Establishment GOP to Tea Party: That Thing You Keep Doing? Stop That.

Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a freelance journalist and blogger. He considers Bob Dylan and Walter Sobchak to be the two great Jewish thinkers of our time; he thinks Kafka was half-right when he said there was hope, "but not for us"; and he can be reached through the twitter via @eliasisquith or via email. The opinions he expresses on the blog and throughout the interwebs are exclusively his own.

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110 Responses

  1. Tod Kelly says:

    Good Post, EI.

    I wonder, though, if this is rebranding. To me if feels slightly more like knowing that the tiger’s eventually gonna kill you, but talking yourself into riding it just a wee bit farther…Report

  2. Care to unpack that a bit? (Professorspeak ftw)Report

    • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Elias Isquith says:

      I think Tod’s point is that most of the positions taken by say, Paul Ryan and Todd Akin aren’t that different. I’m sure if you compared their voting records, they’d crossover at an 80-90% level, especially since Obama came into office.

      The difference is, Paul Ryan doesn’t say politically stupid things out loud as often as somebody like Akin or Angle. In essence, what Rove and the billionaires want is the old days of the 2000-2006 GOP where the leaders threw some red meat to the base (ie. Partial Birth Abortion Ban and/or Gay Marriage Bans), but the ‘important’ stuff done was to help big business (immigration reform, Medicare Part D, massive tax cuts for rich people).Report

      • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

        Too add on this, Rove and the Billionaires (their new album is out next week!) like the fact the right-wingers have gone off the reservation from the “bipartisan consensus” on entitlements and such because they believe they can use this energy to finally kill teachers unions, radically reform Social Security and Medicare, destroy the federal regulatory system, and all the other things evil billionaires want to do.

        They don’t like the fact they stupid things in public about rape, gay people, and Obama’s birthplace. So, they want to ride the crazy to victory, but then put the crazy back in the closet once they get in office.Report

        • Ah, well, if this is indeed what Tod is arguing, then I’d say we’re in total agreement! Rebranding is to my eyes an attempt to make changes without actually making changes. The Clinton/DLC movement would perhaps be pointed to as an example of successful rebranding; but I’d argue the changes ushered in with Clinton were way more substantial than getting the Dem equivalent of Todd Akin (the poor, wretched soul) the fuck out of the picture. But that sounds like the totality of what Rove and co. are willing to do.Report

        • Kim in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

          Yawn. This comment misses all perspective on the fight. It’s pretty much Koch Versus Rove.Report

    • What I mean is, I’ve never been convinced that the GOP establishment was ever overly thrilled with the Tea Party-Far Base or its messages, except as a way to generate excitement, get victories, and oppose Obama. I think that there are a lot of times I can see them wanting they could get off of the ride they themselves made. (Think: Boehner in either of the debt ceiling battles.)

      I think the establishment sees their base today as something that is keeping them from winning, but then they see the fervor and the radio exposure and the FOX highlights, and they think “Well, it won’t hurt to ride this tiger just a little bit longer…”

      Does that make more sense?Report

  3. zic says:

    Wait, didn’t Rove help GWB sweep in to office by bringing these very same voters out, teaching them that they, too, have political clout?

    As you sow, so shall you reap.

    Chew heartily, Mr. Rove. I’m sure you’re lining your pockets in the process.Report

  4. Jaybird says:

    So a bunch of people who care about stuff like taxation, spending, and increasingly large government intrusion into the increasingly smaller private sphere and they also know better than to talk about social issues?

    I wish that there was a group of people out there who would respond to such a message.Report

    • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Jaybird says:

      Except, in all reality, your general Tea Party supporter is just a right-wing conservative Republican who suddenly became upset at how unconservative the Republican Party was the moment Obama won.

      Yes, the original Tea Parties may have been made up of libertarian-leaning people, but again, outside of the Internet, the amount of people who want to make massive cuts to the budget that also don’t care about gay marriage wouldn’t have enough numbers to swing many elections.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

        Well, I admit to being a fan of primarying the ever-living hell out of politicians. If you don’t like the squish that is running, run someone who isn’t squishy against him or her! If the legit non-squish wins the primary, *HURRAY*! Then you can watch them either win (or not) in the main.

        If they lose in the main, you get to hammer out *WHY*.

        I mean, let’s face it, it’s not like you can really argue that Claire McCaskill beat Todd Akin because the voters preferred her policy on Teachers’ Unions.Report

        • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Jaybird says:

          I have no problem with primaries. But, I understand Rove’s and the rest of the Establishment GOP’s point. They’ve probably lost 3-6 Senate seats over the past three cycles depending on how you want to argue due to candidates losing in primaries that probably only would’ve voted 5-10% less conservatively than the candidate that actually won the nomination.

          To make two examples, Jane Norton versus Ken Buck or Todd Akin versus Sarah Steelman would not have had dramatically different voting records. But, in a low turnout primary, if one ‘side’ gets momentum through a combination of “grassroots” advertising and being able to find three votes the other person went against Republican orthodoxy, I can’t really blame Rove and the rest of the Establishment GOP basically saying, “we’re not going to sit back and let the crazy through in these primaries to the determent of conservatism in the long run.”Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

            The question then comes of what happens to conservativism when it results in, oh, more George Walker types?

            Because I suspect that that will do as much damage… though, granted, a much different flavor of it.Report

            • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Jaybird says:

              Is there where I point out again, that (if you mean by George Walker, Dubya) that the Younger Bush still had a 75% approval rating among Republican’s on the day he left office? Medicare Part D, wars in foreign countries, and unfunded tax cuts were all considered conservative ideas until the guy who signed all those things got destroyed in an election.

              And before your rejoinder, yes, that means unlimited drone warfare and sending troops into Libya can be considered liberal ideals as of now too. 🙂Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                Well, we always come back to “what does it mean to be Conservative? What does it mean to be Liberal?”

                From here, the answer seems to be TEAM RED vs. TEAM BLUE.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Jaybird says:

                It’s not quite that simple. Team Red, as I said below, has lost control of its brand. Conservative is an adjective. As such, it’s applied to nouns. Conservative fiscal policy. Conservative foreign policy. Conservative values — hell, if the GOP can’t enumerate those values and win elections based on them, if all they can say is “We’re not this” and “We’re not that”, well sure, it will come down to Team Red and Team Blue, not because Team Red stands for anything but because they don’t.

                And that’s how you get jackasses on the ballot.

                The important things to remember about fascism, not that the GOP can be compared to them directly, but there were three aspects to fascism which won them over to the people. First, they were modern people, neoclassical architecture on a monumental scale, sexy aircraft, great uniforms, wonderful propaganda outfits. The fascists had genius brand management. Second, they latched onto patriotism and the concept of a fatherland, always a poorly defined emotion but it does unite people. Three, and the most important aspect here, they said democracies were disorderly, promising immediate reforms.

