R.I.P., G.O.P. – a well-deserved end

Summary:  This post describes one long-standing weakness which has helped bring the party crashing down (this is a forecast, assuming that the next few elections further diminish its role on the national, state, and local levels).

Note:  The title is an exaggeration, a long tradition on the FM site.  The GOP’s time as the dominant party are over for the foreseeable future (not that we can see far into the future, these days).  The party survives with a strong regional base and a firm hold on its role in our political apparatus as one of the two major parties. 

The fall of the GOP from dominance is attributed to many different causes, mostly trivial, by experts.  Instead let’s look at the long history which has, with the inevitability of Fate in a Greek tragedy, undermined the foundation of our conservative party.  A timeline tells the tale, with the dates providing markers (milestones) along this complex social evolution.  One in which the GOP has been mostly either on the bench or in active opposition.  The Democratic Party has done most (not all) of the heavy political lifting, and deservedly gained the long-term benefits from this.

The Republican Party gains power, then sells its soul to keep it

22 September 1862 — President Lincoln (Republican) issues the Emancipation Proclamation.

The Compromise of 1877 — Settling the disputed election of 1876, Republican Rutherford B. Hayes gains the White House over Democrat Samuel J. Tilden — in exchange for a final end to Reconstruction.  The South becomes a stronghold of the Democratic Party, and Blacks lose many of their gains from the Civil War.

The Civil Rights Era – the GOP passes the baton of progress to the Democratic Party

25 June 1941 — FDR (Democrat) signs Executive Order 8802.  From Wikipedia:

It was issued in response to pressure from civil rights activists Bayard Rustin, A. Philip Randolph, and A. J. Muste who had planned a march on Washington, D.C. to protest racial discrimination. The march was suspended after Executive Order 8802 was issued. The order required all federal agencies and departments involved with defense production to ensure that vocational and training programs were administered without discrimination as to “race, creed, color, or national origin.” All defense contracts were to include provisions that barred private contractors from discrimination as well.

6 December 1946 — Truman signs Executive Order 9808 establishing the President’s Committee on Civil Rights.  In December 1947 it published its report, “To Secure These Rights: The Report of the President’s Committee on Civil Rights” (text), recommending far-reaching efforts to restore civil rights to Black Americans.  This was his response to incidents such as the 1946 beating and blinding of Army Sergeant Isaac Woodard Jr.  For more on this see “The Conversion of Harry Truman“, by William E. Leuchtenburg, American Heritage, November 1971.

26 July 1948 — Truman (Democrat) signed Executive Order 9980 and Executive Order 9981.  The first ordered desegregation of the Federal government.  The second stated:

It is hereby declared to be the policy of the President that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion or national origin. This policy shall be put into effect as rapidly as possible, having due regard to the time required to effectuate any necessary changes without impairing efficiency or morale.

1953 – 1961 — President Eisenhower (Republican) proposed and signed the Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1960.  Although they had relatively little effect until Attorney General Kennedy kick-started the Civil Rights Division (see this brief history).  Eisenhower also issued Executive Order 10730, placing the Arkansas National Guard under Federal control and sent Army troops to escort nine black students into an all-white public school.

2 July 1964 — President Johnson (Democrat) signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964, introduced by President Kennedy (Democrat).  As he did so, he is said to have said “We have lost the South for a generation.”  This was a price he was willing to pay, a act of great statesmanship.  Leaders like this provide a foundation for their party that lasts for generations.

A big step for the Republican Party on the road to perdition

1963 -???? — The Republican Party accepts defectors from the Democratic Party who join because of the Democratic Party’s advocacy of civil rights.  Affirmative efforts to encourage this movement are called the Southern Strategy — one of the most short-sighted and politically callous decisions in US history.  With this the Republican Party crossed from its post-Reconstruction passivity on civil rights to de facto opposition.

This acceptance of institutional racism has had substantial and long-lasting effects:

  • helping to poison race relations in America,
  • betrayal of the Party’s proud heritage,
  • polluting the Party’s foundations. and
  • alienating large blocks of voters (not just Blacks).

GOP leaders since then have made modest efforts to shake off this legacy.

  • starting the first Federal affirmative action plan (Nixon in 1969, the “revised Philadelphia Plan),
  • proposing a national minimum income, the Family Assistance Plan (Nixon in 1969, see this account of its history),
  • advancing minority leaders such as Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice.

These have proved insufficient.

Perhaps in its time out of power the Republican Party’s faithful core can reflect on the party’s errors, both in doctrine and action, and find a new way forward — leaving the mistakes of the past behind them.  America needs a strong opposition party, and the current institutional arrangements make creating a new national Party quite difficult.


If you are new to this site, please glance at the archives below.  You may find answers to your questions in these.

Please share your comments by posting below.  Please make them brief (250 words max), civil, and relevant to this post.  Or email me at fabmaximus at hotmail dot com (note the spam-protected spelling).

For more information from the FM site

To read other articles about these things, see the FM reference page on the right side menu bar.  Of esp relevance to this topic:

About the American spirit, the American soul

  1. Diagnosing the eagle, chapter IV – Alienation, 13 January 2008
  2. Americans, now a subservient people (listen to the Founders sigh in disappointment), 20 July 2008
  3. de Tocqueville warns us not to become weak and servile, 21 July 2008
  4. A philosphical basis for the Batman saga, 23 July 2008
  5. The American spirit speaks: “Baa, Baa, Baa”, 5 August 2008
  6. We’re Americans, hear us yell: “baa, baa, baa”, 6 August 2008
  7. The intelligentsia takes easy steps to abandoning America, 19 August 2008
  8. Symptoms of a fever afflicting America’s culture, 5 November 2008

33 thoughts on “R.I.P., G.O.P. – a well-deserved end”

  1. If the ruling Democratic Party tries to do anything that threatens to undermine the status quo, watch the Republican Party revive almost instantly the next election cycle along with a plethora of hit pieces in the media. Furthermore, the bogus two-party system is needed to maintain the illusion of choice/democracy. They’ll be back in a few years, certainly by 2016 if not 2010.

