Sore strategy?

This is no one universally binding Morality; there are only moralities, which come in two basic types: slave morality and master morality. Slaves compensate for their lack of power by their feelings of resentment toward their masters, whom they label as "evil." "Blessed are the poor" translates as "I hate the rich." Masters, however, discharge their powers without resentment, in accordance with their expansive ambitions. They are fettered neither by humility nor altruism, although they may elect to show kindness—when it suits them.

-- Christian scholar Douglas Groothuis, in Nietzsche and Postmodernist Nihilism [NOTE: Groothuis is characterizing Nietzsche's views, not his own!]

I've made a lot of mistakes in my life, and I think I know a little bit about patterns of losing. While I haven't won too many victories in life, I don't begrudge others their victories, and I try to observe both winners and losers in the hope of possibly learning. (Considering the quote from one of Nietzsche's detractors, I guess it's fair to point out that I dislike the idea of being either a slave or a master -- problematic though that is at times.)

Anyway, the purpose of this essay is not to endorse or condemn Nietzscheanism, but to contrast a proven winning formula and a proven losing formula.

I'll start with a simple yet elusive question: What is meant by the term "Republican base?"

I am not sure, but one thing I do remember is that Arnold Schwarzenegger was very unpopular with them. So unpopular that he would never have made it past the Republican Primary in a regular election:

Had Schwarzenegger faced Tom McClintock in a Republican primary, his moderate positions would have handed victory to his right wing opponent, and the Democrats would still be in power in Sacramento.
Is it unreasonable to ask whether that would be a better situation for the so-called "base?"

I don't mean to be facetious, but I think that for many of those who consider themselves leaders of this ill-defined base, it would be far better to have Gray Davis (or Cruz Bustamante) as governor -- even right now -- than Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The Republican base in California had been losing elections for so long that they'd gotten used to the status quo of being out of power. The more out of reach power became, the less they had to worry about things like getting votes or making platforms palatable to voters, and the more they could concentrate on ideological purity. Not having to worry about winning helps. Priorities change. Think tanks out of touch with reality need not worry about reality. It's a little like a guy who's trying to lose weight finally realizing that his goal is unachievable. Once that happens, he need no longer worry, and he can pig out to his heart's content. Whether he's attractive has ceased to matter, and that can be liberating for the soul. He can still go through the motions of pretending to be sexy, but he need not worry.

This can prove fatal in the long run. Especially when a healthy stud appears out of nowhere and the imaginary courtship is exposed for the sham that it was.

Actually, I'm sure there's a very fine line between acceptance and denial in there somewhere......

But it isn't my job to fix the Republican base in California. They might ask themselves why Arnold Schwarzenegger now enjoys the highest approval rating of any California governor since 1975.

While I really can't blame them for hating him, I think it's fair to ask why. Why is Schwarzenegger so hated by the "Republican base?"

Might it be simply because he won?

Reading Machiavellian strategist Dick Morris, you'd think losing is what they want:

It is about time that the Republican Party realizes that the Christian right is doing to it exactly what the radical black Rainbow Coalition of Jesse Jackson did to the Democratic Party in the ’80s — making them unelectable. Their embrace is the kiss of death. It is not that the religious right is wrong. Right or wrong, it gets in the way of so much good that the Republican Party could achieve if it were not in the Christian right’s grasp.

Will the Republican Party escape from the embrace of the pro-lifers so that it can nominate candidates like Rudy Giuliani, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice? Likely not. Those who see each election as an opportunity to hold candidates to litmus tests on key social issues are not likely to relinquish their hold or relax their vigilance.

The fact that this way lies defeat seems not to matter. The example of Arnold Schwarzenegger will likely make no impression as they proceed to drum out of the primary anyone whose views are sufficiently centrist to permit them access to the majority of women voters in the general election.

Dick Morris wrote that after the election.

Conservative Ben Shapiro, on the other hand, was more optimistic in examining the dynamics before Schwarzenegger's victory:

The vast majority of voters in California pull the lever for Democrats on a regular basis. In the 2000 presidential elections, George W. Bush campaigned hard in California. Al Gore didn't spend a dime and won the state easily. Why? Not because the positions of Californians are so far to the left but because Californians are accustomed to voting Democrat. Registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans in the state 45 percent to 35 percent. It's inconceivable to many Californians to even consider voting Republican.

That's how Arnold will change things. Independents, who break heavily Democrat in California, will consider Arnold. Democrats who are disillusioned by Davis and attracted by Schwarzenegger's middle-of-the-road stance will consider Arnold. Young voters who have never stepped into a polling booth in their lives will go vote just to punch their cards for Schwarzenegger. The Hispanic populace, which greatly admires Schwarzenegger's masculinity and charisma, will pull the Republican lever.

In California, these groups dominate the voting constituency. And for the first time in a long time, the Republican label won't turn them off. That is Schwarzenegger's big contribution. His candidacy will change minds about voting Republican. Then, in the future, when ideologically sound Republicans run for office, Californians won't dismiss them out of hand.

Arnold won't change the makeup of the Republican Party from the inside -- he'll change the perception of the Republican Party from the outside. California Republicans will be marketable -- and more importantly, electable. That's something even the strongest conservatives should appreciate.

While Shapiro was mostly right, have the "strongest conservatives" shown their apprecation? I don't think so, and I think the reason might be because they don't want to win.

Earlier I characterized the selection of Alan Keyes as a slap in the face of libertarian Republicans. Now that I think it over, it's really more of a slap in the face of Illinois voters, if not all voters. Barack Obama was the only breath of fresh air at the DNC, and he was showcased as such. Instead of offering a real, reasonable alternative, the Republicans came up with a man so out of touch with middle America that it's downright scary. They've not only thrown away a Republican seat in Illinois, they've done it in a way that implies they're now happy to be seen as losers.

I can't think of a better way to lose, and I've seen it for years.

Might there be a hard core (the self-styled "Republican base") which actually wants to lose?

Can anyone explain how a deliberate strategy of defeat will lead to victory?

If this is viewed from the most cynical Machiavellian perspective, there is one way that a strategic defeat might lead to a sort of "victory": If the Republicans lose this election, Hillary Clinton will not be president in 2008. She would have to launch an "unseat Kerry" movement, and I don't think she'd dare.

But what would happen to the Republican Party? There'd be the inevitable power vacuum with lots of factions, and if history is any guide, the best organized, most disciplined faction would gain ascendancy. If there's any truth to the paranoid assertions about a secret plot by "Dominionists," a Bush loss would certainly put it to the test. Angry religious conservatives would claim that Bush lost because they -- his "base" -- had been neglected or shut out, and there'd be hell to pay. It could get messy, and a viable third party might rise from the resultant chaos.

But with Kerry making such a supreme ass of himself, with his own personality getting in his way, I think despite the problems, a Bush win is more likely. If so, then the goal of the Democrats (which will revert to the Clinton/McAuliffe machine) should be twofold:

  • 1. Do everything possible to ensure Hillary Clinton's ascendancy while cultivating her image as a centrist, a patriot, perhaps even a family-values grandmother with gray tinges in her hair. Bill Clinton's gentle image as white-haired Senior Statesman -- and constant reminders of how much better things used to be -- will of course reassure.
  • 2. By whatever means might be necessary, move the Republican Party to the far reaches of the religious right, thereby putting the losers in charge. I think Hillary would love nothing more than to run against the real thing: a genuine fundamentalist Bible pounder. Whether the Republicans would be dumb enough to do her bidding remains to be seen.
  • I'll admit my biases here. I disagree with the moral conservatives (if they are in fact the base, then I disagree with the base), especially those like Alan Keyes who are against any sort of compromise. In the years I lived in California, I saw them make the Republican Party lose again and again, and I began to suspect that they were quite resigned to losing. The selection of Alan Keyes made me suspect that the losers were moving ahead within the Republican Party, but on closer analysis I saw that it was more a matter of local politics.

    But what's local can become national very fast. If California taught me anything, it's that a small group of losers can get and keep a stranglehold on a much larger group. Losers give each other aid and comfort, and depending on the level of their denial, they're all too glad to form unwitting alliances with their worst enemies, along the lines of "the enemy of my enemy."

    Early warning signs of that appeared here in Pennsylvania, where Democrats first helped Pat Toomey against Arlen Specter, and now that Specter survived that, they've blatantly helped Jim Clymer's third party candidacy. (The last link's al Jazeera connection is a reminder of the enemy-of-my-enemy principle at work.)

    And now Keyes. I don't doubt his sincerity in the least. But when proven losers pick proven losers, it begs the question of whether they want to lose, and of course, who wins.

    UPDATE: My thanks to Glenn Reynolds for linking this post! A welcome to all InstaPundit readers, and I hope you stick around and browse.

    Right away I can see from the comments that people do not agree on what it is that constitutes the "Republican base." Is there a base? Is it a majority of the party? If not, then why is it called the base? Is the base defined by what it's for? Or by what it's against?

    MORE: The above follows two related earlier posts in which I tried to make sense of the Alan Keyes selection: one on Tuesday, and another on Wednesday.

