy Pelosi or Barack Obama said this week. Now, someone tell me the many places I'm wrong...

  4. Gay marriage winning on the ballot should have given the social conservatives enough of a jolt to know that they are on the wrong end of these issues. For the first time, they need the Republican party more than the Republican party needs them. They will fall in line. Even, I daresay, with a pro-choice nominee.

    The first step would be to use our superPACs to build a grassroots organization outside social conservative circles. We can also get the superPACs in involved in the primary process to make sure Akins and Mourdocks never see the light of day.

    1. Wow. I don't think that "grassroots" means what you think it means.

  5. I expect the GOP to make certain attempts to appeal to Hispanics, but nothing that changes the core of the modern right, which is essentially a Southernized party. I think that kind of change will take quite some time because its embedded in its culture. Also, major players such as Fox News and Rush Limbaugh are going to make these changes very difficult.

    But they also may not need to change all that much - they can probably to fairly well in the 2014 elections, and we really don't know anything about how Obama's second term will go -- if he has some failures or scandals, they could be right back without having to change at all.

    Basically, I'm not convinced at all we will see much change at all.

  6. Change? It doesn't look good. From the perspective of the Republican media (Fox News, AM radio) they'll change for one reason and one reason only: its more profitable to change than stay the course.

    Increased profits come about when those enterprises make more from minorities and women than they lose from disillusioning 'angry, white guys'. Tis possible, I suppose, but surely the dark underside of Lindsay Graham's aphorism is this:

    -While there may not be enough angry white guys to sustain a national political party, there are still a hell of a lot of angry white guys in the installed base of its for-profit media.

    Someday, I suppose, the metrics of diversity will make sense for the business of Right-Wing Politics. IMHO, that day is still a ways off.


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