  2. Excellent post! There seems to be quite a few GOP post-mortem posts cropping up. I think most of them are presumptuous because they fail to realize that politics, by their very nature, are an exercise in compromising with our values.

    But the moral question is more how we do so, I’d say, rather than if we do, which is inevitable. I’m fascinated to see where the party will go in the next decade–and yeah, if they survive. An imminent point of fracture is being pushed by the very people who are trying to keep the GOP together, though, which is a very bad sign. These are the uncompromising folks who have come out saying that McCain lost because his campaign wasn’t offensive enough (!), and most are also hard-core defenders of Palin. It’s not a good sign though, because it means there’s a large constituency of people who are dangerously unwilling to compromise for the sake of their own survival, and who knows what kind of extremism it will lead to.

    I used to live in a small town that was the scene of some right-winger’s ambush on a court — just another typical mass shooting of our day, unfortunately. So from experience, I’m sure not looking forward to the consequences for fools who are not willing to be pragmatic when their own survival is at stake.

  3. To discuss the Southern Strategy, post-1964 Civil Rights Act , yet refuse to discuss ex-Dem. Gov. George Wallace seems ahistorical. Nixon won a close election over Humphrey in 1968 because Wallace took away the racist southern Dem voters.

    I don’t doubt that many racist pre-68 Dems left, voted Wallace in 68, then Nixon in 72 (huge landslide victory). But what policies of the Reps are racist? Opposition to Affirmative Action, which could more accurately be called Affirmative Racism? (Or Affirmative Sexism, for women.)

    At the end of the weak Wiki article, they note culture, today: Today, appeals to conservative values name cultural issues such as gay marriage, abortion, and religion.

    Much anti-Palin, anti-Rep talk is actually anti-Christian. Yet almost all elected Dems profess religious beliefs (tho maybe atheists believe the Dems aren’t too serious about them.)

    The GOP’s time as the dominant party are over for the foreseeable future (not that we can see far into the future, these days).
    (1) Gay marriage? – NO. Gun rights? – an individual’s, not to be taken away.
    (2) Tax Cuts? – Yes
    (3) Religion? God bless America? America a Great Country? – yes, yes, yes.

    What Barack most often promised was a fairly Conservative agenda. When it appears, as seems likely, that he’s as honest about the above policies as ‘Read my lips’ lying Bush 41, some other leaders promising conservative policies will be elected. Probably Rep.

    It might even be that, thanks to Obama, blacks will be able to vote Rep. to support their interests other then increased Affirmative Action welfare dependency.
    Fabius Maximus replies: Most of this either supports the points I make or is irrelevant to this post.

    * Your comment about Wallace confirms the history I give, the migration of those opposed to civil rights from the Democratic Party to the Rupublicans.

    * I did not mention issues; this analysis is about political Parties. Your point #3 is extremely irrelevant; you might as well have included mom and apple pie in the list.

    * Your last point is wild speculation, unsupported by anything remotely like data, similar to saying the Blue Fairy will restore Republicans to power.

  4. Eramus has the strategic estimate equivelent ability of the “conservative sabatores” that have been ruling for a few years – wishful thinking in our information age at best and resuliting in conservatives no longer trusting Rs or a wallstreet future but focus on local economics vice globalization.

    My estimate: You are spot on with the FM post. Blue Dogs bias at best for a few years and likely yellow dog rule for a number of generations, as the bias at the expense of our middle calss becomes more evident with the christmas executive bonus given at tax-payer expense (e.g. bloomberg evening interview this night discussed having to create new restraits to ensure executives that have driven blue chips to failure do not pass out annual bonuses with the $700B most middle class while being wrongfully depicted as populists, socialists, and isolationists are beginning to understand that the outsourcing of America has been and is at tax-payer expense: expect continued back-lash over the lack of real risk-based planning by CEOs/strategic leadership that have lead to failure).
    Fabius Maximus replies: Some background to this comment…

    Yellow Dog Democrat: Democratic voters in Southern states, as in the saying that loyal Southern Democrats would vote for a yellow dog before voting for a Republican. The term now usually refers to any Democrat who will vote the Party ticket under almost any circumstances. (Wikipedia).

    Blue Dog Democrats: moderate and conservative Democratic Party members of the United States House of Representatives. Former Texas Democratic Rep. Pete Geren said that they had been “choked blue” by those “extreme” Democrats, from the left. (Wikipedia).

  5. This election appears to be a watershed in which the urban ethos supercedes the rural ethos in America. Snippets of a posting I noticed today: “GOP in dire straits“, Jonathan Martin, Politico, 6 November 2008 — Excerpt:

    Thumped convincingly in consecutive election cycles, the Republican Party now finds itself in its worst straits since the rise of the conservative coalition — a minority party without the White House, fewer seats in the House and Senate, only 21 governors and full control of just 14 state legislatures.

    Most ominous for Republicans, the GOP is increasingly becoming less grand than old — and outdated. As reflected in Tuesday’s results and exit polls, it’s a party that is overwhelmingly white, rural and aged in a country that is rapidly becoming racially mixed, suburban and dominated by a post-Baby Boomer generation with no memory of Vietnam or the familiar culture wars of the past.

    Beyond demography, the party is now, thanks to the outgoing president and some members of Congress, perceived by many voters as either incompetent, corrupt or just not standing for much. Even on fiscal issues — for decades central to the GOP’s appeal — Republicans now lag.

    Comment #6 from this Politico article:

    “Dear Red States: We’ve decided we’re leaving. We intend to form our own country, and we’re taking the other Blue States with us. In case you aren’t aware,that includes California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and all the Northeast.