    UPDATE: I do appreciate the comments! And while I'm at it, I'd like to add this observation: whatever the base is, it's pretty clear that it's constantly changing as issues emerge, are debated, and are somewhat resolved and redefined. For example, with abortion, once a consensus is reached that a majority will support a limitation on third term "partial birth" abortions, a legislative solution might be acheived, but then the base is different. The new base believes that life begins at the moment of conception, but the larger consensus is gone. Such shifting definitions tend to make analysis difficult.

    MORE: While Missouri wasn't especially on my mind when I wrote the above, I see that several commenters have raised it, and Glenn Reynolds links to these thoughts from Craig Henry:

    I know this really isn't a response to Classical Values's post. In truth, I posted this hours before i saw the link to CV on Instapundit. But I do think that the point about Missouri directly applies to his argument about the "Republican base." You can't extrapolate California to the nation as a whole. While it is true Arnold was the only republican who could have won in the recall election, it is also true that Arnold would have had to run as a Dem in Missouri (i.e. in the mini-US). And McClintock would probably have cleaned his clock in that state.
    Good point! (But see this caveat about McClintock from Roger L. Simon.) And while I am not sure that Missouri speaks for the entire nation, I wasn't saying that California does either. Or Illinois. Or Pennsylvania. I was trying to examine a problem I've seen before of what can happen when ideologues out of touch with the majority are able to gain effective control. People who think I was talking about gay marriage should reread my many posts against it. Same sex marriage is in my view inflammatory right now and likely to create a backlash. But that is not the same as an endorsement of sodomy laws -- to say nothing of Keyes' view of gays as a nuclear threat.

    MORE: Via Glenn Reynolds, I see another typical example of the stubborn determination so often characterizing this persistent, losing, theme:
    If the Republican Party wishes to have a future, it must come to grips with the fact that its stances on issues related to homosexuality, while perhaps not strategically risky right now, will prove disastrous in the future if they do not evolve. Voters under 30 are "gay-friendly." Half of us support gay marriage, and a sizeable majority of us support full legal rights via civil unions. We can claim more openly gay friends, relatives, and co-workers than any other generation of Americans. We view any remark that hints of anti-gay animus with the same mix of disdain and ironic bemusement as we do retrograde comments endorsing racial superiority.
    The author notes that Bush "nearly split the 18-29 group" in 2000, but that Kerry now leads in that demographic by a margin of 2 to 1.

    Republican strategists who would write off the 18-29ers would do well to remember that Arnold Schwarzenegger did quite well with that same demographic. (Perhaps "disdain and ironic bemusement" wasn't a factor?)

    posted by Eric on 08.12.04 at 10:08 AM







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    Comments

    The conservative base *did* select Reagan and Bush (43), over the objections of the "moderate wing" (aka, Gerald Ford, Bush-41 and John McCain), you know...

    Will Collier   ·  August 12, 2004 2:27 PM


    Hm...

    I am a member of the so-called Republican Base. I vote in every primary, contribute lots of money, and spend a lot of volunteer time.

    I am also proud to have supported Ronald Reagan, GW Bush AND Arnold Schwarzenegger. All winners.

    Being a member of the conservative base of the GOP has been a victorious position in latter years.

    The terms "losers" would better fit the elusive moderate wing of the Democratic party, which is nowadays a non-existant entity.

    JohnR   ·  August 12, 2004 2:41 PM

    Of course, but this begs the question of what is the base. Reagan signed the bill legalizing abortion in California and never raved about sodomites.

    And what about the Goldwater "base?" He ended up being called a liberal.

    Eric Scheie   ·  August 12, 2004 2:43 PM

    You are analyzing the whole country on the basis of California and Illinios. Schwarzenegger is still in his honeymoon peroid.

    Kyle   ·  August 12, 2004 2:44 PM

    HILARY CLINTON WILL NEVER WIN AN ELECTION

    As a preliminary point, I agree with you that President Bush will win another four years in the Fall. If Kerry does manage to win, however, Clinton will probably not run at all. Likewise, she would still have to win re-election in New York. That is certainly not a given either, especially if Giuliiani decided to run against her in 2006. ( Unlikely - he'd prefer the bigger prize in '08.)

    But assuming she does run, I think the Democrats would be fools to allow her to run on their ticket. Most liberals who vote Democrat probably do so regardless of who's on the ticket, and so she would not be a draw on that score. ( And liberals do not have to be "energized". If they'll vote for Kerry, lord knows they'd vote for anybody). As for the feminist vote, a) such people vote Democrat anyway, and b) they're dying out, with very few children of like minded views or otherwise. Also she's from New York ( hah!) a reliable blue state in the Electoral College. So there's not much she'd bring to the ticket.

    On the down side, she would definitely turn off a lot of union type guys, who could conceivably vote for Kerry, but not for her. The younger generation, studies show, is considerably more conservative than their elders, and a woman of Mrs. Clinton's age and politics would not appeal to them. She has a lot of embarrassments in her history, compounded by her dumb recent comment that she would take away peoples money to give it to other people. Further, 2008 will represent 16 years of Clinton's in public office, and even people who have not already tired of them now will by then be sick of them. Finally, she's a bitch, and an increasingly unattractive bitch to boot.

    In light of the above, I don't see Mrs. Clinton as a viable candidate, even with her husband stumping for her. Now would the Dems still be foolish enough to select her? Of course! If they can nominate a turkey like Kerry, they can nominate Hilary Clinton too. With the echo chamber of the media indistinguishable from the DNC, a hilary nomination - and ultimate loss - in '08 is all but inevitable.

    David   ·  August 12, 2004 2:48 PM

    "Will the Republican Party escape from the embrace of the pro-lifers so that it can nominate candidates like Rudy Giuliani, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice? Likely not. Those who see each election as an opportunity to hold candidates to litmus tests on key social issues are not likely to relinquish their hold or relax their vigilance".

    I am curious how this differs for the Democrats? Could a pro-life, pro-school voucher, or anti-affirmative action Democrat win a primary for state wide office in California or NY?

    Perhaps we are seeing the Democrat base give Kerry a pass on his moderately pro-war rhetoric, but I think they do so as an election strategy, not as an endorsement of his position. They fully expect Kerry to move left if he is elected.


    Anonymous   ·  August 12, 2004 2:55 PM

    As I recall, Keyes lost his presidential runs in the Republican primaries. If the "base" loved him so much, he should've won, right? (unless you're saying that they're committed to defeat in primaries as well).

    I see no evidence that being pro-life makes someone unelectable. The majority of Republicans are pro-life and they are the majority party in the country right now. The problem isn't the position, per se, but the attitude. Keyes is not a soft-spoken politiican, he's a bombthrower. Regardless of which side of the asile you're on, whether you're pro-life or whatever, the public doesn't like bombthrowers.

    The reason why the Christian base does not like pro-choice Republicans is because more often than not, an opening on that front leads to more liberalism in the future. In order to remain in the media graces, these pro-choice republicans must whore themselves out in greater amounts, supporting liberal program after liberal program, all so they can avoid the fear of being labeled as "pro-life." But unabashed, pro-life politicians need not worry about this. Chris Smith from NJ is a perfect example - a prominent, pro-life politician, who is in no danger at all.

    Was Arlen Specter the correct choice over Pat Toomey? Who would've made a better Senator?

    On all the Catholic blogs I read, I think that most pro-lifers think the Republican party takes advantage of them and that they would like to see some more victories than the partial-birth abortion ban. Pro-lifers want to WIN, they don't want to lose. You really have no idea what you're talking about.

    Sydney Carton   ·  August 12, 2004 2:58 PM

    JohnR pretty much said what I was going to write, only difference being that I don't live in California, so I couldn't support Arnold. But I do spend a lot of time and money on GOP politics.

    I doubt the Democrats move back to the Clinton wing in control after Kerry is defeated. His statement that he would still have voted yes on the Iraq resolution just adds more to what will be the theme of the Deaniac base's complaint-- he offered an echo, not a choice. They will take over and nominate the "real deal" next time out.

    As for the religious right, so clled, sorry htey turn you off, but they have been the leading source of new GOP voters in my region (Southeast) for 25 years. And they still are. We are even making inroads here in some of the black churches-- two black minnisters in my home town are not letting the Dems hold voter registration drives at their churches for the first time in living memory. Reason? Social issues, gay marriage and abortion, particulalrly, in the case of one minister, Kerry's vote against the partial birth abortion ban.

    I'm not motivated by the same issues that float these folks boats a lot of the time, but I can live with their views. I can also count votes.

    Dan   ·  August 12, 2004 2:58 PM

    Of course, but this begs the question of what is the base. Reagan signed the bill legalizing abortion in California and never raved about sodomites.

    Neither has any other major candidate in the last several decades (Pat Robertson was serious only in his own mind--and you have to wonder even there). This is a straw man; Reagan was by far the most conservative candidate in the Republican field in 1980 (or 1976, for that matter), and he won the general election going away, twice.

    And what about the Goldwater "base?" He ended up being called a liberal.

