Monday, December 18, 2006

Identity Crisis

While the Democratic Party is busy making ourselves giddy over the ascendancy of either Clinton or Obama, which, in and of itself may garner enough ink to nominate one of them by Memorial Day, the Republican Party is undergoing a continuation of their needed identity crisis.

And I ask, yet again, is the current state of affairs in the GOP a precursor to the dissolution of the Libertarian/Republican/Neo-Con alliance that has dominated American politics since 1994? (And in many ways, since Reagan won in 1980?) Or is this just a needed conversation that the various wings of the Republican Party have been ignoring for a while so they could make fun of us Democrats?

I wonder which side ends up on top and controlls the direction of the 2008 GOP...


Anonymous said...

The only crisis here is that the members of the rich Republican oligarchy forgot that you have to get the everyday person to vote for you and ignored their needs and wishes. The Democrats won control of the Senate and House by default. De fault of those out-of-touch Republicans.

I've seen nothing yet from the Democrats that show me that they have any sort of identity other than "we ain't Republicans." They need to move forward with legalizing gay marriage and liberalizing abortion laws.

You see, the Democrats have the same problem with rich oligarchs. The Democratic oligarchs just happen to have a "(D)" after their name. Will the Democrats follow the elitists Kennedy and Kerry path or go in the direction that Lou Dobbs recommends.

Patrick Armstrong said...

I don't like the 'we're not Republicans' platform either (you know that), but c'mon, this year (and maybe even the next two years) that may be all that is needed to win. I've said before, the GOP isn't giving us a very high bar to jump over.

One thing I heard the other day on the radio is that the Democratic Party is a coalition of minorities. While this may or may not be true, and I don't know if I agree with it or not, this is the closest thing I've heard to a Democratic identity since Zell Miller said "Not everyone can be born rich and handsome, that's why we have a Democratic Party."

As far as Republican identity, I think that is mainly a brand name used by savvy marketers. The reason Georgia's State House and Senate and Governor's mansion are in Republican hands is not because of an overwhelming rejection of Democrats statewide (that would come later), but because many Georgia incumbents switched from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party over the last 10 years (just like our Governor).

It was never an 'oh, I'm going to govern differently now' thing, it was a 'what's my best chance to get elected/keep my committee seat thing.' Those guys are the oligarchs you are talking about, who made the takeover possible, and voters have figured out that the smaller, spend less government promised by the pundits didn't exactly translate.

The Republican machine wasn't the problem in the last election, it was the competence of Party higher ups, and a loss of direction at the top. What I am interested in, academically speaking, is where the GOP goes from here: embracing the more libertarian wing of the Party (which would, I think, appeal to many more Americans) or will they go with the same old "how can I get elected and keep my committee seat" guys?

Though the Democratic victory should make the GOP stronger from a message standpoint - their message since 1994 has been a reform/attack the guys in power bestseller - the same thing could be said of the Democrats of 1993 who totally self destructed on a national and state level after 1994's loss of their seats and committee chairmanships.

As far as legalizing gay marriage and liberalizing abortion laws, the former is going to be left to the states (since it is the states who issue marriage liscenses) and you can't really get more liberal abortion laws than the country already has. I think, far more importantly, would be for the Democrats to right the state of affairs the GOP-not-really-conservative-except-on-tv-and-radio-faerie-dust has left us in. If the Administration can be forced to deal more frankly with the Iraq situation, if the Democratic Congress stops or stems the absolute money bleed that earmarks, subsidies and no-bid contracts have drained us with, and some oversight can get some of the government agencies working again, I think there's a good chance for the Dems to do well in two years on a competency not ideology platform.

But that's just me.

Dante said...

"I don't like the 'we're not Republicans' platform either (you know that), but c'mon, this year (and maybe even the next two years) that may be all that is needed to win. I've said before, the GOP isn't giving us a very high bar to jump over."

Replace 'Republican' with 'Democrat' and 'GOP' with 'DNC' and you'll find the mindset that put Republicans in this predicament to begin with. It wasn't very long ago that all Republicans had to do was say that they weren't those bedwetting, cut-and-run Democrats and that was all that needed to be said. They could run on that platform for four years (3 elections) against a Democratic Party that never learned how to be the minority power. If the Repbulicans can remember how to be a minority again, Democrats won't be able to coast on their unRepublicanness for too long.

And I do find it interesting that you're pointing out a Republican identity crisis in the same post where you also mention the two poles of the Democrats' own upcoming identity crisis: Obama and Clinton.

Dante said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Interesting that you quote Zell Miller. I've heard him several times on the Sean Hannity Show. He seems to be Hannity's favorite Democrat. Mine, too, from what I've heard him say.

I welcome all the Zell Millers we can get, no matter what party they belong to.