    “We believe this split will be beneficial to the nation, and especially to the people of the new country of New California. To sum up briefly: You get Texas, Oklahoma and all the slave states. We get stem cell research and the best beaches. We get the Statue of Liberty. You get Dollywood. We get Intel and Microsoft. You get WorldCom. We get Harvard. You get Ole’ Miss. We get 85 percent of America’s venture capital and entrepreneurs. You get Alabama. We get two-thirds of the tax revenue, you get to make the red states pay their fair share …

    “With the Blue States in hand, we will have firm control of 80 percent of the country’s fresh water, more than 90 percent of the pineapple and lettuce, 92 percent of the nation’s fresh fruit, 95 percent of America’s quality wines, 90 percent of all cheese, 90 percent of the high tech industry, most of the U.S. low-sulfur coal, all living redwoods, sequoias and condors…”
    Fabius Maximus replies: Thanks for the link to the article, which is excellent (like most of the Politico’s content). I don’t see the point of comment #6.

  6. Well, I am not the author of the “comment #6” quoted in #5 above, but I cited it as a humorous example of exhaustion with the whole “real America/socialist America” dichotomy that Palin and Co. were trying to drum up, inverted via pretzel logic…I suppose it’s true that, read whole, it verges into the absurd, lapsing finally into the inane…[Your edits are fine, but you can cut the quoted comment if you prefer, since now it looks like it’s my comment, which it is not.]
    Fabius Maximus replies: I have interested text to make it clear that this is another quote from the Politico article!

  7. And in practice? “Upper West Side Media Types: ‘Watch what we say, not what we do’“, Steve Sailer, posted at his blog, 6 November 2008.

    The Republican party is indeed doomed by immigration driven demographic trends. But these are trends that it has never attempted to reverse. How does this inaction square with them following a ” Southern (Bigot) Strategy”? (Yes your post amounts to saying that). McCain was selected despite favouring amnesty for illegals, why?
    Fabius Maximus replies: I do not understand your comment.
    * What is the point of your reference to the Sailer article?
    * Does anyone doubt that the Republican Party has followed the “Sourthern Strategy” over since the mid-1960’s, to varying degrees?
    * Why does this conflict with their support of large-scale immigration?

    As to why the GOP’s leaders support immigration — despite its unpopularity with its members — this was discussed in “America’s elites reluctantly impose a client-patron system” (5 November 2008).

  8. Nice to see you have recovered, FM. A vast improvement over the shallow, passive-aggressive drivel of a couple of days ago. “Heroes?” Ann Coulter? Unworthy. Great to have you back. Y’all have a major conundrum on your hands. With the fundamentalist Christianist confederate remnant, you have no future, and without them, you have no party. Good luck working that one out!
    Fabius Maximus replies: This is quite obscure, so I must guess what you are attempting to say. By the numbers…

    (1) “shallow drivel”

    Some folks see cultural analysis as “shallow drivel”, thinking that only politics and economics matter. I am from a different school, that sees cultural trends as providing a window into the inner workings of a society.

    (2) “With the fundamentalist Christianist confederate remnant, you have no future…”

    Why this identification of me with the Republican party? I do not see the future of either myself or America dependent on the GOP’s fortunes.

    (3) “and without them, you have no party.”

    On what basis do you say that?
    * Are the Republican Party’s core doctrines “fundamentalist Christianist” in nature? No.
    * Are most of the people in the “think tanks”, which provide its intellectual foundation, “fundamentalist Christianist”? No.
    * Are its major financial supporters “fundamentalist Christianist”? No.
    * Are a majority of its voters “fundamentalist Christianist”? No.
    * How much of the Bush Sr. and Jr. Administrations’ actions — domestic and foreign — were driven by “fundamentalist Christianist” doctrine? Not much, even in domestic policy.

  9. FM, if you are really asserting that posting, the day after a war hero was defeated by a minority, two things that complained about the loss of heroic models and the media overplaying minority grievances, did not reflect in any way your personal attitudes, then I will accept that as the word of a gentleman.

    It is not that all cultural analysis is shallow drivel… the cultural and political analysis you presented today clearly is not. There’s a very good article at Salon today (“Obama and the dawn of the Fourth Republic“, Michael Lind) that is very insightful. And if I have erred in identifying you with the Republican party, assuming I believe from your own prior statements that you have voted conservatively in the past, and that that has meant Republican, again, I yield to the gentleman’s assertion, should he choose to make it.

    What I see is that a bargain with the devil has reached its payment date. The intellectually honest conservatives in the Goldwater/Buckley tradition seized the opportunity offered by civil rights and Vietnam to ally with a racist, militarist faction in the former Confederacy and achieve power. However, to meet those agendas, notions such as limited government and limited involvement in foreign caprice were sacrificed… indeed, had to be. Hence the ideological emptiness that yawns across conservatism. Backing Bush while he mouthed (and violated) the usual platitudes, destroying the armed forces, the nation’s reputation and the economy were where this fiendish alliance had to end.

    Whatever the percentages are, there’s an easy Occam’s razor available to shave the relationship between the Republican Party, and conservatives on the one hand, and fundamentalist Christianists on the other. Could the Republicans… Nixon, Reagan, either Bush… have won without them? NO. Can they win in the future while still satisfying them? Possibly, but extremely unlikely.

    There is common ground where conservatives of principle can meet ‘liberals’ such as myself and our President-elect. The words of Washington about avoiding faction, and overinvolvement overseas, with ‘permanent’ alliances. The words of Grant about what happens when one attempts to run a military dictatorship atop an oppressed majority. The words of Eisenhower about the military-industrial complex. The words of Jefferson that all people are equal. The words of Jesus about putting the One God above oneself, and one’s neighbor above oneself, and rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s. In short, all the things that have not happened at all under Reagan, Bush etc. And which now have some chance to happen. Maybe, if we’re lucky.
    Fabius Maximus replies: Lots of interesting thoughts here!

    (1) “day after a war hero was defeated”

    I never considered McCain a war hero. He was a Veteran with an honorable war-time service record. But I do not agree with the “everybody is a hero” viewpoint — nor with the common right-wing talk radio trope of greeting each other with “you’re a great American”. Both are IMO burlesque patriotism. {More on this is the comment directly following this one}

    (2) “defeated by a minority”

    True in a sense, but not so in another important sense. Like Tiger Woods, Obama is the cutting edge of the coming multi-racial majority (due to intermarriage).

