Monday, November 19, 2012

So What Has the GOP Learned From Losses?

     The one thing seems to be that they don't like Mitt Romney and give a large amount of blame to him for the debacle. While Grover Norquist claimed that Obama beat him by calling him a "poopyhead" the GOP seems to feel the same way about him now:

     "If Mitt Romney has any friends left in the Republican Party, they’re in hiding.
On the Sunday talk shows, senior Republicans, former Romney surrogates and prominent conservatives piled on their defeated presidential nominee for telling donors that he lost because President Obama bought off minorities and young voters with “gifts.”

     “It’s nuts,” said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich on ABC’s “This Week.” “I mean, first of all, it’s insulting. … The job of a political leader in part is to understand the people. If we can’t offer a better future that is believable to more people, we’re not going to win.”

      "Rumored 2016 presidential hopefuls in the party saw an opportunity to distance themselves from Romney."

      “I absolutely reject what he said,” said Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal on “Fox News Sunday.” “We as a Republican Party have to campaign for every single vote. If we want people us we have to like them first. And you don’t start to like people by saying their votes were bought.”

       "Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), an on-again, off-again advocate for comprehensive immigration reform, said Romney’s comments were especially damaging among Hispanics. He said Romney fueled the fire of their disenchantment with the GOP that grew when the ex-governor pushed a policy of “self-deportation” for illegal immigrants and their children."

      “We’re in a big hole, we’re not getting out of it by comments like that. When you’re in a hole, stop digging. He keeps digging,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “We’re in a death spiral with Hispanic voters because of our rhetoric on immigration, and our candidate Romney and the primaries dug the hole deeper.”

     George Will perhaps had the line of the morning, however: Romney needs to "stop despising the American people."

     “It’s been well said that you have a political problem when the voters don’t like you, but you’ve got a real problem when the voters think you don’t like them,” said conservative columnist George Will on ABC’s “This Week.” “Quit despising the American people.”

      Still, is the whole problem just Mitt Romney? Isn't this a little too easy to just blame it all on him? There is also some recognition that the brawls between the Tea Party groups and the establishment GOP has hurt them giving them candidates like Mourdock and Todd Akin. There's some talk now of the RSCC trying to get more of a handle on the primary races hoping to find consensus candidates who are acceptable to both sides-this may prove to be a tall order though...

      There's some truth in this-assuming there can be common ground found between them. Karl Rove did at least at one point speak of copying Howard Dean's 50 state strategy.There's no doubt that the GOP is in big trouble when you look at the entire 50 states. Pat Buchanan as usual gives a very vivid picture of how tough things have gotten for the GOP over the last 20 years. Since Clinton ran in 1992.

     "After its second defeat at the hands of Barack Obama, under whom unemployment has never been lower than the day George W. Bush left office, the Republican Party has at last awakened to its existential crisis."

      "Eighteen states have voted Democratic in six straight elections. Among the six are four of our most populous: New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois and California. And Obama has now won two of the three remaining mega-states, Ohio and Florida, twice."

       "Only Texas remains secure—for now.

        "At the presidential level, the Republican Party is at death’s door."

     While there's not much to add here in descriptive terms, Buchanan's prescription is another thing. He doesn't agree with GOPers like Lindsay Graham-who think the GOP needs to reach out to Latinos. To the contrary, he thinks that this is what led the GOP to the abyss-friendly immigration policies. Since 2007 the GOP has been decidedly unfriendly to immigration at least from Hispanic countries. Buchanan though thinks the GOP was too liberal on immigration prior to that time.

      He seems to think that the GOP is not wrong about the hard line it took on immigration post-2007 but rather the comparably less draconian line it had until then:

      "Republicans are also falling all over one another to express a love of Hispanics, after Mitt won only 27 percent of a Hispanic vote that is now 10 percent of the national vote."

       "We face demographic disaster, they are wailing. We must win a larger share of the Hispanic vote or we are doomed."

        "And what is the proposed solution to the GOP’s Hispanic problem, coming even from those supposedly on the realistic right?"

         "Amnesty for the illegals! Stop talking about a border fence and self-deportation. Drop the employer sanctions. Make the GOP a welcoming party."

         "And what might be problematic about following this advice?"

         "First, it will enrage populist conservatives who supported the GOP because they believed the party’s pledges to oppose amnesty, secure the border and stop illegals from taking jobs from Americans."

         "And in return for double-crossing these folks and losing their votes, what would be gained by amnesty for, say, 10 million illegal aliens?"

         "Assume in a decade all 10 million became citizens and voted like the Hispanics, black folks and Asians already here. The best the GOP could expect—the Bush share in 2004—would be 40 percent, or 4 million of those votes."

        "But if Tuesday’s percentages held, Democrats would get not just 6 million, but 7 million new votes to the GOP’s less than 3 million."

       "Thus, if we assume the percentages of the last three elections hold, the Democratic Party would eventually gain from an amnesty a net of between 2 and 4 million new voters.
Easy to understand why Democrats are for this. But why would a Republican Party that is not suicidally inclined favor it?

     Of course Buchanan is assuming that the GOP wouldn't get a higher slice of the Hispanic vote if they did anything like amnesty or the Dream Act. And whatever votes they lost from the "populist conservatives"-ie, racist-wouldn't they gain some back from if not Latino at least some of the swing voters?

      Still, overall Buchanan may have a point. If the GOP works with the Dems on immigration there's more to it than how much credit they would get for it. There's also the problem that Hispanics largely agree with the Democratic party's agenda in terms of the economy and having a social safety net. Hispanics are very supportive of ObamaCare and don't want to see Medicare and Social Security gutted.

      So looking at it cynically-no one is better at cynical logic than Buchanan,, this great Nixonite-legal immigration is even a bigger problem than the illegal kind:

      "Still, the GOP crisis is not so much illegal as legal immigration. Forty million legal immigrants have arrived in recent decades. Some 85 percent come from Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. Most arrived lacking the academic, language and labor skills to compete for high-paying jobs."

       As usual Buchanan is transparent in his racism-he claims that most legal immigrants have been nonwhite-and that this is a problem. He's never shy about admitting that he has a problem with nonwhite immigration in principle-even from Asia; some racist conservatives make an exception for Asia as they tend to have a high level of skills and education.

     It was Buchanan's lack of shyness that eventually cost him is spot as the house conservative on MSNBC-a spot he had enjoyed for years. Buchanan at his core, remains a reconstructed Nixonian-he still speaks of Nixon's  "New Majority" as if he still seeks its future.

     No doubt many conservatives would argue that Buchanan is the wrong place to look for clues about the GOP's future. Yet I think that, in Zizekean terms, Pat Buchanan is the symptom of today's GOP. He's just much more honest about where the party is.

     Lindsay Graham has talked a good game post-election about immigration reform. Yet, I'll believe it when I see it.

     Overall, Buchanan is right that most Latinos will probably vote Democratic even if they support amnesty unless they change their policies. If you've watched the GOP over the last 30 years, tell me the time they last changed their policies?

      No, they may now and again try to change the packaging-more Latino faces at the RNC, but the policies never change. They'd rather beat the Benghazi horse.

      As a liberal Democrat then I guess it's bittersweet. In answer to the question as to what they've learned, I don't think they've learned nearly enough. They still seem to me to be willing to at most offer us old wine, new bottles. If so this is not good for the present as we really could use a GOP operating in good faith rather than as usual playing political games. The idea that they could support something just because it's right for the country seems never to occur for them. If the immediate political advantage isn't clear, they have no interest in it regardless of the importance.

     Still it bodes will for the Democratic party down the line if the GOP doesn't change.

No comments:

Post a Comment