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News What's wrong with the Republican party?

  1. Apr 4, 2005 #1


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    This'll be a popular thread...

    I was having a conversation with my parents (both Republicans, mom voted for Bush, dad voted for Kerry, neither liked either) yesterday about the Schaivo case and both shared exactly my opinion on the subject regarding the government's - specifically, the Republican party's - actions in the case (that they were out of line). My question is, Why?

    Now, the actions at issue, specifically, are the intervention of the legislative and executive branches of both the federal government (two weeks ago) and Florida's government (Oct, 2003) into what is a relatively clear-cut case, judicially. I could (perhaps) understand Jeb's intervention, but seeing how that was ruled unConstitutional, why would you repeat it? In addition, a great number of Republican politicians have said things that were pretty straightforwardly wrong, medically. No, stupidity alone is not enough:

    Consider Bill Frist, who was apparently a reputable doctor before becomming a Senator. He disputed the diagnosis based on an hour's worth of home video. He has to know how wrong he was medically.

    The easy answer is "politics", but that isn't good enough, considering upwards 80% of the population disagreed with the actions.

    I have two (related) theories:

    First, party politics. The Post article suggests Frist (and I'm singling him out, but he's not the only one) is playing to the "Religious Right" faction that currently dominates the party. That's a possibility - if towing that line is the best way to gain favor from the party, then maybe that's why they are doing it. They know it'll cost them votes in a general election, but ehh - they have votes to spare. The bigger hurdle may be getting nominated.

    Second, I believe the Republican party misunderstands the current political climate. With the Democratic party as weak as it currently is, it is clear that this country is moving to the right. However, what should be equally clear is that its mostly just the weakness of the Democratic party that is pushing the country to the right (and a little bit of mostly 9/11 related, temporary nationalism and other related feelings). I think the Democratic ideas (specifically, the victim mentality and entitlement mentality they pitch) are failing, but regardless, while that may indicate more people agree with conservative values/economic principles, that's not a mandate for the Religious Right.

    I think the EXIT POLLS bear that out. What is interesting to me is that while the exit polls do show that Christians voted more for Bush than for Kerry, the difference is not as stark as some people are implying - 59% (for Bush) for Protestants, 52% for Catholics. And while "moral values" ranks high, terrorism and the economy rank just as high. On the economy, it was a virtual dead-heat - but on terrorsim, Bush had a clear mandate.

    Also, Bush's "favorable" rating was 53% - while that's bad, Kerry's was 47%. Simply put, Bush didn't win because people like him, he won because people didn't like him less than they didn't like Kerry.

    Regarding the parties, consider that Clinton was a moderate and Kerry is only slightly to the left of him. 5 years ago, the Republicans had a moderate (McCain) gaining power (which, IMO, reflected the real opinion of the typical Republican) and the Republican party more or less actively sabbotaged his campaign in favor of promoting Bush, who is pretty far to the right.

    I think it may be a symptom of the imperfection of the two-party system, that the parties like to stay apart. When one gains power, the other moves toward it, causing the one that gained power to move further to its side to compensate. The only way to stop that (besides the pendulum swinging back to the left on its own) is an against-the-odds victory for someone like McCain in a primary. But a victory for McCain is bad for both parties (which, to me, makes it a good thing) because it would bring them much too close together for their comfort. The other possibility, of course, is that through actions such as the above, the Republican party is going to accidentally push the pendulum back in the other direction.

    Last edited: Apr 4, 2005
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  3. Apr 4, 2005 #2
    It goes along with this GOP evangelical drift. Their power base(or so they think) is from the Christian conservatives, and are bending over backwards to placate them. I was a staunch conservative(military people usually are) republican until GWB got elected. I've seen my party drift from true conservatism toward this religious/social conservatism with a complete disregard to their historic base--conservatives who believe in fiscal responsibility, and protecting the environment, and negotiating fair(not free) trade policies.

    What happened to the GOP? Scare tactics, the evangelicals and Grover Norquist.

    My opinion is they are headed for a fall. I think the Dems are plotting behind the curtains as we type and plan on hitting the GOP this midterm on such issues as states rights, fiscal responsibility, family rights, and the GOP's catoring to one group.