    C'mon, you can do better than that. The Goldwater of 1964 was not the Goldwater of 1990, and at any rate, nobody serious ever called him a liberal. Liberterian, definitely, but not liberal--I'm sure I don't have to tell you that there's a significant difference.

    Will Collier   ·  August 12, 2004 2:58 PM

    Eric-
    You have touched on a very fundamental aspect of 'pure' ideology. It is necessary to remove responsibility from one's cause to maintain a 'pure' idea. Yet, I don't think one can ascribe this trait to something as illusive as the Republican 'base'. Also, I think you've completely misread the Keyes situation. The Republicans are going to lose that seat anyway, regardless of who was chosen as a (R) nominee. By selecting Keyes, they will force an otherwise vague rhetorician like Mr. Obama to defend his ideas without using trite platitudes. While, at the same time, allowing for a more liberal Republican to surface next election cycle, showing a move to the political center by the party. It's quite practical, actually.
    Good luck. Cheers.

    wml   ·  August 12, 2004 2:58 PM

    THE REPUBLICAN BASE SHOULD SWALLOW THEIR PRIDE NOW TO RE-ELECT BUSH, THEN LOOK TO '06 AND '08.

    Pat Buchannan won the GOP primary in New Hampshire, let's start with that. Why did he lose thereafter? Because the media presented him as "unelectable", and the public bought it. Hence, you had GOP members who were personaly very conservative, and who favored Buchannan, voting for someone else who they deemed to be more electable. Sound familiar? Of course - it's the story of John Kerry's nomination. The Democrats are stuck with a turkey of a candidate, all because they thought him "more electable."

    The lesson is that you shouldn't vote for whom you think is electable, but rather for whom you think is the better candidate. Let's remember that the power of the media is all but eviscerated today. The Internet allows us to realize that there are a lot more of the Republican base out there than the media would have had us beleive hitherto. Thus, conservatives should vote for their man, regardless of what the pundits say about "electability".

    One caveat - there are those who think that voting for a third party in the fall would send a message to the President to start flexing conservative muscle. ( ie, refusing to enforce judicial decisions, working to repeal certain legislation, etc.) That would be a capitol error, akin to a liberla voting for Nader. The time to promote true conservative positions begins November 6, not before.I wish the President would be more conservative also, but it's baby steps, baby steps . . .

    David   ·  August 12, 2004 3:01 PM

    Yeah, those Religious Right whackos want the Republicans to come out against such popular issues like gay marriage.

    Why, just last week the moderate voters of swing-state Missouri voted in favor of...what's that?

    They voted AGAINST gay marriage? By a 71-29% margin?

    How can this be? This was such a "loser" issue.

    Captain Holly   ·  August 12, 2004 3:03 PM

    The Republicans actually ignore a huge component of their so-called base: people who oppose large-scale illegal immigration, and believe it to be one of the most significant issues facing the United States today. The Republicans under George W. Bush are nearly identical to the Democrats on immigration policy, despite the fact that polls show a majority of Americans (and a huge majority of Republicans) opposed to more immigration and in favor of a strict crack-down on illegal border crossing and illegal employment of non-citizens by large corporations.

    The policy of the Republicans on this question is to forget about the base. Recent newspaper articles have reported that many regular Republicans are refusing to donate money because of George W. Bush's professed immigration preferences.

    Forget the base. Big business, which favors as much immigration as possible (it keeps wages low), calls the shots.

    Virginia Dare   ·  August 12, 2004 3:08 PM

    As one of the Fundementalist Conservative Christians, I think many parts of your analysis are correct.

    Just remember, the Republican Party is very different now than it was in the 50's (it was quite strong), to the 60's (waning legislative power), 70's (ouch) before reclaming some semeblence of respectibility with Reagan, through to now with Republicans in nominal control of the Legistlaive and Excutive branches.

    And also remember, the Democratic party in the 50s and 60s was much more conservative than todays Republicans. For example, look at the REAL JFK's speeches, and try to imagine which party is more likely to say and do what he said.]

    But, they have made MANY compromises to get to that "dominance". There are not as many factions in the Republican Base as there are in the Democratic Base (black, unions, teachers, greens, etc.), but you could, I suppose talk about social value and national power blocks.

    The national power block has a few fissues wrt to trade, immigration, and what the correct approach to international order is, but really, these are not likely to break the party apart (well, immigration, more than anything).

    Social values, however, are much more likely to break the uneasy coalitions. Assuming there is a real alternative. Abortion, transfer payments, marriage, education, stem cell research, and so on can drive the party apart pretty quickly because they are more personal to most people.

    While I am a very socially conservative Christian, I have and will vote for Democrats. I put my ideology above party loyalty. (But not for President *this* year).

    The odd thind is that the Republicans don't dominate many of the identity groups they way the Democrats do. While people like me currently tend Republican, the Democrats own the Black Vote, the Public Sector Union Votes (the largest employers in the country), the Jewish Vote (may be changing, and not numerically large), the Green Vote, and so on.

    What, I think has happened in some areas is that the population has seperated itself consciously (or uncousiously) into like minded communities, cites, states and regions. That is, some of what you are talking about is demographic shifts, and the people you describe as acting in a self destrucive manner are the ones who simply won't compomise, but rather stand for principle.

    Kristian   ·  August 12, 2004 3:08 PM

    The CA Republican Party would rather win a caucus fight than win an election.

    The CA-Reps spend all their time and money fighting each other. The Democrats (CA & Nat'l) have demonstrated their belief that losing sucks. Therefore they will do whatever it takes to win the election.

    Lying to the electorate works; they lie.
    Running from the center and passing laws on the Left confuses everyone. Nobody reads the bills except the lobbyists who direct the money. Therefore, they put mis-leading titles on bills.

    The media will not report nor investigate. Thereaten them with loss of access and advertising and they fall into line.

    26 years of living in Lantos Land and watching the union machine crank out his re-election victories have demoralized me. I vote Federal and Harbor Commission but leave Congressman blank.

    The CA-Reps never fund a challenge to Lantos. "It's a waste of money"

    Andy   ·  August 12, 2004 3:12 PM

    Eric,

    I think you are missing a few key points. First, your analysis is correct about 'bases' and how they tend to nominate the more extreme of the candidates. However, you completely fail to point out how the Democratic Party endures the same thing, in election after election. Gray Davis was not the most moderate Democrat in the Party when running for Governor. Al Gore, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry - all of these guys are very liberal. Joe Lieberman is a moderate Democrat - and he never had a chance in the primary - because of the specific ways primaries work.

    I won't argue with the ways the religious right influences the Republican Party, but it seems to me that you ignore some fundamental truths about politics. Without people who consider themselves religious, the Republicans are a permanent minority party - there are quite a few of these people. The same holds true if the African American community suddenly 'stays home' in an election. You can't just jettison a significant part of your base.

    Besides, whose views are more 'extreme'? You knock Keyes because he 'won't compromise'. What about Democrats? The pro-choice lobby refuses to compromise on anything in that debate - they won't even accept common sense reforms like requiring 13 year old girls to notify their parents that they are getting an abortion. Or to not allow abortions at 36 weeks. Even Britain, liberal utopia in many ways, won't allow abortions past 24 weeks.

    So enough about Republican bases being losers. All bases have the same characteristics. Including Nader's, if you want to discuss them, too.

    Brad   ·  August 12, 2004 3:12 PM

    "The Republican base in California had been losing elections for so long that they'd gotten used to the status quo of being out of power. The more out of reach power became, the less they had to worry about things like getting votes or making platforms palatable to voters, and the more they could concentrate on ideological purity."

    Sadly, that characterization could apply more than equally to the Libertarian Party throughout the nation.

    I don't think the Goldwater of 1990 was too different from the Goldwater of 1964. What was different was that in 1964, abortion wasn't much of a political issue, and the religious right was nowhere to be found. I'm pretty sure that Goldwater made pro-choice comments during the '70s, and denounced Jerry Falwell when he opposed Sandra Day O'Connor's nomination to the Supreme Court.

    Eric   ·  August 12, 2004 3:16 PM

    Good discussion here. I would add on the Giuliani, Powell, Rice comment that I believe a ton of people (Republican base included) would have voted for Colin Powell in 2000 if he had actually run. But he didn't and couldn't be convinced to. If any of these three run in 2008, then fantastic.

    As for Hillary Clinton, I wouldn't agree that she's completely unelectable. The Clintons have this amazing capacity to get away with most anything and not get called on it. (Except, of course, by the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.) I agree that Kerry is an awful candidate and I have no idea what the Democrats were thinking, but I remain concerned about 2008.

    Best regards,
    Josh

    Josh   ·  August 12, 2004 3:28 PM

    I believe the Replican base is primarily made up of white, christian, middle and upper middle class working parents. The fundimentalist christians are a small minority that must be catered to as the Dems must cater to hard core leftists. Most of the base is just as disgusted with a specimen like Keyes representing the party as most of the Dem base is with Michael Moore.

    Jody   ·  August 12, 2004 3:32 PM

    I seem to be the only one who's noticed that Obama and Keyes are both African-American. I believe that Keyes was brought in specifically because of his race, to pit a black man against a black man. Otherwise it's all just too much of a coincidence.