                When Team Red had Ronald Reagan, they were in high cotton. Reagan understood teams need the appearance of leadership. Now teams always have leaders but some don’t know how to look like leaders.

                But back to the Fascists: when they came to power, they purged their ranks of the Brown Shirt types, the untidy thugs who’d helped bring them to power. The GOP lacks the stomach to get rid of the Todd Akins and the rest of ’em, the guys who don’t know how to stay on message and push the scrum forward. Team Red isn’t really a team. Look at these idiots, here it is February and the election was in November and you’d think they’d have formed up the Loyal Opposition rhetoric by now, the high-minded things the Minority Party always says — and they just haven’t. Obama knows this and he’s beating them down.

                The GOP has to stand for something, not just against Obama. The first step is to cut the loudmouthed dumbasses out of their ranks. Let’s see if they can do it: they’ll send a louder message of their goals by having a Night of the Long Knives than some abstract enumeration of their Lofty Goals about what’s meant by Conservatism.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to BlaiseP says:

                The relationship that the GOP has to Conservative seems to be similar to the relationship that the DNC/DLC has to Liberal.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Jaybird says:

                Absolutely correct. The Liberals are all over the map in terms of policy. It’s a huge tent, so enormous the Liberals kinda stand around in little groups.

                But Democrat =/= Liberal. The Democrats know how to manage these disparate elements within their own constituencies, or at least manage them better. They’ve managed to get them pushing together.

                The Liberals scream and holler at Obama all the time and every so often, the Democrats and Obama respond to them, often in ways they hadn’t expected. Look at LGBT issues. Seems the Justice Dept. is finally getting around to prosecuting these ratings agencies: you know I’ve been screaming about all that, well jeebus, bringing civil charges Standard & Poor’s for fraud? Whoda thunk? Makes sense to do so now, after the election. It was a matter of timing, it seems. The choice of civil courts, completely unexpected to me. The Obama DoJ measured the evidence against the charges for years with all these Wall Street shysters, knew they didn’t have enough for a criminal indictment — so now it appears in a California court, at Ground Zero for the mortgage bust of 2008. Revenge is a dish best served cold.

                The Conservatives are just lost souls these days. Even Fox is getting sick of them. That’s a bad sign, folks. Conservatives would love to be Republican, or at least amenable to the sorts of persuasion we see between the DNC/DLC and the little groups in the enormous Liberal Tent. Trouble is, the current GOP leadership thinks it’s all about them and their petty Congressional bickering and power plays and not the Grand Old Party.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                There are a handful of firebrands (or used to be, anyway) that could have made splashes if the leverage was right.

                Chris Christie, for example, strikes me as a Republican that could appeal to most Republicans at the same time as appealing to most swing voters at the same time as peeling off a handful of Democrats.

                Insofar as Christie would be unable to get past, oh, South Carolina, this does, in fact, indicate a problem with the Republican Primary System.

                I don’t know that it necessarily indicates a problem with the tea party, however.Report

              • Burt Likko in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Republicans are too afraid to do something like this, Blaise. Too afraid that they will lose the “energy” brought by volunteers. Too afraid that they will offend the big donors and cease to be competitive in the money game. Too afraid that they will stop being “conservative” and fall victim to “triangulation.”Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Burt Likko says:

                Big Money wants to back winners, not losers. I foresee the rise of the Blue Dogs if the GOP doesn’t get its act together. The current GOP has lost control of its message. When things get that bad at a branding level — okay, there’s this guy who lives on a yacht, I think he sails out of San Francisco, all he does is dream up brand names for products like pharmaceutical drugs. The Republican Party brand stinks so bad, nothing short of renaming it will do. It’s so fractured internally, its leadership so reduced to public and vicious internal squabbling, nothing short of a complete makeover will do. That’s how the Republican Party began, as a revolt against the Whigs. America can deal with it. Sears Tower has become Willis Tower. As with the Labour Party in the UK now rebranded as New Labour, just call them the New Republicans

                In this way, the GOP can dump all its crappy legacy at once. Everyone will just flee to this New Republican Party and the new party leadership can keep the duds off their caucus.Report

              • Bob2 in reply to Burt Likko says:

                And so they continue kicking out minorities and women by being unresponsive to their needs. Obama won 73% of the Asian vote this time around. Obama won Hispanics 3-1, Asians 3-1, and blacks 9-1 (approximates). He won the youth vote, the women vote and the gay vote also.
                Women make up 53% of voters and Obama won them 55% to 44% while losing the male vote 52% to 45%.
                Women also outnumber men in the US by a small margin in the latest census. Just under 51%.

                It’s not just a perception that the GOP is Christian whites at this points. It’s the demographic truth. The GOP is much better than the Dems at organizing on a state and local level because they’ve been doing it longer, but the long term demographics are very very unfavorable for the GOP, and what Blaise proposes about kicking out the element he doesn’t like is actually proposing to kick out almost 25% to 50% of the GOP at this point. This isn’t a small bloc.

                “A mid-October AP-GfK poll showed that 24 percent of Americans considered themselves tea partiers, down from a high of 33 percent who said the same in June 2011 and near the record low of 22 percent reached in May 2012.
                Exit polling from the 2012 election showed that 21 percent supported the tea party movement, 30 percent opposed it and 42 percent felt neutrally about it. That’s a major change from exit polling in the 2010 election when 41 percent supported, 30 percent opposed and 24 percent felt neutrally. (Worth noting: Comparing a midterm electorate and a presidential electorate is an inexact science due to the heavily increased turnout in a presidential year.)”Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Burt Likko says:

                When the Republican rebelled against the Whigs, they weren’t much to speak of either.

                Now’s the perfect time to make the change. As Jaybird and others have noted: Conservative =/= GOP. There are tons of Conservatives out there in the black and Hispanic communities, family values types, strong work ethic, small government types, small business types, prosperous Asians are awfully conservative and they can’t stand the GOP, hell, even some of the more moderate Libertarians might buy into the idea of a New Republican Party. They’ve got to do something here. The Old White Guys are dying off and Conservative is still an adjective. They just need new nouns to apply it to.Report

              • Bob2 in reply to Burt Likko says:

                I don’t disagree that it needs to be done, but the nuts and bolts of extrapolating what it means on a practical level compared to the time of the Whigs…it’s a far more onerous task now due to entrenched interests/money.

                It would also mean fracturing power within the lifetimes of current politicians and moneyed interested. I don’t expect the existing interests and politicians want to lose that power so quickly, and any new party cropping up would also realize it would mean giving the Dems power for another generation at least.

                I’m not sure the party of ressentiment that’s left over would go down so quietly either. The big scenario that comes to mind is that it would mean kicking out the South from the GOP and large portions of the poor and less educated that believe the things you dislike.

