The Future of The Republican Party

There is a great deal of hand-wringing going on inside the Republican Party right now. The potential of a landslide blowout by Obama and the Democrats is inevitably leading to a battle over which faction will control the Republican Party after the election. On one side are the Limbaugh shock-troops, the loud angry social conservatives that have dominated the base for 25 years. These people are completely embarrassing to the intellectual movement conservatives like David Brooks.

And so, politically, the G.O.P. is squeezed at both ends. The party is losing the working class by sins of omission — because it has not developed policies to address economic anxiety. It has lost the educated class by sins of commission — by telling members of that class to go away.

Chris Buckley, son of the founder of modern conservative thought William Buckley, just announced he was going to vote for Obama, partly because the right wing kooks scared the bejesus out of him.

My colleague, the superb and very dishy Kathleen Parker, recently wrote in National Review Online a column stating what John Cleese as Basil Fawlty would call “the bleeding obvious”: namely, that Sarah Palin is an embarrassment, and a dangerous one at that. She’s not exactly alone. New York Times columnist David Brooks, who began his career at NR, just called Governor Palin “a cancer on the Republican Party.”

As for Kathleen, she has to date received 12,000 (quite literally) foam-at-the-mouth hate-emails. One correspondent, if that’s quite the right word, suggested that Kathleen’s mother should have aborted her and tossed the fetus into a Dumpster. There’s Socratic dialogue for you. Dear Pup once said to me sighfully after a right-winger who fancied himself a WFB protégé had said something transcendently and provocatively cretinous, “You know, I’ve spent my entire life time separating the Right from the kooks.”

So here is the question. Will the “kooks” take over the defeated Republican Party, with Sarah Palin as their Joan of Arc? If so, where would the “Buckley conservatives” go?

The only reason I could even ask this question is because of the power of Right Wing Radio. When someone capable of “riling up the brownshirts”, like Rush Limbaugh makes $20 million a year, it inevitably attracts imitators like Michael Savage and Sean Hannity and all the hate fest shock jocks who ply their trade in local markets. Over the last 20 years these propagandists have managed to convince a lot of hard working Americans that all their problems can be traced to liberals and government meddling in the free market economy. Even though conservatives have had a veto over the American political process for 26 out of the last 28 years (Given that Clinton only had two years with a Democratic Congress), the kooks bought into this line of unreason. And of course now they are witnessing the great unraveling and they are both confused and angry and that is spilling out at rallies for Palin and McCain where hate and bigotry against “the other” seem out of control.

Ultimately the moves to control the Republican National Committee in January will be important to watch. If the hard right wins the battle to control the party, then the Democrats should make room in their “Big Tent” for the Buckley’s and the Brook’s, with the notion of a permanent center-left governing coalition. The Palin Republican brand will be marginalized to a permanent (though loud) minority status. But if the Washington center right establishment retakes control of the party, then Limbaugh, Savage and their kooks will inevitably split off into some sort of third party faction. The Republican Party would lose its foot soldiers and might go the way of the Whigs in the 1850’s.

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0 Responses to The Future of The Republican Party

  1. Yes, the Dems should do as you say. But, they are unfortunately more likely to do the same thing the Republicans did while in power, which is become corrupt and govern only to solidify their power, thus culminating in a swing back to the GOP in a few years. Can we really expect better from the likes of Nancy Pelosi? I fear not.

    If only those of us who occupy the center were as rabid as the extremes of both parties! But who has ever heard anyone described as a “Die Hard Moderate”?

  2. Yes, the Dems should do as you say. But, they are unfortunately more likely to do the same thing the Republicans did while in power, which is become corrupt and govern only to solidify their power, thus culminating in a swing back to the GOP in a few years. Can we really expect better from the likes of Nancy Pelosi? I fear not.

    If only those of us who occupy the center were as rabid as the extremes of both parties! But who has ever heard anyone described as a “Die Hard Moderate”?

  3. dragonmage06 says:

    I don’t blame William Buckley, the right wing kooks scare the bejesus out of me, too. I’m especially scared of the ones who shout things like “bomb Obama” at rallies and candidates who play lip service to bipartisanship while calling their opponent a terrorist.

  4. dragonmage06 says:

    I don’t blame William Buckley, the right wing kooks scare the bejesus out of me, too. I’m especially scared of the ones who shout things like “bomb Obama” at rallies and candidates who play lip service to bipartisanship while calling their opponent a terrorist.

  5. jdlarge08 says:

    One hopes the election result will put the Republican Party so far out of power that circumstances will soon accumulate to put it out of existence. Only with a two-party system, operating in a climate of anti-intellectual, ideological pablum-swallowing (chased with six-packs), could the situation of 26-out-of-28 years flying in the face of reality have happened. The marriage of the Right with the kooks is not unlike that of foreigners marrying natives in order to gain citizenship, except that this one had a 26-year honeymoon. Let’s now move to a multi-party system where parties represent real interests: Labor, Progressive, Christian Democrat, Socialism, Communism, and Snobs. Then real politics of compromise and seeking common ground will be required to form the coalitions needed to govern for the good of all, instead of all for the special and vested interests. As for the Rush Limbaughs of the Right, they deserve a statue in public, hypodermic needles of venom hanging from their bloated flesh as they, to paraphrase the poet, Bruce Embree, “fuck themselves to death under the Chickenshit [ideological] sun.”

  6. jdlarge08 says:

    One hopes the election result will put the Republican Party so far out of power that circumstances will soon accumulate to put it out of existence. Only with a two-party system, operating in a climate of anti-intellectual, ideological pablum-swallowing (chased with six-packs), could the situation of 26-out-of-28 years flying in the face of reality have happened. The marriage of the Right with the kooks is not unlike that of foreigners marrying natives in order to gain citizenship, except that this one had a 26-year honeymoon. Let’s now move to a multi-party system where parties represent real interests: Labor, Progressive, Christian Democrat, Socialism, Communism, and Snobs. Then real politics of compromise and seeking common ground will be required to form the coalitions needed to govern for the good of all, instead of all for the special and vested interests. As for the Rush Limbaughs of the Right, they deserve a statue in public, hypodermic needles of venom hanging from their bloated flesh as they, to paraphrase the poet, Bruce Embree, “fuck themselves to death under the Chickenshit [ideological] sun.”

  7. Holy sh*t.

    If I weren’t laughing my ass off from that Buckley article, I might be crying.

    Here’s to hoping Obama gets an economic education and starts taking liberty seriously.

  8. Holy sh*t.

    If I weren’t laughing my ass off from that Buckley article, I might be crying.

