Thursday, April 30, 2009

GOP Will "Retool" It's Image by Dispatching a Non-Diverse Crowd -- Including a Bush?

I have been pretty fair to the GOP -- even defending RNC Chair Michael Steele and Rush Limbaugh against silly Democratic antics. But I am completely baffled this latest Republican effort to heal the wounded GOP brand.

According to CNN, the GOP will sponsor a series of town hall meetings across the country, billed as "The National Council for a New America." But the group does not look so "new" to me.

First, Jeb Bush and John McCain are two of the leading participants. On some level, I understand having John McCain on the program because he is the most prominent Republican at the moment. But he is also the most prominent Republican to lose to a Democrat in recent memory -- so it will take some work for him to attract people outside of committed Republican circles.

Also, Jeb Bush has been out of office for a while, and (most importantly) his brother has a lot to do with the party's image falling over a cliff. The "Bush" name does not symbolize a "new" America for most voters.

Finally, other than Bobby Jindal, I do not see much diversity on the proposed list of speakers. This will only fuel arguments that the party is "out of touch" with the U.S. mosaic.

Well, let's see what happens. I wonder if McCain's pro-same sex marriage, clearly new Republican daughter is on the list? Probably not. But then again, I didn't see Limbaugh's name listed either.

UPDATE: According to an article in the New York Times, the questions I have raised about this retooling effort are being debated within the GOP. Apparently, the party is somewhat divided over what direction it should take. Some Republicans, for example, praise Specter's departure and want the party to become more solidly conservative. Others, however, are demanding greater flexibility on social and economic issues.

I have argued previously that conservatives could frame support for social causes normally seen as "liberal" by using conservative/libertarian principles. For example, supporting the rights of the accused, keeping the government out of GLBT bedrooms, and endorsing a woman's right to choose are consistent with the Republicans' purported belief in limited government.

How the party works through these issues will certainly impact the way it performs in the near future. I do not think that the current political scene is permanent. Politics comes in cycles. The 60s and 70s were liberal, but this ushered in a period of conservatism. Now, things "look" more liberal -- although I am suspicious about how liberal things actually are. Nevertheless, history provides overwhelming evidence on this: Things do not always remain the same over the course of time in politics. Cycles exist. How a party manages the cycle will determine its fate in the short-term and maybe over the long haul as well.


Infidel753 said...

McCain is a moderate (acknowledges global warming, supports stem-cell research, has supported abortion rights in the past, etc.) and has been roundly trashed by the nutjob-right element of the Republican party for it -- see Limbaugh's latest regurgitation, for example. It's true that he lost in November, but any other Republican would probably have lost even more heavily, given the overall circumstances. Including him is a sign of trying to keep the much-shrunken "big tent" from shriveling even further. It's a positive step.

Jindal, by contrast, is representative of the group which has already dominated the party for years and is most responsible for its collapse: fundamentalist religious crazies. He is in reality what Palin was accused of being. That's not the direction the Republicans need to be going in.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

I can understand McCain more than Bush. But clearly, they needed to get some of the more notable moderates on board -- like Collins and Snowe, even if just for gender diversity!

Infidel753 said...

In Snowe's case, they'd better hurry and do it while she's still a Republican.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Hutchinson: Does the name Lieberman, Joseph, the independent Senator from Connecticut, ring any bells? You remember Joe, got canned by the zanies of DailyKos in the 2006 primaries, and cruised home in the general. Tell you what, you remake the GOP and I'll remake the Democracy, loaded with such public servants as Spitzer, Eliot
Murtha, John
Mollohan, Alan
Jefferson, William

and we'll see how each of us likes the new parties...It isn't yet illegal to think that this nation needs a conservative party, or to think that the GOP has strayed from being limited government friendly. See e.g. such corruptionists as Ted Stevens or Don Young.

As for the characteristically pseudonymous zany Infidel753, he suffers from delusions, doubtless caused by sleeping with a copy of DREAMS FROM MY FATHER under his pillow. Let's toss out this fact for Infidel753 to chew on. I have no doubt it will shock him half to death but here goes:

The Human Life Amendment has been given to a group of attempts to amend the federal Constitution to heave ROE v. WADE into the garbage heap of history. Yet in thirty five years of attempts, only one has come to a floor vote, where it failed. That was the Hatch-Eagleton Amerndment in 1983, twenty six years ago.

OK, another fact: when was the last time you had Pat Robertson/Jerry Falwell prominently in the public spotlight? It was their notorious blaming of September 11 on the United States's degeneracy. For such folly, they were roundly cursed, and retired, whimpering, to their money bags.

Bah. Let the GOP make its own way. It will stand or fall by its own efforts, no crocodile tears needed.

Sincerely yours,
Gregory Koster

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Greg: I am not sure how Lieberman fits in with the discussion. He did not remake the Democratic Party. In fact, he votes primarily with the Democrats. Lieberman is a longtime Connecticut incumbent. I was not surprised that he won. I would not be surprised if Dodd won again too.

The only other thing I will say about your post: The notion of Infidel sleeping with a copy of "Dreams from My Father" or any other political biography is utterly laughable.

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