                I don’t think the meme of how Asians and Hispanics are natural fits into a conservative party are necessarily true given the Asian propensity to be in favor of abortion for instance, and the Hispanic desire for government to function well for their families. Also, the fact that Asians tend to be more highly educated would mean that they would have approved of a larger stimulus and more government education and infrastructure spending. They could need to rally around immigration as a common point I guess, but I see them both as more natural fits for Democrats regardless of a new party. Of course the other problem with Asians is they tend to live in demographically impossible states for large change, clustering largely in New York, California, Texas, and Illinois. The more promising ones to target would be Hispanics given their large influence in more swing states like Florida.

                I don’t think the GOP would fracture into pro-family conservatives that believe in sensible spending as you say, but rather into the social vs fiscal conservatives. I’ve always believed the cognitive dissonance involved in keeping those two groups together in the GOP was untenable.

                Sorry if this is a little bit rambling, but just the downfield implications and possibilities of any split seem to be humongous and difficult to control in a way.Report

              • Kim in reply to Burt Likko says:

                Sure you’ve got the entitled interests. But you’ve got TRUE grassroots, too. If Kos And Company can make a difference with the democrats… what do you think they’d do to the Republicans?
                [not a hypothetical q.]

                The Republicans need a new mantra, and fast. Legalize Drugs, end prison abuse, Civil Rights, stop the government from spying on us. And pro science, pro government-investment.

                See what i left out? Let the econ/social stuff hang. Lord knows the standard redneck democrat (Murtha!) sounds different from his ivorytower opposite (Obama. you seen his original district?)Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Burt Likko says:

                @Bob2: The New Republicans would have to ditch abortion. It’s not a vote-getter any more. Too much doo-doo on the Right to Life’s heel these days. I’d write up some squishy talking point about how Right to Lifers have never come to any consensus about rape and incest and life of the mother and serious problem pregnancies — down at that end of the spectrum, beyond the morally reprehensible abortion of convenience, they’ve just made things worse. Point out how nobody wants an abortion, that every abortion is a tragedy. And then shut up.

                All the Second Amendment types could be shut up immediately by saying “Instead of opposing any regulation, why do we let the NRA lead us around by the nose when they oppose compiling real statistics on this problem? We need to attack this problem scientifically, working from the crime back to how that criminal got that weapon and the registered gun owners aren’t going to turn up in those numbers because they’re law-abiding people, and quit worrying so much about Gummint Taking Yer Gunz. It’s just stupid fearmongering and quit buying into that crap.”

                As for the Fiscal Conservatives, they need a message like “Quit being so simplistic about government spending, not all of it is bad and not all the military spending is good. It’s all of a piece with the larger economy. Congress is the Sacred Cow Ranch and let’s not pretend it isn’t and that means compromising and laying off this dumbass obstructionism because we could get real reforms if we got something done now. If we’re going to get this country back on track, we’re better off focussing on getting this economy working first because we always collect more taxes when the economy’s in good shape, whatever the taxation rates might be. And all this cheap talk about how we’re going to change Washington, let’s just stop making that dumb noise right now. We’re going to Washington and we’re going to get stuff done and yes that just might mean working within the system to do what’s politically possible.”

                As for the Social Conservatives, I’d make this point: “You’re the salt of the earth, the keepers of the flame of our fathers. Good on you for holding true to your principles. You hold onto what’s good and you sort through all the new stuff and though most of it isn’t so great, some of it isn’t so bad. Back in the days of your forefathers, prejudice was a way of life and good solid people of faith saw it was a great evil and they changed their minds. And we can’t win elections by treating our fellow citizens as sinners. Dammit, we need their votes. All you Pharisees out there in the audience, go ahead and find a stone, there are plenty on the ground. When you feel up to throwing those stones at your fellow citizens, you’d better think twice because those people will never vote for good solid conservative candidates again. You can use me as a warm-up target if you feel like it, I don’t care. It’s un-American to oppress our fellow citizens and you goddamn well know it and you ought to be ashamed of it. Your fathers got over their racism. You get over your little issues about the people you hate, now.”Report

              • Bob2 in reply to Burt Likko says:

                Kim, you pretty much proposed they rebrand themselves as libertarians, which is what I largely consider the fiscal conservative branch of the GOP. I don’t see the conditions on the ground making this rebranding possible any time soon, though I’d be very much for many aspects of that. Maybe I’m wrong, but I just don’t see it happening since there’s very little incentive at this current moment, especially at the grass roots level.

                BlaiseP, it sounds nice, but you see how far that got David Frum and Bruce Bartlett with our current media and political climate. I just see very little evidence that conservatives have enough clout to make that split. I don’t know what kind of time frame you’d expect given how how much they’d have to swim upstream against. Pipe dream, but a worthy one. I’d say it’d take about 20 years for them to make a difference if they started now, enough for a generation to pass and forget the Bush excesses. Giving up a large portion of the god guns and gays coalition now that Rove used is likely too damaging.
                Also, in the conservative media, what you just proposed does not get ratings, and I suspect that would get them marginalized rather fast in that venue, and I don’t see a real grassroots movement that is capable of it.

                What’s funny to me is to see what the Southern Strategy, financial deregulation, Reagan’s Eleventh Commandment, and Rove’s God, Guns and Gay strategy did to the party since the 60’s. There’s far too much past rot associated with anyone who’d want to split now that isn’t a David Frum or Bruce Bartlett.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Burt Likko says:

                @Bob2: If today’s conservatives aren’t buying it, maybe that’s because it’s David Frum and Bruce Bartlett selling it. Both of ’em were on board for the Big Pinch when it was going down. If they’re now repenting and condemning their former sins and errors, Republicans just hate that sort of thing.

                The Conservatives need some fresh horses. No shortage of them but they’ll never be able to jump the queue ahead of the Oldsters. They can have their God ‘n Gunz if they want them. If they stick with hatin’ on Teh Gayz they will start looking like the segregationists of old.

                Rove never played to the God ‘n Gunz ‘n Gays crowd. He used their fears but he didn’t pull them along into his camp. He pushed them. Rove was a dirty player, his push polls were infamous. Rove was the master of the mailing list. Don’t you remember Bush41’s campaigns about Kinder and Gentler? Rove managed to put a human face on George W Bush, Kay Bailey Hutchison et. al. Granted, Rove was a nasty piece of work but he never cuddled up to frothers and ranters. It was bad for business.