    Here’s to hoping Obama gets an economic education and starts taking liberty seriously.

  9. Ed says:

    If Obama wins at all is still a big if. If Obama wins by a healthy margin is a huge if, but, since we are speculating…

    Will Reagan Democrats evolve into Obama Republicans. I’ve met a few but, I doubt it. McCain, so far has run a notably obtuse campaign, especially picking Palin. I suspect that net time the Repubs will find someone tolerable to the social conservatives, who can hold his own on a national scene. Huckabee maybe.

    I do think that if Obama behaves prudently, brings down the deficit and doesn’t get a blow job from a 21 year old intern, he could get and keep some Reagan repubs. Only left wing kooks scare them more than the right wing variety. He seems to have the disposition for it, but Congress may have other ideas.

  10. Ed says:

    If Obama wins at all is still a big if. If Obama wins by a healthy margin is a huge if, but, since we are speculating…

    Will Reagan Democrats evolve into Obama Republicans. I’ve met a few but, I doubt it. McCain, so far has run a notably obtuse campaign, especially picking Palin. I suspect that net time the Repubs will find someone tolerable to the social conservatives, who can hold his own on a national scene. Huckabee maybe.

    I do think that if Obama behaves prudently, brings down the deficit and doesn’t get a blow job from a 21 year old intern, he could get and keep some Reagan repubs. Only left wing kooks scare them more than the right wing variety. He seems to have the disposition for it, but Congress may have other ideas.

  11. Alex Bowles says:

    Earlier, I was wondering about the prospect of a schism within the GOP, but now I’m thinking that Whig 2.0 is the more realistic fear.

    I’ve realized that the problem with the split GOP concept is that the groups on either side of the major fault lines remain totally co-dependent.

    The numerically tiny but financially huge ‘free-market’ crowd that was really pushing for shady profits from dark markets never had the votes to stay in power by themselves. For that, they needed the ‘low information voters’ who were too unsophisticated to see that they were voting against their own economic interests when they were supporting the GOP.

    I mean it’s no surprise that ‘values’ were the be-all, end-all here. Keep ‘em distracted and angry with God and guns, and make sure they consider the media totally untrustworthy (who are you gonna believe, me or your lyin’ eyes?) And if we think that calling Obama a Friend of Terror is what it’ll take to drive the turnout we need, well, that’s we’ve got Palin for…

    But now that this corner of the the tent has become radioactive, it’s impossible for the dark marketeers to count on them at all. They might as well be accepting campaign donations from the Mafia or the FSB – both of whom probably have more in common with the sensibilities of the GOP’s top than than Monster Truck America ever did.

    But they’re still facing the same basic problem, which is that the votes come from one place, the money comes from another, and now neither side can really accept the other.

    Contrast this with Obama’s campaign, where the bulk of the votes and the bulk money are both coming from the same place, as shown in this excellent bit ofdataviz.

    It’s pretty clear from this which side is engaging in truly representative democracy, and which side is running a fraudulent sham (Country First? Really?) with a bunch of semi-engaged shills that simply don’t account for the bulk of the campaigns fiscal support, but without whom, there would be no votes at all.

    The problem with this charade is that once it’s over, as it’s likely to be in a matter of weeks, there’s no credible basis for establishing a comeback. After all, too many of the smart people have already left the building.

  12. Alex Bowles says:

    Earlier, I was wondering about the prospect of a schism within the GOP, but now I’m thinking that Whig 2.0 is the more realistic fear.

    I’ve realized that the problem with the split GOP concept is that the groups on either side of the major fault lines remain totally co-dependent.

    The numerically tiny but financially huge ‘free-market’ crowd that was really pushing for shady profits from dark markets never had the votes to stay in power by themselves. For that, they needed the ‘low information voters’ who were too unsophisticated to see that they were voting against their own economic interests when they were supporting the GOP.

    I mean it’s no surprise that ‘values’ were the be-all, end-all here. Keep ‘em distracted and angry with God and guns, and make sure they consider the media totally untrustworthy (who are you gonna believe, me or your lyin’ eyes?) And if we think that calling Obama a Friend of Terror is what it’ll take to drive the turnout we need, well, that’s we’ve got Palin for…

    But now that this corner of the the tent has become radioactive, it’s impossible for the dark marketeers to count on them at all. They might as well be accepting campaign donations from the Mafia or the FSB – both of whom probably have more in common with the sensibilities of the GOP’s top than than Monster Truck America ever did.

    But they’re still facing the same basic problem, which is that the votes come from one place, the money comes from another, and now neither side can really accept the other.

    Contrast this with Obama’s campaign, where the bulk of the votes and the bulk money are both coming from the same place, as shown in this excellent bit ofdataviz.

    It’s pretty clear from this which side is engaging in truly representative democracy, and which side is running a fraudulent sham (Country First? Really?) with a bunch of semi-engaged shills that simply don’t account for the bulk of the campaigns fiscal support, but without whom, there would be no votes at all.

    The problem with this charade is that once it’s over, as it’s likely to be in a matter of weeks, there’s no credible basis for establishing a comeback. After all, too many of the smart people have already left the building.

  13. Rachel says:

    jdlarge08, what you’re wishing for, “a multi-party system where parties represent real interests: Labor, Progressive, Christian Democrat, Socialism, Communism, and Snobs”, is very much like the political system Italy enjoys, if I can use the word “enjoys” in the very loosest of terms.

    It’s a nice idea in theory. In practice it results in something that more closely represents World Wrestling Entertainment than anything like good government. Coalitions involve all sorts of unseemly deals done to preserve order, that have nothing to do with effective government, and everything to do with serving small sectional interests that happen to have gained one or two seats.

    Not that I believe party solidarity is always a good thing. But the two party system, with some degree of influence from third parties and independents, has mostly served the US, Britain, Canada, Australia and a host of comparatively wealthy (and stable) nations for a long time now. Trouble really sets in when one of the two major parties is severely weakened, as has happened from time to time in Britain (after Thatcher/Major) and Australia (after Hawke/Keating). Then the party in power begins to think of itself as the “natural party of government”, and the wheels of good governance fall off.

    So I look forward to an Obama executive, but like the Tall Thin Guy I would be worried about a Congress dominated completely by someone like Pelosi. Strong oppositions are good for democracy. If the US and UK had had reasonable oppositions, there wouldn’t have been an Iraq War.

  14. Rachel says:

    jdlarge08, what you’re wishing for, “a multi-party system where parties represent real interests: Labor, Progressive, Christian Democrat, Socialism, Communism, and Snobs”, is very much like the political system Italy enjoys, if I can use the word “enjoys” in the very loosest of terms.

