What's wrong with the Republican party?

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In summary, the Republican party's actions in the Schaivo case were motivated by politics and misunderstanding the current political climate.
  • #1
russ_watters
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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.

Opinions?
 
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  • #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.
 
  • #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.
 
  • #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.
 
  • #5
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.
 
  • #6
selfAdjoint said:
I have to disagree with both Grogs and Wasteofo2. The problem isn't with divisiveness...

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.
 
  • #7
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.
 
  • #8
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.
russ_watters said:
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.
You’re hitting the nail on the head. There hasn’t been good candidates for either party in the last two elections.
faust9 said:
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.
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:
russ_watters said:
...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).
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.
 
  • #9
russ_watters said:
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.

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.
 
  • #10
SOS2008 said:
There hasn’t been good candidates for either party in the last two elections.

Last FIVE elections. Clinton was not at all a good candidate nor was Bush I.
 
  • #11
sid_galt said:
Last FIVE elections. Clinton was not at all a good candidate nor was Bush I.
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.
 
  • #12
russ_watters said:
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.

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 don't 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 can't 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.
 
  • #13
2CentsWorth said:
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.
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.
selfAdjoint said:
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.
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).
Kerrie said:
...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?
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.
Dissident Dan said:
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).
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! :smile:
 
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  • #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 don't 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
 
  • #15
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.
 
  • #16
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.
 
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  • #17
BobG said:
...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.
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.
BobG said:
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.
But then you kinda lost me here. When you get a chance, could you please explain this a little more?
 
  • #18
BobG said:
II 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.
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?).
 
  • #19
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:
2CentsWorth said:
Back to the main topic of the thread – The Republican Party has been hi-jacked by the fundamentalists and “neocons.” Are they a minority, or will their agendas become the platform going forward? I believe there has been miscalculation with regard to a religious agenda, but agree with others that the neocon agenda is another matter. Hopefully fiscal conservatism will prevail if nothing else.
If anyone else got clipped, I apologize.

Play ball!
 
  • #20
russ_watters said:
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?).
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.
 
  • #21
I want to come back to this one:
Grogs said:
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.
While I agree in principle that it can work that way, I think they overplayed their hand here. This issue is simply too clear-cut to make a reasonable case to support their position. A lot of Republicans (me) are pretty annoyed by this. If a guy like Frist thinks he can curry favor with the right wing without losing my vote, he's sadly mistaken.

Quick note - from what I saw in the media, the issue was not presented well until the very end. For a while they reported the opinion of the parents without comment. It was only later that they started clarifying her actual condition. You can see this in one of the other threads on the issue - until I read it in a court decision on Findlaw.com, I didn't realize her cerebral cortex was actually gone (though I still did trust the doctors' opinions). Many others had even deeper misunderstandings. Point being, as one-sided as the public opinion is, its more one sided than I think most realize. As the story developed, it moved further to that side and that isn't reflected in all the opinion polls (there is, of course, a lag). Had the media done their jobs and reported it correctly, it would have been a little more consistent.

I often speak of Bush vs McCain, but what happens if the RNC replaces Bush with Frist in 3 years? Now I probably would have voted for McCain in a primary anyway, but I really think people will remember this and it'll hurt Frist. Bush is pretty right wing (in his values, anyway), but if he had gone further to the right and people saw it, I really think it would have cost him the nomination. McCain had the momentum when the RNC threw its money and support behind Bush. But money will only take you so far (see: Kerry's "soft money" adds - he had many times as much as Bush had and it didn't help). People are looking for an excuse to vote for a guy like McCain.
 
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  • #22
SOS2008 said:
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?
Controlling Congress decreases the chance of a party winning Presidential elections because their party members then have two options for exercising their power instead of just one. Members of the minority party only have one option - support their party's candidate in the Presidential election.

When your party controls Congress, you can trade the Presidential election for an improved chance of your issues being addressed by Congress.

Third party candidates like Nader provide a perfect example. Nader and other third party candidates have no chance of winning a Presidential election. In a close election, they do have the impact of forcing a major party candidate to at least address the key concerns of third party supporters - the Democratic candidate has to at least be acceptable enough that left-wing voters will find their second choice much more appealing than the Republican alternative. If the choices between the two major candidates are too close, some third party supporters will be willing to sacrifice at least one term in order to preserve their long term influence (in fact, the combination of Nader and a weak candidate in Al Gore is why we got stuck with Bush in the first place).

