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Now or never for the GOP?

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Here’s an article that seeks to make sense of the apocalyptic tone of the GOP 2012 Primary and Presidential Election strategy. Essentially, the piece looks at the changing demographics in the US–that we are and will continue to become less-white and more educated, and sees the voting bloc for today’s GOP shrinking into the future. As a result, the current form of conservatism of the past 40 years is getting desperate to remain relevant.

What that means, and how it will play out, remains to be seen. As the author surmises, it could mean that this election will be the last chance this current manifestation of the Republican Party has to survive. I’m not endorsing this view of the future. But it’s an worth considering.

So TRC recommends 2012 or Never, by Jonathon Chait, for NY Magazine.

Obama’s election dramatized the degree to which this long-standing political dynamic had been flipped on its head. In the aftermath of George McGovern’s 1972 defeat, neoconservative intellectual Jeane Kirk­patrick disdainfully identified his voters as “intellectuals enamored with righteousness and possibility, college students, for whom perfectionism is an occupational hazard; portions of the upper classes freed from concern with economic self-interest,” and so on, curiously neglecting to include racial minorities. All of them were, in essence, people who heard a term like “real American” and understood that in some way it did not apply to them. Today, cosmopolitan liberals may still feel like an embattled sect—they certainly describe their political fights in those terms—but time has transformed their rump minority into a collective majority. As conservative strategists will tell you, there are now more of “them” than “us.” What’s more, the disparity will continue to grow indefinitely. Obama actually lost the over-45-year-old vote in 2008, gaining his entire victory margin from younger voters—more racially diverse, better educated, less religious, and more socially and economically liberal.
Portents of this future were surely rendered all the more vivid by the startling reality that the man presiding over the new majority just happened to be, himself, young, urban, hip, and black. When jubilant supporters of Obama gathered in Grant Park on Election Night in 2008, Republicans saw a glimpse of their own political mortality. And a galvanizing picture of just what their new rulers would look like.

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Written by Christopher ZF

February 27, 2012 at 12:36

Posted in 2012 Elections, Republicans

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Grover Norquist wants a President who can hold a pen and obey Grover Norquist

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For some reason I cannot understand, Grover Norquist holds immense power in the modern Republican Party. If Grover tells Republicans to sign their name on a sheet of paper promising to do what Grover Norquist says is best for the country, for the most part candidates and officials sign their name to that paper. They may say otherwise, but they don’t act otherwise.

Norquist holds a lot of sway in the party. He’s not the ultimate arbiter of power and all things conservative, but still, he’s a force. And his opinions on the Republican presidential candidates matters.

So what is Norquist looking for a in a president? Here is at CPAC.

Pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to become president of the United States. This is a change for Republicans: the House and Senate doing the work with the president signing bills. His job is to be captain of the team, to sign the legislation that has already been prepared.

And,

All we have to do is replace Obama. …  We are not auditioning for fearless leader. We don’t need a president to tell us in what direction to go. We know what direction to go. We want the Ryan budget. … We just need a president to sign this stuff. We don’t need someone to think it up or design it. 

Yep. When choosing the quote leader of the free world unquote, we need someone who will do what he is told and will not attempt to be a leader or an autonomous human being with ideas to improve the nation. No. Pick someone with hands. Because the only thing that matters to Grover Norquist is that Obama loses to any Republican who will take Grover Norquist’s orders.

I assume Norquist has Romney in mind, since Romney is not a fully autonomous human anyway, but is a well oiled deliverer of adviser determined talking points. Or so it seems.

This may be a relatively politically astute position, designed to craft future policy to decrease Americans tax burdens, but it is still toxic to the health of the nation. Putting your faith solely in congress, let alone THIS congress, will not be good for anyone.

Anyway. Conservatives, Grover Norquist is poison to your party and our country, and following him too closely will not help your cause. Don’t let him drive you in to the ground.

Written by Christopher ZF

February 13, 2012 at 11:35

the most depressing climate change news yet

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I care immensely about climate change, and as such, am always interested in hearing why people are willing to disregard it. The science is not up for debate. As far as TRC is concerned, there are only a few reasons anyone would say “Climate change is not real”:

  1. You are a scientist who works on climate issues and have seen evidence that leads you to conclude the scientific consensus is incorrect,
  2. You are ignorant of, not interested in, or benefit from ignoring the science and the consensus among climate scientists, which is about as strong as scientific consensus can get, or
  3. You are not paying attention or are paying attention to the wrong things.

Well, it turns out that the 3rd reason makes a pretty big impact. If I were to create a list of things that SHOULD NOT influence opinions on the science of climate change, I would put how Republicans in the national government vote on issues related to climate and environment right at the top of the list. If there is anything that can not change reality, it would a vote by a politician.  But I would be wrong. How the GOP votes is a strong determing factor in how Americans view climate change.

The researchers behind the study created a “Climate Change Threat Index” to gauge how the public views the impact of climate change over a nine-year period, and they conclude that GOP votes on environmental legislation have a particularly outsized effect. “In an extremely partisan environment, Republican votes against environmental bills legitimate public opinion opposed to action on climate change,” the authors write. “When the Republicans increase voting support for environmental bills, it reduces partisanship and increases public support for actions to address climate change.”

Next time you think that congress doesn’t impact Americans, remember, when an anti-environmental Republican mood takes over Washington, we jeopardize the very health of our planet.

Written by Christopher ZF

February 9, 2012 at 15:26

Santorum’s Big Day.

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By now you’ve heard about Rick Santorum’s very big day yesterday. Rick Santorum won MN, MO, and CO. It is a big night for him, and a big result for the GOP Primary campaign. How it will affect the remainder of the race remains to be seen.

