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Some Words on the Republican Party

2012 November 14
by Ian Welsh

Here’s what I expect from Republicans

1) Immigration reform.  They want it, they need it.  If Boehner is smart (and he’s not stupid, despite what people think), he’ll tie it to the Grand Bargain.  Some money for southern States and municipalities.  A hard lean on Republicans in states which have passed anti-immigrant bills, a sudden rediscovery of the freedom of immigration, and a lot of talk about farmers.  Latinos aren’t innately loyal to the Democrats, who have treated them awfully and Republicans need it to go back to a 60/40 split.  If they’re smart they’ll have Republican legislators stand up and start making statements about how America is land of immigrants, framing it as a matter of principle.

2) No more rape comments.  Many Americans don’t like people justifying rape, that much is clear.   They’ll still be anti-abortion, but not pro-rape (at least, not in public).

3) The presidential candidate in 4 years will be a tea-party type who isn’t connected to the nasty anti-immigrant stuff, and who hasn’t made really offensive comments about rape.  He will run on jobs, jobs, jobs (Romney tried, he wasn’t credible), and will be pushing fracking, while trying to reassure suburbanites that won’t mean flaming water for them.  He will be going after the working class, hard, who will be desperate for a good economy by then.

This will represent a move slightly to the left on social issues though they’ll still be so far to the right they’re in danger of going off stage.  It will not mean a move to the left on economic issues or security state issues.

24 Responses
  1. ybm permalink
    November 14, 2012


  2. Everythings Jake permalink
    November 14, 2012

    Fascism, great. I’ve started to notice that when what I’ll call the professional queers (HRC, et al.) speak to the community now, and they’re pushing gay marriage (the current agenda of rich white gay men who have always set the agenda for the professional queers in our community), I’m starting to see more and more of the marginalized (poorer, persons of color, transgender) saying hey marriage is great, but all of that is not helping us with those fundamental issues (housing, employment, etc.) which are actually starting to get worse. I’ve started telling friends, things were pretty good for us gays (inasmuch as things could be good) in Weimar. One day there’s actually the first Homosexual Institute and good cabaret and the next thing they’re slapping pink triangles on your chest, but mostly it just seems like a waste of time. Maybe there’s nothing to do, but try to get out of this place.

  3. Bruce Wilder permalink
    November 14, 2012

    Rubio, or Huckabee, or someone very much like Huckabee.

    Huckabee scares me, because he’s so good at pitching it to the working class.

    I expect the promised path to jobs, jobs, jobs will be frakking, and a whole lot of parallel assaults on labor protections, environmental and even financial regulation. Republicans know the value of identifying the villain in the piece.

    I would also expect Republicans to be casting themselves as the defenders of Social Security and Medicare, and reformers, who will introduce the market discipline necessary to make health care work for people, by substituting even crappier insurance to reduce the financial and paperwork burdens on working folks, of having to have mandated health insurance, and to try to recover the premium from the income tax (while living, as always, from paycheck to paycheck, with a detour through a fee-happy debit card).

    If Obama has dutifully done his turn as the Democratic Hoover in a deteriorating economy, the Republicans may not find 2016 such a heavy lift, that they need a candidate of special skills or qualifications, or an especially well-crafted demagogic appeal. An angry, white guy may make a comeback, when it is the Morning After in America.

  4. ProNewerDeal permalink
    November 14, 2012

    I wonder if for the US Plutocrats & their politician hacks (0bama, John Boner, etc) there is a connection between the “Imigration Reform” & the Grand Ripoff/Slash Social Insurance.

    legalizing existing documented immigrants, & maintaining or increasing legal immigrant job programs, whether at the low end (farm workers) & higher end (H1-B visa for professional jobs especially used in Info Tech.) all serve to increase US worker desperation (if there were an index of “wage slavery” it would increase said index) & lower pay.

    But that extra population would be eligible for Social Insurance, especially at age 65 (or whatever it gets raised to) for Medicare/ 67 for Soc Security.

    But if you slash US Soc Insurance in half or worse, those costs become much less to the Plutocrats. At that point the real 0.1%er motivation for “Immigration Reform” would be Even Cheaper Labor, with the secondary benefit being to the actual affected immigrants.

    BTW, how it does it make any sense at all for 0bama’s Affordable Care Act to do actually do a good thing in increasing Medicaid eligibility in 2014 for low income workers when the Health Insurance Mandate starts, but then 0bama wants to slash Medicaid in his Grand Ripoff? Will somewhat OK limited Medicaid become junk worthless Medicaid? I don’t see how you can increase the enrollment by a huge (50%?) percentage while slashing the funding by some huge (30%?) percentage.