    (3) “media overplaying minority grievances”

    The point of that article was that these were hoaxes (all proven to be so), the very opposite of grievances.

    (4) “And if I have erred in identifying you with the Republican party”

    That was true; I actively supported the Republican Party for almost a quarter century. But that is no longer the case, as suggested by the title of this post — “R.I.P., G.O.P. – a well-deserved end”.

    As additional (if less clear) evidence is my series on immigration: one, two, three), that is no longer the case.

    (5) “What I see is that a bargain with the devil has reached its payment date.”

    That is a great summary of this post! You last 2 paragraphs are exactly along the lines of what I was saying.

  10. The Hero Factor: Electing war heros as President, a follow-up to the above post

    (1) “Why Don’t War Heroes Win?“, Timothy Noah, Slate, 3 November 2008 — “Excepting George H. W. Bush, it’s been 48 years since a war hero won the presidency.”

    (2) “The Hero Factor“, Matthew Yglesias, Think Progress, 7 November 2008 — Excerpt:

    I think the important larger point to recall is that the evidence suggests that candidate attributes in general don’t matter very much in presidential elections. The hard part is winning your party’s nomination, where amidst a field of ideologically similar members of the same party these kind of things can help you stand out. What’s a bit curious is that the idea that personal courage in battle was a big asset every took hold. The traditional military-to-presidency route involved being a general. But that’s not just a biographical fact, it’s like being a Senator or a Governor — a high-level public sector job that qualifies you for an even higher-level job.

    (3) Comment by steve duncan to Yglesias’ post (#2 above):

    A curious offshoot of McCain’s military experience was the much-used “I know how to win a war” line in endless stump speeches. Implicit in this claim was his “knowing” was due to his previous military service. He flew a few missions, was shot down and then spent the balance of his combat career in a POW camp.

    Everyone tread so lightly over this ground no one wanted to look him in the eye and ask “When the hell did you ever win a war in the past to know how to win one now?” Some did venture to query why he kept possession of this knowledge to himself instead of letting Bush in on the secret and consequently winning the two wars we’re mired in currently. Again, those questions were never put to him directly, in public, with insistence on a coherent answer. I don’t think McCain’s military experience afforded him any sizable advantage in this campaign, the public sensing it really wasn’t all that germane to today’s problems.”

  11. I’m impressed by the moral core of FM’s original post, even if his prediction about the party isn’t correct. Racism and poverty (income inequality) are cancers in the body politic, which, like personal neuroses, if not addressed guarantee we’ll go on being a disfunctional economy and society.

    To anyone who believes that the bailout represents a move toward “socialism” in government, read Naomi Klein’s article in Rolling Stone “Bailout Profiteers“. She calls Treasury’s selection of private bankers to oversee the operation of this vast program a form of “privatizing” not “socializing” the government.
    Fabius Maximus replies: I made no prediction, just expressed a hope.

    Racism is like a cancer (by the standards of our society), but I disagree about applying that metaphor to income inequality. A high degree of income inequality may be morally repugnant (depending on many factors, and one’s moral system), and probably is socially destabilizing. But it is far more ambiguous an evil than racism.

  12. I think there are two main driving components to ‘racism’ that are often overlooked, perhaps because they are so obvious.

    First is the ‘racist’ outlook which almost always comes from a sense of being part of an ‘us’ that is threatened by a ‘not us’. And when that sense of we is feeling undermined for whatever reason, it projects hostility out onto an other – almost any other will do. This is why there is little difference between racist, class or location-based ‘us-versus-them’ dynamics.

    The root is a sense of mixing the poison of self-centred aggression with the us-them dynamic. Ultimately, it comes down to self-centredness, either individually or collectively and thus essentially has little – if not nothing – to do with the other upon whom self-involved aggression is being projected. Aggression is a way of transferring fear/negativity/insecurity of self onto other.

    As such, racism per se doesn’t really exist. Fundamentally speaking.

  13. The rebuilding starts already, though this is just a first flicker: “McCain rehab tour begins“, Jonathan Martin blogging at Politico, 7 November 2008.
    Fabius Maximus replies: McCain is a spent force on a national level, except as a potential (likely) cross-over vote for the Democrats in the Senate.

    The GOP’s power centers must begin now to develop candidates for 2012. Since they have no powerful bench, they are starting almost from scratch. They will need every minute of the next 4 years.

  14. Greg, thanks for that Salon link. Thoughtful, intelligent article. I especially liked on of the last paragraphs:

    “If this analysis is right, what causes these cycles of reform and backlash in American politics? I believe they are linked indirectly to stages of technological and economic development.

    * Lincoln’s Second American Republic marked a transition from an agrarian economy to one based on the technologies of the first industrial revolution — coal-fired steam engines and railroads.

    * Roosevelt’s Third American Republic was built with the tools of the second industrial revolution — electricity and internal combustion engines.

    * It remains to be seen what energy sources — nuclear? Solar? Clean coal? — and what technologies — nanotechnology? Photonics? Biotech– will be the basis of the next American economy. (Note: I’m talking about the material, real-world manufacturing and utility economy, not the illusory “information economy” beloved of globalization enthusiasts in the 1990s, who pretended that deindustrialization by outsourcing was a higher state of industrialism.)”

    I agree that information technology is not a prime producing industry. Where I live (low population density zone) a local car-parts manufacturer might be closing its doors. On the radio a spokesman, arguing for government help, pointed out (not inaccurately) how if they close it will effect the entire local economy including jobs in supermarkets, car dealers, restaurants etc. This is so because actually making stuff generates true income which is then spread around in the form of wages which pay for goods and services. Services alone don’t create this initial influx of income. We have to evolve (or re-devolve?) back into an actually productive society/economy versus one merely flipping electronically created debt instruments (aka cash from ATM machines) back and forth to each other.