But TRC wonders about if the fluctuations are still in process. I wonder if we should read more in to Rick Santorum’s surge than we did Rick Perry’s. Is it more likely that Santorum will be nominated because his upswing is happening during the contests rather than before them? I’m not sure. The foul taste to the conservative caucus goer that is Mitt Romney obviously still remains, but how important will that be when we walk away from the caucuses and get into the voting booth in non-Midwestern/Southeastern states? It’s still hard to see Rick Santorum being the the nominee picked to compete against Barack Obama. But that doesn’t mean that he won’t be.

Also interesting, in the three states that held contests yesterday, where no delegates were awarded, Rick Santorum totaled 186,973 votes (these vote counts will likely change. These are the totals Wed morning at 8.30). 138, 957 in the non-primary in MO, 26,580 in CO‘s caucus, and 21,463 in MN‘s caucus. I don’t point this out to diminish Santorum’s victories–what his victories mean will be up the Republicans to decide–but only to highlight that we are still dealing with a very small number of voters, awarding a very small number of votes that are potentially of little importance by the time March 6 rolls around. We shall see.

Written by Christopher ZF

February 8, 2012 at 10:02

Why I hope Representative West (Tea-Party, FL) loses his re-election race.

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I hope that Rep. Allen West, the outspoken Florida Tea Party darling, does not win reelection to the United States House of Representatives. It’s not so much because he is a Tea Party darling who imbues almost everything about politics that I find, well, gross. I can live with that.

No the reason I hope that he is removed from his position as elected representative in the US Congress is because he said this to our President:

Take your message of equality of achievement, take your message of economic dependency, take your message of enslaving the entrepreneurial will and spirit of the American people somewhere else. You can take it to Europe, you can take it to the bottom of the sea, you can take it to the North Pole, but get the hell out of the United States of America.

This may not be that bad. I don’t know. I’m sure this kind of thing is a winning political statement. It is probably market-tested to annoy people like me, who value equality and fairness. It is probably work-shopped to drive us fucking insane. Well, it worked. And I don’t care if you meant it to drive me crazy. I hope voters remove you from Congress.

After which, you are more than welcome to stay in the US.

Written by Christopher ZF

January 30, 2012 at 14:16

can either of these guys win?

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Erik Erickson, from Red State, on the ugliness of the Newt v. Romney Primary Battle for Destruction:

The fight has gotten so bitter and acrimonious with only three states chosen because neither side thinks the other side can win. Gingrich supporters understand that the secularists in the media — not the Democrats, but the media to the extent it can be separated from the Obama Machine — will spend six months creeping out independent suburban voters about Mormons, holy underwear, Kolob, postmortem baptism, and views on black people and then, as the coup de grace, Barack Obama will fire up millions of dollars of ads on Bain Capital raiding pension funds forcing the government to cover the debt so Mitt Romney could make millions whether he won or lost a deal.
Romney supporters understand Newt Gingrich will open his mouth.
Mitt Romney will find it very hard to beat Barack Obama because of what Barack Obama will do to him. Newt Gingrich will find it very hard to beat Barack Obama because of what Newt Gingrich will do to himself. That’s the simple truth. 

Sounds okay to me.

Erickson is getting pretty pessimistic about the chances of beating Barack Obama this year, it would seem to me, and it’s not hard to understand why. Both Gingrich and Romney have their own special set of problems, and those problem sets are huge. Not to mention that President Obama is pretty good on the campaign trail, will have a lot of money to spend, and will also, for better or worse, have Super PACs of his own that will attack at will. And despite it all, don’t forget, Obama is still pretty well liked.

For what it’s worth.

Written by Christopher ZF

January 26, 2012 at 17:03

an old standby: Republicans and Science

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Large swaths of the Republican Party are anti-science. I don’t think I can get around that sentiment any longer. And we’ve long since hashed this out at TRC. But today I saw a comment that just takes the cake for how far beyond the pale the GOP seems to land when it comes to fundamental, basic, scientific teaching.

It comes from, not surprisingly, Rick Santorum: “If [Jon Huntsman] wants to believe he is the descendant of a monkey then he has the right to believe that, but I disagree with him on this liberal belief.”

Read that again. Everything about it is wrong. It gets evolution wrong (it does not claim humans descended from monkeys) and it amazingly claims that evolution, the central tenet of modern biology is…A LIBERAL BELIEF. I wish it were just Santorum who pedaled such nonsense, since he is easy to cast off. But it might be a party problem.

More from today’s Telegraph:

It’s not just the candidates. Fifty-two per cent of Republican voters reject the theory of evolution, saying mankind was created in present form within the last 10,000 years; just 31 per cent think man-made climate change is happening. In Congress, Republicans fought stem cell research and the HPV vaccine. Sarah Palin, ignoramus-in-chief, mocked “fruit-fly research” as a “pet project [with] little or nothing to do with the public good,” rejecting at a stroke most advances in genetics since Gregor Mendel.

Part of the culture war strategy included attacking intellectuals: describing them as weak and spineless and effete. Academics, always liberal-inclined, responded by becoming more so: “They’re so overwhelmingly liberal now it’s kind of ridiculous, and so is the scientific community. The Democratic party is drawing the votes of people with advanced degrees, and the Republican party is not,” says Mooney. So, in turn, the Republican party reacted by becoming ever more distrustful of intellectualism, and pushing wave after wave of scientists and academics from the Right to the Left. 
“The more the Republican party rejects nuance and attacks knowledge, the more the people who have knowledge go the other way. It shows in statistics about liberalism among professors and scientists, and distribution of PhDs across the parties: there’s a giant knowledge and expertise gap.”
And to appeal to this anti-intellectual base, the Republican elite now have to pretend to be stupider than they are. 

Written by Christopher ZF

January 10, 2012 at 13:48