    The Dems have been spineless for years now and they've not answered GOP charges immediatly as they should. That's another reason the GOP has gotten the leg up. The GOP has used ignorance and the airwaves and half-truthes to win elections.
  4. Apr 4, 2005 #3
    First the Terry Schaivo thing. My answer is that it was a freebie. They *had to* have known, even before they made the resolution, that the 'law' would be struck down by judicial review. The 'right to life' people become your best friend because you put so much effort into it. At the same time since the 'law' was struck down and had no effect on the case, the right to die people wouldn't be all that upset. You also have to remember to 20% rule. 40% of the people will vote democrat and 40% will vote republican on any given day. It's the 20% in the middle that decide the election.

    As far as a general 'what's wrong with XXX party' I'd say that the worst thing wrong with *both* political parties seems to be partisanship. What seems to be most important to these folks is beating the other party. Being right and focusing on what's important seems to be secondary.

    Thanks to their control of both houses and the oval office, the Republican party has a huge opportunity to make sweeping changes in this country (for good or bad.) If they squander the opportunity, I think that come 2006 or 2008 they'll take a serious beating at the polls.
  5. Apr 4, 2005 #4
    The reason Bill Frist said things he knew weren't true doesn't require any complex reasoning or hypothesising, he's simply a rotten, shameless liar. That's one of the MAIN problems with Republicans in general; while in principal, many people who vote Democratic may actually agree with Republicans (in Michigan for instance, on election day, a popular referndum banning gay marriage passed with a huge margin, even though the state went for Kerry), the actual Republican candidates are largely scummy two-faced liars whom are either owned by or encorporated with large corporations or fanatical religion - but even that usually doesn't seem genuine. For instance, Bush passed many laws while Governor of Texas that completely contradict many statements he's made and policies he's promoted as President. If he were really a religious nut, fine, but it seems he only became a religous nut after realizing that religious nuts were a big constituancy that he could win over.
  6. Apr 4, 2005 #5


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    I have to disagree with both Grogs and Wasteofo2. The problem isn't with divisiveness, that's what parties are supposed to do, divide themselves from the opposition, rally the faithful and convert doubters. I think Russ' point is that the GOP's current behaviors are NOT doing this as well as they should.

    And to explain Frist's remarks by saying he's a bad person gets us nowhere. Even bad people have reasons for what they do. Otherwise we're back with Sauron and the evil corrupting ring!

    Way back in 1979 or 80, there arose in the party a group of leading practitioners who whould stop at nothing to win elections and defeat Democrats. Their first coup was going behind Carter's back and making a deal with Iran over the hostages. Since then this strand in the party has evolved and grown. The relentless pursuit of Whitewater and the attempt to smear Clinton, which was failing until he walked right into the trap, is another example. Frist, and deLay, and many of the other leaders in the Republican congress are of this subparty.

    Along with this men-in-black wing is also the neocon movement. Cynical, intellectual would-be masterminds. The combination of the two has transformed the good gray GOP into something out of Macchievelli or Macbeth. The remains of the old business and patriotism oriented party are just gasping for breath. Just as Clinton was needed to take the Democrats back from the New York marxoids, so some leader with more stuff than McCain wound up showing will be needed to outflank the aliens within.
  7. Apr 4, 2005 #6
    I don't completely agree, but well said anyhow. When reading many threads, it's obvious that few know what a neocom is or that it has its roots in FDR's liberalism of the late 1930's.
  8. Apr 4, 2005 #7


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    Interesting thread Russ...politically, I consider myself a bit illiterate, but from what I generally observe and what I *learned* in government classes in school is the Republican party is about separating government from church, about keeping government out as much as possible. Doesn't seem to be going that way though in the last few years, then again, maybe this is just the Libertarian point of view?

    Hope to keep this thread going. Interesting read.
  9. Apr 4, 2005 #8


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    Yes, very good thread!

    With regard to the intervention in the Schiavo case, (and per that thread) some feel it is being used as a launch pad by Republicans to make changes to the Judiciary branch. Certain Congressmen at the lead, such as Frist, DeLay, etc., certainly have their own agendas in addition to this goal. Miscalculations regarding a mandate, even among fundamentalists, is an error (and not just on this issue). That leaders such as DeLay are continuing the effort is even more mind-boggling. Americans have short memories, but if he and others keep up this vigil, it’s more likely to damage the Republican party.

