27 May 2010

The Republicans now: an assessment

A little more than five months before the mid-term election, how do things look for our Republican opponents? As I see it, they have one major factor working in their favor, but several working against them.

Polls taken soon after the passage of Arizona's controversial illegal-alien law showed that a majority of Americans favored it, despite the consensus of the political elite against it. More recent surveys show that support for the law is increasing; Arizona's Republican Governor Jan Brewer, who signed the law, has seen her support in the state rise above 50% for the first time and is now decisively ahead of her likely Democratic opponent in the next election. It's no wonder that Republicans all over the country are now scrambling to advance similar legislation. The right wing knows it has a winning issue here.

Serious border controls and an ID system to differentiate illegals from citizens and legal residents would bring the US into line with how most democracies enforce immigration laws. Given the scale of the illegal-alien problem in the US, such normalization is likely inevitable. Experienced Democratic politicians are moving toward a more mainstream position, although their plan still includes a "path to legal status" (amnesty) for the present illegals and is thus unlikely to be sellable to the public.

I've discussed here how the Arizona law and the left's disastrously-bungled response response to it are creating a golden opportunity for the right wing (please read it if you haven't already -- this is important). This is not the eighties and it is not Europe. Calling people racist for opposing illegal immigration doesn't intimidate them into silence, it just makes them get mad at us. As with the teabaggers, there are certainly some racists involved, but they aren't the mainstream of the movement.

But the right continues to be plagued by the weaknesses which have become so characteristic of it: a tendency toward extremist and nutty positions and candidates, divisions caused by a quest for ideological purity, and bad leadership.

The first problem is exemplified, of course, by Rand Paul. I myself used to be a libertarian for several years and I understand the ideology; Paul's stance on anti-discrimination laws applying to private business is a good example of why I abandoned it. People who take such a stance are thinking in bloodless abstractions and absolutes, divorced from the real-world impact on actual human beings. Just as "pro-lifers" (another revealing euphemism) prefer to talk about "protecting unborn life" rather than about forcing women to carry unwanted pregnancies to term, so defenders of Paul's view talk about the absoluteness of property rights rather than about the endless humiliation of black Americans being told they were not good enough to eat at the same lunch counters, sit in the same part of the bus, etc. as whites.

And Paul has plenty of other baggage, such as nutty conspiracy theories and extremist associations. Moderate Republicans are seriously worried about him.

Paul also serves as an example of the problem of divisions over ideological purity. In the primary he was supported by the tea party movement, while the Republican establishment favored his more moderate opponent who would have had a better chance to win the general election. Sarah Palin may now be creating a similar debacle in Washington state. In the Florida Senate race, hard-right support for Marco Rubio drove the more moderate and electable Charlie Crist to simply leave the Republican party and run as an independent. The hard right likes to claim that ideologically-pure right-wing candidates are more likely to win general elections than moderates; a statistical analysis of recent elections has confirmed that just the opposite is true. Again, moderate Republicans worry about the "party of no" image.

As for those leadership problems, the party chairman is a one-man gaffe machine, the RNC has just dumped one of its most effective leaders, the new "America Speaking Out" website is a fiasco, and fund-raising is a disaster.

Again, the November elections will probably turn mostly on job growth, which is continuing to do even better than economists forecast. But we can't afford to get complacent or make mistakes. That's what happened in the recent Massachusetts Senate race.


Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

Well .... a real informative piece of posting here Mr.Infidel! No doubt, it should be an interesting year politically with a lil fun for everyone in the mix! :)

Hey man .... I actually support immigration reform for instance, I have posted plenty about this, and I am one who know's quite a few illegal immigrant's too. I am still in opposition though of the Arizona law/ bill signed, only because I dont think they carefully looked at the long term of the bill/ law, and possible repercussion's of it, and I believe with all the MF's we pay to think up shit on the payroll there must be alternative's, heh? I see this as a potential problemo ...I could be wrong, maybe it's the answer ... but from my view, I only see it as causing a backlash of problem's that will be another expense to taxpayer's especially, because it can open the door's for alot of federal court tie-up's, litigation, suit's against individual law enforcement agencies and such. BUT .... we shall see I reckon.

As far as what the GOP party has going for them right now ...... heh, heh, heh, heh, heh, .... I dont know .... a bunch of teabag's and fundamoralist's to mindlessly swallow their corporate controlled shit and like blind sheep, vote for them? I dont know :)

Nice posting though, Thanx Guy ....

27 May, 2010 05:55  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Thanks. I don't think the Arizona law is without flaws -- in fact, I'm not that familiar with all the details of it. I do know that people are in no mood to listen to politicians who have no proposals of their own for how to cut back illegal immigration and push the illegals already here to leave, but merely object to any steps anyone else takes to do so. Until the Democrats come up with a serious proposal of their own, without an amnesty, this will continue to be a winning issue for the Republicans.

