.... for some random thoughts that transformed into one long-ass post for a Sunday afternoon.
KT has some thoughts on the relevancy of the Republican Party, here. After attending both the anti-Prop. 1A rallies both here in San Diego and in Corona at Tom’s Farms we had a chance to reflect on that and the dozens of articles we have read of late laying the demise of the G.O.P. at the hands of its conservative base and/or a rightward shift in ideology while refraining from giving any concrete examples of the same.
Unless, of course, one would consider the reckless and run-away spending of the Bush Administration to be pandering to the base of the party (and considering the spending we’ve seen of late, we will have to revisit our definitions of “reckless” and “run-away” with respect to President Bush).
How about Amnesty? Before a grass-roots effort rose up and administered some blunt-force trauma via an electoral 2x4 upside the head, the G.O.P. establishment was cozying-up to the thought of granting citizenship to 12 million or so illegal aliens. That rightward shift?
Abortion? That’s the ticket. The bug-a-boo of the country clubbers for years. If only the party would just drop this as an issue, they could drop those church-going mouth-breathers as well and the party could be seen as, you know, moderating. But look who’s shifting to the right, now.
Well, what about the war? Recall that the Democrats were so confident they could exploit anti-war sentiment in this country that in the ’06 midterms they… ran a bunch of Blue Dogs against vulnerable Republican seats. It was a shrewd if electorally cynical move. Blue Dogs like James Webb and Heath Shuler who sounded like Republicans, or at least what Republicans used to sound like with respect to fiscal and social issues. It's these very Blue Dogs who will be the focal point of the coming fight over the President's budget and pending health care legislation.
And McCain? Don’t get us started. It was a long and winding road to where we first accepted and then endorsed the Senator for President. We chose to look at the long-view and practicality over ideology and what did we get for it? After the RNC convention, the McCain-Palin ticket experienced the obligatory poll bounce – a poll bounce that nevertheless sustained all the way into mid-September and which represented a consistent 4-5 point lead over Obama/Biden.
Then in mid-September, McCain mimicked Obama by saying he would work with Congress and the President in fashioning what would ostensibly be the framework for Bailout Nation. From that precise moment forward, McCain’s numbers began a steady slide to where Obama eventually overtook him. Game. Set. Match. An America that was looking for real leadership in this crisis – leadership that was going to say “no” to the give-aways was left empty-handed on all fronts. The poll numbers and the chronology of the same suggests more than any rightward shift in the Republican Party, the American public simply threw up their hands and said: “They’re all the same, anyway – might as well give the new kid a shot.”
The Tea Parties and the associated rallies against the ballot propositions and now the Total Recall 2009 have been organized largely by people who voted for and supported Governor Schwarzenegger in ’03 and ‘06. These are people who now have become disillusioned with the G.O.P. establishment within the state because of their obstructionism and/or indifference and then… the naked opportunism displayed when it appeared this whole Tea Party thing might have some legs.
To KT’s point about the (ir)relevancy of the Republican Party. Though we do not necessarily disagree with him, we think there is a larger issue and that being the disconnect between both parties (combined with their elected representatives) and the voting public. Between districting, campaign finance laws, the abuse of franking privileges and the power that the government now wields, there is a deepening and widening gap between the two entities. This is part and parcel to the angst that is now being expressed.