Quote Of The Day – Split GOP

Quote Of The Day – Split GOP


“People that are social conservatives are also economic conservatives. But a lot of the economic conservatives are not social conservatives. Throw the social conservatives the pro-life, pro-family people overboard and the Republican party will be as irrelevant as the Whigs.”
– Mike Huckabee on the Republican party’s BIG problem

And honestly, I don’t know how they’ll fix this. Well, I do know how to fix it, but I don’t think it’ll happen. Which is why I keep saying that I genuinely believe this party is set to split in two in the coming years.

Maybe not right now and maybe not in 2012, but if Obama gets reelected and 2016 rolls around…that’ll be a crazy time for the GOP.

Because let’s say Obama is a democratic Reagan. Well, that means he’ll serve two terms, be very popular on his exit, and another Dem will be able to ride his coattails into the White House…just like Bush senior did in 1988.

Also, let’s face it, Bush should have won in 1992. But he made that dumb “Read my lips, no new taxes” promise and then broke it, so Ross Perot stepped in and siphoned off a ton of votes and Bill Clinton became President. But had Perot not been in the mix, Clinton NEVER would have been President. So Bush should have served two terms.

But I don’t see something similar happening for the Dems, because if a Perot pops up in 2020 it’ll only hurt the GOP since Independents usually turn out to be more conservative in their policy approaches…especially fiscal policy.

So we could be looking at 16 years of Dem presidents unless the GOP can somehow unify again. And there’s only one issue that can do that…fiscal conservatism.

See, I don’t know if Huckabee realizes it or not, but even though social conservatives can usually be counted on to come out and vote, they simply aren’t a large enough voting block to keep creating exclusionary policies for. The culture wars are done and the Dems have won. So if they want to have any power, they’re going to have to forget the social issues and focus on the fiscal. That’s the only way the GOP can survive.

  • http://stubbornfacts.us Simon

    I genuinely believe this party is set to split in two in the coming years.

    We must hang together or hang separately. The only advantage gained by splitting social conservatives from fiscal conservatives–each group having some things in common with the dems, but very little, and having a great number of common interests with one another in opposing the liberal project–accrues to the Democrats who will divide and rule. That is aptly illustrated by your own post:

    Also, let’s face it, Bush should have won in 1992. But he made that dumb “Read my lips, no new taxes” promise and then broke it, so Ross Perot stepped in and siphoned off a ton of votes and Bill Clinton became President. But had Perot not been in the mix, Clinton NEVER would have been President. So Bush should have served two terms.

    When the vote splits, the beneficiary is the party which has the least in common with the other two. Our own elections in 1992, 1996, and 2000 demonstrate the point, as does the bulk of 20th Century British history.

    even though social conservatives can usually be counted on to come out and vote, they simply aren’t a large enough voting block to keep creating exclusionary policies for. The culture wars are done and the Dems have won.

    This argument founders on a point I made here the other day. You seem to think that the so-called culture wars are something that social conservatives do, but that’s inaccurate. The “culture wars” are what happens when conservatives of various stripes defend against a liberal assault on the status quo, particularly in the context of social mores. People can disagree in good faith over who is on the right side of the culture wars (I don’t think the liberals are, although I’m sure you do), but they are indisputably the aggressors.

    With that in mind, we can evaluate your claim that liberals have won. Well, there are certainly particular fronts in the culture wars on which liberals have won, or are about to win. Same-sex marriage, for example: notwithstanding the disagreement of the vast majority of normal Americans, liberals have comprehensively routed their opponents and created conditions where their hold on the issue will only strengthen with time. And there are other fronts on which liberals have been far less successful: abortion, for example, an issue which continues to burn hotter and more pressingly every year, and will continue to do so, not least because liberals have failed to achieve the successes they have with same-sex marriage.

    To focus on specific examples, however, is to miss the forest for the trees–or rather, the war for the battles. The point is clear once one recognizes the truth noted above about the nature of the culture wars. Unless your claim is that the liberal project has reached fruition, that there are no more social mores that it further intends to challenge, or that people opposed to those changes will simply give up and let you remake this country at a whim in every generaion, the culture wars will continue.

    So if they want to have any power, they’re going to have to forget the social issues and focus on the fiscal. That’s the only way the GOP can survive.

