Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Republicans: Post-Mortem Soul Searching

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

As many of us stand here, tired beyond tired, gleeful, ready to start work on governing, we may want to consider the GOP.

As reported earlier, there will be a meeting in Northern Virginia tomorrow so that the power bases can discuss where the party needs to head.

Remember, the minority party can choose to work with the majority, or they can choose to endeavor to be obstructionist. (If you haven't read Federalist Paper #10, by James Madison, now would be a good time.) Remember, a LOT of elected Republicans ran ads pointing out their ties to President-elect Obama. They may want to work with the administration, and not against it.

But those are the elected officials, and while they are elected, they are not "the party". "The Party" is the people who provide the money, write the platform, and commit to what the party will represent.

What are their options? Their current Senate leader is Mitch McConnell, who won a squeaker. And in the House, we have John Boehner, who may not survive in a leadership role, after losing two cycles in a row. Bush is the titular head of the party, since McCain lost. A new RNC chair will soon be chosen, and with him/her a whole crop of state and local operatives. Not to mention the pundits that lean right, the moneyed backers, the rank-and-file members and voters. And potentially, the Church.

So, how now brown cow? Here are the factions, in no particular order:

The Evangelical Right, which wants the party to move further right on SOCIAL issues, and doesn't care about much else.

The Co-Opted Base, aka the "old" Republicans, who are socially moderate (or don't care at all because they don't believe that the government should legislate social issues) which wants smaller government, fewer regulations, and less taxes.

The Realists, the group which believes that politics is not only philosophy, but also a career choice, and will want to do what is necessary to stay employed. This group includes the people who are willing to reach towards the center to the end of moving the country forward. This groups somewhat overlaps with:

The Right Intellectuals, including people like Karl Rove and Newt Gingrich. These folks want to be back in power on philosophical grounds as well as employment grounds, and can see a path to working with the Democrats to the end of recapturing the huge swatch of black America, Hispanic America, and intellectual America from whom they are now completely removed.

They will determine whether the GOP turns centrist in terms of economy, or right in terms of old-guard economic policy; whether they decide to let Church doctrine dictate social policy, or whether it moderates; and whether the neo-cons have a place at the table, or whether they will be ostracized.

We don't know how the negotiations will go, nor who will be willing to splinter and walk away.

From these discussions will arise the new Republican leadership. They will show themselves in who their leaders are in the House and Senate, how they advertise, how they use the MSM, as well as whether they are able to rebuild their party. It is possible that the Bush Republicans may evaporate, replaced with something else.

One of the major decisions will be the role of the Church in the party. Yes, I know about the separation of Church and State idea. The GOP does not. They used the churches to great advantage in 2000 and 2004 in their GOTV efforts. They have pandered shamelessly to the Evangelical right since the days of Reagan while simultaneously mocking them behind closed doors. Rick Warren didn't get national air time with President-elect Obama and McCain because of his looks.

The Democratic Party is a big tent, and will need to find a way to integrate the centrists and the left, and the far left. How far centrist are we willing to go to work with the GOP to the end of reaching national goals? I don't know the answer to that question, but I know that the Democratic Party, MY party, stands for freedom and inclusion, for the rights of ALL, and will not kowtow to a minority party dedicated to repression, exclusion, and a restriction of human and civil rights. And the people determining the future of the GOP know that also.

It will all be interesting to watch.