    It’s a nice idea in theory. In practice it results in something that more closely represents World Wrestling Entertainment than anything like good government. Coalitions involve all sorts of unseemly deals done to preserve order, that have nothing to do with effective government, and everything to do with serving small sectional interests that happen to have gained one or two seats.

    Not that I believe party solidarity is always a good thing. But the two party system, with some degree of influence from third parties and independents, has mostly served the US, Britain, Canada, Australia and a host of comparatively wealthy (and stable) nations for a long time now. Trouble really sets in when one of the two major parties is severely weakened, as has happened from time to time in Britain (after Thatcher/Major) and Australia (after Hawke/Keating). Then the party in power begins to think of itself as the “natural party of government”, and the wheels of good governance fall off.

    So I look forward to an Obama executive, but like the Tall Thin Guy I would be worried about a Congress dominated completely by someone like Pelosi. Strong oppositions are good for democracy. If the US and UK had had reasonable oppositions, there wouldn’t have been an Iraq War.

  15. Jon Taplin says:

    AB- Trenchant analysis as usual. I still think there will be a fight for the corpse of the Republican Party.

  16. Jon Taplin says:

    AB- Trenchant analysis as usual. I still think there will be a fight for the corpse of the Republican Party.

  17. Alex Bowles says:

    Thanks for the kind words, Jon.

    There’s a chance that the hardcore social conservatism is slowly being eclipsed by a younger, more moderate, and truly compassionate segment of the evangelical population who may find global poverty issues and conservation programs to be a better rallying point than abortion and gay marriage.

    At the same time, the moderate right will only stay with Obama for as long as he sticks to the center. If he gets rolled by Pelosi and Reid, and they, in turn, stick to their pre-crash partisan form, his bipartisan support could evaporate quickly.

    In other words, neither party is in complete control of their fate. If the GOP sticks with intolerance at home and jingoism abroad as its guiding principles, the Dems could have a long easy ride ahead of them. However, if they blow it by relinquishing control to the particular group of special interests that have held sway over them for decades, they’ll be in a weak spot if the Republicans re-emerge as a kinder, gentler, more environmentally concerned group (with ‘environment’ extending from the physical world to the world of economic externalities). If this happens, a victory in 2008 could have run its course by 2012, and possibly 2010.

    Of course, with the 2010 redistricting coming up, and as many as three Supreme Court seats opening up, the Dems look like they’re taking control at a critical moment, and even a short run could still result in long lasting structural changes.

    My question is whether the prospect of lasting change delivered in a limited amount of time is enough to focus whatever minds are left on the right. My sense in that the further towards the old left that the Dems tack, the most swiftly the Republicans will come to their senses.

    Otherwise, they could be in for the same fate as the Tories after Major, in which case Sarah Palin is the perfect person to act as the spiritual leader. After all, she’s totally at home in the wilderness.

  18. Alex Bowles says:

    Thanks for the kind words, Jon.

    There’s a chance that the hardcore social conservatism is slowly being eclipsed by a younger, more moderate, and truly compassionate segment of the evangelical population who may find global poverty issues and conservation programs to be a better rallying point than abortion and gay marriage.

    At the same time, the moderate right will only stay with Obama for as long as he sticks to the center. If he gets rolled by Pelosi and Reid, and they, in turn, stick to their pre-crash partisan form, his bipartisan support could evaporate quickly.

    In other words, neither party is in complete control of their fate. If the GOP sticks with intolerance at home and jingoism abroad as its guiding principles, the Dems could have a long easy ride ahead of them. However, if they blow it by relinquishing control to the particular group of special interests that have held sway over them for decades, they’ll be in a weak spot if the Republicans re-emerge as a kinder, gentler, more environmentally concerned group (with ‘environment’ extending from the physical world to the world of economic externalities). If this happens, a victory in 2008 could have run its course by 2012, and possibly 2010.

    Of course, with the 2010 redistricting coming up, and as many as three Supreme Court seats opening up, the Dems look like they’re taking control at a critical moment, and even a short run could still result in long lasting structural changes.

    My question is whether the prospect of lasting change delivered in a limited amount of time is enough to focus whatever minds are left on the right. My sense in that the further towards the old left that the Dems tack, the most swiftly the Republicans will come to their senses.

    Otherwise, they could be in for the same fate as the Tories after Major, in which case Sarah Palin is the perfect person to act as the spiritual leader. After all, she’s totally at home in the wilderness.

  19. Francheska says:

    Milena: What was so funny?

    And I have to say, I often find you condescending in your comments on this website. I have never visited your blog (and never will) but is this the way you always try to present your opinion? It’s great to have an opposing view here, but your opinion is often quickly deconstructed by the awesome commenters Jon has on his blog and the ‘facts’ used to defend yourself are generally misinformed.

    “Here’s to hoping Obama gets an economic education and starts taking liberty seriously.”

    What the hell does that even mean? How does one go about “taking liberty seriously?” Sounds like you picked up an Ayn Rand book a little late in life….

  20. Francheska says:

    Milena: What was so funny?

    And I have to say, I often find you condescending in your comments on this website. I have never visited your blog (and never will) but is this the way you always try to present your opinion? It’s great to have an opposing view here, but your opinion is often quickly deconstructed by the awesome commenters Jon has on his blog and the ‘facts’ used to defend yourself are generally misinformed.

    “Here’s to hoping Obama gets an economic education and starts taking liberty seriously.”

    What the hell does that even mean? How does one go about “taking liberty seriously?” Sounds like you picked up an Ayn Rand book a little late in life….

  21. jdlarge08 says:

    I don’t disagree with Rachel’s addition of detail to the picture of comparative political systems. One can go further, even. The wrestling analogy is especially delicious because three or more people wrestling is a lot more entertaining than two. I also am under the apparent delusion that Italy is a comparatively wealthy (and stable) country despite the instability of its politics. What I really want to see is at least one more party, preferably social and progressive, that is of sufficient size and strength to defeat the flakiest tendencies of both blue and red.

  22. jdlarge08 says:

    I don’t disagree with Rachel’s addition of detail to the picture of comparative political systems. One can go further, even. The wrestling analogy is especially delicious because three or more people wrestling is a lot more entertaining than two. I also am under the apparent delusion that Italy is a comparatively wealthy (and stable) country despite the instability of its politics. What I really want to see is at least one more party, preferably social and progressive, that is of sufficient size and strength to defeat the flakiest tendencies of both blue and red.