    This suggests that Keyes' nomination was purely a matter of local political calculation in response to the dynamics of that particular situation: they have a popular young black man running? We'll put up our most well known black man against him. That's all there is to it. You could almost call it racist except that such a blatantly calculated move is the essence of pure old-fashioned politics.

    Hal   ·  August 12, 2004 3:39 PM

    The "Republican Base" is far from monolithic. Sometimes strong state organizations bite their noses off to spite their faces. They can cobble an uneasy coalition around a few hot button issues like gay marriage and abortion, but then fail to promote a winning position. It's a very old failure of party politics.

    To overcome or in some cases win over the various ideologies within a party it takes extraordinary talent at the top and great grass roots organization. The Terminator looks like he has the talent. It remains to be seen if the California organization will embrace him. His numbers suggest that they might have to. He could win on a Democratic ticket, too.

    At the national level, W is clearly the stronger candidate and the Republican organization is clearly stronger, but the Demo base has been energized. Unfortunately for them, their base is lots nuttier than the Republicans, and it doesn't seem likely that they'll be able to reach very far into the middle. Kerry is saluting and sprinting to the middle as fast as he can, but he's a Massachusetts liberal, and it shows.

    Assuming Kerry doesn't implode, which is certainly possible, W will win in a comfortably close race--3-5%.

    Old Dad   ·  August 12, 2004 3:42 PM

    The abortion issue is over. Even the spawn of the Berserkeleites don't like it.

    Oregon is also going to vote on gay marriage. Got the largest amount of sigs for any referendum.

    We're talking generational stuff here.

    AZ got almost twice as many sigs needed to get immigration on the ballot.

    MO threw out it's current gov, who most probably won because of the shenanigans of 2000.

    Sandy P   ·  August 12, 2004 3:48 PM

    "As one of the Fundementalist Conservative Christians, I think many parts of your analysis are correct. "
    -Kristian


    10 bucks says this guy is one of those ever-so-subtle Democrats masquerading as "life-long Republicans." Maybe you should go back to reading Democratic Underground?

    As far as I can see though, that people bash on Republicans for being too ideologically pure and that people bash on Republicans for being too ideologically impure, that means that the party's doing well enough to draw voters from both camps who may not agree with the party 100% but are willing to vote for it nonetheless.

    .   ·  August 12, 2004 3:57 PM

    This assertion is the Achilles' heel of the article. Less than eight years ago both the Governor's office and most of the statewide offices were controlled by Republicans. Except for the Brown father/son team the Governor's mansion has been pretty much a Republican holding pen for the past half century.

    While the Democrats have controlled the legislature for many years they have never, to my knowledge, held a 2/3rd's majority. Some time ago a statewide initiative passed that required a 2/3rds vote for new funding, a situation which meant that any budget that the Republicans didn't have a hand in wouldn't get onto the Governor's desk. As well, a term limits initiative passed. This had had a pretty big effect, though not complete, of breaking up the Democratic leadership machine in Sacramento. It sent Willie Brown, arguably the most corrupt politician in the state behind the unlamented Gray Davis, back to San Francisco. Term limits also have kicked him out of the mayorality as well.

    Democrats are strong in the cities and coast with Orange County being the notable exception most times. The Republicans control everything else.

    I agree with the author that in the past two terms the Republicans were well on the way to making themselves a permanent party of the opposition in the state, much like Democrats seem to be doing for themselves nationally. Schwarznegger's destruction of the Davis machine, however, has put the party back on the map. It's not the same party that the residual doctrinaire conservatives like to characterise Republicans as being, just as the national Republican party isn't the bunch of crypto-Libertarians that brett and too often pippo think it ought to be.

    Forrest Higgs   ·  August 12, 2004 3:58 PM

    This assertion is the Achilles' heel of the article. Less than eight years ago both the Governor's office and most of the statewide offices were controlled by Republicans. Except for the Brown father/son team the Governor's mansion has been pretty much a Republican holding pen for the past half century.

    While the Democrats have controlled the legislature for many years they have never, to my knowledge, held a 2/3rd's majority. Some time ago a statewide initiative passed that required a 2/3rds vote for new funding, a situation which meant that any budget that the Republicans didn't have a hand in wouldn't get onto the Governor's desk. As well, a term limits initiative passed. This had had a pretty big effect, though not complete, of breaking up the Democratic leadership machine in Sacramento. It sent Willie Brown, arguably the most corrupt politician in the state behind the unlamented Gray Davis, back to San Francisco. Term limits also have kicked him out of the mayorality as well.

    Democrats are strong in the cities and coast with Orange County being the notable exception most times. The Republicans control everything else.

    I agree with the author that in the past two terms the Republicans were well on the way to making themselves a permanent party of the opposition in the state, much like Democrats seem to be doing for themselves nationally. Schwarznegger's destruction of the Davis machine, however, has put the party back on the map. It's not the same party that the residual doctrinaire conservatives like to characterise Republicans as being.

    Forrest Higgs   ·  August 12, 2004 3:59 PM

    i am a republican..

    i hate the fact my party is a bunch of bible thumping, anti-abortionists.. i wish they would just stick to fiscal ideals and kicking terrorist ass.

    gijoe   ·  August 12, 2004 3:59 PM

    Perhaps I'm the only Republican in this discussion who is actually FROM California...? (although sadly, I moved away just prior to the Gubernator's victory).

    Only Virgina Dare has mentioned the single issue which DESTROYED the Republican party in California: Immigration. Unfortunately, it appears she's on the wrong side of the issue.

    California Republicans actually had a very siginificant proportion of the hispanic vote in the state until the early 90s. Hispanics TEND to be:

    1) Family oriented.
    2) Religioulsy conservative (Catholic)
    3) Anti-abortion.

    Three hallmarks of the more right-wing portion of the party. Unfortunately (tongue firmly in cheek here), they also happen to be brown skinned.

    Proposition 187 and its Nazi-inspired tactics is what KILLED the Republican party in California. Obviously from my comment, readers may conlcude that I opposed 187. I did. As did every other intelligent person in the state. Unfortunately, the idiots outnumbered us and 187 passed. The effects of this betrayal spread to the rest of the country.

    The anti-immigration platform of the Republican party MUST be destroyed. Controlling immigration is one thing, and we need to find sensible ways to do it. But the vitriolic attitudes of people like Tom Tancredo from Colorado are what's keeping the party from making better inroads to minorities.

    Perhaps Arnold's time as Governor can bring some of the Hispanic vote back to the Republicans, as long as he can marginalize the latent rascists of the party.

    Eric

    EGC   ·  August 12, 2004 3:59 PM

    I was a member of the republican base for a long time.
    I was forced out by Hannity-esque wackjobs.

    Steve Ramsey   ·  August 12, 2004 4:05 PM

    EGC says:

    >

    This is demonstrably untrue. Proposition 187 won with some 59 percent of the popular vote in California. It resuscitated the political career of Gov. Pete Wilson, who campaigned for it, and carried to victory at least five Republican congressional candidates, which helped the party win a congressional majority in 1994. Incidentally, Ah-nold supported it back then. It wasn't until the California GOP repudiated Prop. 187 that it went into a tailspin.

    As far as the coveted "brown" voters go, it is notable that despite Bush's pandering to Hispanic leaders by pushing for "amnesty" for illegal aliens, he's polling lower with Latinos than he did in 2000. Good job!

    But the bottom line is this: Even in California, Hispanics are a small portion of the electorate (not the residents, the electorate). Proposition 187, and the new Proposition 200 in Arizona, show that the majority of GOP supporters, who as whites are members of the overwhelming demographic majority of this country, support immigration restrictions.

    Why pursue a few "brown" votes when you can win a few million white ones?

    Virginia Dare   ·  August 12, 2004 4:45 PM

    Its not a problem exclusive to the Republican base.

    It helps if you think of the hard-core party loyalists in terms of religion. Someone who is not pure such as Schwarzenegger is a heretic. Heretics are the worse. Its better to fight a 30 year war against heretics than to work together and knock Islam for a loop.

    Why this is so I can't explain.

    yank   ·  August 12, 2004 4:45 PM

    EGC says:

    "Proposition 187 and its Nazi-inspired tactics is what KILLED the Republican party in California. Obviously from my comment, readers may conlcude that I opposed 187. I did. As did every other intelligent person in the state. Unfortunately, the idiots outnumbered us and 187 passed. The effects of this betrayal spread to the rest of the country."

    This is demonstrably untrue. Proposition 187 won with some 59 percent of the popular vote in California. It resuscitated the political career of Gov. Pete Wilson, who campaigned for it, and carried to victory at least five Republican congressional candidates, which helped the party win a congressional majority in 1994. Incidentally, Ah-nold supported it back then. It wasn't until the California GOP repudiated Prop. 187 that it went into a tailspin.

    As far as the coveted "brown" voters go, it is notable that despite Bush's pandering to Hispanic leaders by pushing for "amnesty" for illegal aliens, he's polling lower with Latinos than he did in 2000. Good job!

