There Is No Plan

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The Republican Civil War Begins – Part 1

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For all of us looking for a new soap opera after the longest election season on record, we can look forward to the mother of all political civil wars – in the GOP. It’s been a long time coming, but Rove’s kleenex and spit attempt to hold together rival factions in the party (with a helping hand from the war on terror and rampant borrowing) looks like it’s finally about to come apart at the seams. All it took was a top quality Democratic candidate who lacked the party’s penchant for self-destruction, and the worst economic crisis since the Depression, and we’re on the verge of one of the most vicious schisms in political history.

Parties that lose badly in democratic societies are prone to soul-searching, but the GOP’s unabashed, self-serving venality, and loose coalition characteristics make it much more susceptible, and could lead to the long-term weakening of the party, even as the demographics of the nation turn against it. November 4th already showed that their hold on the electoral map is weakening, and that simply put, there aren’t enough white, “low-information” (now there’s a PC euphemism if ever I heard one) voters to push a Republican over the top. The party topped out at 46% and it’s going to get worse from there.

But as important as the numbers are, the fundamental problem with the GOP alliance is that the goals of both its values and business wings suffered fundamental political defeats. The business wing has seen its free market ideology fall apart in front of their eyes. The values voter was implicitly promised the end of Roe V Wade, only to see their hopes dashed once more. Naturally, each blames the other for their setbacks, rather than focusing on reality. The nation has begun to embrace the need for a social contract.

The delusion of the GOP’s two wings is a disaster for them both. The business wing will want to move to the centre, but would lose the tacit support of the values voter, who wants to move to the right, decoupling from the business wing. That fracture could send the Party into the wilderness. The options available to business are a lot simpler, realign with the ascendant Democrats to try and influence the new left-leaning policy direction. But for the values voter that is not an option. And here lies the trajectory of the story.

The values voter has never been open to compromise. Their politics is built on confrontation and resentment, filled with dreams of victory and humiliation. The poor rural, small town or exurban voter likes government handouts, but it likes its churches and guns more. And now they seem to have become a rump – albeit a large one, focused on the South. According to the New York Times today, many people seem to think that the days of the Southern Strategy are over, which means that the Values voter is losing power.

When that happens, desperation can set it in. And when it does, so can thoughts of going down in a blaze of glory, like with a new third party. Perhaps even a Christian Values Party.

Now there’s an idea.


Written by coolrebel

November 11, 2008 at 1:02 pm

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