  23. Chris Weekly says:

    @jdlarge08
    In winner-take-all contests, two parties will always emerge, consisting of loose coalitions of totally unrelated (and often diametrically opposed) interest groups. Absent extraordinary circumstances, the split will always approach 50-50. Studies in game theory and models of cooperation specifically in winner-take-all scenarios show this is a predictable and reliable outcome of our system.

    Counter-intuitively, this also demonstrates that the parties are not actually ideological in nature. It only seems that way due to the temporary alignments of these interest groups. Of course a given group can temporarily dominate a party and be perceived as representative of its “values”. And for a time, to a degree, there may be relatively broad consensus on a particular issue. But when winning is everything, strange and unpredictable partnerships form, and coalesce into precisely two parties with a chance of winning. Dark horse third parties can alter the results, but they do not win.

    If we want more parties, we will need to change the voting system to be proportional and not winner-take-all.

  24. Chris Weekly says:

    @jdlarge08
    In winner-take-all contests, two parties will always emerge, consisting of loose coalitions of totally unrelated (and often diametrically opposed) interest groups. Absent extraordinary circumstances, the split will always approach 50-50. Studies in game theory and models of cooperation specifically in winner-take-all scenarios show this is a predictable and reliable outcome of our system.

    Counter-intuitively, this also demonstrates that the parties are not actually ideological in nature. It only seems that way due to the temporary alignments of these interest groups. Of course a given group can temporarily dominate a party and be perceived as representative of its “values”. And for a time, to a degree, there may be relatively broad consensus on a particular issue. But when winning is everything, strange and unpredictable partnerships form, and coalesce into precisely two parties with a chance of winning. Dark horse third parties can alter the results, but they do not win.

    If we want more parties, we will need to change the voting system to be proportional and not winner-take-all.

  25. Roman says:

    I find it amusing when sensible people talk of contemporary politics in the context of empire building. Multi-generation control of the national agenda will prove increasingly difficult, if not impossible, in a 24/7 world.

    IMO, Obama has twelve – sixteen months to make his mark. If he mismanages the implementation of his agenda, and/or is overcome by circumstances (i.e. domestic stability), the republicans will use his tepid accomplishments as a club in the 2010 mid-term elections.

    My “must do list” includes completing the troop withdrawal from Iraq, defeating the Taliban in Afghanistan (again), health care reform (blue print & deployment schedule), energy independence (blue print & deployment schedule), functioning financial markets, tax code restructuring (lower taxes for 95% of Americans), and JOBS – meaningful employment (no more “service economy” BS).

    However, this assumes a viable opponent in 2010. The republican’s post-election hand wringing will be short lived, McCain ran a feckless campaign, and will assume full responsibility for his failings. In the ensuing power struggle, it’ll be the congressional republican’s ability to coalescence as a potent opposition party, not the high-minded (and low-minded) blather of columnists and radio talk show hosts, which will foretell their party’s viability in 2010.

    Palin’s spotlight is about to dim – permanently. There is no future for her in national politics. To be kind, her resume is too thin and is unlikely to be offered opportunities to broaden it beyond state politics. To be blunt, well, what’s the point?

    So who’s likely to emerge as the voice of the Republican Party? It’ll interesting to watch if republicans adopt the “Obama Model”. Obama is a game changer on so many levels, and party leadership is certainly one of the most profound. Will both parties jettison their tradition model of meritocracy/slavish loyalty for that of deep recruitment and mentoring?

    Obama’s ascent has served notice to many national politicos that access to the corner office may in fact be beyond their reach (anyone else watch their faces at both national conventions – I saw their realization that the tectonic plates had in fact shifted).

    But the republican’s regrouping will be a side show as democrats re-learn what it means to control both houses and the executive!

    IMO, Obama will achieve a mandate on Nov 4, and his staff, cabinet and other top appointments will be in place by year’s end, along with his agenda implementation schedule.

    The most compelling story in 2009 will be the relationship between Obama, Pelosi and Reid. Initially, there’ll be plenty of high-five photo-ops and talk of unprecedented cooperation between the Executive and Congress, but I suspect they’ll begin to part company when politics becomes political – when bringing home the bacon and expediency trumps party loyalty and the President’s agenda.

    In the end, Obama’s success will have less to do with his vision and republican opposition than with his ability to play old fashioned politics with far more seasoned players from his own party.

  26. Roman says:

    I find it amusing when sensible people talk of contemporary politics in the context of empire building. Multi-generation control of the national agenda will prove increasingly difficult, if not impossible, in a 24/7 world.

    IMO, Obama has twelve – sixteen months to make his mark. If he mismanages the implementation of his agenda, and/or is overcome by circumstances (i.e. domestic stability), the republicans will use his tepid accomplishments as a club in the 2010 mid-term elections.

    My “must do list” includes completing the troop withdrawal from Iraq, defeating the Taliban in Afghanistan (again), health care reform (blue print & deployment schedule), energy independence (blue print & deployment schedule), functioning financial markets, tax code restructuring (lower taxes for 95% of Americans), and JOBS – meaningful employment (no more “service economy” BS).

    However, this assumes a viable opponent in 2010. The republican’s post-election hand wringing will be short lived, McCain ran a feckless campaign, and will assume full responsibility for his failings. In the ensuing power struggle, it’ll be the congressional republican’s ability to coalescence as a potent opposition party, not the high-minded (and low-minded) blather of columnists and radio talk show hosts, which will foretell their party’s viability in 2010.

    Palin’s spotlight is about to dim – permanently. There is no future for her in national politics. To be kind, her resume is too thin and is unlikely to be offered opportunities to broaden it beyond state politics. To be blunt, well, what’s the point?

    So who’s likely to emerge as the voice of the Republican Party? It’ll interesting to watch if republicans adopt the “Obama Model”. Obama is a game changer on so many levels, and party leadership is certainly one of the most profound. Will both parties jettison their tradition model of meritocracy/slavish loyalty for that of deep recruitment and mentoring?

    Obama’s ascent has served notice to many national politicos that access to the corner office may in fact be beyond their reach (anyone else watch their faces at both national conventions – I saw their realization that the tectonic plates had in fact shifted).

    But the republican’s regrouping will be a side show as democrats re-learn what it means to control both houses and the executive!

    IMO, Obama will achieve a mandate on Nov 4, and his staff, cabinet and other top appointments will be in place by year’s end, along with his agenda implementation schedule.

    The most compelling story in 2009 will be the relationship between Obama, Pelosi and Reid. Initially, there’ll be plenty of high-five photo-ops and talk of unprecedented cooperation between the Executive and Congress, but I suspect they’ll begin to part company when politics becomes political – when bringing home the bacon and expediency trumps party loyalty and the President’s agenda.

