There has been some discussion lately about what will happen to Republicans if they nominate a middle of the road – see electable – candidate for President. This chart outlines, rather humorously, the potential outcomes of the GOP nominee type. I have spent time on this blog highlighting the obvious point that the Republican Party has been backed into a corner as the Democrats have co-opted the center over the last 20 years. Simply, I believe that as the Democrats have moved right – thank you DLC – the Republicans have not pushed back but rather run further right (politically) in order to convince their base that they are in NO way like the Democrats. There will be no compromise!
Us Progressives have been relegated to the far corner of the Democratic Party’s tent – because we have nowhere else to go. And independents or moderates, feigning fairness, have been forced to at least consider the loony propositions of the Republican Party. The Republicans have been successful in pulling the country towards the right – and they deserve credit for their accomplishment – but it is time for them to stop pulling. They are closing in on the “point of no return.” What happens to a Republian right now who endorses a reasonable middle-of-the-road policy position? A Tea Party primary and the near-fatal assumption of the title “RINO.” Were Charlie Crist and Bob Bennet not conservatives? The Tea Party probably cost Republicans – in 2010 – Senate seats in Colorado, Deleware and Nevada. All swing-ish states that require a more moderate Republican to win.
The Republican Party has its back against the Social Welfare wall. They have been honest, to their credit, about their desire to all but eliminate the welfare state by first turning Medicare into a voucher program only to find out that the 5% of the population that vote in the Republican primaries don’t actually speak for the remaining 95% of the country. These 5% give money, make calls and spend a majority of their life in the right wing echo chamber. They listen to Rush, they watch FOX and they believe that Glenn Beck “teaches” them – or to rephrase they believe Glenn Beck is a public intellectual of sorts. They believe that there is liberal bias in the “lamestream” press but overlook the fact that the New York Times bestseller list is often topped by their own people who also show up on the highest rated cable news network, radio programs and in the WSJ editorial page. They believe the lies that they feed themselves. They at once arrogantly express their dominance of the airwaves while simultaneously behaving like the victims of some grand conspiracy. It is a bizarre form of socio-schizophrenia.
Contemporary Republican lunacy suggests that the reason George Bush is generally perceived as a failure is because he was not conservative enough! So, is Dick “deficits don’t matter” Cheney not a conservative? How about the political hack that is Karl Rove? Is Mankiw not a conservative? How about Frum? Did Limbaugh, O’Reilly, Hannity or any of the other partisan demi-gods at any point NOT provide full throated support and defense of the then President?
So herein lies the problem. If the Republican nominee in 2012 is NOT sufficiently conservative, the Party will go into further tailspin and continue to believe that their problem is insufficient ideological purity. The same way they dismiss the failure of the McCain campaign. They think that “McCain failed because he was not conservative enough.”
So what should a patriot do? Register as a Republican for the primaries and vote for the craziest possible candidate. Someone who cannot be dismissed as a “RINO.” It can’t be Ron Paul – he is too ideologically coherent. It must be a Palin or a Bachmann or someone like them. They need to be the quasi-religious unabashedly conservative and completely unelectable type. It is my belief that utter 2012 embarrassment is the only way to save the Republican Party. They need to throw their ideas to the electorate. They need to see that the ideological purity that they require is electoral suicide. If they see that the embodiment of their demagoguery loses by 20 points – a return to sanity becomes much more likely.
Establishment Republicans know this already. It is why they are scrambling to find someone who can win in a primary and also be viable in the general – an impossibility in my view.
So here is the trick – patriotic progressives, moderates and even concerned Republicans should take the risk of voting for the most conservative and least electable GOP primary candidate in hopes that 2016 will yield a more robust field and a more reasonable electorate actually concerned with the welfare of our country and not some strange brand of suicidal ideological fundamentalism.