    Which entirely misses Huckabee’s point. A group that votes en bloc doesn’t have to be large to tip the scales; it need only be large enough.

  • Chris

    I can only hope that they continue to focus on social policy, because nothing turns my generation off more than being told what to do and how to act.

  • the Word

    Both sides want the same thing actually. Liberals want the right to choose how to live their lives and Conservatives want to force Liberals how to live their lives.

  • http://sidewaysmencken.blogspot michael reynolds


    We aren’t the aggressors unless you hold that the future is aggressive toward the past. Liberals (used loosely) pushed women’s emancipation, civil rights, labor rights and now gay rights. In each case conservatives (again, used loosely) opposed progress and defined that progress as aggression.

    And I think you’re wrong about holding the GOP together. The movement conservatives are dead weight. The paradigm has shifted. They are as out of step as flat-earthers at this point.

    Your demo is disintegrating. We’re holding blacks, Hispanics, the young, women, the urban, the better educated. We’re actually taking the rich away from you. The future belongs to us — unless the GOP can ditch the Jesus wing and rebrand itself. Because make no mistake: it’s the Huckabees and the Palins that make your party not just unattractive, but actively repellant to the very demos you need to attract in order to grow.

    Your best bet is to turn a two-way game into a three-way game. Dump the movement people and you have a chance to replace them with moderates. Keep the Jesus wing and you lower yourself to their electoral level, identify yourselves as relics, and lose.

  • TerenceC

    If you’re a fiscal conservative but you believe in a woman’s right to choose, that gay marriage is no different than any other type of marriage, and are essentially on the left of a host of other social issues – you actually have more in common with conservative Democrats than moderate Republicans.

    Organizations aligned along religious principles have no business in electoral politics – their existence at that level all but guarantee’s policies based on the past rather than policies looking ahead. I don’t have any issue with someone having their religion what ever it may be, but they should keep to themselves, and keep it out of political discourse. Our nation and it’s population is too vast for that type of politics.

    A third party is coming to the Republicans and if it isn’t completely secular in direction that party will fail as well. I couldn’t be happier that Republican thinking has finally been discredited at all levels of national politics. Not because I am a partisan hack, but because I very much dislike the last 20 plus years of political social conservatives who feel that their “beliefs” need to become “our laws”. I hope they leave the national stage and never return.

    At a bare minimum, the socially conservative political movement has driven religious affiliation to an all time low – nice job. Is that by design, or does it back up the the following quote from James Madison?

    “Every new and successful example, therefore, of a perfect separation between the ecclesiastical and civil matters, is of importance; and I have no doubt that every new example will succeed, as every past one has done, in showing that religion and Government will both exist in greater purity the less they are mixed together (Letter to Edward Livingston, July 10, 1822).”

  • Chris

    Terence, spot on.

  • wj

    Chris and Terence are close, but not quite right. I think it would be closer to say that the Republican theocracy approach has not only lost the socially liberal fiscal conservatives. It has also lost another (and, I suspect, even larger) demographic: the fiscal conservatives who are personally socially conservative . . . but tolerant of others whose choices are different.

    I can believe that marriage is a very important social institution, and admit that personally the thought of gay sex makes my skin crawl. Which might make me seem like a prime candidate for the theocons. Except that I also believe that marriage should be an option for any two consenting adults, regardless of gender. It just seems like simple equity, practically a no-brainer, even.

    Or that every abortion is a tragedy. But sometimes the alternative is worse. So sex education and contraception should be much more widespread than they currently are. Simply insisting that people abstain from sex outside outside marriage is nothing more than a belief that biology can be overcome by faith. In some cases, maybe — but it’s no way to set social policy.

    Ditto on a lot of other social issues. Which means that the current vision of the Republican Party, especially with its insistence on absolute doctrinal purity, is almost intolerable. If you can’t even hold that demographic, your party as it stands has no future.

  • the Word

    Excellent post IMO. We all think we are right and we all think we have the right answers but for the last thirty years or so one party has decided to try to force their views on others even in the most personal and tragic of times. It is the antithesis of liberty and freedom and the opposite of what used to be the Republican Party.

    Tolerance is what allowed the country to survive and intolerance is what has been tearing it apart.

