Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Death of the Grand Old Party?

A year ago, I was pleasantly surprised to see John McCain's daughter on the Rachel Maddow show on television's most liberal network. It was a bold move and one that I respected. Despite my surprise by her appearance on the show, I still expected her to spew out the typical conservative viewpoint that most Republicans today adhere to. Even more surprising? I was wrong. As Meghan McCain explained her role as the poster-child for moderate Republicans, she said:
"...have no doubt, the Republican Party is split into two halves of where they think the Republican Party should go. There are people who think we should go back to our conservative roots [and] become extremely conservative ... and there are people like me who think we should be more moderate and reach out to people." 
At the time, she was facing a lot of flak for bashing conservative superstar Ann Coulter (the most horrible woman in the world). McCain defended her attacks by saying that extremely conservative Republicans are really hurting the image of a changing party. Looking back now, I'm starting to believe that McCain was a step ahead of the party that she so dearly loves. Obama's first year in office has come to a close and it seems as though the Republican Party has come to the fork in the road that young McCain predicted. All of the Ann Coulters and Rush Limbaughs out there are beginning to really hurt the GOP and for the first time, the Republicans are starting to notice that.

The recent passage of healthcare reform highlighted the kind of conservatism that is holding the Republican Party back. The idea of racial slurs and anti-gay outbursts seems completely unprofessional and reprehensible. The Republican Party has no hope to sway the independent vote if their representatives are associated with that kind of behavior. However, it seems as if the GOP has begun to realize this and wants to change their public image. In past years, the Republicans have been unrelenting in their constant support of one another. It's what the GOP is known for. They protect their own. But Sunday marked a rare occasion in which congressional leaders distanced themselves from these extremely radical incidents. Although most Republicans still say that the outbursts represented their passion over the issue, I think they're beginning to see the detriment they're causing themselves. In comparison to the Democratic Party, the GOP doesn't permit a broad spectrum of varying ideologies. Democrats are as represented by liberal progressives as they are by Blue Dogs, but moderate and liberal Republicans tend to die quickly on the Hill. As President Obama signs healthcare reform into law, it is obvious that the Democratic Party has sustained its relevance for years to come. But if the Republican Party hopes to do the same, they must continue to distance themselves from breaking congressional decorum and unprofessional behavior.

10 comments:

Andrea Watts said...

yay Jonesy! So happy that your joined Lefty's :)

stellar debut post!

ShamRockNRoll said...

Great post Sarah! Good seeing you for a bit this weekend by the way!

I agree. I think that while this caustic political climate surrounding health care may give the GOP a few pickups in November, this is a long term cancer on their party. As they grow more radical they will continue to isolate the average American who doesn't respond to their wild-eyed, often bigoted, fear mongering.

Andrew said...

Question for you, Sarah:

If moderate and liberal Republicans die quick and messy deaths on Capitol Hill, why do Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins keep coming back to the Senate? And as for varying ideologies, I would like to point to the state of South Carolina. While still too small for a country and too large for an asylum, it has two Republican senators who often find themselves opposed on the issues of the day.
I would also like to point out that the homophobic and racist slurs used over the past weekend were not uttered by sitting members of Congress. On the other hand, Representative Stark claimed that soldiers were being sent to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the President's amusemeunt in 2006.

ShamRockNRoll said...

Snowe and Collins are in freak'n MAINE! They are the exception to the rule. Sweet jesus, look at the post-election data from 2008. The GOP is rapidly becoming a white, regionally based party. And while it wasn't sitting members of congress that called people "nigger" and "faggot" over the weekend, it was their base... the people who have become the Republican party. Sarah wasn't referencing solely elected officials, but also the people who show up to vote them into office.

Henry Vasquez said...

Let's not fool ourselves here. The economy is the primary reason that any Democrat will lose their seat in November. Health care reform will not hurt Democrats if the economy is able to show signs of improvement. And as graceless as Rep. Stark may have been, George W. Bush and his administration did invent a war based on lies. I'm sure the President didn't actually want to see American soldiers die. That's ridiculous.

Bill said...

To be fair, Stark is fairly senile at this point. I also like that you cited Snowe and Collins, and I suppose you would have mentioned Specter too, except, well...

Andrew said...

And how about Senate candidate Kirk of Illinois, who until the past year had a 100% favorable rating from NARAL, and who voted in favor of Cap-and-Trade? Or the new Senator from Massachusetts? I will fully admit he benefitted from facing one of the worst candidates for statewide office I have ever seen, with the exception of Alan Keyes. However, GOP success in the Bay State suggests that the Republicans are not yet the regional oddity you wish them to be just yet.

Bill said...

Not for lack of trying though. I think moderate republicans are getting the message that they're not wanted.

ShamRockNRoll said...

One outlier election doesn't refute multi-year, multi-election patterns--especially when you combine them with demographic trends.

Kelly Smith said...

You are a goddess, Sarah. Great blog post ;)