    In the end, Obama’s success will have less to do with his vision and republican opposition than with his ability to play old fashioned politics with far more seasoned players from his own party.

  27. Tom Wilmot says:

    One thing people seem to be forgetting is that there is a fundamental collapse in regard to any and all respect towards legislators, no matter what their political stripe may be.

    The wrangling that went on over the bailout bill showed quite a few Americans exactly what politics looks like without spin and obfuscation. The level of self-interest on display was loathsome, the smell of flop sweat and desperation overwhelming and the lack of cohesion alarming.

    If you’re looking for where folks will go, I suspect the ranks of the disenfranchised will grow and grow. Very few people feel as though we have a representative government, a responsive government or an involved government. The deployment of the 3rd Infantry in the United States ought to be a signal that the government SEES the anger and alienation, but rather than addressing it by looking to its’ own house and getting itself straight, it would prefer to use military intervention to preserve itself as is.

    Any congressperson sitting after the November elections (take this next statement as a flight of fancy, I doubt seriously whether many, if any will) should take the time to really get into the heart of their constituents – deeper than the pocketbook and come to grips with what is going on in the core of the American vision. Assumptions that winning or retaining a seat are any measure of a vote of confidence are facetious – sometimes one wins because the alternative is less attractive.

    The fate of the Republican party is irrelevant at this point. There is no national voice there; there is no vision, leadership or cohesion. Talking points and buzzwords do not a nation make.

    At the same time, Democrats teeter on the brink. However well intentioned Mister Obama’s vision may be, he has to rely on congress to carry out anything and from where I sit, a sea change is required to come up with an effective legislature. I firmly believe that Obama’s appeal rests largely on “hope”, but that hope is poised to be hurled into a black hole of partisan self interest unless congressional leaders such as Ms. Pelosi wake up and realize that there is no room for gloating over the bones of Republicans at this point.

    Fundamental changes are needed in Washington, in state legislatures and in municipal governments. The party is over, the bill is past due and there is a level of sacrifice required of all citizens in order to get America back on track. For all the diffusion of vision in regards to exactly WHAT that track might be, there is one bit of clarity to focus on – the Constitution and the vision of society and obligation contained in it.

  28. Tom Wilmot says:

    One thing people seem to be forgetting is that there is a fundamental collapse in regard to any and all respect towards legislators, no matter what their political stripe may be.

    The wrangling that went on over the bailout bill showed quite a few Americans exactly what politics looks like without spin and obfuscation. The level of self-interest on display was loathsome, the smell of flop sweat and desperation overwhelming and the lack of cohesion alarming.

    If you’re looking for where folks will go, I suspect the ranks of the disenfranchised will grow and grow. Very few people feel as though we have a representative government, a responsive government or an involved government. The deployment of the 3rd Infantry in the United States ought to be a signal that the government SEES the anger and alienation, but rather than addressing it by looking to its’ own house and getting itself straight, it would prefer to use military intervention to preserve itself as is.

    Any congressperson sitting after the November elections (take this next statement as a flight of fancy, I doubt seriously whether many, if any will) should take the time to really get into the heart of their constituents – deeper than the pocketbook and come to grips with what is going on in the core of the American vision. Assumptions that winning or retaining a seat are any measure of a vote of confidence are facetious – sometimes one wins because the alternative is less attractive.

    The fate of the Republican party is irrelevant at this point. There is no national voice there; there is no vision, leadership or cohesion. Talking points and buzzwords do not a nation make.

    At the same time, Democrats teeter on the brink. However well intentioned Mister Obama’s vision may be, he has to rely on congress to carry out anything and from where I sit, a sea change is required to come up with an effective legislature. I firmly believe that Obama’s appeal rests largely on “hope”, but that hope is poised to be hurled into a black hole of partisan self interest unless congressional leaders such as Ms. Pelosi wake up and realize that there is no room for gloating over the bones of Republicans at this point.

    Fundamental changes are needed in Washington, in state legislatures and in municipal governments. The party is over, the bill is past due and there is a level of sacrifice required of all citizens in order to get America back on track. For all the diffusion of vision in regards to exactly WHAT that track might be, there is one bit of clarity to focus on – the Constitution and the vision of society and obligation contained in it.

  29. Seth says:

    Tom,

    I think Pelosi and Reid look as hapless as they do in part because of the all-filibuster all-of-the-time Senate. For a group of Senators who came within an ace of “nuking” the cloture rule, the Republican caucus sure do love them some filibusters.

    Granted, Reid and Pelosi haven’t exactly shown stirring, visionary leadership on the issues they claim to care about (Iraq timetables, anyone?) but I’m not convinced they will suddenly become forceful in opposition to the agenda coming from the new White House. And they probably will have much less of a filibuster threat to present as an excuse next year.

    There is also public opinion to consider. If Obama succeeds in mobilizing the public behind an initiative, it’s unlikely those “reedy” figure heads won’t bend in the direction the wind is blowing. At least for a while.

  30. Seth says:

    Tom,

    I think Pelosi and Reid look as hapless as they do in part because of the all-filibuster all-of-the-time Senate. For a group of Senators who came within an ace of “nuking” the cloture rule, the Republican caucus sure do love them some filibusters.

    Granted, Reid and Pelosi haven’t exactly shown stirring, visionary leadership on the issues they claim to care about (Iraq timetables, anyone?) but I’m not convinced they will suddenly become forceful in opposition to the agenda coming from the new White House. And they probably will have much less of a filibuster threat to present as an excuse next year.

    There is also public opinion to consider. If Obama succeeds in mobilizing the public behind an initiative, it’s unlikely those “reedy” figure heads won’t bend in the direction the wind is blowing. At least for a while.

  31. Alex Bowles says:

    This is an awesome thread. What’s emerging for me is singular focus on Congress as the primary object of Obama’s first 100 days. The relationship he establishes here will have a profound effect on the outcome for every other point on his agenda.

  32. Alex Bowles says:

    This is an awesome thread. What’s emerging for me is singular focus on Congress as the primary object of Obama’s first 100 days. The relationship he establishes here will have a profound effect on the outcome for every other point on his agenda.

  33. Tom Wilmot says:

    Seth, thanks for your comments.

    Frankly, I’m not concerned so much with the House and Senate majority acting in opposition to Obama’s proposals as I am in seeing measures lost in the quagmire. This NEED to have one’s thumbprint on a bill, which usually results in starting out proposing an apple but coming out of the legislative process looking like corn with ears grafted on to it and some wheels, has done a dandy job gimping Congress as a legislative body.