    But the bottom line is this: Even in California, Hispanics are a small portion of the electorate (not the residents, the electorate). Proposition 187, and the new Proposition 200 in Arizona, show that the majority of GOP supporters, who as whites are members of the overwhelming demographic majority of this country, support immigration restrictions.

    Why pursue a few "brown" votes when you can win a few million white ones?

    Anonymous   ·  August 12, 2004 4:46 PM

    TO: Eric Scheie
    RE: 2004, 2008 and Hillary

    "If the Republicans lose this election, Hillary Clinton will not be president in 2008. She would have to launch an "unseat Kerry" movement, and I don't think she'd dare." -- Eric Scheie

    I think she WOULD 'dare'. But I think she and the DNC, which I think she has more pull in than we realize, intends that Kerry lose this year. That will make it so much easier for her in 2008.

    RE: Keyes' Values. A Problem, HERE?

    "I characterized the selection of Alan Keyes as a slap in the face of libertarian Republicans. Now that I think it over, it's really more of a slap in the face of Illinois voters, if not all voters. ...the Republicans came up with a man [Keyes] so out of touch with middle America that it's downright scary." -- Eric Scheie

    On the contrary. Keyes HAS "Classical Values".

    And THIS is a 'problem'? For YOU?

    Better change the name of your blog, compadre. Either that or get a better dictionary and study philosophy with a good tutor.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)

    Chuck Pelto   ·  August 12, 2004 4:52 PM

    Historically, the "Bible-thumping Southerners" were Democrats--until the Civil Rights movement forced them to break off from the Roosevelt New-Deal Coalition and go seeking a new party. Republicans wisely courted the newly liberated region. After all, no Presidential candidate in recent history has won without a victory in at least one Southern state. It's stupid for a political party NOT to try to please the religious fundamentalists in the Bible-belt and expect to win an election anyway. Kerry, and the Democratic Party principles he represents, has little hope of victory in any state in the conservative Christian,pro-military, pro-Bush, pro-life region.

    Alison   ·  August 12, 2004 4:56 PM

    Steve Ramsey:

    You talk about the Hannity whack jobs and accept Moore, Franken, Garafaolo, Randy Rhoads, Cynthia McKinney, Maxine Waters instead? How about Kerry, Dean, et al. There you have the real whack jobs. You need to open your eyes and see what you are accepting and what you are rejecting. If you used to be republican and you can accept this group, then you were never republican!!

    dick   ·  August 12, 2004 5:15 PM

    I thought the base was strong defense and limited government? I am not in favor of abortion. I am not radical about it though. I use to be indifferent to it until the past year. I took anantomy and physiology and growth and human development. My wife is also pregnant. After these classes and seeing ultrasounds, newsflash it is life. I really don't care for the militant wing of the pro-life sect though. I don't think they are the "base." Once again I think the party base which to me are the majority of the party are for strong defense and limited government. I may be wrong but that is where it is to me.

    bags75   ·  August 12, 2004 5:31 PM

    TO: Eric Scheie
    RE: Losers R Us

    I think you're projecting with that claim that the Republicans are the party base of losers.

    Looking at Kerry, he has it written all over him. Those shots of him in the clean suit reminded me of Dukakis riding in the TC's hatch of that M1 Abrams.

    Then there is the business about his never taking the same position on a matter twice. Chuck him under the chin and he nods. Slap his cheek and he shakes. He is the living bobble-head doll.

    His DNC speech with the anecdote about Mary Knowles probably has more lies than just Mary's.

    Now, we have the 25 years of lies about his Christmas in Cambodia. And even the outing of that by Jeh Johnson has a lie embedded in it; "It is already on the record....", my fourth point of contact. Where?

    Face it. You're upset. I can understand that. If I had backed such a loser for so long, I'd be upset too. But be careful. You're behaving as if you were someone that Scientologists would call a 'suppressive'; kicking the elephant for something the donkey has done.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)

    Chuck Pelto   ·  August 12, 2004 5:44 PM

    Hey, Eric, did you know you were backing Kerry? Come on over, we're a big tent here in Democrat land, where as heresy like calling Keyes a loser gets you the boot from Chuckle.

    Hipocrite   ·  August 12, 2004 6:21 PM

    Eric, you fell victim to one of the classic blunders, the most famous of which is 'Never get involved in a land war in Asia', but only slightly less famous is this: 'Some people care more about policies than politics.'

    If a conservative who normally votes Republican is faced with a politician who is running as a Republican, but opposes them on many or most of their most important policy issues, should the voter still vote for him?

    A strict partisan would say yes, I guess. If the (R) or (D) after a candidate's name is all that matters, then yeah, you should vote your preferred party no matter what. However, for example, if you're a liberal who's pissed at Kerry for being pro-war (sort of, I guess), then it might make sense not to vote for him.

    Spoons   ·  August 12, 2004 6:30 PM

    Absolute blather.

    Richard   ·  August 12, 2004 6:34 PM

    Sorry Virgina, but there is no Santa Claus...

    1) Hispanics make up nearly 20% of eligible voters in California. Prior to Prop 187, these votes were evenly split between Republicans and Democrats. Now the split is more like 75/25. In a state of 20 million or so eligible voters, that makes a million votes of difference. If the Hispanic vote had been 50/50 in 2000, Bush very well might have won...

    2) Bush, while Governor of Texas, rightly opposed 187. -- Even though it was 'none of his business' what happened in California, he had to quash some silly small-minded folk in Texas who wanted to do something similar. The ONLY reason Bush is now in the poisiton of having to PANDER to the hispanic vote is BECAUSE of idiot moves like Prop 187. (And by the way, his opposition to 187 in Texas got him a HUGE share of the Hispanic vote there!)

    3) Yes I know AH-nold supported it back then; I hope he has repented.

    4) Prop 187 won with some 59% of the vote. Yes, that's what psychologists call "mass-hysteria". It worked in Nuremburg in 1933 too. Sometimes the majority is WRONG.

    5) Republics protect us from stupidly motivated electorates. Here's my heresy of the day: California needs to get rid of its voter referendum scheme. Or at least make it harder to get a proposition on the ballot. But that's OT (off-topic, for those who don't know...).

    6) It resuscitated the political career of Gov. Pete Wilson...er, more like temporarily resuscitated. Ultimately it was political suicide. Classic case of winning the battle, but losing the war. (Doh!!!)

    7) I have not read AZ Prop 200, so I won't comment, except to say I hope it actually involves some serious thought, and not just knee-jerk racism like 187.

    Eric

    EGC   ·  August 12, 2004 7:00 PM

    "Virginia" -- spelled wrong in last post, sorry.

    EGC   ·  August 12, 2004 7:18 PM

    The "Republican base" is a term coined by Democrats and their mainstream media friends in order to stereotype and heap scorn on the opposition party. I'm an active Republican, and I am not obsessed, or even interested in, other people's abortions or gay relationships. Most Republicans I know simply have a healthy wariness about government growth.

    Marcia Wolf   ·  August 12, 2004 7:45 PM
    • From this: "Prop. 187 was heavily supported by Latinos, 52 percent to 42 percent two months before the vote. But 77 percent of Latinos voted against it. [after the smears by people like EGC and the mistakes by some proponents--LW]"

    • Protect Arizona Now is supported by 74% of Arizonans, including half of Hispanics.
    • CA State Sen. Gil Cedillo admits that 70% of Californians oppose his continuous attempts to give driver's licenses to illegal aliens. Even some Democrats are realizing his bill would harm them; they're starting to call him "One Bill Gil."
    • From this: "An exit poll commissioned by the Federation for American Immigration Reform showed that 30 percent of California voters said they were somewhat or much more likely to vote against Mr. Davis because he signed the [law giving driver's licenses to illegal aliens]. Only 8 percent of voters were somewhat or much more likely to support him because of it."
    • From this: "Exit polls conducted during last year's recall showed that 39 percent of the recall voters identified themselves as Republican. Yet 70 percent told pollsters the [law giving driver's licenses to illegal aliens] that was then in effect should be repealed.."
    • From this: "Eighty-six percent of those surveyed... said illegal immigration is a very serious or somewhat serious problem."
    • From this: 58% of Mexicans AGREED with this question: "the territory of the United States' Southwest rightfully belongs to Mexico."

    Also, here's Tancredo's site.

    The Lonewacko Blog   ·  August 12, 2004 7:49 PM

    Dear Eric:

    Yet another extremely interesting post and thread. I'm glad Glenn Reynolds had the wisdom to send you another well-deserved Instalanche. He needs to do that more often, much more often.

    This goes much, much deeper than elections and politics. Ayn Rand once observed that Karl Marx conquered half the world by being called an "impractical idealist". It is similarly so with the more powerful Enemy within today.

