Posted by: mazibuko | September 28, 2010

The Long View

Been a while since I posted (I don’t see how one can both hold a job and blog frequently), but since the 2010 midterms are coming up, it is a good time.

Seems like the Republicans are going to make some major gains now, knocking out decent people like Russ Feingold and replacing them with flat-earth types.  This is particularly galling, since:

1. We just got rid of the bums two years ago;

2. They have actually become worse since then–they think that becoming even more right-wing is the answer;

3. They have done absolute nothing to deserve the reward they are going to get–they are simply benefiting from a terrible economy (but I guess Obama did, too).

However, when I consider points 2 and 3, it forces me to take a long view on things, and I think that long view looks pretty good. Here’s why:

The GOP’s reaction to their 2006 and 2008 drubbings has been to double-down on conservatism, kill off all their moderates, and become ever more insane. I realize this is fairly obvious, but what might be less widely appreciated is the fact that the GOP will almost certainly do exactly what they accuse the Dems of doing – reacting as if their gains are a strong voter mandate for their policies, rather than sheer disgruntlement. While I acknowledge that the US is a center-right country, it is certainly not an extreme right country, yet it seems that the GOP will try to govern as if it is.

Once voters get another look at where the GOP is and how it tries to govern, they will pretty quickly realize that the Repubs are an even poorer fit than the Dems are currently perceived to be.  In fact, they might even realize that Dem policies are a lot more centrist than what they now think in the midst of their economic angst (remembering that much of the policy that is presently reviled was adopted to prevent a meltdown).  Republicans can no longer see this, because (to rejig a metaphor Bush employed against Kerry in one of the 2004 debates) they are standing so far to the right of the mainstream that they can no longer see the water. All they can see are people standing somewhere near the stream, but they can’t tell if those people are in the stream, just to the right of it, just on the other side, or far across on the left.  Since this is their perspective, anybody over in the direction of the stream is perceived to be “liberal”, and not to be engaged.

So, we might see a GOP blip for the next 2, 4, or even 8 years. It might take people these few additional years to realize how truly out there the party has become (the first realization happened after Bush’s reelection–I consoled myself after he won that people would finally realize how bad the GOP + W were, and that actually happened fairly soon thereafter).

Thus, in the long term, the GOP’s stock will again lose most of its value outside of the South and places like Idaho, unless they buck the trend (unlikely given the rise of the Tea Party) and start bringing moderates back into the fold.

Either result will make me happy, but the latter would be best for the country.

Update 14 October: Here are two stories from today that support some of the above:

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/13/the-price/?ref=opinion (see the last paragraph or two)

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/13/AR2010101305531.html

Update 28 Otober: Another good piece along these lines, this time also bringing in Democratic mis-interpretation of what voting means.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/27/AR2010102704440.html

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