  15. Don’t forget those other guys, the Dems. Here in Illinois, they have been running the show for about 6 years. Mostly they fight with each other over the patronage. Sometimes, the fights come out into the open. I haven’t and don’t see any salvation from the Dems. I think the Democrats’ tent is not big enough to hold Main street, Wall street, the Ghetto and the Barrio. There are just too many people going in too many different directions. The Dems of today are nothing like the ones I grew up with in the 50’s. Yes, the Repubs may disintegrate, but so also may the Dems. If the Repubs cease to be an effective force, the Dems may easily go to war with each other. If nothing else, it’ll be good theatre.

  16. The point of the Sailer article was those who preach on the right thing to do can expect scepticism over their own practice. In practice even the most liberal people do not willingly send their children to schools with many NAMs (which is why that Little Rock school has so few whites today), but they know better than to come out with the reason.

    Republicans follow a fiendish (southern) strategy to get elected but allow recent immigration that is about to (if it hasn’t already) kill their chances of being electable and select Rep.McCain who was was proimmigration amnesty.

    Easy to see why Dems see it as a winning strategy “Another congressman spoke of the consequences immigration would eventually have for his competing party, in that it would “disappear, once and for all.”” . Like the liberal parents, I don’t believe elites’ and politicians’ explainations for the Republican signing their political death warrant, they are ultimately unsatisfactory because coming of a non white minority nullifies any southern strategy. Are they really that stupid?
    Fabius Maximus replies: Hypocrasy is among the most fundamental of human traits. It always provides a way for the “outs” to criticise the “ins”, as it occurs with the regularity of the sun rising.

    As for immigration killing their chances of being elected, the articles I cited in my immigration series clearly documented the conservatives’ hopes that hard-working Catholic immigrants would vote Republican. This proved incorrect on the national level, but has worked on the local and State levels.

  17. Pingback: The Strident Centrist Blog»Blog Archive » “Fabius Maximus” on the GOP’s Dances with the Devil

  18. When you look at te past 150 years, very little of that time was spent in true “two-party” conditions. After the initial sorting-out of the paleoparties after the Constitutional Big Bang, the Democrats were driven into the Southern wilderness after the Civil War and didn’t really recover until after the turn of the 20th Century. The Depression, in turn, drove the Republicans into the wealthy and the rural Eastern and Midwestern wilderness for two generations, and much of what did recover in the 50’s and 60’s was the “Rockefeller” wing of the party.

    It wasn’t until the late 60’s and 70’s that the Taft wing of the GOP came back, with the help of the racial schism in the Democrats. The old bipartisan habits died hard, tho, and it wasn’t really until the Gingrich years that the nutjob, Christopath abortion-guns-and-gays-litmus-test faction took command. Well, that worked about a well as you’d expect, and the GOP may be on the outside for another electoral cycle, or it may be the beginning of the return of another long one-party cycle.

    But I get the feeling that what we’re seeing is a fracturing of the American people along the lines of the Jacksonian revolution of the 1840s. The hard right – there really is no “hard left” in any meaningful form; a bunch of tofu-eating Naderites don’t amount to squat, politically – is NEVER going to accept any administration to the left of a George Bush as legitimate. These folks just can’t coexist with any sort of “moderate” (i.e. electable) portion of the Republican Party. So, perhaps the real red-meat Conservative whack-jobs can form a Christian Republican Party and run Ann Coulter to join the left-wing whack-jobs running Ralph Nader. The remainder of the GOP can run a Chris Shays as a “Democrat-Republican” while the DLC wing of the Dems can become “Christian Democrats” and run Hillary in 2012. The Netroots folks can become the “Blue-Green Democrats” and run Howard Dean.

    Then we just rejigger the Constitution to allow a Prime Minister and…presto, an America made for the post-one-party system…

    Seriously, though…the GOP needs to decide whether it’s fundamental “values” include givin a rat’s ass who marries who and who decides who has babies. IMO this is a tawdry and petty obsession for a national political party, and their servile devotion to the policies of the political and social Right while deciding that “borrow-and-spend” was more principled that “tax-and-spend”, has resulted in the inevitable: any GOP “leader” acceptable to the people who control the party looks like a nutjob to those of us not looking through our Jesus Ale Beer Goggles.

    I, too, was once a Rockefeller Republican. I can only feel an emptiness as I look at the mess my former party as become.
    Fabius Maximus replies: I believe you are too-narrowly defining “two party system.” This does not mean that two parties are evenly matched at any point in time. Just that there are multiple parties that successfully challenge one another over time. In that sense we have always had two parties.

    I absolutely agree with your last 2 paragraphs!

  19. State recognition of gay marriage was defeated in two states, one pretty blue, one marginally blue. That tells us that the traditionalists still want somebody to represent them–just so long as it’s not the Republicans.

    What you saw was a rejection by some conservatives and most right-leaning moderates of GOP incompetence, the basic unfairness of the ill-conceived bailout (my sister asked, “When do I get MY bailout?”), and the wipe-out of retirement and other savings at all levels. There has been huge loss of faith in free markets (which is ironic considering that our markets are highly regulated–the problem was the opacity of risk, not lack of regulation), similar to that experienced in 1929-32, but much quicker to take hold given the Marxist drivel that pretends to be education heaped by the shovel-full on our students.

    As for the Republicans and the Southern Strategy, I am shocked that politicians will go wher they need to in order to get votes. But Reagan didn’t use nor need a Southern Strategy to trounce Mondale for his second term. Bush W campaigned in Spanish and (somewhat successfully) courted the Hispanic vote. Republicans overwhelmingly have supported attempts to broaden the base, but draw the line at border security, esp. since 9-11.

    Is there no recognition that the Race Grievance Industry is a Democratic enterprise (Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, et al)? Republicans appoint blacks to important positions. Democrats belittle black conservative — “Obama, McCain talk issues at pastor’s forum“, CNN, 17 August 2008. Who is really trying to keep whom on the Plantation?
    Fabius Maximus replies: This illustrates the problem with trying to atomize election results. The US is a representative democracy — we elect executives and legislators. People, who cannot be decomposed into individual issues. This is not ancient Athens, where the people vote on each issue.

    The Democratic Party has effective control of the national government and most States. History suggests that they will increase that control during the next few election cycles, as these periods of dominance usually last for a decade or so (at least).