    Here's a quote that is very relevant to these issues:

    "...Indeed, as in the myth of Mot and Baal, and in so many other myths, the left and the right appear locked in a never-ending conflict from which the right -- the side of the sacred and the hierarchical, and hence the antientropic -- like Baal, always reasserts itself after its many temporary defeats. Against the right, the left wins battle after battle but not the war; against the religious, the political makes gains after gains but seems never to succeed. It is as if the left in politics, and politics in the overall perceptual syatem -- like Mot in the legend -- were meant to overcome in the short run, yet be forever bound to fail."
    -J. A. Laponce, "Left and Right: the Topography of Political Perceptions"

    The Enemy within, which seeks to ban all "deviations" and completely subordinate the individual to the collective, is winning merely by the names it gets to be called by those who are supposed to be opposing it. "Right", with all its associations of rightness, of conservatism, of hierarchy, of tradition and history. "Religious", with all its associations of the sacred, of holiness, of spirituality and transcendence. "Moral", with all its associations of righteousness and of stern authority.

    No wonder we are losing! We could win election after election, but the pull is always toward that which is perceived to be on the side of the moral, the sacred, that which has the weight of history and the primal estates, warrior and priest, Throne and Altar, on its side. We must therefore exalt the holiness and Divine power of the Individual over against the collective.

    I will therefore close this comment with a quote from the Master, which summarizes the foundation of _my_ morality:

    "It is not the works, but the _belief_, which is here decisive and determines the order of rank -- to employ once more an old religious formula with a new and deeper meaning -- it is some fundamental certainty which a noble soul has about itself, something which is not to be sought, is not to be found, and perhaps, also, is not to be lost -- the noble soul has reverence for itself."
    -Friedrich Nietzsche, "Beyond Good and Evil"

    Here's a couple more:

    1. Politicians Snub Latinos' Real Wishes: "...Eleventh on the list of things that Latinos are concerned with — several notches below the vague notion of moral values — is immigration..." (My commentary here. That link discusses a couple of alternate theories regarding why Bush would support de facto Open Borders: he might be trying to demographically prepare the U.S. for a presidential bid by his nephew, and he might just be offering a cynical sop to the serf-labor lobby.)

    2. A month ago, Bush addressed (via television) the LULAC convention. Based on this report you might think his support for de facto Open Borders was working. That is, unless you read President draws criticism at LULAC convention: "He confirmed my decision to vote for Kerry [a LULAC member said]... Some members walked out during Bush's speech or didn't attend the luncheon because he was speaking... Ray Mancera of El Paso left the ballroom when Bush came on the screen... "As soon as he came on, I walked out," he said. "I'm not interested in what he has to say. I saw how he hurt minorities as governor and he's still doing that on a national level." ...Ramiro Robles, the past national president of LULAC, said Bush has not helped Hispanics... "He has nothing for us," he said. "He caters to the Hispanic community to break us. But we are educated now and we're going to vote."

    Perhaps instead of reaching out to the far-left "Hispanic" "leadership," Bush should try reaching out to the majority of "Hispanics" who do not support Open Borders. Many of them also work low-wage jobs, and they would be the ones most affected by an increase of low-wage foreign workers. The amnesty plans of both Bush and Kerry would bring millions of low-wage workers here.

    For an example of how even the talk of amnesties encourages people to come here illegally, see "Illegals acted on rumors of amnesty": "Nearly 35 percent of the illegal aliens captured trying to enter the United States in the 19 days after President Bush proposed a still-pending guest-worker program say they were trying to take advantage of what many saw as amnesty."

    On the issue of terrorists taking advantage of our de facto Open Borders, see:

    "'Sanctuary' practice in Houston draws fire": "September 11 Commission member John Lehman Thursday criticized so-called "sanctuary" practices in Houston and elsewhere that restrict cooperation between local police and federal immigration officials as an invitation to terrorists looking to enter the United States... "It is ridiculous that five cities in the United States do not allow local police to cooperate with the federal immigration service," said Lehman, visiting Houston to lobby for Sept. 11 commission report recommendations... "The terrorists know" which cities have such policies, Lehman said, naming Houston and Los Angeles among those cities."

    And, see my coverage of the Pakistani lady with suspected terrorist ties who was caught after having successfully crossed the border illegally. They caught her as she was trying to get on a flight to New York City.

    The Lonewacko Blog   ·  August 12, 2004 8:26 PM

    IMMIGRATION: A WINNING ISSUE

    EGC says: "Hispanics make up nearly 20% of eligible voters in California." In reality, they vote at a much much lower rate than that. In recent elections, it's been around 11 or 12 percent.

    EGC says: "Prop 187 won with some 59% of the vote....Sometimes the majority is WRONG." But the point of the discussion is how to satisfy the base and win. By saying that this majority was wrong, you are saying that you aren't in line with that (rather large) segment of the party base. Nothing at all wrong with that, of course, but the point is that running an immigration restriction platform = success at the ballot box. Prop. 187 showed that, and polls on Prop. 200 (which is supported by over 75% of likely voters in Arizona) would appear to show the same thing.

    EGC says: "It [Prop. 187] resuscitated the political career of Gov. Pete Wilson...er, more like temporarily resuscitated. Ultimately it was political suicide. Classic case of winning the battle, but losing the war." Again, it was the lack of follow thru, as well as a slew of mediocre candidates, that resulted in "losing the war." Think about it: if a great majority supported 187, then wouldn't continuing to satisfy that majority result in winning their continued support, and thus in continued political victory?

    EGC, you opposed 187 and that's fine. (Although I find the "nazi" references distasteful and unnecessary - 187 was just designed to deny taxpayer funded benefits to illegal aliens, not to set up work camps and the like). But it was at the time a winning issue for the Republicans, and refusing to address the concerns of the majority who think illegal immigration and its associated costs are a problem is a recipe for losing the base.

    The rationale offered for this by you and others is that it will result in building a "new" base, of Hispanics and other minorities. But the base that's already there doesn't want to be supplanted.

    And why should it? Why should American citizens support their own displacement? Please explain.

    Virginia Dare   ·  August 12, 2004 9:06 PM

    "warning signs of that appeared here in Pennsylvania, where Democrats first helped Pat Toomey against Arlen Specter"
    Then why was Ed Rendell telling his Democratic friends that they should re-register Republican and vote for Specter in the primary, with enough time to change back to Democrat before the Novemeber election. I guess Eddie didn't get your e-mail.

    J_Crater   ·  August 12, 2004 9:31 PM

    Yo, L-Wacko,

    As someone who has visited and enjoyed your site in the past (and even just now: Holy moley. They found a 110 pound rock? which I am still chuckling at…), I appreciate your criticisms. But, dude, where’s the straw man hiding? I just can’t find him…

    I never said immigration isn’t an issue (er, I explicitly said that I agree it is an issue)… I never said anything about the driving license issue…I never said anything about Pakistani women (although I always kinda thought Benazir Bhutto was a hottie!).

    Prop. 187 was heavily supported by Latinos, 52 percent to 42 percent two months before the vote. But 77 percent of Latinos voted against it. [after the smears by people like EGC…. Uhh, (as much as I’d like to take credit for that…) I just applied a little bit of logic and then told the truth.

    As for “open borders” and the AZ prop, I’ve been out of country for a year, so I have no comment, except that you have my word that when I return in (t-minus 262 hours) 11 days, I will read up on them.

    Prop 187 had all the logic (!) of the old concept of debtor’s prison. Some poor sod can’t pay his bills, so throw him in jail…That’ll teach him!!! When he gets out, he’s even deeper in debt. Prop 187 did NOTHING that actually addressed immigration. It merely satisfied a few facile minds by lashing out at the immigrants who were already here. In the meantime, by depriving the immigrants of services, we guaranteed that their children (rather than doing something productive, like being in school) were out loitering in neighborhoods being the angelic little beings that all poverty stricken children are (tongue in cheek, of course – and – also of course – only a moron applies this truism to nonwhite youth: in Glasgow last night, a 14 year old boy was stabbed to death by a group of children, just “because” – all of the thugs involved being lily-ass-white).

    MY POINT about Prop 187 is that the Republicans had – as a PART of their voter base in California – a competitive portion (50%) of the Hispanic community’s support. Prop 187 alienated a substantial portion of that community, therefore guaranteeing the Republicans to lose in virtually every major election for the foreseeable future.

    Think about it, how else can a f---ing MORON like Barbara Boxer get elected? It’s ONLY because the Republicans committed political suicide with P187.

    Virginia, it’s NOT about building a “new base” of Hispanic support. It’s about recognizing the FACT that the California Republican Party forfeited that base (again, a base which very well could turn CA from a blue state to a red state!).

    The California Republican Party was the party to belong to, IF you were willing to work hard. Immigrants from many different backgrounds could identify with the ethical tone of the Republicans (again, 50% Hispanic support, and even higher in the Asian communities, virtually 100% support from the heavy Iranian population of West LA).

    Why should American citizens support their own displacement? Uhh, first you’ll have to convince me that that statement is not xenophobically motivated…if it IS, then it doesn’t deserve an answer.

    Enough of this, it’s almost 3:00AM here in Edinburgh, I’m going to bed.

    EGC   ·  August 12, 2004 10:00 PM

    I covered this very point in a guest blog at Winds of change. 16 May.

    2003.

    ============================

    What is the War Hero Afraid of?

    Form 180. Release the records.