                As for the Conservative Media, they’re all so many mouth breathers. They haven’t thought up an original idea in two decades now. Fox would love to find the Next New Conservative Star, they’d give such a person all the time they wanted on the Gasbag Shows. Someone believable — but with a short resume. And younger than 50 for crissakes, someone in a better marketing bracket, someone with a full head of hair and no wattles under his chin. Fox might put asses in chairs but they’re mostly wheelchairs.Report

        • Kim in reply to Jaybird says:

          Claire beat the last shmoo (da one before Akin) because of stem cell research.Report

  5. Kolohe says:

    At least one evening drive time talk radio guy talked about this last week I think; to him, this is Rove and Establishment Republicans (TM) throwing the Tea Party under the bus, and he (mr. talk radio) was not too happy about it.Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to Kolohe says:

      That’s exactly what it sounds like to me. We want your votes, but not your candidates, because they’re a little too, you know, That’s not a problem, is it?Report

      • Barry in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        Mike Schilling: ” but not your candidates, because they’re a little too, you know, …”

        ‘not winning’ is the term you’re looking for (or rather, avoiding). If Aiken et al. had *won*, there’d be no problem whatsoever. IIRC, there’s around several Tea Party candidates for the US Senate who’ve flat-out blown it in the past two elections. For the GOP, that’s the difference between fillibuster city and actually controlling the Senate (given the Blue Dogs).Report

  6. North says:

    After Rove’s performance last election I’m surprised he’s not hiding in some isolated Caribbean island right now.Report

    • Pat Cahalan in reply to North says:

      I wonder how that’s going to play out with Kolohe’s observatioReport

      • Plinko in reply to Pat Cahalan says:

        On the ride home tonight, I decided to tune into E.E. again on a lark to see if the course has changed at all.
        In essence, it was an hour-long screed about how Karl Rove is out wasting the money of millionaires and billionaires on more lousy squish candidates that also haven’t won much of anything and long for the big government ‘conservatism’ of GWB.Report

        • Patrick Cahalan in reply to Plinko says:

          Yeah, well, when it comes to the political right, the millionaires and the billionaires are the ones with the money. The media machine is the one with the free air time, but talk radio and the wealthy aren’t exactly aligned in the stars.

          Something has to give. Some enterprising unethical moderate Democrat could make a killing right now, with the right set of phone calls.Report

          • ktward in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

            Some enterprising unethical moderate Democrat could make a killing right now, with the right set of phone calls.

            Yet, that hasn’t happened. Has never happened, actually, and not for lack of trying. Surely there’s no shortage of enterprising, unethical Dems?

            For whatever reasons, Talk Radio remains the Far Right’s domain.

            In my observation, the enterprising and unethical Dems to which you refer are not nearly as ubiquitous nor remotely as successful within their own Parties as their Republican counterparts. But that’s probably another conversation.Report

            • Patrick Cahalan in reply to ktward says:

              Oh, it’s definitely a different conversation.

              I wasn’t talking about Talk Radio being invaded by the unethical moderate Democrat as much as I was musing on what Blaise also mentions above: the unethical moderate Democrat calling up the Big Money and saying, “You know how you keep losing elections because you’re backing guys like Aiken? Back me instead and I’ll get your interests heard on the floor”.

              If the GOP’s Big Money starts abandoning the party for fiscally conservative Democrats, the GOP will have to make up the difference in campaigning with Talk Radio alone.

              This is a problem, because if you don’t already buy into a good deal of the GOP message, you’re not listening to Talk Radio.

              How the GOP is going to attract the mean voter without Big Business money is a serious problem. The middle class is not exactly turning out in droves to donate to the GOP on the national stage.Report

              • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

                To a certain extent, isn’t that what happened with Clinton and the rest of the DLC during the mid-90’s? Also, Obama to a lesser extent during the ’08 campaign after McCain got nominated and chose Palin.Report

    • Barry in reply to North says:

      “After Rove’s performance last election I’m surprised he’s not hiding in some isolated Caribbean island right now.”

      Grifters survive failures which would doom honest people.Report

    • ktward in reply to North says:

      After Rove’s performance last election I’m surprised he’s not hiding in some isolated Caribbean island right now.

      My thoughts exactly. Alas, there’s the GOP for ya: no matter how obvious the shame, there exists no shame. They’ve got some serious existential jujitsu going on.Report

  7. Shazbot5 says:

    I don’t see Rove as at all influential. He takes money to make ads, provides advice about how to attack effectively. IMO, he could care less about the party or the country; he is focused on playing his game well, which he does. ( I don’t blame him for that. I am sure his democractic counterparts are the same.) If Rove is pushed to work for Tea Party types he will. If he is paid to work for old-money conservatives, he’ll do that. He makes goodads and crafts good slogans fr whoever pays.

    The interesting players in the party (and this is scary but true, IMO) are the talk radio conservamedia people. If they go more moderate, they’ll bring many of their listeners in line with what Boehner and Ryan can sell as moderate, rightish policy. If they go hard to the right on air, while the Republican party tries to offer something moderate on immigration and other issues, that will result in primaries and a shooting war (not just the cold war that we’ve seen since Bush II left) for control of the Republican party. It would be such a war that I suspect most of us wouldn’t have seen its equal as a battle within a party in our lifetimes. (The battle with the Dixiecrats was big, but a lomg time ago now.)

    The thing is, the financial incentives are there for the conservative media to go right in their rhetoric and attack any attempt at moderation by their Republican reps. The conservative media sells outrage, a sense of betrayal, and even a touch of paranoia very well, and if the party goes more moderate (especially on immigration) the talk-radio voters really will have been sold out and ther outrage and paranoia would be justified.

    However, the conservative media people are loyal to their cause, at least in many cases. They may hold their nose to help Boehner et al hold the party together by supporting more moderate proposals. And they already make god money. Why risk ripping the party apart.

    I’d guess the Limbaugh’s amd Hanmoty’s will fall in line and their listeners will forget how evil comprehensibe immigration reform used to seem. After all, we have always been at war with Oceania.Report

    • Kolohe in reply to Shazbot5 says:

      I see Hannity as being a team player (I don’t know whether is has two microphones is a cause or effect of this). I don’t see Limbaugh as being a team player, because he’s been in the game too long. Everybody else is too hardcore and too in love with themselves to be effective team players. (most of them are saying right now, ‘we were team players with Romney, you know? And how did that go?’)

      And as you say, (and contra Mr. Isquith), the divergence is more than style – there’s some serious issues the talk radio & bloggingsphere are at loggerheads with the formal apparatus of the GOP. Immigration being the biggest one of these*.

      (*though I’m having a hard time of thinking of anything else with such diametric opposition – most every else is just a matter of degree or how much compromise is acceptable)Report

    • Kolohe in reply to Shazbot5 says:

      Though the other characteristic of the talk radio and internet circuits is that they are not engines, they are turbochargers. And the weakness of many of the players on the GOP side (including many (most?) those making their money in that same media production machinery) is confusing these two things.Report

    • M.A. in reply to Shazbot5 says:

      The word “if” is doing a lot of your work.

      The reality is that they did go hard right on the air, and it did result in primaries and a shooting war for control of the GOP in the presidential primary as well as currently.