    If both parties converge by drifting to the middle to get votes, we would lose an important check and balance of democracy. If anything,the problem has been that there have only been two viable parties. For example, the religious-right probably should create their own party. In the meantime, there could be an increase in the number of people who become Independent.
    You’re hitting the nail on the head. There hasn’t been good candidates for either party in the last two elections.
    True, but if the fundamentalists are not a majority, why is there still such strong support for Bush? I believe it also is due to this:
    Though I’m not sure how temporary this will be--here I agree with selfAdjoint about the neocon (for lack of a better term) agenda, and there are quite a few fundamentalist neocons (these two elements within the Republican party are not necessarily exclusive).

    In any event, many people don’t want the polarization over emotional issues to continue, and I for one am tired of things like the Schiavo case distracting from other serious political issues that need to be addressed—distractions that have served Bush well.
  10. Apr 4, 2005 #9
    I'm not sure that you're correct that it will cost them in the general election. You mentioned the "moral values" issue in the 2004, but mainly to talk down its significance. It is my understanding that this percentage was much greater than in previous elections (although I may be incorrect).

    The thing is that you can actually take the side of an issue which the majority disagrees with and use it to gain votes. This sounds impossible, and it is very ironic, but it is true. If a minority cares a great deal about the issue, and the majority doesn't care much, then you can often gain the votes of the minority without losing the votes of the majority.
  11. Apr 4, 2005 #10
    Last FIVE elections. Clinton was not at all a good candidate nor was Bush I.
  12. Apr 4, 2005 #11
    While no candidate/president will ever have complete popular support, and while I am not therefore completely supportive of Clinton, I do feel he was a strong candidate and had real popularity in the elections he won. Reagan was the last really popular Republican president--more than Clinton, and on the spectrum, Clinton more than Dubya.
  13. Apr 5, 2005 #12


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    Ive learned my lesson in arguign politics online but one thing i will say though is "Welcome to 21st century politics". Even though liberals probably dont want to admit it, you look at the facts and its obvious Bush didnt do much to piss liberals off. Conversely, he didnt do much to make conservatives happy. Seems like politicians these days are more afraid of the media then their electorate so they are far more willing to straddle the middle so the media cant do much (think of what would happen if a republican went "murderers are pro-choice" or a democrat went "conservatives want to murder immigrants" as far as the medias reaction would be) instead of really jumping on either sides boat and being hardline conservatives or hardline liberals.
  14. Apr 5, 2005 #13


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    Its worth noting that while Clinton was a popular President, he won his first election with perhaps (not sure) the least percentage of the popular vote ever - and didn't win either election with a majority. His margin in the '96 election was truly pathetic for a President with his supposed popularity.
    Clarification: on divisiveness, specifically, I think the inability to stay divided is bad for the parties but good for the country if it results in a big shake-up of the parties. Where's Perot when you need him?

    Yeah, actions like this will "rally the faithful" but certainly won't "convert doubters". However, Grogg's "freebie theory" has some merrit - if you assume some foresight (yes, a big assumption).
    You pretty much have it. One of Bush's biggest problems is that he's not being real conservative about some of the things that matter most to conservatives domestically (ie, small government). He might wear the right-wing/Religious Right ideology, but when it comes to governing, that ideology is pretty much meaningless. As the Terry Schiavo thing shows, you really can't do much with it.
    I did intend to downplay its significance and its up to you and others to decide if I made a good case for it. Perhaps its just cynicism, but "moral values" is such a nebulous thing - people don't vote based on things they can't get their arms around. I consider it more of a byproduct of the war on terror than an actual issue unto itself. Bush did do a good job of characterizing that as a fight between Good and Evil. Heck, if you really want to hear cynical, people open their wallet on election day and if it has more than $20 in it, they vote Republican and if it has less than $20 in it, they vote Democrat! :rofl:
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2005
  15. Apr 5, 2005 #14
    fundamentalists are intolerant of others views

    that is the base problem with the GOP

    once there were LIBERAL members of the GOP
    now moderates are scored as evil as there are very very few
    old school liberals left to pick on in the GOP

    partys NEED balance and you can't fly long with only one wing
    and NO center

    the NEO-CONs donot play well with others
    as they think GOD IS ONLY ON THEIR SIDE
    and the others are EVIL and WRONG even the centerests
    but as there is NO GOD the NEO-CONs are just WRONG

    read Barry Goldwaters warnings on the christian rightwing take over
    Mr Conservitive was right but NOT listened too by the NEO-CONs