    This quibbling about specific policies supported by the public is IMO largely irrelevant. Generations of fighting for segregation got the Republicans nothing but total defeat. Generations of fighting abortion has gotten them little (triming it around the edges), and mostly electoral defeat. I suspect that fighting gay marriage will in the end have the same result.

    Meanwhile the left takes over institution after institution. Media, academic, schools, much of social services apparatus, large fractions of the Federal civil services, much of the lower courts. In the next years they will probably come to dominate the court system, from the Supremes down.

    The post-New Deal Republican coalition was moderately solid, as shown by its ability to survive generation mostly locked out of power at the national level. Will the modern Republican coalition withstand such a test? I doubt it, as the parts detest one another. This will be interesting to watch.

  20. OK the Republican party is terminally ill because of the the segregationists and fundamentalists. In this post as in most commentary (I have read widely elsewhere) it is implied without being stated that they are one and the same: white southerners.

    If the World had a vote Obama would have won 95% of it because of that perception of the US electorate and political agenda being dominated by religious bigot and racists (code for Southerners) is worldwide. This population is what makes America unique as we are constantly being told but allying with then dooms the party as shown by the defeat. What is most distictive about America is what is most wrong with it; the South. Is this what you believe ?
    Fabius Maximus replies: I disagree with all of this comment.

    (1) “segregationists and fundamentalists … are one and the same: white southerners”?

    On what basis do you assume this? Christian “fundamentalists” are found throughout the nation (not just the South); many (perhaps most) are not segregationists. And many “segregationists” (not the term I would use) are not fundamentalists, and are found in numbers throughout the west and southwest — not just the south. McCain got the highest percent of the vote not in a southern state — but in Oklahoma (AP, also see this NY Times article)

    (2) {the World’s} “perception of the US electorate and political agenda being dominated by religious bigot and racists”

    This is IMO almost certainly wrong. Do you have any evidence?

    (3) “What is most distictive about America is … the South.”
    “What is … most wrong with {America is} the South.”

    Why do you believe these things? One could as easily say the same things about California (just to cite one widely stated example)

  21. Substitute ‘south’ for ‘predominantly rural’ and you are almost there. Texas is the only screaming exception, but it is still quintessentially rural in that its economic and urban power developed from harvesting hydrocarbons.

  22. FM, you’re so wrong here: Generations of fighting for segregation got the Republicans nothing but total defeat.

    pre-68, it was generations of Dems fighting for segregation. The racist Dems supported FDR. The KKK was white Democrats. I think that Martin Luther King Jr voted Republican.

    But whether it was the Southern Strategy or something else, like the Rep supported Civil Rights Act (that Dem Pres. Johnson signed, over own party Dem opposition), from around 74 or 76 on, Blacks voted. Dem. I’m pretty sure they mostly voted FOR Nixon in 72.

    When you say generations of Reps fought for segregation, you’re just really wrong.
    Fabius Maximus replies: Since it was the primary point of this post, I believe most folks understood that by “generations” I was meant the 40+ years since the “Southern Strategy” was implemented in the mid-1960’s.

    “I think that Martin Luther King Jr voted Republican.”

    This is commonly asserted, but with little or no basis in fact. The National Black Republicans Association says “King registered as a Republican in 1956.” I find no evidence of his either voting Republican or registering as a Republican. It is possible, of course — even Robert Kennedy voted Republican, for Eisenhower in 1956.

    But by 1964 Republican Convention we have evidence of King’s politics, as the Republicans evolved their “Southern Strategy”:

    “Now Negro leaders of both parties recoiled from the concerted hostility of the Cow Palace Republicans, which they could only hope was an aberrational coup traceable to Goldwater, disconnected from both old tradition and new racial progress. Martin Luther King and others denounced the Republican ticket on its first official day and nearly every day thereafter. With a peculiar mix of vehemence and care, King took pains to stop short of partisan endorsement, saying he was more against Goldwater than for Johnson, hoping that a sound enough defeat for Goldwater might restrain both parties from political white flight.”
    — From “The Year the GOP Went South”, Taylor Branch, Washington Monthly, March 1998. Taylor Branch is known for his award-winning trilogy of books chronicling the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the history of the American civil rights movement (Wikipedia bio).

  23. After 1973, the Roe vs Wade ‘judicial abortion amendment’ made abortion legal. Legalizing abortion was big part of the Dem Feminist movement. But reaction to easy, legal abortion has been the development of an ever stronger pro-life movement. The pro-life people have been essentially kicked out of the Dem Party, so have found themselves in with the Reps.

    These include anti-war pro-lifers, anti-gun pro-lifers, anti-death penalty pro-lifers, and especially anti-poverty (pro-Big Gov’t) pro-lifers. In other words, Dems on every issue but life. Like many Catholics. Bush won the Catholic vote over pro-abortion ‘Catholic’ Kerry; yet Obama won the Catholic vote (55 – 45) over pro-life McCain.

    It’s sad, but not too surprising, that this Fabius Maximus site is pretty good at avoiding insulting people — except Christian believers who can be insulted as “whackos”. I don’t think Popes John Paul II and Benedict 15 (?) are whackos, and throwing insults at folks who are pro-life and religious seems juvenile.

    Obama was against ‘gay marriage’. Perhaps if Roe vs. Wade is overturned, and it becomes a states right to choose to legalize abortion or not, perhaps then gay marriage has a chance in legislation. But as long as the pro-life forces can’t stop abortion, they’ll mostly continue fighting against gay marriage as a surrogate fight.

    Even now the Dems are digesting the fact that many of those 95% blacks who voted Dem for Obama, are pretty strongly against gay marriage. Many are far more homo-phobic than most Reps.
    Fabius Maximus replies: Please give a citation to support this statement you make:

    “that this Fabius Maximus site is pretty good at avoiding insulting people — except Christian believers who can be insulted as ‘whackos’.”

    You put “whackos” in quotes. WordPress seach finds no appearance of “whako” in any post on the FM site. The only references in the comments to “whacko” by anybody are to conspiracy theories (US government dictatorship, domination by Jews, etc), and one ref to neocons (by Oldskeptic).