      The conservative media sells outrage, a sense of betrayal, and even a touch of paranoia very well

      You forgot plain cuckoo-for-cocoa-puffs crazy.Report

    • Shazbot3 in reply to Shazbot5 says:

      Looks like Cantor and the House R’s will go hard against immigration reform and amnesty or a pathway to citizenship or whatever you want to call it.

      The Republican party needs to consider restructuring its fundraising and volunteer organizations to make primary challenges much, much harder. Not sure how to do that, but I suspect it is possible.Report

  8. James Vonder Haar says:

    This looks more like a substantive than superficial change, to me. There really is a difference between a tea partier willing to drive the government to default to cut spending, and one willing to engage in standard democratic horse trading without practicing treasonous brinksmanship. There’s a difference between someone in favor of appointing Roe-hostile judges and one that will trumpet to the public that it’s a punishment for sin.

    In particular, this can help responsible Republicans in heavily conservative areas. They might not want to damage the country they love by playing chicken with our kids’ future, but the political calculus says their only realistic chance of losing their seat is to a primary challenge from someone more right-wing than they. The less leverage tea partiers have in such a situation, the more likely we are to see responsible governance.Report

    • Jesse Ewiak in reply to James Vonder Haar says:

      I think one example of this disconnect between the ‘establishment’ and ‘batshit crazy’ wings of the GOP is the Violence Against Women Act. – DailyKos link, but it’s largely just a news piece.

      It just passed the Senate 85-8. Unsurprisingly, the eight votes against it (Ted Cruz (Texas), Mike Johanns (Neb.), Rand Paul (Ky.), Tim Scott (S.C.), Pat Roberts (Kansas), Mike Lee (Utah), Marco Rubio (Fla.) and James Risch (Idaho), aside from Roberts and Risch are all part of the newer more House-like Republican’s to come into the Senate.

      OTOH, because it still includes provisions that help the gheys, the Injuns, and those people taking oar jerbs, House leadership hasn’t spoken about whether they’ll take it up yet. I have zero doubt with a 2004-like caucus, Boehner would happily pass this. But, he doesn’t. So, he’s stuck.

      The Senate slowly every cycle becoming more like the House in partisan polarization is why I’m for eliminating the filibuster. Yes, even if the GOP wins the majority in 2014.Report

      • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

        Also, these six guys didn’t vote at all. To be fair, I think it’s entirely possible some of them were out of town or unavailable for some reason for the vote, especially since they knew it’d pass easily –

        Not Voting – 6
        Begich (D-AK)
        Isakson (R-GA)
        Moran (R-KS)
        Sessions (R-AL)
        Toomey (R-PA)
        Vitter (R-LA)Report

        • Will H. in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

          To be fair, I wrote my Senator urging that the VAWA not be renewed.
          VAWA is a big government giveaway to the states to set the family law courts into hyperactive mode.
          I don’t see how it does one single thing to stop or prevent domestic violence, but I can see an awful lot of ways that it has caused substantial harm.

          People get it with the Patriot Act, that sometimes these acts of Congress are named for something other than what they truly do or represent.
          I really don’t see how anyone could believe that the VAWA is meant for anything other than generating an industry of social workers whose sole purpose in life is to escalate familial spats (and interfere with child custody in divorce cases).

          btw, the VAWA is where the definition for “domestic violence” as applied to Chapter 7 of the bankruptcy code (yes, Chapter 7 has its own definition of “domestic violence”).
          There’s a lot more in there than the name would suggest.Report

      • Pinky in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

        That’s a mischaracterization of Johanns. Former two-term governor, former Secretary of Agriculture.Report

    • Kim in reply to James Vonder Haar says:

      Not strictly true. Democrats scooped up a seat in Idaho because the man holding it was too stupid to have any Republican allies left.Report

  9. b-psycho says:

    I recall during a past skirmish among the right-leaning blogosphere about the influence of hardcore SoCons Daniel Larison suggesting that, contrary to what more economy based right-wingers argue, a SoCon that went left (in the sense it means in the mainstream, not among nutjobs like me) on economics would have wider appeal.

    You think he’s just projecting because that’s what he wants, or is there something to that?Report

    • Jesse Ewiak in reply to b-psycho says:

      Yeah, there’s an opening for a Christian Democracy-type party in America. One could argue that was a large wing of the Democratic Party until the mid-60’s.

      But yeah, I think a candidate like Rick Santorum, but slightly fluffier and who had actually policy proposals instead of just standard Heritage Foundation + some tears for steelworkers would actually be dangerous. But, he’d never win a primary in either party. So, he’d have to win a third party. Or get funded from somebody.Report

    • Will Truman in reply to b-psycho says:

      I think there absolutely is something to that. I do think that they’d still not be able to afford to be quite so alienating on social issues, but that might be a self serving thought. But I think their path back may have more to do with movement on economic issues rather than social ones.Report

      • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Will Truman says:

        In short, a “center-right” (ie. no abortion except rape, incest, life of the mother) + support for some form of actual universal health care (ie. again, any other major Western industralized nation – I’m not saying single payer here, but I don’t think some libertarian’s dream of universal HSA’s will work out – maybe Singapore) + support for paid maternity leave equals a lot of votes from conservative or moderate families who don’t like abortion, but think the people protesting in front of Planned Parenthood are kooky, but also shudder at the thought of a couple thousand dollar bill for a pregnancy. Thrown in some protectionism and friendliness toward union-type instead of slaving toward big business and you’ve got yourselves a healthy constituency.

        Notice I said nothing about gay marriage here. Because in twenty years, gay marriage is going to be like interracial marriage was in the late 70’s to early 80’s – less popular in polling than you’d first think when looking at the larger culture, but upon a deeper look, all the opposition is among the over 60 crowd.Report

        • Trumwill in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

          It feels really weird saying… I think I agree, Jesse.

          Or at least that it’s a very plausible path back. Not exactly that, but maybe something like it. Whether it’s the path that comes to fruition depends on some behind-the-curtain factors as well as where the Democrats provide the first major opening.Report

        • greginak in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

          While this is a very plausible path for a part of the right to take they have boxed themselves out with the “GOV IS EVIL” rhetoric. There is a reason why center-right parties are successful in many places, especially among social conservative folks, with this kind of idea. Try explain that to Repub’s in general and it doesn’t go well.Report

          • Trumwill in reply to greginak says:

            Unless things naturally rebound for the GOP (and this is more possible than a lot of people think), something is going to give over the longer term. It’s merely a question of what, and how long it takes.Report

            • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Trumwill says:

              One big problem the GOP has right now for the long-term is midterm elections. As long as the midterm electorate is far whiter and older than the Presidential electorate and things remain mildly gerrmandered, especially in battleground states, midterm elections will probably see a ‘rebound’ effect for the GOP until 2020 especially if a Democrat wins the election in 2016.