And they'll keep pushing it. They've got nothing much else going for them right now.

27 May, 2010 07:08  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

You do have a point there Guy!

27 May, 2010 07:22  
Blogger Suzan said...

If only it were true everywhere.

What a great blog!

May I blogroll you?


Sarah Palin may now be creating a similar debacle in Washington state.

27 May, 2010 07:24  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Thanks.....Please do.....

27 May, 2010 08:27  
Blogger Sue said...

great work as always Infidel! All I see ahead for the GOP is TROUBLE. They just can't stop digging that hole! :-)

27 May, 2010 09:54  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

Let me add here if I may, that it is important that you are posting this, since you have several democrat reader's. Many I read are alway's talking how stupid and dumb the right is, lack of this and that, I am voting straight dem myself, not just this year, but after as well. What many are not seeing is what the rep's are doing right now, and how they are gaining ground. The last election looked like a landslide to many because of the electorial vote only, individual number's of turn out were close. I also posted that this or any administration will not be able to fix all the problem's that are about to materialize over the next few year's, dem's will soften the ride for working classes only, but no one will be able to make this what it was 20 year's ago, regardless of how peachy and rosie you may think it is, we are fixin to have some real economic issue's soon, even when thing's do get more profitable (for the wealthy only I may add), we will either have inflation or deflation, and must have drastic tax increases or an exploding GDP or something, with a complete corporate turnaround, and not just domestically, this will as I said before, run global like a wave of water up and down. I will bet anyone on what I am saying. With the deficit more issue's, along with foreign market's etc. Also as delicate as market's are and investor's right now, we could possibly rel;apse into another recession it's so delicatre. The frustration will increase amongst the peoples, and I am concerned with this elction and the 2012, because regardless of how down the GOP look's and how divided they are, with the deepened contrast and resentment between the left and right now, the chemistry is right for a possible upset, and dem's losing seat's in both houses, more than they may think. It doesnt matter that the right has no answer's, they do have alot of frustrated foilk's and are spreading BS faster than you can make it, and folk's fear were going into a socialist society, I listen to all the right's programme's and agenda's, not just the comical stuff. I also am concerned that the turnout for dem votes may be lower, I think it was higher because Obama was running, making million's more turn out to vote that may not get out otherwise to vote. So, as a voting democrat, I am very concerned. Other thing's as well that I have brought up, however I will shut up for now. Thanx

27 May, 2010 12:19  
Blogger TomCat said...

Thanks, Infidel. This was quite well done. Rand Paul is not eben the biggest nut in the GOP fruitcake. The biggest peoblem with the Arizona law is that it codifies racism while doing nothing to deal with the underlying problem. Sadly the media has focused on sensationalism instead of dealing with what's needed: a balanced approach.

I think he key to Democrats' success in more conservative districts is to run on the improvements in the economy under the Democrats as opposed to the GOPs continued insistance on pursuing the policies that caused the economic crisis.

27 May, 2010 13:02  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

The biggest peoblem with the Arizona law is that it codifies racism

I've seen no evidence of this. The law is directed at illegal aliens, not at a specific racial group. I've discussed this before, including here. Illegal aliens are not a proxy for Hispanics; most Hispanics in the US are not illegal aliens. Illegal immigration must be stopped and reversed. If the left reacts to every effort to do so by crying racism, we will be in the wrong and will be hurt with the electorate.

27 May, 2010 13:28  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

I think he key to Democrats' success in more conservative districts is to run on the improvements in the economy under the Democrats

This is what I hope will happen as the job situation improves. You can tell that Obama's enemies are worried about it, by their increasingly desperate efforts to claim that the economy is not really doing as well as the hard data show.

27 May, 2010 13:30  
Blogger tnlib said...

I share in the applause but am curious as to why no amnesty. What about the children of illegals who were born here? Or couples where one is legal and one isn't?

27 May, 2010 21:06  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

The penalty for entering the country illegally must include permanent expulsion from the country. Failing to do so would mean allowing the criminal to keep the gains of the criminal act, equivalent to allowing a robber to keep what he stole just because he had undergone some other penalty.

As for illegals who have US-born children, that's unfortunate, but no different from when any other criminal who has children is sent to prison and thus separated. It's entirely the fault of the person who entered the country illegally and then had children here, knowing full well that they might be caught and deported. I suppose some provision for such situations would need to be worked out, but it can't include allowing illegals to legally stay here.

Remember, all this would just be bringing the US into line with how other countries, including democracies, control immigration. No country on Earth, as far as I know, grants people legal residence on the basis of having illegally entered.

28 May, 2010 05:26  
Blogger tnlib said...

I understand your reasoning but I guess I'm a little too emotional about it.

28 May, 2010 15:28  

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