If candidates were suddenly created come election time, the whole issue would be moot. Instead, candidates have a history. A Bill Nelson (Nebraska Democrat) can't suddenly convince left-wingers that he's as liberal as Ted Kennedy (Mass Democrat) - he actually has to take at least a few stands during his career that appeal to the left-wing if he ever hopes to have any chance of being nominated and winning a Presidential election. In Bill Nelson's case, or the case in quite a few other western Democrats, it's been a hopeless cause - the left-wingers will defect to Nader, for sure.

Being willing to sacrifice a Presidential election or two gives the extremists in either party more power to influence Congressional action, since most candidates will come from a Congressional background (this is also why it's so much easier for governors to win Presidential elections). That motivation disappears if the Democrats don't have the power in Congress - then the left-wing is sacrificing a win in the Presidential election in order to gain defeat of their issues in Congress.

This is why the Republican Party has so seldom generated any third party candidates. The right-wing of the Republican Party has generally been much more pragmatic - if they can't get their candidate nominated, they've been willing to settle for the Republican candidate even if they're not that happy with him. The alternative is having both a Democratic President and Democratic Congress ignore their issues.

The result is that a Republican candidate can safely ignore the right-wing of his party once nominated. Being good losers just guarantees the right-wingers of having no power beyond the primary elections, even when their candidate wins.

Now the roles are reversed. It's the left-wing that has to 'settle' and the right-wing that can enforce their views in Congress by using the threat of third party Presidential candidates.
 
  • #23
I was going to respond to Rev's post, but it disappeared.

He had mentioned that Republicans have had control of both branches of Congress since 95 and mentioned a couple of other times Republicans had control of the Senate (a minor correction to Rev's post). Between '55 and '95, Republicans never had control of both branches of Congress, even if they occasionally managed a majority in the Senate. The Republicans' most conservative nominee occurred in the elections where Republicans controlled both branches of Congress.

Beyond that, I think my previous post is the way it should work if politics were entirely rational. I admit that actually looking at third party candidates gives a more confusing picture. Each election is unique, so you probably need a much bigger sample than just the last forty-some years (plus, the assumption that most voters are entirely rational is pretty flawed).

In '68 and '72, third party candidates definitely hurt Democrats (especially in '68, a close election), but it was the Southern conservatives that defected to third party candidates en route to their conversion to the Republican Party. In fact, some of these folks now form part of the Republicans' evangelical base, even if some of them still register as Democrats (recall the thread aledging improprieties in Florida because of number of Democratic counties in Northern Florida that voted for Bush).

1976 seems more like the perfect third party model, when Eugene McCarthy nearly affected a close election between what was perceived to be two moderate major party candidates (the ideal situation for extremist third party candidates). Maybe Ford still tasted a little like Nixon to Democrats because McCarthy wound up getting only 1% of the vote.

Anderson in '80 is kind of confusing. He was a liberal Republican hoping to prevent a mostly conservative Republican candidate from winning by stealing moderates instead of extremists. A lot of people thought he wound up stealing more votes from Carter than Reagan (perhaps an inherent risk for moderate third parties?) I think he wound up having less impact than his percentage would indicate.

Perot in '92 (19%) and '96 (8.6%) is especially confusing. He really campaigned more on image than stating any concrete stances. His background would suggest a conservative position, but, based on the few details he did provide, he'd be characterized as a liberal. In his case, the images seemed to be given more weight and most felt he stole more votes from Bush-41 and Dole than from Clinton. You had a Democratic Congress in '92 and Republican Congress in '96. Republicans defecting in '92 only made sense if they were complacent about having won the last three Presidential elections.

Nader fits the third party model pretty well, except for the fact that you had a Republican Congress both times he ran. Of course, his results were poor in both elections (2.7% and <<1%), even for a third party candidate (even John Anderson got 6.7% of the vote). The only reason he played a role in 2000 was because the race was so incredibly close.

The only problem with what should be the perfect third party model is that it's only happened once and the candidate turned in the second worst third party performance in the last 40 years! Nader, the next closest candidate to the perfect model, turned in two pathetic performances.

Mehh! Who knows - maybe the real fallacy is trying to draw any trend when the unique circumstances surrounding any given election winds up carrying the most weight, and circumstances change like the weather. You can make a pretty good forecast of what's ahead politically for a year or two, but extending that forecast out beyond that is pretty 'iffy'.
 
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  • #24
Dowd has a good little attack piece aimed at the ethics hammer Delay ("I'll pound ther-thar ethics into the ground for my own political gain" Delay). http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/07/opinion/07dowd.html? She's putting forth the pendulum theory as well--a lot of people are. The Dems are sitting quitly back and feeding the NeoCons the rope(these men are not from MY party--McCain and his ilk are) to hang themselves from come 2006 and/or 2008.
 