              Thus, until the GOP gets walloped in a midterm, we’re going to see the same merry go round, where a Republican gets beat in the general election, the usual arguments over what to do start up, midterms come around and the GOP does better than in the Presidential election, the right-wing media machine trumps, “see, true conservatism wins elections,” then a whole bunch of kooks run for POTUS and make the party look bad.

              In fact, if I was a Republican establishment operative with long-term goals, I’d be trying to convince the GOP establishment to basically not put a lot of money into 2014 with the hopes the GOP loses, so it deflates the “we can have another 2010” dynamic, allowing the Establishment to take control of things again.Report

              • Trumwill in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                I think that cycle can only play itself out so many times. And Republican success in midterms is not ever-and-always. 1998 was really rough and 2006 was a disaster. They did win well in 2002 and 2010, though as with 1998 and 2006 there were some serious external factors at work.

                Yeah, mid-terms favor the GOP… but only to a point. If 2012 was what a lot of people say it was, then I don’t expect 2014 to be a real watershed for the Republicans.Report

              • M.A. in reply to Trumwill says:

                1998 was really rough and 2006 was a disaster.

                And then came the 2010 vote-rigging plan for redistricting and gerrymandering.Report

              • Trumwill in reply to M.A. says:

                Which was invented in 2010, of course. It never occurred to the GOP in 2000.Report

              • Trumwill in reply to Trumwill says:

                More seriously, the 2006 districts and the 2010 districts that Ewiak points to were (as far as I know) the same. Maybe the 2014 boundaries are that much different than they were last decade (when Republicans also had control of the process). That remains to be seen.

                If the GOP does well enough two years hence that they feel they have nothing to worry about, you and/or Ewiak may be right. But I believe it to be far from a foregone conclusion.Report

              • Barry in reply to Trumwill says:

                Trumwill February 5, 2013 at 2:03 pm

                ” Which was invented in 2010, of course. It never occurred to the GOP in 2000.”


                It got the GOP the Presidency.Report

              • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Trumwill says:

                Well, ’98 and ’06 were special cases because of impeachment and the Iraq War being so unpopular even right-leaning moderates voted for Democratic candidates.

                If I didn’t make it too clear, I don’t think 2014 will be as bad as 2010. But, it’ll be more Republican-friendly than 2012 because of demographics and will continue to be that way for the next several midterm elections.

                I think both parties do gerrymandering, but unfortunately, the GOP happened to have control during several states in 2000 + 2010 which has led to a several seat advantage for the GOP.Report

              • Kim in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                The other problem is the gop’s primary problem: when all your moderates got scalped by the Democrats to vote in the Far More INTERESTING democratic primary, and are too lazy to switch back.

                That’s PA in a nutshell right now. GOP’s primary audience is WAY WAY more conservative than the general electorate.Report

          • Michael Cain in reply to greginak says:

            My recollection of the original Tea Party economic position, when — at least in my state — they were just getting started, was opposition to both big government taxes and regulations, and big business (with its inherent productivity advantages over the mom-and-pop retailer, the small farmer, or the small industrial-park manufacturer). That sort of economic populism disappeared about the same time that the leaders of the movement discovered that, to be a national force, they required funds which could only come from big businesses and the wealthy.Report

            • Kim in reply to Michael Cain says:

              *shrugs* Koch started teh whole thing. it’s important to try to not be big business, because nobody likes big business anymore.

              Do people remember Westinghouse? Ibm? Some of the big greats? There was a time when people liked the big cheese!!Report

            • BlaiseP in reply to Michael Cain says:

              The Tea Parties were invented out of whole cloth, a clumsy attempt to scotch-tape some more populism onto the Republican ticket after Barack Obama had beaten McCain. We’ve all seen those car dealer ads, Crazy Joe with his bad suit and toupee, trying to sell cars by looking stupid. That’s the Tea Party schtick. If the ad’s stupid, the guy making the ad must be stupid too and I don’t want to buy a car from some smart guy.

              The Tea Parties were supposed to be a grass-roots movement. They were as fake as the Crazy Joe ads. Crazy Joe’s a lot smarter than he looks. But Ron Paul is still nucking futz as ever, if anything, he’s only gotten worse. These Tea Party Pied Pipers didn’t understand populism, the sort which arises from salt-of-the-earth Muddle Class Folks. They still don’t. All that Koch money was turned into Crazy Joe ads but the only people who came onto the Tea Party dealer lot were ackshul factshul, certifiable crazies, slack jawed unhinged loons coming out of the woodwork like so many Jacobin cockroaches, bug-eyed creatures like Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann and Allen West.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Eh, I don’t know. There seems to be a little something behind the Tea Party that manifested itself with, oh, Porkbusters when Bush was still in office.

                Bush was as popular as he was because he looked at the three largest groups of Republicans and picked the two groups that were most easily catered to at the expense of the opposition… the Fiscal Conservatives and the Small Government Conservatives were left out in the cold. There was no place for them to go but Tea Parties.

                Once folks saw that the Tea Parties had a buncha folks walking in the same direction, there were no end to the number of folks who wanted to jump in front and proclaim themselves leaders (hello 9/12 movement!).

                It wasn’t whole cloth that they were invented from. There were a *LOT* of sympathetic-to-Republicanism types that felt betrayed by what Republicanism turned into under George Walker.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                I miss Tea Party 1.0, which was all about ensmallening both government and corporate control of government. Those are two things I can get on board with in conjunction.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                I originally had a paragraph in there about how McCain wasn’t any better and how the only enthusiasm in 2008 on the Republican side was either anti-Obama or pro-Palin… but I thought that would take us down a dark road we didn’t want to go down.

                But, instead, I’ll repeat myself from a million years ago. Remember when TARP came up the first time and John McCain stopped campaigning in order to go back to Warshington to vote on this historic vote?

                And he voted for it, the same way that Obama voted for it?

                There were a lot of Republican-types who responded by saying something to the effect of “not a dime’s worth of difference.”

                The Tea Parties and OWS both strummed a particular chord. The rift between them was, as always, one of culture. It’s too bad, really.Report

              • Kolohe in reply to Jaybird says:

                Plus, those Republicans whom voted against TARP the first time, causing it to fail, were the Worst People in the World. That Speaker Pelosi couldn’t get all of her caucus on board wasn’t a problem – the way it would become Speaker Boehner’s.Report

              • Shazbot3 in reply to Stillwater says:

                Did Tea Party 1.0 die or were early reports of its existence (or size) greatly exaggerated?Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Shazbot3 says:

                It was smothered. Too much loving-kindness from the Kochs can do that. I don’t know if it’s dead now or still fighting for it’s life.Report

              • Kolohe in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Tea Parties, as such, were a way for Dick Armey types to rebrand themselves after the disaster of the late Bush years, but they didn’t spring from nothing. Porkbusters was a little bit of it (but missed the forest for the trees), but the real proto-Tea Parties was in fact the Ron Paul ’08 campaign, which took heterodox views on many Republican party shibboleths, and was dominated by younger people. (and generated a lot of money but crap all for votes)Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kolohe says:

                Eh, I get a “Lee Greenwood” vibe from the Tea Parties that I didn’t get from the r3VOLution. There may have been some overlap but I don’t think it was as much as you say.Report

              • Kolohe in reply to Jaybird says:


                His supporters are unusually enthusiastic. Today, one waved a yellow “Don’t Tread on Me” flag on Beacon Street in front of the State House while a dozen others clutched “Ron Paul” placards in the sleet.