  5. jcapan permalink
    November 14, 2012

    “Huckabee scares me, because he’s so good at pitching it to the working class”

    He is ain’t he. And the working class eats it up b/c they’ve heard no more compelling narrative from their democratic “leadership” for decades now. They’re just happy someone’s talking to them. The right is at this moment fine tuning its snake oil concoction. Alternative populist medicine for a deeply ailing body politic. All your dreams are gone, no jobs in sight, all these lousy pols are liars and cheats, well, step right up and hear what Huckles has for you here today.

    Judging by the left’s in/action over the last 4 years, there seems little room for hope that we’ll put FWD a competitive bill of wares. Think you can pre-order your Biden or Hillary 2016 buttons though.

  6. bathcat permalink
    November 14, 2012

    “In multiracial societies, you don’t vote in accordance with your economic interests and social interests, you vote in accordance with race and religion.”-Lee Kuan Yew, Prime Minister of Singapore for thirty years.

    Politics in America will become much more simple as time goes on. Another attempt at Immigration reform will destroy the GOP.

  7. November 14, 2012

    You do realize that Lee Kuan Yew is not a neutral observer of this phenomenon…

  8. Jumpjet permalink
    November 14, 2012

    All this bullshit is why the only news I religiously follow any more is science and technology news. It seems to be the only news that genuinely matters. The hucksters and the evil bastards are going to destroy the world as it currently exists, so I keep an eye out for signs that we’ll be able to get it spinning again once they’ve wrought their terrible work.

  9. Greg permalink
    November 14, 2012

    If O goes for the Grand Bargain involving cuts to SS and Medicare, as it appears he will, the Democratic Party won’t have much of a base left. He’d be delivering the White House to the GOP on a silver platter four years hence. Obama could care less what happens to the Democratic PArty because he intends to get wealthy after his final term in office.

    Rubio would be an excellent candidate for the GOP in 2016. Where previously the social issues battleground was over guns, God and gays, the new battleground will shift to a more liberal, tolerant posture on immigration, perhaps drugs. But in terms of economics, we still get straight up oligarchy.

    The grand strategy is to eliminate the middle class SLOWLY and try like heck to avoid crisis along the way.

  10. Jeff Wegerson permalink
    November 14, 2012

    Everybody mentioned, Rubio, Huckabee, Clinton, etc, etc are all winners for the monied aristocracy. It’s a rogue fascist they (and we) need to fear. As Ian has suggested, the monied aristocracy might miss the signs and end up pushing someone into power that then turns on the hand that fed them.

    As in the 30’s, the only way to save capitalism is via social democratic Keynesian counter-cyclical economics. But this time around it could mean saving Capitalism but losing the planet to climate change.

  11. November 14, 2012

    Ian, what’s your take on the CIA/Army/MILF spying scandal? Suddenly this seems to me like the think the R’s will clamp on to in order to impeach or at least stymie Obama’s lame duck years. I sure hope it kills the Grand Bargain, but that is nothing but wishful thinking. But it sure seems like it could get huge, and fast.

  12. Jumpjet permalink
    November 15, 2012

    I’m just happy that Petraeus appears to be sunk. I was deathly afraid of him, and I still am, really. I still think he could be our Strong Man, the one who comes along to put an end to the mess of democracy and the bother of liberty.

  13. Bernard permalink
    November 15, 2012

    i wonder if the Republicans want to expand/replace members of their “tent” enough to stop the bleeding of this election showed. who will they want and who will they dump. are there enough votes by keeping the Right wing fundies? the war against women seems to be the most counter productive aspect of Republican beliefs.

    but how can they give up the wars on various Americans and still keep the idiots/base who vote for them. the divide and conquer aspect has worked so well for so long. fine tuning the Culture War has risks.

    the Latinos seem to be the best road for the Republicans to solidify a up and coming bloc of voters. just that the Republicans are so hateful to the Latinos in the South and West. Fla latino Republicans are a separate group as compared to the rest of the Latinos in America.

    the costs of changing their policies seems such an anathema to present Republican ideology.

    Are Bigots like Huckabee worth the backlash? are Women going to be courted or will the War on Abortion/Women’s right to sex go on but will Republicans take this war underground?, no more Akins and Murdoch’s, i.e. but have states do more anti women laws like Virginia, Texas, etc. have done. quietly move women back to being “barefoot and pregant and in the kitchen.”

    will be interesting to watch how the Republican walk the minefield of hate they have created. how adeptly will they fine tune their war on non whites. or what. lol the Brer Patch of hatred for the “other.”