    On a less important note, I have discussed this myopic focus on social issues several times. It is almost irrelevant to the larger political changes now in motion.

  24. Evidence of world opinion is the World’s press which is talking about Obama and contrasting the days of segregation. The intervening 40 years enforced intergration and preferential treatment (busing, afirmative action, school race norming) is never mentioned. America is not regarded as more liberal on race in Britain, Germany, and France.

    FM: “Generations of fighting for segregation got the Republicans nothing but total defeat. Generations of fighting abortion has gotten them little (triming it around the edges), and mostly electoral defeat. I suspect that fighting gay marriage will in the end have the same result.”

    The (old) South is the reference, and when opposition to abortion and gay mariage is compared to supporting segregation as you do here it is clearly implying that these views are held by the same people. If you do want to insinuate this then the analogies and parallels made here are not up to your usual standard in my opinion.

    FM: “McCain got the highest percent of the vote not in a southern state — but in Oklahoma (AP, also see this NY Times article).”

    You come very close to saying that not voting for Obama is evidence of racism here.
    Fabius Maximus replies: I do not understand any of this.

    (1) I asked for evidence to support your statement that {the World’s} “perception of the US electorate and political agenda being dominated by religious bigot and racists.” You reply “Evidence of world opinion is the World’s press.” That an absurd answer. I don’t see any evidence from this in the foreign press that I read.

    (2) “The (old) South is the reference”

    No, the reference was to Arms Merchant’s opening line: “State recognition of gay marriage”. This is made clear by my sentence before the one you quote: “This quibbling about specific policies supported by the public is IMO largely irrelevant.”

    (3) “You come very close to saying that not voting for Obama is evidence of racism here.”

    Nothing in my comment supports this bizarre interpretation. I gave a focused, line-by-line rebuttal to your statements.

  25. Please accept my sincere apologies for opposing “Christian Whacko” as an insult here — it is actually from Soot and Ashes, with a map of slave states and free states. Similar to the GOP vs Dem vote, but less intelligent discourse. (This is a new blog by the guy who started, and just ending, Housing Panic )

    FM is quite correct to call me on this false accusation.

    However, if you read here, and read there, there are a lot of similarities in logical inferences. Keith over there is more open about being anti-Christian. So perhaps I’m seeing it where it isn’t.

    FM has a record of not accepting insults (I’ve been warned a couple of times), and I do appreciate it.

    But we continue to disagree about the importance of the social issues; altho without quantification. It was pretty important in 2004. And it will be more important, again, as the bailout/ anti-depression moves are chosen.
    Fabius Maximus replies: I agree that anti-Christian prejudice is not only rising but becoming acceptable in many parts of America. It has long been a staple in the entertainment media (look at the long history of mocking treatment of ministers in Disney movies). I quick GOOGLE shows roughly 6 thousand hits for forms of “Christian whackos”. I just do not like the accusation thrown at me (apology accepted; blogging is the domain of mistakes).

    As for social issues, we can only guess. I suspect that their time in the spotlight has ended for now; but at some point social issus (not necessarily the same ones) will again become important.

  26. Michael Lind is quoted by eg John Gray for south = fundamentalist.

    * “George W. Bush’s Holy War“, The Globalist, Michael Lind, 23 March 2003 (The Globalist is based in Washington DC)
    * “THE OLD SOUTH AND THE NEW RELIGIOUS RIGHT“, posted at the religion-skeptic website Sullivan Country (Tenn).
    * “My Half-Year of Hell With Christian Fundamentalists“, posted at the blog of Der Spiegel, 4 November 2006
    Fabius Maximus replies: This is brutally irrelevant. I asked for evidence to support your statement that {the World’s} “perception of the US electorate and political agenda being dominated by religious bigot and racists.”

    You given links to two Americans writing at US websites, and a blog posting in a German newspaper. Is this a joke? It is not funny.

  27. You’re far more tolerant than the average blogger thanks. The views I attributed to you were not explicitly expounded in the post so I can’t supply quotes and it’s all my subjective opinion. Sorry if the interpretation was really so eccentric, all I can say is that I was getting a certain impression from your post which, I have to say, did mention abortion and gay rights opponents in the same breath as segregation.

    Black Mass, by John Gray“, book review in the entertainment section of The Independent, 29 June 2007. Per Wikpedia:

    “John N. Gray is a prominent British political philosopher and author, formerly School Professor of European Thought at the London School of Economics. … and has written several influential books on political theory, including “Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals” (2003), an attack on humanism, a worldview which he sees as originating in religious ideologies. Gray sees volition, and hence morality, as an illusion, and portrays humanity as a rapacious species engaged in wiping out other forms of life while destroying its natural environment.”

    About the book: “His main thesis is that the influence of said religious movements created the secular, Enlightment belief in social progress. And this philosophy of history, known as teleology, has contaminated the contemporary isms, including classical liberalism.”

    Under-Secretary Boykin’s faith is seen as being typical of Bush’s advisers by many in Europe (which is nonsense I know.

    Simon Schuma who is the most famous historian in the UK had a long program on America recently — “Simon Schama: My secret recipe to bring the past to life“, The Independent, 26 November 2007. Schama does not go as far as some about the central role obese US fundamentalists plays in the US but that is the impression of the southern US you get from European Media.

    That Der Speigel picked up on a blog post to give it a wider audience might be taken as an indication that its view of US Christians (Baptists) supports their own which is representative of European media.
    Fabius Maximus replies: I asked for evidence to support your statement (#20 above) that {the World’s} “perception of the US electorate and political agenda being dominated by religious bigot and racists.”

    The first, the book review, does not even mention America. The book itself is about western philosphy and religion.

    The second directely contradicts your theory, with the only relevant text being:

    “He scorns those who portray Americans as “obese religious fanatics” because, aside from the fact that Christian preachers led the anti-slavery and Civil Rights movements, Britain has for much of its history also been a land of Christian fundamentalism.”