                Years later, Rick Santelli would go on a stupid rant, which the conservative media sphere made famous overnight, and opportunistic long time Republican operatives would take advantage.

                Using the same Gadsen flag (and possibly the same mailing lists) that Ron Paul used.

                Hence, the Greenwoodization of the movement. (and then, going into the ’12 cycle, the Paulista inner circle completed selling out to make money for the extended Paul family and to launch the son’s political career)Report

    • Kim in reply to b-psycho says:

      That’s Huckabee and his Christian Democratic Party of Arkansas. I don’t think it would actually get votes (Everybody Hates The South ™ ), but it’s at least worth a thought.Report

  10. Will H. says:

    I’m not sure what to make of this.
    I can tell that the R leadership isn’t too particularly enthused by the Tea Party (witness the Boehner / Cantor dynamic in the debt ceiling deal negotiations).
    I’ve thought for some time that the Tea Party were a reactionary force that will wear itself out in a relatively short time.
    We’ll see.Report

    • Kim in reply to Will H. says:

      The Tea Party is D.U.M.B. Grassroots needs decent managers… it kinda makes you wonder why the GOP can’t put some together. Maybe it’s tied into how they can’t hire any computer science talent.Report

  11. Kolohe says:

    this is making the local morning talk radio hosts (one of which was a Fox News reporter, the other a Breitbart employee) irritated this morning. (but causing debate on the question ‘does Social Security cause a culture of dependence on government?’ like Cuccinelli has stated)Report

  12. DRS says:

    A couple of weeks after the 2012 election (when the private detectives hired by the Republican millionaires’ club finally found Rove and forced him out of the bomb shelter he was cowering in) Rove was dragged into the basement of a five-star hotel to face his very ticked off funders and their hired assassin. As he was pinned against the wall and the assassin was getting ready to slice off some of his well-loved body parts, he started babbling about how it was all the Tea Party’s fault that the millionaires’ wisdom hadn’t been properly accepted by the unwashed masses. The millionaires started listening and although some of the more astute ones argued against it, the grudging concensus was that perhaps Rove was right and that one more effort – with absolutely no screw-ups this time! was warranted.

    And this is the result. If Rove can succeed, he gets his testicles back. Right now, they’re in safe keeping in a safety deposit box in Geneva.Report

    • North in reply to DRS says:

      What’s astonishing is how enormously plausible I find this.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to North says:

        I dunno. It seems more plausible to me that Rove offered up his testicles to keep the grift going. “It’ll work this time, I promise. Just don’t stop giving me your money. And you can hold onto these for a while as a gesture of my commitment to the grift, er, our success.”Report

  13. Roger says:

    Nice to see we have lifted the level of discourse at the League. Or to quote one ex president…”Mission Accomplished.”

    One party claims it is taking steps to get more electable candidates, and we call it sweeping up elephant dung by the pro rape party.

    Um, well… OK.Report

    • DRS in reply to Roger says:

      No, not the Republican Party. A pathetic grifter political consultant whose best-buy date is long gone by and a bunch of rich idiots who believe that if they spend enough money eventually they’ll get the outcome they want. Plus a few assorted has-been’s and never-was’s who are loaning their names to the effort in exchange for speaking fees to promote the PAC.

      Bit of a difference there.Report

      • Roger in reply to DRS says:

        Thanks, good catch.Report

        • Elias Isquith in reply to Roger says:

          Nevertheless, this was still a valiant attempt to stifle opinions you don’t like by manipulating and exploiting the League’s institutional culture of civility. Probably a top 15 of the genre, at least as long as I’ve been ’round.Report

          • DRS in reply to Elias Isquith says:

            Well, yes – but it gave me the opportunity to have some word fun so let’s say the glass is half-full.Report

          • Roger in reply to Elias Isquith says:

            Actually I think your concerns on the GOP are great. This would be a better post if you guys kept the level of discourse above elephant dung and accusations of one party being full of pro-rape, rich idiots.

            If you read this as pro GOP or as an attempt to stifle opinions, you are missing my point. Totally.Report

          • Glyph in reply to Elias Isquith says:

            Elias – I am mostly going to leave Roger’s original complaint and the OP itself aside, except to say that I see Roger’s point, and I also understand that you were trying to make a point forcefully and passionately and humorously (if blackly so) in the OP.

            However, I would prefer to see you either address Roger’s complaint, or ignore it altogether, or think him a fuddy-duddy for getting offended by your use of harsh imagery to describe what you see as a harsh reality.

            But to respond in such a way to his complaint, dripping with venomous sarcasm and using clearly-disdainful words which imply malicious intent/action on his part (like “stifle/manipulate/exploit”) just looks at best thin-skinned, and at worst the kind of vicious partisan mudslinging Roger is complaining about to begin with (right or wrong).

            IMO your substantive points are better received by those that may not be fully in the choir already without this sort of thing, no matter how good it may feel in the moment. I myself have responded on occasion too quickly and sarcastically, and I usually come to regret it. I’m sure sooner or later I’ll do something similar again, and I hope you will remind me of this comment when that happens.

            Just an attempt at some friendly advice, which you are free to ignore or deride as you see fit.Report

  14. BlaiseP says:

    Rove is the master of saying the Big Nothing. Here’s the issue, whole and entire: the GOP has a branding problem. Most of the value of a corporation is in its brand. Two parts to managing a brand: emotional and tactical. The tactical part is pretty straightforward, who buys this stuff and how do we keep them buying more of it. The emotional part is tougher to manage, very slippery. How do you make people want to buy your stuff preferentially to the other guy’s stuff?

    The GOP doesn’t have to do anything specific here. They have to act like they care about us, apply the jumper cables, get current flowing between them and us. Look at Cantor out there, trying to schmooze, acting like he cares. Whether he cares or not is irrelevant, is anyone going to believe he does, that’s the question.

    A branding agency attempts to pull together many disparate messages and unify them but ultimately the agency needs direction from those who must generate those messages. I went through an indoctrination course, yeah, that’s what they call it, where we were given MS Word templates for generating corporate correspondence. Fonts, image banks, page layouts. Things never to say in corporate correspondence, standard routes for turning ideas into suggestions for adoption and implementation. This firm knows how to manage its message. It has to: its brand is its most important asset.