  14. David Kowalski permalink
    November 15, 2012

    According to the Census Bureau, 63.4% of the US population consists of non-Hispanic whites. The portion of non-Hispanic white voters was 70% because minorities are younger and some are not yet citizens. Republicans lost the Presidential race in states that, are on the whole, “whiter” than average. The portion of non-Hispanic whites by state includes: NH (92.2%), IA (86.4%), WI (83.1%), MN (82.8%), OH (81.0%), PA (79.2%), OR (78.1%), MI (76.4%), CO (69.7%) and VA (64.5%). Only Florida, Nevada, and New Mexico had a higher percentage of minorities than the national average. In most of these states, running a blue collar white guy instead of a corporate raider type would help the Republicans. I suspect that next time they will bail out the auto industry enthusiastically.

    Republicans won states with a higher minority population where voting was more clearly along race and/or ethnic lines like Texas, Arizona, Georgia, South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana. If Hispanics vote in higher numbers, Republican domination of Texas and Arizona are clearly threatened.

    An appeal to Asians in places like northern Virginia might be a strategically good idea. Republicans might consider a targeted high tech/health care appeal focusing on Medicare cuts to providers given the Asians working as nurses, PAs, and health care techs.

  15. Soullite permalink
    November 15, 2012

    Eh, hispanics are where the bleeding has to stop. Women are a democratic constituency; the entirety of American welfare system is set up to help them, and men are outright excluded from vast swathes of i (women go on welfare, men go on the streets). So women will always go for Democrats over Republicans, and men will always go for Republicans over Democrats. The ‘War on Women!’ BS was mostly just a result of those facts.

    Really, if Democrats just expended the same amount of money on men that they expend on behalf of women, the Republicans would probably be forced to abandon their jihad on social spending altogether. But poor men don’t rate in the eyes of Democrats – the mythical Angry White Man Who Has Things Too Good! has too strong a hold on them. Well, that and wall-street. So all they have left is to scream ‘WAR ON WOMEN!’ and hope to divide us on gender instead of class. Because they don’t want us to be united on class.

  16. David Kowalski permalink
    November 15, 2012

    There really is less need to appeal to minorities in the short term but more need to better appeal to working class and the slipping middle class. Surprisingly, the Presidency is less gerrymandered than the House of Representatives. The winning candidate got under 60.0% of the vote in 26 of the 50 states but in only about 158 of 435 House seats (36%).

    It may not be a perfect model but nobody is going to gerrymander a House district to win by 51-49% or 52-48% right after redistricting. Similarly, giving the new district 60% or more is a waste of votes. A quick tally shows that in this election around 20% of House seats (83, 26 held by Democrats and 57 by Republicans) could have been theoretically gerrymandered. An even larger number of seats, 119, were ridiculously one sided with the winner being elected with 70.0% or more of the vote. These are mostly Democratic seats (79 to 40) and are frequently majority minority districts.

    Since turn out tends to fall by about 40% in non-Presidential years, Republican House members have little reason to either reach out or compromise.

    We have two conservative parties in power, the right and the far right. Theoretically, the effective end of the Blue Dogs (gone from 54 to 14 in four short years) moved the Democrats leftward and the House to the hard right. Whether a Democratic victory in the House would move somebody to oppose Obama from the left is unlikely (from my view point).

    One other stat that may be more telling. Political power did not change nearly as much as the identity of the politicians. Assuming that those now leading win, 90 members of Congress have switched jobs including 78 in the House and 12 in the Senate. Some of the House retirees were in fact elected to the Senate. People in Congress are more motivated by cushy post-election jobs than by politics and that favors the rich, the corporations and the establishment. When Congressional pensions were sharply reduced, it was oddly a loss for the 99%. That kind of faux populism will be an obvious direction for the Republicans as will turning on the better off workers (unions, professionals, the groups with graduate degrees).

  17. November 16, 2012

    The GOP is going to have to figure out how to get enough electoral votes to win while keeping its fractious coalition together without turning off the center or the donors.

    Won’t be easy for the GOP to pull this off given what they have to deal with now. Many are still in deep denial over the drubbing they just took, and the conspiracy theories are flying around instead of rational analysis and soul-searching.

    It will be interesting to see how they deal with this. I have high hopes they will totally screw it up by their inability to see facts through their ideological glasses. They don’t even have a single ideology they agree on.

    This is a party facing really big problems, and they have huge challenges to confront with no unifying vision or leadership visible presently. That means a messy struggle for power.

  18. November 16, 2012

    They don’t even have a single ideology they agree on.

    On this narrow point, the left can hardly boast any better*, to understate the matter.

    Further, I would say the “the right” nearly universally coheres around some form of authoritarianism (the Guns ‘N’ MRE survivalist loners, with their supremacy dreams, are no exception.) And, given that what passes for the “left” here in America are mostly similarly enthralled (exception granted to the relatively rare true anarchists): Advantage right.