  • #25
Yeah...that Dowd...she always calls em spot on, doesn't she?
har har. ;)
 
  • #26
kat said:
Yeah...that Dowd...she always calls em spot on, doesn't she?
har har. ;)

Ohhh, stinging retort. How shall I recover?
 
  • #27
BobG - Thanks for explaining further. I have yet to read the new info. -- will do later. :smile:
 
  • #28
Some insight into the motivation behind making an issue of the Schiavo case: http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2005-04-07-schiavo-memo_x.htm
Florida Republican Sen. Mel Martinez says an infamous unsigned memo passed around on Capitol Hill emphasizing the politics of the Terri Schiavo case originated in his office...

The memo...said the fight going on then over removing Schiavo's feeding tube "is a great political issue ... and a tough issue for Democrats."

"This is an important moral issue and the pro-life base will be excited that the Senate is debating this important issue," said the memo, which was described at the time as being circulated among Senate Republicans while legislation was being considered to place the Schiavo case under the jurisdiction of federal courts.
I had resisted posting it before because it wasn't authenticated until now. An aside, the controversy over the memo is amusing to me. I don't think people have any illusions about why politicians would pick up on certan issues and how they could coordinate PR campaigns in this way. That sort of thing is standard operating procedure.

Now, I know we all figured it was motivated by politics anyway, but I'm actually starting to wonder if the Republicans didn't foul-tip this one. Jokes aside, while we do have to be careful of underestimating them, it is also possible to overestimate them. I doubt any of them (except the Floridians) knew anything about this case until a few weeks before the feeding tube was removed. Its possible that they misunderstood her condition and rallied around the issue before realizing what the issue really was. And even if they did eventually realize it, they were committed - politicians cannot change their minds or admit mistakes.

Anyone buying any of that?
 
  • #29
russ_watters said:
Some insight into the motivation behind making an issue of the Schiavo case: http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2005-04-07-schiavo-memo_x.htm I had resisted posting it before because it wasn't authenticated until now. An aside, the controversy over the memo is amusing to me. I don't think people have any illusions about why politicians would pick up on certan issues and how they could coordinate PR campaigns in this way. That sort of thing is standard operating procedure.

Now, I know we all figured it was motivated by politics anyway, but I'm actually starting to wonder if the Republicans didn't foul-tip this one. Jokes aside, while we do have to be careful of underestimating them, it is also possible to overestimate them. I doubt any of them (except the Floridians) knew anything about this case until a few weeks before the feeding tube was removed. Its possible that they misunderstood her condition and rallied around the issue before realizing what the issue really was. And even if they did eventually realize it, they were committed - politicians cannot change their minds or admit mistakes.

Anyone buying any of that?

I've suspected it's a little of both. There were some who knew the facts, and knew if the case went to yet another court, the ruling would be the same, but at least they could say they tried and look good to their right-to-life constituency. Others may not have known much about the case except what they saw of protests in the news and thought they really were being the do-gooders. Then there was probably a camp who knew it was the wrong thing to do, but with all the spotlights on, knew the bill could be shot down as unconstitutional, weren't worried it would really hold any long-standing weight (afterall, it only addressed one woman's case, not every person in a similar situation), and were probably advised it would look worse to vote against the bill. Of course they also thought it would make them look good to rush into session from their holiday weekend to show how dedicated they are to their jobs. Now, if only they'd rush into session when bills affecting all the rest of us were on the table, it wouldn't have been so transparent of a publicity stunt.
 
  • #30
One thing for sure - Frist can't be excused for ignorance (not that I'd be inclined to excuse anyone else either): he did make an effort to educate himself on her condition.
 
  • #31
Here's another perspective on the shift in the Republican Party: Re-Envisioning Congress: Theoretical Perspectives on Congressional Change. You should expect constant change as American culture transitions from an industrial age to a high-tech post-industrial age.

I'm not sure what to make of all of it, but it is interesting. The question is: Are the current trends a 'moving ahead' or is it a longing for stabler times? Or is it just that all of the Southen Democrats that defected to the Republican Party in the '70s & '80s finally moved up the power ladder?
 
  • #32
BobG said:
Here's another perspective on the shift in the Republican Party: Re-Envisioning Congress: Theoretical Perspectives on Congressional Change. You should expect constant change as American culture transitions from an industrial age to a high-tech post-industrial age.

I'm not sure what to make of all of it, but it is interesting. The question is: Are the current trends a 'moving ahead' or is it a longing for stabler times? Or is it just that all of the Southen Democrats that defected to the Republican Party in the '70s & '80s finally moved up the power ladder?

