Thursday, March 8, 2012

Those defiant Republicans

I keep hoping the GOP primary will be over, but the Republicans coming to the polls keep demolishing my hope.

A lot of this hope is based on my personality. I'm not a person who lives for adrenaline rushes--I prefer the comfy chair in my nice quiet and stable home. So, as much as I'd like to know which kook will be running against Obama, I'm doomed to wait anxiously. (And I've decided that each of them deserves the appellation 'kook.' I'll justify that if called upon to do so.)

I don't expect the Republicans or any political group, or even my own family, to follow my political whims, but I'm wondering what it means that GOP voters aren't paying fealty to the Romney campaign siege machine. The conservative blog I read no longer has comments about policy positions or even much combativeness. I think I see mostly lethargy and apathy there. The GOP base has given up hope on the not-Romneys without accepting that Romney deserves the nomination, perhaps because lately he's been demonstrating less economic vision. But more likely because his heavy hand and oh-so-innocent demeanor have worn thin.

The evangelicals are sticking with Santorum. They seem to be the only group with any enthusiasm left. But they are a smallish group (which I'm glad of, since I don't care for their theocratic leanings or intolerance of non-Christian and non-traditional ways). Perhaps this is the proof that the evangelicals don't own the Republican party. That means they're just a few steps away from the same level of disappointment that the rest of the GOP is feeling.

One of the funniest factoids is that perhaps 2 percentage points of Santorum's vote in Ohio came from Democrats playing dirty tricks in the GOP primary. I didn't hear that acknowledgment in Santorum's speech. It's an extra bit of weirdness in this campaign that Santorum has called on Democrats to execute an Operation Chaos on his own party. Is that a reflection of how desperate he is for votes, or of how much he dislikes Romney?

Personally, I used to feel sorry for Romney as he tried to woo the GOP. But not any more. I've tired of his earnest lines about cleaving to the conservative line with all his heart. A lot of people have, because his unfavorables have grown considerably. Perhaps we'll see a presidential election where Republicans don't rally around their choice. But will it be because they're defiant or because they're dispirited?

 Who Cares?

PS. My sweetie asked me if I thought the Republican party would split into an evangelical party and a business-friendly party. I don't see it happening. Their platforms would be similar enough that any split wouldn't last. I think they're doomed to cohabit the same party and get on each other's nerves for quite a while into the future.


Anastasios said...

I feel your pain, my friend, and I say that genuinely and without sarcasm. I have to admit, I was never much of a Romney fan, having been burned by GW Bush. I was living in Texas when Bush was governor, and my experience there made me think he would be reasonably centrist. Not a Rockefeller type, but certainly in the mode of his father and maybe somewhat to the left. He seemed amiable, concerned, extremely good-hearted and gracious, and genuinely interested in working together to solve problems. When he became president ... well, we all know how that worked out. So when Romney came along I could never quite believe in him, having been fooled once, so to speak.

The problem, however, as you point out, is not really with the candidates, it's with the people. We have a large number of people in the country who honestly want a severely right-wing government. Now, they don't agree with each other as to what that would actually look like, and I'm not sure they would like it when they got it (tellingly, they no longer regard GWB as a true conservative) but they want it passionately. No amount of reasoning or listening, talking or conciliating, negotiating or pacifying, will do the slightest bit of good. These are people who think you are a socialist for supporting the minimum wage and a person of extremely deficient morals for supporting insurance-provided birth control. Some of them denounce Santorum as a socialist for refusing to condemn labor unions in every possible situation and circumstance, and as for Romneycare ... well, you know what they think of that, and no amount of data or testimony will shake them from their beliefs.

I don't know what you can do with a situation like this other than to try and keep them out of power until they come to their senses. Frankly, they won't come to their senses. The only thing to do is try to keep them out of power until generational change brings, one hopes, a better situation.

It's all very sad, and will end in tears, I'm afraid. Oh, not in war or violence or fire, but with a lot of bitterness and recrimination and bullying and shrill screaming, even beyond anything we have seen so far. I wish there were a way to avoid all that. Heck, I just wish there were a way to skip the next eight months and have the darn election and get it over with. But neither of my wishes can come true.

ModeratePoli said...

@Anastasios, Thanks so much. I can tell that we are in sympathetic moods.

I recommend one approach beyond "wait for them to die off." I strongly believe in pushing back HARD when anyone impugns my patriotism or mislabels my political views. Maybe that adds to the shrillness, but I think it's much more likely to reduce the bullying. (As a bullied kid, I have a mission now to stand up to bullies.)

Anonymous said...

I'm not an expert in mass psychology -- which I think is the topic of the post -- but I'll venture a guess that a segment of GOP primary voters are doing whatever they can to prevent Romney from getting the nomination so that at the convention someone they like better than the current lot would emerge.

They are fighting with the party regulars and the "Romney is inevitable" crowd which is growing slightly, but it's right on the edge of him securing enough delegates prior to the convention.

I like Chuck Todd on MSNBC and he's both right and wrong about the math. There's no way that Santorum can secure the nomination on delegates, and nearly can Gingrich. He's right about that. But he's wrong that Romney is therefore inevitable. As long as he only continues to win about 40% of the vote, he'll struggle no matter whether how much of a lead he has. There are so many delegates at stake at the end in California -- and who knows what the race will look like then -- that the Romney-is-inevitable talk is way premature.

All that really be said is Romney used everything he had to build a decent 1st quarter lead. His competition is weaker and flawed, but he's very weak himself.

I agree that he'll probably get the nomination because he's the only one besides Santorum that seems to want it. In the end, however, it will be close to worthless, which is poetic justice for a guy who made his fortune playing the same trick on others.

So Santorum is right: This is a God.

Couves said...

There's plenty of enthusiasm left for Ron Paul. Why? Because he's the only kook who cares about the Constitution!

ModeratePoli said...

@Couves 1. Other candidates care about the constitution, but have different interpretations (kind of like the Bible).

2. The number of Ron Paul supporters are smaller than they predicted (me too), roughly 16% of the primary votes so far. So where do they go from here? Any insights, or just some guesses?

Couves said...

Well of course they have different interpretations -- I just find any interpretation that accepts undeclared wars and the NDAA to be highly suspect. Unlike biblical interpretations, wrong Constitutional interpretations can endanger our liberties. It's not a purely academic exercise.

Ron Paul tripled his vote total in Massachusetts and he's doing much the same elsewhere in the country... It might be disappointing to Ron Paul supporters who thought he could win, but it doesn't seem to be discouraging any of them, because they consider their own personal voting and campaigning for Paul to be itself a moral victory (Just watch how energized his concession speeches are!). Mitt Romney recognized this on Tuesday when he congratulated Paul for his enthusiastic supporters and stalwart defense of the Constitution. The important thing is that Paul has a large share of the most passionate supporters, especially among younger voters, and that means there's a future for the "liberty movement." To the extent that the campaign has tangible goals, it's to get Paul a good speaking slot at the convention and to perhaps demonstrate influence in other ways.

Any candidate can have an energized campaign when winning, but it takes passionate idealism to be this energized in defeat.

Where did you get 16% from?

ModeratePoli said...

Ah, the 16% number. It's certainly fair to ask. I went to Wikipedia and averaged the percentage of Paul's take in the primaries they reported, plus I looked up the Florida and S. Carolina. But I made an arithmetic error, because I'm getting 18% now.

I realize that's not good methodology, but it's better than looking at the Gallup poll, which has him at 11%, which understates how he's polled in actual primaries and caucuses.

Bruce Gordon said...

I tend to agree although I'm a moderate conservative. You might enjoy my semi-right interpretation at