    It’s a good thing that this is a self-destructive world-view, lest 1984 be a user’s manual rather than a cautionary tale.

    *I use the word “better” within this political context. Consensus is only a “good” when addressing acute crises, IMO – even then yet still fraught with danger.

  19. David Kowalski permalink
    November 16, 2012

    Romney totally missed the mark, blaming the result on “gifts” (actually policies aimed to fit Obama’s constituency. Gee, “free” health care for the working poor under Obamacare earns a vote while doing nothing doesn’t? An auto bail out is more popular in Michigan and Ohio than writing op-eds titled “let Detroit Die.” Students thought better terms on student loans were a good deal. He’s surprised? Talk about out of touch. “I’m shocked, shocked that gambling is going on at Rick’s … here’s your winnings … round up the usual suspects” (budget cuts, tax cuts for the rich and corporations, more military spending, but fewer military).

    Crafting policies to suit the voters is called “good government” or “responsive government.” Romney had no problem taking government money at Bain or when running the Salt Lake winter olympics.

    Moving away from tax cuts just a bit and adding a few other pieces as suggested by Ian (fracking is this year’s “Drill baby drill”) are obvious. Having somebody other than a stone cold takeover specialist running for President is also obvious.

    Bruce Webb hit it. With four more corporate riddled Obama years the same old stuff might well win. The margins were not so large in Ohio, PA, FL, VA, MI, WI, MN,Iowa, NH. Start adding electoral votes and that is 18+20+29+13+16+10+10+6+4=over 300 electoral votes for a generic Republican. That’s without touching Colorado and Nevada (more non-Cuban Hispanic) or any state where Obama had a somewhat easy win.

    This could turn either way and Obama has already been too corporate and thrown away the FDR type possibilities of a 30 or 40 year change period.

    Do you think that a multi state catastrophe like Sandy could hit again? Opportunity time. When Bobby Jindal is showing “leadership” the Republican chances of stepping up are not so slim.

  20. Bruce Wilder permalink
    November 16, 2012

    Democrats have the Presidency, and so their Brand is attached to the nation’s policies, and the nation’s economic policy is to kick the can down the road until the road goes off a cliff. Somehow, I think the Republicans will enjoy that.

  21. Bernard permalink
    November 16, 2012

    Jindal is the next generation in the Republican shooting gallery. an appearance of moderation, supposedly sane for Republicans, that is, that will appeal the moderates who desperately fear the Extreme Right.

    sounds like the tack Christie is taking right now.

    and still underneath Jindal, Christie is the same hysteria, and hatred for non Republican goals. the Good Guy/less crazy Republican. still the same cutthroat behavior towards those “losers/takers” that Huckabee et al espouse.

    Jindal cut our mental hospitals, cut funding to teh state university syste m(Can’t have people thinking, can we?), our state funded medical centers. anything State funded is bad. the outcry against our last mental health center/hospital only resulted in it being “given” to a private Florida company to run. Private profits in lieu of state run.

    Jindal refused to join the health exchanges in Obamacare, refused to join Obamacare and previously refused Gov money for state funded, citing ‘Strings”. Had a friend who worked for the Health Dept who forewarned me about how Jindal would destroy Medicare, Medicaid and any Gov related issue, state or federal.

    Jindal is a rightwing nut, endorsed creationism, home schooling and has Master in Microbiology. Jindal is the next stage of the Right wing attack on locals. Business. replaced a fellow Republican “leader’ who dared to question him in the legislature. you don’t cross Jindal, period.

    Jindal is the local Boss who gets rid of the “competition” left or right.
    period. adhere to “Jindal’s” way or no way. the Right love him some fierce here in Louisiana. more than Rmoney could ever be. Gosh the ignorance here is Louisiana, like Mississippi. will give the US a wellspring of lunatics as it has done. Watch out for Jindal. Danger, Will Robinson, Danger.

  22. November 16, 2012

    Yup, @Bernard – got a close eye on Jindal. I’ve already had one “progressive” friend characterize him as a “reasonable” Republican.

    The work is never done…

  23. ProNewerDeal permalink
    November 17, 2012

    @Bernard, thanks for the “insider”/local info on Piyush/Bobby Jindal.

    you could try using a comedic nickname to discredit the guy. how about “Piyush The Douche”, another “The” clown like Non-Joe The Non-Pumbler

  24. jawbone permalink
    November 17, 2012

    Dakinikat over at Sky Dancing is suggesting referring to SS/Medicare as “earned benefits,” instead of the Republican pushed “entitlements.” Both are correct, but “earned benefits” emphasizes that people pay in FICA taxes with each paycheck received.

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