How about all of them? Interacting too?

Here's another possibility (additional not instead of). The US economy switched from manufacturing to service dominated back during the Reagan era. This has surely affected the nature of the businesspeople who support that wing of the GOP. Formerly they were CEOs of immemorial corporations with huge investments in plant, real estate, etc. They were natural conservatives in every sense of the world, free market tories.

But the CEOs of service corporations have performance, not stability as their guiding star. So they are are as we have seen much more like live fast, die young and have a glorious presence on TV. They are right wing, but not conservatives; they are natural radicals, and the present day Congressional party and White House are in their image.
 
  • #33
In response to the OP -

NY Times said:
WASHINGTON, April 10 - Jack Abramoff, one of Washington's most powerful and best-paid lobbyists, needed $100,000 in a hurry.

Mr. Abramoff, known to envious competitors as "Casino Jack" because of his multimillion-dollar lobbying fees from the gambling operations of American Indians, wrote to a Texas tribe in June 2002 to say that a member of Congress had "asked if we could help (as in cover) a Scotland golf trip for him and some staff" that summer. "The trip will be quite expensive," Mr. Abramoff said in the e-mail message, estimating that the bills "would be around $100K or more." He added that in 2000, "We did this for another member - you know who."

Mr. Abramoff did not explain why the tribe should pay for the lavish trip, nor did he identify the congressmen by name. But a tribe spokesman has since testified to Congress that the 2002 trip was organized for Representative Bob Ney, an Ohio Republican and chairman of the House Administration Committee, and that "you know who" was a much more powerful Republican, Tom DeLay of Texas, the House majority leader and old friend of Mr. Abramoff's. Both lawmakers have said they believed that the trips complied with House travel rules.

The e-mail message of June 7, 2002, is part of a mountain of evidence gathered in recent months by the Justice Department, the Interior Department and two Senate committees in influence-peddling and corruption investigations centered on Mr. Abramoff, a former college Republican campaigner turned B-movie producer turned $750-an-hour Washington super-lobbyist.
The fact that DeLay and Ney apparently just can't see what's wrong is a big problem.
 
  • #34
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7453969/

Pressure builds on DeLay
Majority leader's travel, campaign finances at issue
The Associated Press
Updated: 5:58 p.m. ET April 10, 2005

WASHINGTON - Private GOP tensions over Tom DeLay’s ethics controversy spilled into public Sunday, as a Senate leader called on DeLay to explain his actions and one House Republican demanded the majority leader’s resignation.

“Tom’s conduct is hurting the Republican Party, is hurting this Republican majority and it is hurting any Republican who is up for re-election,” Rep. Chris Shays, R-Conn., told The Associated Press in an interview, calling for DeLay to step down as majority leader.

...Santorum, however, said DeLay is “very effective in leading the House” and “to date, has not been compromised.”

...A senior Democratic senator, Christopher Dodd of Connecticut...cited the new rules for the ethics committee that House Republicans rammed through in the wake of DeLay’s difficulties. Those rules require a bipartisan vote before an investigation can be launched. DeLay’s office also helped mount a counterattack last fall against Rep. Joel Hefley, R-Colo., who was the ethics committee chairman when it came down against DeLay.

“Unfortunately, in his particular case, there’s a process that he’s tried to change so they could actually reach a determination as to whether or not he’s innocent or guilty of the things he’s been charged with,” Dodd said. “But this is not going to go away.”

...DeLay, who took center stage in passing legislation designed to keep alive Terri Schiavo, also has found that President Bush and congressional colleagues are distancing themselves from his comments, after her death, about the judges involved in her case.

...Bush, declining to endorse DeLay’s comments, said Friday that he supports “an independent judiciary.” He added, “I believe in proper checks and balances.”

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee said last week that the judges “handled it in a fair and independent way,” although he had hoped for a different result.

Democrats have said DeLay’s remarks were tantamount to inciting violence against judges.
Well, well, well. Frist is distancing himself for 2008...
 
  • #35
Santorum - now there's another piece of work.

Though Jeb has claimed to have no interest in running for president, it seemed he was being "positioned" with regard to responding to the Tsunami, and then when the Schiavo case hit the headlines I wasn't sure if Dubya was just coming to defend family (like going after Saddam), positioning Jeb, or appeasing his right-to-life constituency (or some combination of the above).

It's obvious Frist is hoping Americans won't remember any of this in 2008. Many feel McCain is too old, and I hear Gulliani isn't planning to run. I haven't been able to check this out--anyone know more about this?
 

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