    Realizing that for some, your mileage varies, I am curious. In what ways do you see Liberals or Progressives trying to force you how to live your lives other than the more generic disdain for the culture we are moving to? If that is the only thing, realize that there are people on the other side who also have to tolerate behavior that they find just as repugnant. Unless we can figure out a way to accept each other, the country will not have the chance to be all that it can be. If you don’t think it’s possible maybe it is time for a split.

  • wj

    So true.

    Progressives (at least as TR used the term) are not a major problem for me. Government as referee/regulator to establish something resembling a level playing field and transparency is fine.

    Liberals, however, have the mirror image of the problem of the social conservatives: in both cases it revolves around personal responsibility. Theocons want the government to be responsible for controlling everybody’s private behavior and morals. So the individual does not have to be responsible for himself in that area. Liberals want the government to be responsible for taking care of everybody’s economic and social condition. So again the individual does not have to accept responsibility for the results of his own actions.

    In short, both assume that people cannot be trusted (or, at least, should not be burdened) to do the right thing. And should not have to deal with the consequences of his actions. Actions have consequences — if you accept the action, you accept the consequences. It’s part of being an adult, which seems (in different spheres) anathema to both.

    This is not to say that we should not, both as individuals and even collectively, help out those who have gotten into trouble thru no fault of their own. Or even, to some minimal extent, those who simply made bad choices. But ameliorating the consequences is not the same as erasing them altogether, which is where Liberals seem to take things.

  • DK

    There are just too many social conservatives in the GOP for them to be “dumped.” But they are starting to realize they are not the “silent majority,” and can’t win a majority of votes in a national election.

    Where does this lead? Secession talk. If socially conservative views can’t win 50% of the vote in the 50 states, but could win 50% of the vote in certain states or regions, I fully expect the secession talk to continue in those regions. Particularly if the economic recovery is fumbled and we end up with very high unemployment or hyperinflation.

    So watch out…

  • David

    Since when have the republicans been fiscally conservative?

  • the Word

    Since they have been the ones with “Family Values”, the people who really love their country and the only patriotic Americans. It’s common knowledge. Just listen.

  • Chris

    Internet sarcasm rocks 😛 WJ you’re right in mentioning the other viewpoint of course, and I’ve never understood how a group could say that they were for personal responsibility and freedoms, yet all of their policies are designed to strip away individual rights. makes no sense.

  • kranky kritter

    Fiscal conservatism comprises a larger set of values than “fiscally responsible” and when we conflate the two, we all tend to get confused. Under current circumstances, I think a broad majority in the middle supports the latter, whichessentially equates with spending within one’s means.

    So in the short and intermediate term, I see no intrinsic reason why a party or a de-facto ruling coalition in congress cannot form around that principle. Especially if inflation manifests in the wake of gross government overspending.

    I am not down with the triumphalist speculation about the demise of the GOP. In it, I see the many seeds of the coming overreach of progressives that will lead a more conservative group back into power. That the GOP failed in much of its mission does not make geniuses of progressives. There are still substantive valid and important points in conservative arguments that can’t be dismissed by progressives. Arguments about spending within one’s means, about motivation, about human nature, about self-interest. They’lll come back and bite the most blithe of progressives right in the ass soon enough. The truth is stubborn that way,

    As a child and a teen, I watched democrats lose their vision, their momentum, and their way, leading to a GOP takeover. And then I watched the GOP lose its vision and its way when power corrupted them too, and they lost sight of the country’s best interests. They did so by going too far in some ways, trusting ideology over asking how the people were doing. And they also did so by losing their taste for the kinds of reforms that were so clear when they were the minority party (balanced budgets, limits on tenure and insider perks to name just a couple).

    They say that those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. Well, history teaches me that people are prone to forget the past. The more inconvenient the truth to current ways of thinking, the more likely it gets dismissed. Democrats will overreach, and eventually lose their way.

    How long will this take? I dunno. But I know what the signs will be. Because they will be the same as they were the last two times. The general public will become disaffected from majority policy. Leaders will say that they just need more time to finish the job. The base supporting the leaders will complain that “we haven’t gone far enough” and that the party has become corrupted by power and has lost sight of its true ideals. And the end will come within the next election cycle or two.Then the pendulum will swing back, with conservatives wiping away the progressive excesses that are just now beginning.