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November 29, 2006

TomPaine.com - The Incredible Shrinking GOP

Re: TomPaine.com - The Incredible Shrinking GOP:

The election shrank the Republican Party, both geographically and ideologically. Their identity will continue to be defined by their most socially conservative, Southern members, who will oppose popular initiatives like increasing the minimum wage and fight unending battles on hot-button social issues in which they inevitably alienate large swaths of voters who call themselves “moderate” but think like progressives.

... Democrats now control not only the left, but the center as well. Yet they are being scolded with the same tired clichés they’ve heard before, that they need to move to the right in order to maintain a majority. They need to ignore the pleas from the David Broders and Joe Kleins of the world and keep in mind that in the recent election, voters repudiated conservatism itself. Even before the election, some conservatives were complaining that the Bush administration wasn’t really conservative at all. Yet with the exception of reducing the size of government, conservatives can’t claim that they didn’t get what they were after over the past six years. Republicans cut taxes, boosted defense and advanced conservative beliefs on social issues—and when they promised more of the same, voters said, no thanks.

....It is the Terri Schiavo Republicans that voters in the interior West, the Southwest—and indeed, everywhere but the Deep South—are turning away from. Their kind of politics hurts the GOP among nearly every voting bloc that will be key to success in upcoming elections. If the Democrats can succeed in furthering the GOP’s ideological and geographic isolation, they can send them into a vicious spiral of defeat, where they have to keep feeding their socially conservative, Southern base in order to avoid total annihilation, but their efforts to do so end up harming them in every other region of the country. That’s what it will take to make this victory last past the next election.

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