Punishing the Republican leadership?

A brief word on the well-organized movement by conservative activists (Richard Viguerie being a good example) to punish the Republicans by staying home in November.

Ostensibly this will punish the Republicans who voted the wrong way on guest worker amnesty and against the wall, because they will not be re-elected, and their seats will go to Democrats. Considering that the Democrats oppose the wall and favor amnesty, this "punishment" will not advance the activists' ostensible goal one iota -- at least not in the short term.

If the House goes Democrat, the activists' chances plummet to nil.

Obviously, the primary goal is punishment, not achieving the goal, unless of course the goal is something else.

What might that be? Mere punishment of the Republican leadership? Or might it be some sort of dissembled attempt at a takeover of the Republican Party? If it is that, I'd love to know who the principal players are, and whether there's an element of opportunism in the near-hysterical focus on immigration.

I think such a development would only favor the election of Hillary Clinton (for the reasons I've discussed many times).

Certainly, it will not punish the Democrats to give them control of the House. But what about the many voters who worry about things other than the border? What about fearful firearms owners? Citizens who fear higher taxes and hate bureaucracy? I'd be willing to bet that there a lot of other issues of interest to a lot of citizens.

Because punishing the leaders ultimately comes down to self-punishment (eliminating, as it does, all possibility of hope), one FREEPer compared the strategy of defeat to a suicide threat:

Maybe the Republican leadership should pay closer attention to their base this time around.

The issue the last time was over GHWBush going back on his pledge and raising taxes after the D's refused to pass a budget until Bush raised taxes.

The faithful threw a hissy fit and went for Perot...we got Clinton and the first thing he did was [drum roll] raise taxes again.

So...threatening to punish the Republican leadership and rank and file by helping them get unelected unless they do what you want is like pointing a loaded gun at your own head and threatening to pull the trigger.

Or threatening to jump off a tall building.

(I don't expect the Democrats to call the suicide prevention line.)

posted by Eric on 05.25.06 at 10:27 AM










Comments

You're ignoring the argument that things may have to get worse before they get better, so the quickest way to real immigration reform is to let the Democrats make it much worse, much more quickly. If we stick with the Republicans' approach to immigration, it will still get worse, just more slowly - which may be slowly enough that people accomodate themselves to it and no action is taken, ever.

Of course there is the real possibility that the Democrats will make it so bad that it can never be fixed. But since the same will happen under the Republicans, only more slowly, it is better to aim for the last remaining hope, which is that a quick movement towards much worse will wake enough people up fast enough to turn the whole ship around.

In other words, the Democrats get in because of the anger of the base over immigration, the Democrats make it worse, lose the next election to the Republicans, and then the Republicans, having learned their lessons about angering the base over immigration, don't do it again.

Seems like a reasonable strategy to me.

MarkJ   ·  May 25, 2006 1:05 PM

That's the extremist mindset: they'd rather have uncontested control of a losing party (and thus no responsibility), than share power (and responsibility) in a winning party. I'm working on a blog post about Kos, who seems to think the same way. A FAR more extreme example would be Stalin, who spent the 1930s destroying his country just to make sure he stayed in control of it.

Raging Bee   ·  May 25, 2006 1:18 PM

I'm not smart enough for all this. I'm afraid I have to just look at each election and pick the individual I have the least burning, gut-clenching hatred for.

Jon Thompson   ·  May 25, 2006 1:32 PM

The other side of the argument is that a dedicated obstructionist minority, like the one Clinton dealt with, can be more productive than a feckless majority.

Harkonnendog   ·  May 25, 2006 5:53 PM

It's true that the Republicans did seem to thrive as a minority party.

What will be interesting will be to see how far this goes. Will it Take A Hillary? And who gets blamed?

Eric Scheie   ·  May 25, 2006 6:09 PM

On the other hand, I only recently read about the poll showing that 45% of the American people (almost all Democrats) believe that the Feds had something to do with 9/11, or let it happen. That's very, very scary. That kind of madness is the product of hate.

It makes me wonder. If the Democrats regain power, are they just going to raise taxes? Considering the level of hatred we are seeing, is it foolish for me, as a registered Republican, to be worried about being harrassed for my beliefs? Would my safety be an issue under a Democrat Congress and White House?