    BTW befor you brand me a COMMIE know this
    I supported Goldwater in 64
  16. Apr 5, 2005 #15


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    The GOP has always had its religious bigots and its toxic super patriots. Back during the height of the Joe McCarthy thing I was living in Indiana, and our senior Senator, Jenner by name, was just as unjust a red hunter as Tailgunner Joe, but smoother about it tactically. He's long forgotten now, but boy was he ever a ******.

    And Ray, it was Goldwater's "Southern Strategy" that first aligned the GOP with these Snopes from Texas.
  17. Apr 5, 2005 #16


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    I think the problem with the Republican Party is Bill Clinton. Clinton may have been a moderate on the economy and defense, but he was pretty liberal on social issues (both politically and in his personal behavior). Considering the number of anti-Clinton jokes and articles still circulating years after he left office, I think right-wing Republicans still haven't recovered from his presidency.

    McCain would have fit the typical Republican nominee role very well. While the left-wing Democrats were nominating 'idealists' like Humphrey, McGovern, and Mondale, the Republicans were 'settling' for moderates like Nixon, Ford, and Bush 41 (Nixon may have mobilized the right-wing Republicans, but his only concession to them was in his Supreme Court nominees - his overall policy was pretty liberal). Even Reagan was a social moderate, even if very conservative on the economy and defense.

    The Republicans have definitely become more focused on social issues than in the past - hence the Schiavo show in Congress, the 'Laci Peterson' law, and Bush 43's nomination. The fact that Bush 43 actually won the election, twice no less, could wind up doing the most damage - it fosters the idea that they can win with an extreme position. And they can ..... as long as the Dems don't do to their left-wing element what the Republicans did to the religious right for so long.

    I think it's probably more realistic that Democrats won't be able to resist filling any void left by the Republicans and you'll just see the roles reversed. You'll have a string of moderate Democratic presidents and a string of right-wing Republican candidates that 'lost the good fight', just the way Humphrey, McGovern, and Mondale all did.

    The Republicans right-wing shift is probably worse for Dean supporters than Republicans, whether right-wing or moderate. Is it worse to lose the good fight to the enemy or to be ignored within your own party, the way the religious right was for so long? I think the left-wing Democrats had more influence in losing presidential elections than the right-wing Republicans had in being ignored by their own party.
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2005
  18. Apr 5, 2005 #17


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    Very good points, and I agree with the "pendulum" hypothesis over all. I don't know about the Dems ignoring the extreme left though. Maybe these people should have just voted for Nader (i.e., move to another party that reflects their views), just as I've said about the extreme right.
    But then you kinda lost me here. When you get a chance, could you please explain this a little more?
  19. Apr 5, 2005 #18


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    Interesting. I'm not sure I buy it, but interesting, nonetheless. I don't think we should forget that the Presidential election aside, the Republicans have a pretty strong majority in Congress. That implies the country is leaning to the right. It would take an awful lot to blow that advantage (and if Bush can't, who can?).
  20. Apr 5, 2005 #19


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    Ok, thread split. Rev gets his own thread. I'd like to keep this one on topic. At least one post got caught in the crossfire. Here it is:
    If anyone else got clipped, I apologize.

    Play ball!
  21. Apr 5, 2005 #20


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    In conversations with a friend, he made the argument of the "pendulum," pointing out how the vote goes back and forth between parties, typically with no more than the two consecutive terms allowed. I also brought up the matter of congress (i.e., that it isn't just about the presidential election), but he has a point.

    And I'm still mulling over the idea of whether the Dems will fill the more moderate void left by the Republicans. It does seem that the Dems are becoming the fiscal conservatives these days. But if they do not present plans of their own, whether it is about Social Security (though they may be waiting for strategic reasons--to avoid being a stepping stone for Bush), environmental issues, etc., all of which have been traditional Dem platform issues, they may continue to falter. It's early yet--perhaps we will see more as we close in on 2006?

    Who could blow the Republican advantage? Frist and DeLay are doing a pretty good job.
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