    M. Simon   ·  August 12, 2004 10:20 PM

    Addressing my question about why anyone would think Americans should support their own displacement thru ineffective immigration policies, EGC says: "Uhh, first you’ll have to convince me that that statement is not xenophobically motivated…if it IS, then it doesn’t deserve an answer."

    If people don't like overcrowding, downward wage pressures, the dilution of the impact of their vote thru an increase in the population, etc., then they have a realistic fear of displacement. Immigration is the cause of that fear. My contention is that it's a reasonable concern. And one that the Republicans could use to win elections.

    Labelling this concern with a shut-down-the-debate code word like "xenophobic" is a rhetorical trick, not an argument. It's similar to calling 187 a "nazi" policy. It lacks decorum. I won't attempt to "convince" anyone of the "motivations" for my concerns about immigration -- it's much more appropriate to assume the best intentions in one's opponents, don't you think?

    EGC says: "Prop 187 did NOTHING that actually addressed immigration. It merely satisfied a few facile minds by lashing out at the immigrants who were already here."

    That's not accurate. By removing the incentives for illegal immigrants who are already here to stay even longer, and by removing the incentives for prospective illegal aliens to come here in the first place, restricting taxpayer-funded services would have the effect of reducing illegal immigration. Of course, we'll never know how effective 187 would have been on that front -- thanks to the lawsuits that were able to override the will of the voters, and Gov. Davis's refusal to defend the law on appeal. That's nothing to be proud of.

    EGC says: "it’s NOT about building a “new base” of Hispanic support. It’s about recognizing the FACT that the California Republican Party forfeited that base (again, a base which very well could turn CA from a blue state to a red state!)."

    You fail to address the fact that 187 was victorious, by a large margin, even without this beloved Hispanic base. So what that says is that the Republicans can be quite successful without much Hispanic support. EGC, you have to address this fact, or your arguments just won't make sense. The evidence shows that Republicans can win without courting Hispanics. So why shouldn't they?


    Virginia Dare   ·  August 12, 2004 10:27 PM

    I wouldn't make too much of the fact that Alan Keyes is the Republican nominee for Senate in Illinois. After the Ryan meltdown, who else was there to turn to? They were ready to nominate Mike Ditka, for crying out loud!

    packsoldier   ·  August 12, 2004 10:35 PM

    "The "Republican base" is a term coined by Democrats and their mainstream media friends in order to stereotype and heap scorn on the opposition party. I'm an active Republican, and I am not obsessed, or even interested in, other people's abortions or gay relationships. Most Republicans I know simply have a healthy wariness about government growth."
    -Marcia Wolf

    100% agreed Marcia. I've never witnessed the existence of "The Religious Right" or any of that other demonization nonsense. Only leftists use the category and only to assert their supremacy over those so-called theocrats.

    .   ·  August 12, 2004 10:37 PM

    Marcia says:

    "The "Republican base" is a term coined by Democrats and their mainstream media friends in order to stereotype and heap scorn on the opposition party."

    Uh. No Marcia. I'm what would be considered a RINO. The R base is in favor of enacting at least some elements of their religious belief that are not common to all beliefs as part of government.

    Once they go down the road of "moral purity" their coalition dissolves. So the question is:

    Win on the most critical issues?

    Win nothing?

    My guess is that they would prefer to win nothing. Fine by me.

    ===============================

    Why did Kerry run on his Vietnam record?

    Because sleeping in the Senate for twenty years doesn't sound near as good as shooting a man in the back.

    What is the War Hero Afraid of?
    Form 180. Release the records.

    M. Simon   ·  August 12, 2004 10:39 PM

    "As one of the Fundementalist Conservative Christians, I think many parts of your analysis are correct. "
    -Kristian


    10 bucks says this guy is one of those ever-so-subtle Democrats masquerading as "life-long Republicans." Maybe you should go back to reading Democratic Underground?

    "

    Err, no. Don't suppose I can change your mind. But, I am a registered Republican in PA, because they have closed primaries. I voted for Pat Toomey, who lost in the primary. I cannot STAND Specter. I will probably vote for Hoeffel, but may try to find the libertarian candidate.

    However, as Christian, I put my beliefs in God above all, and wrt to my voting, I will vote such that the result is pleasing to God. Now, that makes me quite the "closed minded" person that presumably leads to the self defeating behavior in the essay we are commenting on. But here's a real secret: There in no political party that really addresses MY concerns and beliefs. So, as I said I tend to vote Republican, becasue at least they act like they respect my beliefs and goals.

    Kristian   ·  August 12, 2004 10:53 PM

    Gosh, I hate to lose a reader (EGC), but I agree with Virginia's response for the most part.

    Where I disagree with Virginia is on this part:

    So what that says is that the Republicans can be quite successful without much Hispanic support. EGC, you have to address this fact, or your arguments just won't make sense. The evidence shows that Republicans can win without courting Hispanics. So why shouldn't they?

    The reason I put "Hispanics" in quotes above is because it's as foolish to assume that all Hispanics think the same as it is to assume that all white people think the same. A legal immigrant from Argentina, an illegal immigrant from Mexico, and a refugee from Cuba probably differ on key points.

    Bush and the Republicans should reach out to Hispanics who support a generally conservative platform, including real immigration enforcement and limiting illegal immigration as much as possible. That would probably include a large portion of those Hispanics not from Central America and Mexico. And, it would probably include half of those from the latter region.

    Instead, what Bush and the Republicans lower on the food chain have done is reach out to the extremists: those who want Open Borders. As can be seen from the LULAC link above, it's not working.

    That, of course, assumes that Bush is really trying to reach out to Hispanics. I'm tending more to the position that he doesn't care about Hispanics so much as the serf-labor lobby and his general globalist agenda.

    The Lonewacko Blog   ·  August 12, 2004 11:03 PM

    Well No Kristian, I'm not.

    I'm much worse than that I'm an ex-Libertarian as in Party, card carrying.

    My expectation is that because of the war the Republican coalition will hold together until Nov 3. (the Democrats should be so lucky)

    With the gay purges already started it will be interesting to see who the next targets are. It is not just the gays you lose (what a HUGE demographic gay Republicans - that was sarcasm) but the folks who think purges are for Stalinists.

    It seems to be going around these days. the Libs basically purged the war hawks. And why not? The pacifists were in the majority why give any attention to people whose position you abhor? And you know when it comes between right and wrong wars are bad and government is worse. Uh. Huh.

    Any way I saw party collapse coming over a year ago.

    Once we get the bugs worked out we will again have a two party system.

    In the one you will have lapsed Democrats, libertarians, and ex-RINOs. The other will be the religious values party. They will be the inheritors of the Republican name.

    The only issues will be civil liberties issues because war and economics are fundamentally agreed on. (We will solve the war problem on 2 Nov with a Bush landslide - God willing. Socialism has been dying since the Wall fell. It is not coming back.)

    Think of it this way: theocracy is not too popular in Iran, why do you think it will sell better in America? Religion ought to come out of a man's heart not at the point of a gun. But, I've been told I'm peculiar that way. Government ought to be in charge of peace keeping and dispute settling. And that is it.

    Well any way just my $.02

    ===========================

    Did you hear the one about John Kerry?

    He got his Purple Heart’s the old fashioned way, a bump, a scratch,
    and Quaker Puffed Rice - shot from guns.

    M. Simon   ·  August 12, 2004 11:50 PM

    The way to close the borders is to open them.

    How is the drug fight going? Why do you expect the fight against economic immigrants will work any better? Lose touch with reality?

    Open the border for the good guys who want to come and help. Because, like drugs, it is going to happen anyway. Which is what is supposed to happen in a common law country. The law recognizes reality. That way you don't need as many enforcers to hold back the tide.

    May I suggest "Capitalism" by DeSoto. It explains common law better than any other book I have read.

    So make it easy for the good guys to come and go - Liberty! Make the bad guys cross in no man's land where, if we drain the crowds, they will be easily spotted.

    Besides. We don't have enough divisions for anything else. And if we did have enough we have better uses for them.

    John Kerry told us cut and run was the right thing to do in Vietnam. Three
    million died. He is propposing withdrawal from Iraq.

    I suppose three million was not enough.

    What is the War Hero Afraid of?
    Form 180. Release the records.

    M. Simon   ·  August 13, 2004 12:04 AM

    BTW did you see the "Not All Americans Are Equal" sign in the hands of an gay marriage opponent? Rueters.

    Great advertising for the cause. Very attractive to the swing voter.

    ===========================

    Did you know that John Kerry was a secret agent?

    He performed a mission in Cambodia so secret that only he has ever talked
    about it. It is so secret three of his crew and all of his superior officers claimed
    it never happened.

    What is the War Hero Afraid of?

    Form 180. Release the records.

    M. Simon   ·  August 13, 2004 12:25 AM

    Remember a Republican in California is a pandering parasite in a real world state such as Missouri or Kansas...

    Let's face it, just how smart are Californians anyway? I mean look at the sort of seditious, hypocritical swine they elected for Senators for instance...

    russ   ·  August 13, 2004 5:10 AM

    TO: Hipocrite
    RE: Eric for Bush?