Jon Thompson   ·  May 25, 2006 8:38 PM

"That's the extremist mindset: they'd rather have uncontested control of a losing party (and thus no responsibility), than share power (and responsibility) in a winning party."

Speaking for myself, I couldn't care less about "uncontested control of a losing party" or avoiding responsibility. I want the borders shut to these invaders and I want them kicked out. If there neither the Democrat or the Republican in a race supports that, then I have no one to vote for. My not voting for the Republican does not mean I am punishing him any more than my not voting for the Democrat means I am punishing him. It means there is no one who represents my viewpoint in the race. There may be someone who wants to hand the country over to the Third World in 40 years instead of 20 years, but both want to hand the country over. I simply see no moral or strategic reason to cast a vote for someone who fundamentally disagrees with me, even if the disagreement is marginally less than with someone else.

MarkJ   ·  May 25, 2006 10:11 PM

Gawd I'd vote for ANYONE who ran against Hillary. Well, except McCain and Feingold, lol. Aghhh! I've heard they BOTH are going to run. If they face each other I'll write-in Gore and then commit seppuku.

Harkonnendog   ·  May 25, 2006 10:29 PM

Considering the level of hatred we are seeing, is it foolish for me, as a registered Republican, to be worried about being harrassed for my beliefs? Would my safety be an issue under a Democrat Congress and White House?

Gosh, dude, you Republicans maybe should have thought of that BEFORE you worked so hard to erode the checks, balances, and civil liberties that would have protected you against such reprisals.

Just to calm things down a little, let me remind you that neither Clinton nor Carter blamed their opponents for their military mistakes; nor did they go around impugning the patriotism of everyone who disagreed with their foreign policies; nor did they explicitly say they had the right to disregard the US Constitution and/or US treaty committments. The Democrats have proven themselves far more respectful of the law than Republicans have, so there's no reason to fear such unconstutional reprisals. There, that should make us all feel better, right?

Raging Bee   ·  May 26, 2006 3:43 PM

Bush hasn't blamed his opponents for his military mistakes. Nor does he go around impugning the patriotism of everyone who disagrees with his foreign policies. Clinton, on the other hand, DID say anybody who disagreed with him on any of a hundred different issues was automatically a racist and/or a bigot, and he has NEVER admitted his foreing policy failings.

Neither did Bush explicitly say he had the right to disregard the US Constitution and/or US treaty committments. Clinton, however, DID do the same NSA wiretaps Bush has-

And this is terribly naive:
"The Democrats have proven themselves far more respectful of the law than Republicans have, so there's no reason to fear such unconstutional reprisals."
Clinton used the IRS as a weapon against conservative institutions, and DID burn people to death in Waco for no particular reason, and DID send thugs into a private home to take a child so that child could be sent back to a place where he has no rights, and did try to take away the right to bear arms, and did lie under oath during a sexual harassment case, and did illegally obtain and hold FBI dossiers with private information about thousands of people, and etc. and so on and so on.
The democrats are great at respecting the Constitution- sure- just look at Roe v. Wade. Lol.

Harkonnendog   ·  May 26, 2006 9:39 PM

Read some of Bush's "signing statements" before you call anyone else "naive." Also, have a look at some of AG Gonzales' memos trying to justify blatant violations of US treaty committments.

As for the Waco incident, do try to remember that those people burned to death primarily because THEY FIRED ON COPS, THEN REFUSED TO OBEY LAWFUL ORDERS TO SURRENDER. Their storage of flammable materials near a place where they weren't allowing people to leave may have had something to do with it too, y'think?

You know as well as I do that Clinton had Elian returned to Cuba because BASIC FAMILY LAW REQUIRED IT. The fact that you're still ignoring this obvious fact in your delirious ravings only proves that arguing with you is useless. Of course you're afraid of hateful retaliation -- it seems to be all you understand.

Raging Bee   ·  May 27, 2006 9:34 AM

"Certainly, it will not punish the Democrats to give them control of the House."
Are you sure? We gave the elephants what they wanted and it sure seems like it's been an appropriate punishment for them. I'd like to see a few more donkeys capsize in that cesspool now.

Larry Knerr   ·  May 29, 2006 9:04 PM

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