    Rove does what he’s paid to do. Do you really think he’s doing this from any idealistic basis? Of course not. Political parties are about getting people elected. He can manage a brand, after a fashion, but he didn’t create the current GOP brand.

    Forget the Tea Parties and the cranks. Who screwed up the GOP brand? That was Mitt Romney. Romney never presented a consistent message: the one chance the GOP had to really consolidate its message on Obama’s failures, when the Schwerpunkt of all their obstructionist efforts could have been consolidated into one lethal punch, Romney dithered. Boehner’s to blame, Cantor too. They just have no sense about how to manage their message because they think the GOP is supposed to serve their purposes. That’s why the GOP failed to make headway in 2012, their brand management sucked. Consider the idiocy of attacking Social Security and Medicare. Or the 47% baloney. What was Romney thinking? He wasn’t and neither was his PR team. It doesn’t matter what his real policy positions were, Romney didn’t act like he cared about ordinary people. That’s how to lose elections.

    Rove’s never been elected to anything. He got Bush43 elected, which shows he can sell America deeply flawed merchandise, not once but twice. I’m not sure Rove is even leading this Conservative Victory Project, it’s certainly not his money involved. If Rove’s involved, he’s there as the brand consultant, attempting to put together some consistent message, the sort of message which sells shampoo and iPhones and candidates too.Report

    • Barry in reply to BlaiseP says:

      “Who screwed up the GOP brand? That was Mitt Romney. Romney never presented a consistent message: the one chance the GOP had to really consolidate its message on Obama’s failures, when the Schwerpunkt of all their obstructionist efforts could have been consolidated into one lethal punch, Romney dithered. ”

      It’s been pointed out that Romney did better than GOP Senate candidates in a couple of states (cough – Aiken). That’s what some people are mad at, because that’s proof that the Senate candidate botched it.Report

      • BlaiseP in reply to Barry says:

        Four years of screeching and hollering about Obama’s Liburall Tendencies, with unemployment as bad as it was. War in Afghanistan going sideways. The country’s nether parts suffering from a damned-near terminal case of tinea cruris. And in all this, the GOP couldn’t get its act together enough to find anyone better than Aiken.

        That’s because Aiken was right on message. Paul Ryan had proposed a bill which would have outlawed abortion even in cases of statutory rape, restricting abortion to “forcible” rape. ‘Memba that? The Protect Life Act, proposed by Joe “You Lie!” Pitts? Oh yeah. Akin was an embarrassment only because he was telling the obvious truth, that the GOP is intent upon re-criminalising abortion.Report

    • Stillwater in reply to BlaiseP says:

      Who screwed up the GOP brand? That was Mitt Romney. Romney never presented a consistent message…

      I don’t think it was Mitt. During the primaries, when the gates to the asylum opened to a corridor leading to the Republican Debate studios and every crazy loon with an opinion and a desire to get in on the grift showed up to give their 2 cents, Romney was silent.

      If any single individual can be attributed with screwing up the GOP brand, it’s a guy who’s been mentioned on this thread: Karl Rove.Report

      • BlaiseP in reply to Stillwater says:

        Maybe you’re right, to a certain extent. I wouldn’t use the Gates to the Asylum metaphor, though. However crazy these loons might have been, Romney was, (flashes GOP gang sign) sposta be Representin’.

        What did Romney represent? We never really knew. Karl Rove threw gobs of money at Romney out of his Crossroads PAC — but to what end? Romney should have just shut up, made some soothing remarks and grinned and Looked Presidential. But what did Romney do? Every time he opened his mouth, he just exchanged feet. Look at the Paul Ryan pick: toward the send there, Ryan routinely got more applause than Romney at stump speeches. Paul Ryan was a horrible pick: it was the same mistake McCain made with Sarah Palin. No message control.

        Information theory arose from a pedestrian problem: signal to noise on telephone lines. It’s possible to transmit information in a noisy environment: no transmission line is perfect. So you work with what you’ve got in terms of channel capacity.

        You’re right, Romney was silent. He should have known these loons were crowding out his signal. He should have kept his message simple and consistent — but he didn’t. His message constantly changed. He lost focus. He diluted his message by adding Paul Ryan to the ticket. He never reached out to doubters. He never seemed like an ordinary guy who understood our problems. He confused the Body Politic with corporate shareholders.Report

  15. Rufus F. says:

    I’m not a fan of ‘messaging’ either. But how central to GOP beliefs is “God-ordained rape”? Since I only remember hearing of it this one time, I’d imagine it’s not really central to the party platform. So how hard would it be to move on?Report

    • Bob2 in reply to Rufus F. says:

      It wasn’t just Akin, though he expressed some unscientific odd views about hormones preventing pregnancy in cases of rape.
      It was a total of 13 Republican Senate candidates this past election that wanted abortion to illegal in all circumstances.
      The general media likes to pretend those views aren’t common. It’s a larger population of the US in polls than people expect.
      Somewhat recently “Seventy-six percent of Republicans believe that abortion should be legal in cases of rape and incest, along with 90 percent of Democrats and 81 percent of independents.”

      The long term trend is towards rape and incest exceptions being supported, probably as the older generation dies out, but we’re still talking approximately 20% of the population overall that doesn’t believe in a rape exception, and it’s a loud 20%.

      Now consider that we’re talking 24% of Republicans believing it should be illegal in all circumstances. It’s going to continue to come up for a while yet.Report

  16. Damon says:

    I tend to agree that this is “rebranding”. Frankly, I don’t care either way. Actions speak more than message. I’ve been burned on message before. If the Repubs give me 5 years of tigher fiscal control, sensible gov’t oversight, reign in a few abuses, and maybe score a few heads on a platter, I’d consider voting for them.

    Probability of that happening?: <5%.Report

    • Barry in reply to Damon says:

      ” If the Repubs give me 5 years of tigher fiscal control,…”

      Which they haven’t since – when? Eisenhower?Report

    • LWA (Liberal With Attitude) in reply to Damon says:

      The reason it won’t happen is that the Republican base loves government spending as much as anyone.

      So “smaller gummint” can’t get any real traction- they’ve already cut all the stuff Real Murkins want to cut, and now we are down to Grandma’s Medicare/ Social Security, or Dad’s Defense Dept contract.

      This is the “reaping the whirlwind” writ large- Since 1972 the GOP has loudly claimed that if only a Real Twue Conservative were in power, and cout freely cut all the Wastenfraud, things would be great.

      But of course, it wasn’t true, isn’t true, won’t ever be true, so even when they hold the House or Legislature, and can put together a real budget, they just stand around and hem and haw and look at their shoes, then swiftly and decisively vote to ban abortion or droopy pants or something.Report

  17. Tod Kelly says:

    Really, I expect this kind of post from or, but I have to say I’m a a little surprised to see you behaving like this.

    I am very disappointed, Very disappointed.Report