    "Hey, Eric, did you know you were backing Kerry?" -- Hipocrite

    Is Eric supposed to be a "Republican"? Or maybe a "Libertarian"?

    If the former, he sure doesn't look act like one. [Note: As some Wag put it, a tree is know by its fruit.]

    If the latter, I wouldn't expect someone who claims to support "Classical Values" and bashes Keyes for having such to be "honest". It seems more like something a Democrat would do, i.e, "lie".

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)

    Chuck Pelto   ·  August 13, 2004 7:30 AM

    P.S. But then again I could have a problem understanding which "Classic Values" Eric is thinking about. Considering that Keyes is strong on his anti-abortion plank, perhaps Eric is thinking of "Classic" in terms of Molek.

    Chuck Pelto   ·  August 13, 2004 7:37 AM

    Although many people who support pro-life positions on the right are religious, many are not. Me for example. I am non-religious and strongly pro-life. For some reason (not always benevolent) we get grouped in with the "Bible thumpers." For me it is a simple matter of protecting the unborn and has nothing to do with religion. I suspect there are many more like me out there.

    Additionally, one thing that caught my attention in this piece was the appearance of an appeal to act like liberals - compromise your values for the leverage of winning. I submit that if you throw out your values in order to win, you win nothing. That may be the strongest reason I (and many other conservatives) support the President - he stands for something and does not change his values to adapt to the current climate. You must stand for something.

    Scaramonga   ·  August 13, 2004 8:14 AM

    California is atypical,to extrapolate what happens there is silly.Why not use Vermont?Or San Fransisco?

    California has been losing it's "Republican Base" type voters for close to 2 decades now.

    I know,I know,California is just such a special place after all that it should be the norm,even when it isn't.People in NYC have the same self-absorbtion.

    fghj   ·  August 13, 2004 8:39 AM

    TO: Scaramonga
    RE: Values, Anyone?

    "Our families dont' need values...." -- Al Gore addressing the DNC National Convention in 2000.

    He went on to claim that they HAVE values. But as I was curious about here, which set of values are Eric and Al practicing.

    I can think of no group that regularly kills it's own children that survives very long. And the Roe Affect seems to be proving this correct. In another few decades, the proponderance of conservatives will far outweigh these so-called liberals.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [Suffer the little children to come unto me...for of such is the kingdom of Heaven.]

    Chuck Pelto   ·  August 13, 2004 11:47 AM

    I'm an independent that will be voting AGAINST Bush this year.

    Bush is not a conservative, certainly not in the classical sense. Spending is out of control (discretionary spending, and I'm not including defense and homeland security in that), the foreign policy is '60 Democratic hawk policies reclycled and has failed miserably, and the "live and let live" libertarian social policies have been abandoned. Even the basic conservative principles of Federalism and state's rights have been abandoned.

    In place of the basic conservative principles we have a President and Congress pandering to the religious right.

    What we really need is proportional voting so people can scare the hell out of the two parties by voting their priciples and conscience instead of for the lesser evil.

    Jim

    JimW   ·  August 13, 2004 2:37 PM

    Let me translate what real Republicans mean by certain terms:

    Anti-Abortion - Nationalizing women's wombs
    Anti-Flag Burning - Nationalizing any thing that looks like a flag.

    The RR has a socialist agenda. It is just different from the socialism of the left. The basic idea is the same. We have guns and enforcers. You will obey.

    BTW how is drug prohibition coming? I'm told that by the mid 1920s about 1.8% of all Americans were regular users of black market opiates. Today after 80 years of progress. 1.8% Woop peeeeeeeeeeee.

    Also for the anti-abortion crowd. When abortion was illegal in many states there was a thriving black market. How do you plan to prevent that when abortions can be done in the living room with simple hospital eqpt. (Oversize syringes, tubing, etc.) and instructions (probably with pictures) available on the net?

    Now if we lived in a real common law country the laws would reflect what people actually do. Then you only need peace keepers not enforcers. Ah. Well. I suppose expecting the people who brought us alcohol prohibition to be capable of learning is an impossible dream. (I'm beginning to sound like a lefty here).

    My anti-abortion position - don't have one. It is morally wrong and you will live to regret it. However, I am not going to sic the police on you. Their job is peace keeping. Not morality keeping. And don't get confused by the fact that some elements of peace keeping also coincide with certain moral tennents. The correspondence is not 1 to 1.

    As you can see views like that are likely to get me purged (I ain't goin til after 2 Nov.)

    Well any way. It was a nice party when Goldwater was one of its main people. I was too stupid to see it whe he was around. Always liked him though. Especially when he was giving the RR hell.

    ========================================

    What is the War Hero Afraid of?

    Form 180. Release the records.

    M. Simon   ·  August 13, 2004 3:25 PM

    Jim,

    The problem with proportional voting is that it will over time fragment the parties.

    The current system forces politics to the center. That is a very good thing for long term stability of a political system. When people don't get what they want they under-rate stability.

    Stability is why we are here 230 years later and France is on its Fifth Republic.

    ==========================================

    What is the War Hero Afraid of?
    Form 180. Release the records.

    M. Simon   ·  August 13, 2004 3:38 PM

    Chuck,

    Bad news dude. There are animals that EAT their own children and do fine.

    Abortion in human culture balances offsping against carrying capacity. Doing that without abortion is a very good idea.

    Exceeding carrying capacity causes population collapse. By starvation. Not too pretty.

    There is a reason a behavior with such negative moral connotations for over 2,500 years is still so popular. It serves a purpose.

    The problem with the RR is the problem with all utopians. They wish to take God's creation not as he made it but as they wish it to be. Fine. But gently, gently. Carefully, carefully. Nature will push back hard (alcohol prohibition) if you are not careful.

    ================================

    What is the War Hero Afraid of?
    Form 180. Release the records.

    M. Simon   ·  August 13, 2004 3:57 PM

    Virginia, I will respond to your question to EGC which says: "You fail to address the fact that 187 was victorious, by a large margin, even without this beloved Hispanic base. So what that says is that the Republicans can be quite successful without much Hispanic support. EGC, you have to address this fact, or your arguments just won't make sense. The evidence shows that Republicans can win without courting Hispanics. So why shouldn't they?"

    What your query fails to take into account is that the fear caused by Prop 187 in the Latino community resulted in a mobilization to naturalize as many Latinos as possible and register the newly naturalized citizens as voters. The electorate in California today is not the same electorate that passed Prop 187.

    The first clear result of the mobilization and change in the electorate was the election of Loretta Sanchez, Lou Correa and Joe Dunn to House, Assembly and State Senate seats in Orange County in the first general election after Prop 187.

    By 2000, all of the Congressional seats gained by Republicans in 1994 had been reclaimed by Democrats and the Congressional Delegation is now comprised of 33 Democrats and 20 Republicans.

    Moey   ·  August 13, 2004 5:30 PM

    > BTW how is drug prohibition coming? I'm told that by the mid 1920s about 1.8% of all Americans were regular users of black market opiates. Today after 80 years of progress. 1.8% Woop peeeeeeeeeeee.

    BTW how is rape prohibition coming? I'm told that people were raped back in the mid 1920s, and today after 80 years of progress... People are still raped! Woop peeeeeeeeeeee, lets legalize rape!

    Of course, there isn't a perfect parallel between the two crimes... so one must be very careful to restrict the comparison to a narrow point. That point being that only a muppet would claim that because a crime's rate hasn't reduced despite enforcement, that therefore that crime must be wrong or misguided.

    No doubt M. Simon has a laundry list of simply WONDERFUL other reasons drug prohibition is wrong... but that doesn't change the fact that the one he cited displays a certain lack of rational thought... and its quite revealing that he felt he only needed to provide that one to prove his point.

    No doubt some fool will trot out the old 'apples and oranges' adage, and proceed to completely fail to explain exactly how whatever differences they cite actually affect the limited point I was trying to make (for the impaired, that's the sentence that begins with "That point being...")

    Ryan Waxx   ·  August 14, 2004 1:18 AM

    Oh, and JimW, what does it say about your common sense, that you CLAIM you are going to vote against Bush for his out-of-control spending, and run instead towards the canidate who's promised to spend even MORE?

    Either you are deranged with Bush-hatred, or you are clueless as to what Kerry's platform is (Nationalized health care... HELLOOO, EARTH TO JIMW), or you are a yellow-dog democrat who likes to play dressy-up in mommy's 'independant voter' drag when it might help you convince the proles.

    I'm putting my money on number 3.

    Ryan Waxx   ·  August 14, 2004 1:32 AM

    Chuck, I don't think generalizing about the ancients is productive here. (As the comments reveal, even generalizing about certain Republican factions is difficult!)

    In any case, there's far more to classical thinking than the Old Testament, or Keyes' or Kass' views of Aristotle....

    Eric Scheie   ·  August 16, 2004 1:09 PM

    Chuck's Gore quote is a fabrication. Chuck appears to be a serial liar.

    Hipocrite   ·  August 19, 2004 1:32 PM

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