    Obama, Biden, Reid and Pelosi HAVE to demonstrate leadership in the first 12 months. Politics as a game is something we cannot afford anymore. Biden will be carrying a lot of water up the hill for Obama – Pelosi and Reid will have to get over their bad selves and look at how best to move this stuff through both houses in a timely and effective manner and the Republicans would best serve themselves by walking the whole “Country First” ballyhoo that McCain has been trumpeting for the past few months.

    Pundits have been referencing the crash of 29 a lot in the past 14 days, and while there are distinct differences, there is one area that is worth looking at. Roosevelt’s first 100 days was marked by decisive action that even HE knew was doomed to failure (NIRA, being one example) but understood that it would by the time necessary to set stable, long term legislation in place. It’s not a bad model in times of crisis, as long as the long-term vision is embraced by the short-term action.

    Decisive action can sway the view of the American public – right now, down at the grassroots, there is a fear that no one up on the hill has a clue as to what they’re doing, or even cares very much. As has been said before, if the credit crisis had happened next February, we’d be looking at a completely different outcome from Congress. Pennsylvania Avenue has to be the least desirable address on the planet right now and whomever occupies it come January 20th, they have Herculean tasks in front of them.

    I find it incredibly frustrating to watch the positioning going on in the legislature in recent years – I suspect I’m not alone in my feelings.

    The anger and hand-wringing of the Republicans over how McCain has handled or mishandled his campaign strikes me as relevant as 21st century Luddites still protesting the installation of steam powered looms in North England. Issues of ideology do not loosen credit, do not stimulate industry and do not create jobs. “Winning” the presidency in regards to party is gamesmanship of the worst kind. Whenever a campaign devolves down to attacking the opposition on “character” rather than presenting a platform of concrete proposals and strictly dealing with issues, I find myself looking at atlases regarding possible places to relocate.

    Winning, in the gamesmanship context, has helped create much of the mess America finds itself in today. Winning the war on terror allowed the Bush Administration to attack Iraq and McCain’s desire to “bring our troops home in victory” will allow it to go on forever if he’s elected. Winning in the market has created a distorted marketplace where for years companies have traded far above their actual value, where investors have been able to manipulate markets and non-existent dollars have created paper fortunes with no tangible assets to back up the perceived value. America has seemingly embraced a game show mentality.

    Rather than looking at parties, winning and losing, straight-ticket voters need a re-education on exactly WHAT good governance is.

    At the end of the day, most people want peace, economic stability, the hope that tomorrow will offer new opportunities and that their society decent, fair-minded and tolerant.

    Everything else is gravy, if you can get it, but it’s not a necessity.

  34. Tom Wilmot says:

    Seth, thanks for your comments.

    Frankly, I’m not concerned so much with the House and Senate majority acting in opposition to Obama’s proposals as I am in seeing measures lost in the quagmire. This NEED to have one’s thumbprint on a bill, which usually results in starting out proposing an apple but coming out of the legislative process looking like corn with ears grafted on to it and some wheels, has done a dandy job gimping Congress as a legislative body.

    Obama, Biden, Reid and Pelosi HAVE to demonstrate leadership in the first 12 months. Politics as a game is something we cannot afford anymore. Biden will be carrying a lot of water up the hill for Obama – Pelosi and Reid will have to get over their bad selves and look at how best to move this stuff through both houses in a timely and effective manner and the Republicans would best serve themselves by walking the whole “Country First” ballyhoo that McCain has been trumpeting for the past few months.

    Pundits have been referencing the crash of 29 a lot in the past 14 days, and while there are distinct differences, there is one area that is worth looking at. Roosevelt’s first 100 days was marked by decisive action that even HE knew was doomed to failure (NIRA, being one example) but understood that it would by the time necessary to set stable, long term legislation in place. It’s not a bad model in times of crisis, as long as the long-term vision is embraced by the short-term action.

    Decisive action can sway the view of the American public – right now, down at the grassroots, there is a fear that no one up on the hill has a clue as to what they’re doing, or even cares very much. As has been said before, if the credit crisis had happened next February, we’d be looking at a completely different outcome from Congress. Pennsylvania Avenue has to be the least desirable address on the planet right now and whomever occupies it come January 20th, they have Herculean tasks in front of them.

    I find it incredibly frustrating to watch the positioning going on in the legislature in recent years – I suspect I’m not alone in my feelings.

    The anger and hand-wringing of the Republicans over how McCain has handled or mishandled his campaign strikes me as relevant as 21st century Luddites still protesting the installation of steam powered looms in North England. Issues of ideology do not loosen credit, do not stimulate industry and do not create jobs. “Winning” the presidency in regards to party is gamesmanship of the worst kind. Whenever a campaign devolves down to attacking the opposition on “character” rather than presenting a platform of concrete proposals and strictly dealing with issues, I find myself looking at atlases regarding possible places to relocate.

    Winning, in the gamesmanship context, has helped create much of the mess America finds itself in today. Winning the war on terror allowed the Bush Administration to attack Iraq and McCain’s desire to “bring our troops home in victory” will allow it to go on forever if he’s elected. Winning in the market has created a distorted marketplace where for years companies have traded far above their actual value, where investors have been able to manipulate markets and non-existent dollars have created paper fortunes with no tangible assets to back up the perceived value. America has seemingly embraced a game show mentality.

    Rather than looking at parties, winning and losing, straight-ticket voters need a re-education on exactly WHAT good governance is.

    At the end of the day, most people want peace, economic stability, the hope that tomorrow will offer new opportunities and that their society decent, fair-minded and tolerant.

    Everything else is gravy, if you can get it, but it’s not a necessity.

  35. Tom Wilmot says:

    Seth, thanks for your comments.

    Frankly, I’m not concerned so much with the House and Senate majority acting in opposition to Obama’s proposals as I am in seeing measures lost in the quagmire. This NEED to have one’s thumbprint on a bill, which usually results in starting out proposing an apple but coming out of the legislative process looking like corn with ears grafted on to it and some wheels, has done a dandy job gimping Congress as a legislative body.

    Obama, Biden, Reid and Pelosi HAVE to demonstrate leadership in the first 12 months. Politics as a game is something we cannot afford anymore. Biden will be carrying a lot of water up the hill for Obama – Pelosi and Reid will have to get over their bad selves and look at how best to move this stuff through both houses in a timely and effective manner and the Republicans would best serve themselves by walking the whole “Country First” ballyhoo that McCain has been trumpeting for the past few months.

