Sunday, October 07, 2007

The Demise of the GOP

I've been saying the same thing myself. There are many honorable conservatives/Republicans. Unfortunately for them (I'm not terribly unhappy) their party has been hijacked by the wackjobs like Limbaugh, Coulter, Dobson and a seemingly vast number of rude, uncouth and vulgar conservative commenters that you can read regularly on local blogs. This in its entirety from the Anonymous Liberal.

In his column in the New York Times today, David Brooks explains the collapse of the Republican brand this way:

To put it bluntly, over the past several years, the G.O.P. has made ideological choices that offend conservatism’s Burkean roots. This may seem like an airy-fairy thing that does nothing more than provoke a few dissenting columns from William F. Buckley, George F. Will and Andrew Sullivan. But suburban, Midwestern and many business voters are dispositional conservatives more than creedal conservatives. They care about order, prudence and balanced budgets more than transformational leadership and perpetual tax cuts. It is among these groups that G.O.P. support is collapsing.

John Cole, a Republican-voter as recently as 2004, strongly dissents and offers a different explanation:

Like me. It had nothing to do with Burke, and everything to do with what the party had become. A bunch of bedwetting, loudmouth, corrupt, hypocritical, and incompetent boobs with a mean streak a mile long and no sense of fair play or proportion. . . .

Screw them. I got out. They can have their party. I will vote for Democrats and little L libertarians and isolationists until the crazy people aren’t running the GOP. The threat of higher taxes in the short term isn’t enough to keep me from voting out crazy people and voting for sane people with whom I merely disagree regarding policy. Hillarycare doesn’t scare me as much as Frank Gaffney having a line to the person with the nuclear football or Dobson and company crafting domestic policy.

I think Cole is much closer to the truth here than Brooks. I think the reason the Republican brand has suffered so much of late is because many people have become embarrassed by and no longer want to be associated with the party's public representatives; its most visible television personalities, radio hosts, writers, bloggers, and activists, are by in large, obnoxious, crazy, and embarrassing. It's a clown show. Intelligent conservatives cringe when they see people like Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh on television spouting their toxic nonsense, but this toxic gasbag contingent has come to dominate the GOP. And while this stuff might be red meat to much of the Republican base, it's scaring away the more educated members of the party.

I know this because I know a number of people who, not so long ago, were very proud Republicans and were not at all embarrassed about saying so. And now they're all very disillusioned and quick to tell you that they're not that kind of Republican. The problem for the GOP is that it has allowed a bunch of rabid loons to take control of its messaging and they are tarnishing the brand with their relentless idiocy. As long as this continues, there will continue to be an exodus from the party of people like John Cole, who may not agree with the Democrats on everything, but are just sick and tired of the GOP clown show.

2 Swings of the bat:

Dad29 said...

The "Burke/Libertarian" divide column was interesting. VERY interesting.

However, your understanding of Limbaugh is flawed. He's much more a Burkean than anything else, although he projects more economic-libertarianism than one would expect from a Burkean.

In a (somewhat) related story today's Journal quotes Chris Wolfe and others on the 'breakup.'

Curious, by the way, that the Dems are also having problems holding their very disparate special-interests together.

Other Side said...

Not that odd, dad. The Dems have rarely been as disciplined as GOPers. It just seems that the right wing of the GOP has gone way out on the limb.

As for Limbaugh, I think Thomas Jefferson would consider him an enemy of democracy, too.