    Your speculation about the significance of the Der Spiegel blog post is without any foundation that I can see. Blogs on media sites have just as much nonsense as the rest of the Internet, and have far less editorial review than do these companies’ published media. Also, it is unlikely that Der Spiegel’s blog has either a larger or wider audience than the publication itself.

  28. John Gray’s book relies on Lind’s analysis (that the religious right were the bedrock of Bush support) and his book is built around this thesis applied to the Iraq war. That American politics is different to all other developed counties because of evangelical influence is a very widely held point of view and many Europeans do regard US Evangelicals as intolerant and powerful. They are not called bigots that was an exaggeration but their putative influence is greatly resented. Religion and racism are associated in the public mind with the South because stories about those issues are the ones Europeans get in the media:

    The New Face Of America December, Andrew Sullivan, Sunday Times, 16 December 2007.

    ‘Stealth racism’ stalks deep South, , BBC, 24 May 2007
    Fabius Maximus replies: The first is a story by an American, the 2nd is a straight news report. Neither tells us anything about euro-views of America. As for fundamentalists having political influence, wait until the Islamic vote in Europe organizes. It will make the “evangelical” vote in America looks like softies.

  29. I actually think there is a significant amount of truth to the idea that Christians and Republicans ‘go together’ — because the Dem Party has kicked out those who are pro-life.

    If you support all the Dem economic and foreign policies, but are pro-life, pro-straight marriage only, it’s a tough choice to vote either side. According the Pew Research: in 2004, Catholics voted for Bush at about 55%; in 2008 Catholics voted for Obama at about 55%.

    In 2004 “Moral Values” was the top reason to vote for Bush for some 26 mil. voters, more than the Iraq / Terrorist reason for Bush (21 mil.). In 2008, Moral Values wasn’t one the top reasons for the categories with more than 7%. Pew Research Economics was by far the biggest, with 63% calling it most important. Iraq+Terrorism was some 10+9=19%, with health care (9%), and energy (7%), totalling some 98%. And Terrorism was the only concern McCain led.

    Wait until the Dems have 2 years of getting hammered for failed economic policies — which it’s fair to start now, since Congress controls the purse-strings. And Dems have controlled Congress since 2006.

  30. A Black Republican looks at her Party: “It’s My Party, But I Don’t Feel Part of It“, Sophia A. Nelson, Washington Post, 23 November 2008 — Nelson, a former Republican congressional staffer and committee counsel, is a lawyer and the editor of politicalintersectionblog.com. Excerpt:

    Election night was a bittersweet night for me. Like most Americans, and especially as an African American, I found it deeply moving to watch President-elect Barack Obama and his family — soon to be our nation’s first African American first family — stride onstage for his victory speech. I welcome the positive role models they’ll present to black families and the American public at large.

    But as a black Republican, I was chagrined that the political party I’ve belonged to for 20 years had just suffered a blistering electoral defeat. And that along the way, it had lost 96 percent of the black vote and 67 percent of the Hispanic vote — the worst showing for the Republican Party among minorities in its 150-year history.

    After such a devastating loss, Republicans will have to do some retooling. We’ll have to decide whether we want to be the party that believes in smaller government, lower taxes and less regulation, or whether we’re going to be a litmus-test party that responds only to the demands of social conservatives. But most important, we’ll have to confront our most disastrous modern legacy: our poor relationship with black Americans, the very people the party was formed to protect from the expansion of slavery into Kansas and Nebraska in 1854.

    That relationship may be lost for generations, thanks to a campaign by Sen. John McCain that seemed to simply concede the black vote. According to one senior aide, McCain had been polling close to 20 percent of the black vote before the primaries ended. But then his “Forgotten America” tour, which started soon after, never seemed to go anywhere. I knew of only one high-level black adviser or spokesperson on his full-time paid campaign staff. The GOP convention was embarrassingly devoid of people of color — among more than 2,000 delegates, only 36 were black.

    The problem, former Maryland lieutenant governor Michael Steele told the Washington Times last week, is that party officials “don’t give a damn.” To them, he said, “outreach means let’s throw a cocktail party, find some black folks and Hispanics and women, wrap our arms around them — ‘See, look at us.’ And then we go back to the same old, same old.”

    “The party has simply not understood the importance of having highly visible black Republican operatives, elected officials and political spokespersons working for it on an ongoing basis,” adds an African American who worked for the Republican National Committee during the administration of the first President Bush. “It’s not our message as much as it is our messengers that are killing us.”

    It didn’t have to be this way. …

  31. Great article. The GOP will have to reinvigorate minority outreach or it will die; pure demographics tell that story. It’s inexplicable that the Republican establishment has abandoned trying to attract minorities, if indeed this is true. FM explains this as the natural result of the “Southern Strategy.” I’m not so sure.

    Univision and Telemundo are following the rest of the entertainment industry and are liberal to a fault – probably even more so than their mostly conservative and Catholic audience in America. “The World According to Univision: Political bias at America’s biggest Spanish-language TV network.“, op-ed at the Wall Street Journal, 16 September 2007.

    The Spanish language ads that the Obama campaign ran, including one even the NY Times called deceitful, linking McCain and Rush Limbaugh, certainly didn’t help the GOP cause: “The Ad Campaign: ‘Dos Caras’“, Larry Rohter, blogging at the New York Times, 18 September 2008 — “This Spanish-language television advertisement for Senator Barack Obama is aimed at Latino voters in battleground and other states. Called ‘Two Faces’ it is 30 seconds long.”

    In my observation, the country-club Republicans in particular seem to be an exclusive bunch – as opposed the libertarians and social traditionalists – to the point of excluding the very people they need to reform the GOP.

    In order to survive the Republican Party will have to put forth a more colorful “face” to the public. Of course, it’s hard to do minority outreach when the MSM is doing everything possible to paint them as racist crackers (which a few, but by no means all, are). But then every party has some – look at former KKK Kleagle Senator “Name a Monument After Me” Byrd. A political party cuts such a broad swath that it’s hard to avoid some nut somewhere claiming membership.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top