    Pundits have been referencing the crash of 29 a lot in the past 14 days, and while there are distinct differences, there is one area that is worth looking at. Roosevelt’s first 100 days was marked by decisive action that even HE knew was doomed to failure (NIRA, being one example) but understood that it would by the time necessary to set stable, long term legislation in place. It’s not a bad model in times of crisis, as long as the long-term vision is embraced by the short-term action.

    Decisive action can sway the view of the American public – right now, down at the grassroots, there is a fear that no one up on the hill has a clue as to what they’re doing, or even cares very much. As has been said before, if the credit crisis had happened next February, we’d be looking at a completely different outcome from Congress. Pennsylvania Avenue has to be the least desirable address on the planet right now and whomever occupies it come January 20th, they have Herculean tasks in front of them.

    I find it incredibly frustrating to watch the positioning going on in the legislature in recent years – I suspect I’m not alone in my feelings.

    The anger and hand-wringing of the Republicans over how McCain has handled or mishandled his campaign strikes me as relevant as 21st century Luddites still protesting the installation of steam powered looms in North England. Issues of ideology do not loosen credit, do not stimulate industry and do not create jobs. “Winning” the presidency in regards to party is gamesmanship of the worst kind. Whenever a campaign devolves down to attacking the opposition on “character” rather than presenting a platform of concrete proposals and strictly dealing with issues, I find myself looking at atlases regarding possible places to relocate.

    Winning, in the gamesmanship context, has helped create much of the mess America finds itself in today. Winning the war on terror allowed the Bush Administration to attack Iraq and McCain’s desire to “bring our troops home in victory” will allow it to go on forever if he’s elected. Winning in the market has created a distorted marketplace where for years companies have traded far above their actual value, where investors have been able to manipulate markets and non-existent dollars have created paper fortunes with no tangible assets to back up the perceived value. America has seemingly embraced a game show mentality.

    Rather than looking at parties, winning and losing, straight-ticket voters need a re-education on exactly WHAT good governance is.

    At the end of the day, most people want peace, economic stability, the hope that tomorrow will offer new opportunities and that their society decent, fair-minded and tolerant.

    Everything else is gravy, if you can get it, but it’s not a necessity.

  36. Roman says:

    It’s important to recognize the legislature views itself as a governing partner with the executive, and never as subservient to the executive. It also views itself as “the” representative of the people by having the closest contact to their demands and wrath.

    Publicly, it’ll be all smiles, handshakes and thumbs-up (at least initially). Behind the scenes will be another story altogether; politics will be political as each partner attempts to move their vision forward. Obama will claim a mandate and that it trumps competing visions. Compromise is inevitable, and “apples will become corn with grafted ears”.

    Obama needs to tread carefully with the legislature; he needs them more than they need him – and they know it. His rapid ascent has bruised egos and netted few legislative friendships needed to move difficult legislation. His contemporaries toil in relative obscurity for the majority of their careers, and few are ever called up to the majors (think Joe Biden). I don’t see Biden playing the role of “Super Senate Majority Leader”, Reid and the Senate will have no part of it, and Joe’s probably looking forward to finally playing the role of elder statesman (“Ambassador at-large”).

    Lacking a legislative base, Obama will be tempted to use Reagan’s approach of bypassing Congress and speaking directly to the American people. Although Reagan was successful, his success can be attributed at least in part to his captive audience – life before 24/7. Even if Obama successfully cuts through the 24/7 buzz, he’ll face the increasingly daunting challenge of energizing the public post-election. No easy task as the economy falls into an abyss and priorities shift from energy independence to jobs, food and shelter.

  37. Roman says:

    It’s important to recognize the legislature views itself as a governing partner with the executive, and never as subservient to the executive. It also views itself as “the” representative of the people by having the closest contact to their demands and wrath.

    Publicly, it’ll be all smiles, handshakes and thumbs-up (at least initially). Behind the scenes will be another story altogether; politics will be political as each partner attempts to move their vision forward. Obama will claim a mandate and that it trumps competing visions. Compromise is inevitable, and “apples will become corn with grafted ears”.

    Obama needs to tread carefully with the legislature; he needs them more than they need him – and they know it. His rapid ascent has bruised egos and netted few legislative friendships needed to move difficult legislation. His contemporaries toil in relative obscurity for the majority of their careers, and few are ever called up to the majors (think Joe Biden). I don’t see Biden playing the role of “Super Senate Majority Leader”, Reid and the Senate will have no part of it, and Joe’s probably looking forward to finally playing the role of elder statesman (“Ambassador at-large”).

    Lacking a legislative base, Obama will be tempted to use Reagan’s approach of bypassing Congress and speaking directly to the American people. Although Reagan was successful, his success can be attributed at least in part to his captive audience – life before 24/7. Even if Obama successfully cuts through the 24/7 buzz, he’ll face the increasingly daunting challenge of energizing the public post-election. No easy task as the economy falls into an abyss and priorities shift from energy independence to jobs, food and shelter.

  38. Roman says:

    It’s important to recognize the legislature views itself as a governing partner with the executive, and never as subservient to the executive. It also views itself as “the” representative of the people by having the closest contact to their demands and wrath.

    Publicly, it’ll be all smiles, handshakes and thumbs-up (at least initially). Behind the scenes will be another story altogether; politics will be political as each partner attempts to move their vision forward. Obama will claim a mandate and that it trumps competing visions. Compromise is inevitable, and “apples will become corn with grafted ears”.

    Obama needs to tread carefully with the legislature; he needs them more than they need him – and they know it. His rapid ascent has bruised egos and netted few legislative friendships needed to move difficult legislation. His contemporaries toil in relative obscurity for the majority of their careers, and few are ever called up to the majors (think Joe Biden). I don’t see Biden playing the role of “Super Senate Majority Leader”, Reid and the Senate will have no part of it, and Joe’s probably looking forward to finally playing the role of elder statesman (“Ambassador at-large”).

    Lacking a legislative base, Obama will be tempted to use Reagan’s approach of bypassing Congress and speaking directly to the American people. Although Reagan was successful, his success can be attributed at least in part to his captive audience – life before 24/7. Even if Obama successfully cuts through the 24/7 buzz, he’ll face the increasingly daunting challenge of energizing the public post-election. No easy task as the economy falls into an abyss and priorities shift from energy independence to jobs, food and shelter.

  39. Jon Taplin says:

    This is an amazing thread. Here’s my 2 cents on the leadership issue. Rahm Emanuel should trade jobs with Steny Hoyer. Nancy can be the front Person. In a sixty member majority senate, Harry Reid will be just fine. Mike Mansfield was no ball of fire.

  40. Jon Taplin says:

    This is an amazing thread. Here’s my 2 cents on the leadership issue. Rahm Emanuel should trade jobs with Steny Hoyer. Nancy can be the front Person. In a sixty member majority senate, Harry Reid will be just fine. Mike Mansfield was no ball of fire.

  41. Roman says:

    Jon:

    I interpreted Pelosi’s recent praise for Emanuel as a clear signal he’s destined for Speaker, Whip (most likely) or Obama’s cabinet.

    This thread has brought to the forefront the vexing process of converting campaign rhetoric into actual life changing legislation. It’s never easy or pretty and is made even more difficult by the grand expectations associated with Obama’s campaign.

    The actors not mentioned thus far are lobbyists. They’re an equal opportunity corruptor, and exercise a horizontal (both major parties) and vertical (local, state and federal) death grip on government. Each major candidate has been bought and sold several times over by their exhaustive list of “contributors”.

    Obama has put himself in a bit of box with respect to these pariahs; his vow of change is predicated in large part to breaking their grip on government – if ever there was an example of “biting the hand that feeds you”.

  42. Roman says:

    Jon:

    I interpreted Pelosi’s recent praise for Emanuel as a clear signal he’s destined for Speaker, Whip (most likely) or Obama’s cabinet.

    This thread has brought to the forefront the vexing process of converting campaign rhetoric into actual life changing legislation. It’s never easy or pretty and is made even more difficult by the grand expectations associated with Obama’s campaign.

    The actors not mentioned thus far are lobbyists. They’re an equal opportunity corruptor, and exercise a horizontal (both major parties) and vertical (local, state and federal) death grip on government. Each major candidate has been bought and sold several times over by their exhaustive list of “contributors”.

    Obama has put himself in a bit of box with respect to these pariahs; his vow of change is predicated in large part to breaking their grip on government – if ever there was an example of “biting the hand that feeds you”.

  43. Roman says:

    Jon:

    I interpreted Pelosi’s recent praise for Emanuel as a clear signal he’s destined for Speaker, Whip (most likely) or Obama’s cabinet.

    This thread has brought to the forefront the vexing process of converting campaign rhetoric into actual life changing legislation. It’s never easy or pretty and is made even more difficult by the grand expectations associated with Obama’s campaign.

    The actors not mentioned thus far are lobbyists. They’re an equal opportunity corruptor, and exercise a horizontal (both major parties) and vertical (local, state and federal) death grip on government. Each major candidate has been bought and sold several times over by their exhaustive list of “contributors”.

    Obama has put himself in a bit of box with respect to these pariahs; his vow of change is predicated in large part to breaking their grip on government – if ever there was an example of “biting the hand that feeds you”.

  44. @Francheska –

    I’m sorry my comments offend you, nor I do not intend to be condescending for sport, but often times I’m attempting to either defend myself against other commenters who are downright rude to me, or ideas I find blatantly false and what I consider to be spreading misinformation.

    What I found funny about the Buckley article was how little substance there was in his decision-making. He likes Obama’s demeanor. That’s a perfectly legitimate choice (though low on serious thought lacking any logic). I found it amusing.

  45. @Francheska –

    I’m sorry my comments offend you, nor I do not intend to be condescending for sport, but often times I’m attempting to either defend myself against other commenters who are downright rude to me, or ideas I find blatantly false and what I consider to be spreading misinformation.

    What I found funny about the Buckley article was how little substance there was in his decision-making. He likes Obama’s demeanor. That’s a perfectly legitimate choice (though low on serious thought lacking any logic). I found it amusing.

  46. @Francheska –

    I’m sorry my comments offend you, nor I do not intend to be condescending for sport, but often times I’m attempting to either defend myself against other commenters who are downright rude to me, or ideas I find blatantly false and what I consider to be spreading misinformation.

    What I found funny about the Buckley article was how little substance there was in his decision-making. He likes Obama’s demeanor. That’s a perfectly legitimate choice (though low on serious thought lacking any logic). I found it amusing.

  47. Seth says:

    Regarding Obama’s potential ability to manage the relationship with Congress, this article in the American Prospect is quite informative. (Follow the link and search for ‘Rouse’, to find the best part.)

    The title “It’s His Party” conveys the gist. What I took away from it was an impression that Obama has already tapped into the congressional staff network at a deep level — far deeper than a Senator of his short tenure normally would have. A true “outsider” President normally has great difficulty getting familiar with how Congress operates. Obama’s leg up on staffing should work to dramatically reduce the learning-curve.

  48. Seth says:

    Regarding Obama’s potential ability to manage the relationship with Congress, this article in the American Prospect is quite informative. (Follow the link and search for ‘Rouse’, to find the best part.)

    The title “It’s His Party” conveys the gist. What I took away from it was an impression that Obama has already tapped into the congressional staff network at a deep level — far deeper than a Senator of his short tenure normally would have. A true “outsider” President normally has great difficulty getting familiar with how Congress operates. Obama’s leg up on staffing should work to dramatically reduce the learning-curve.

  49. Seth says:

    Regarding Obama’s potential ability to manage the relationship with Congress, this article in the American Prospect is quite informative. (Follow the link and search for ‘Rouse’, to find the best part.)

    The title “It’s His Party” conveys the gist. What I took away from it was an impression that Obama has already tapped into the congressional staff network at a deep level — far deeper than a Senator of his short tenure normally would have. A true “outsider” President normally has great difficulty getting familiar with how Congress operates. Obama’s leg up on staffing should work to dramatically reduce the learning-curve.

  50. jdlarge08 says:

    @Chris Weekly Your point is deftly put, and in fact a change in the voting system that left only the final ballot between the top two or perhaps 3 (low man out, vote again). The goal is to get a better broader range of candidates than this two-party system has been producing (although the Dems looked better than usual this year). The system isn’t the only problem, though. The electorate, in failing to recognize and acknowledge the quality of candidates like Kucinich for the left, or long shots like Schwarzeneggar (if he were street legal) and give them more equal footing with those carrying heavy loads of markers from special interests and the money to push themselves to the front, via MSM ads that dumb everything and everyone down. I’m not smart enough to prescribe a workable system, but I know one that isn’t up to its billing when I see it.

  51. jdlarge08 says:

    @Chris Weekly Your point is deftly put, and in fact a change in the voting system that left only the final ballot between the top two or perhaps 3 (low man out, vote again). The goal is to get a better broader range of candidates than this two-party system has been producing (although the Dems looked better than usual this year). The system isn’t the only problem, though. The electorate, in failing to recognize and acknowledge the quality of candidates like Kucinich for the left, or long shots like Schwarzeneggar (if he were street legal) and give them more equal footing with those carrying heavy loads of markers from special interests and the money to push themselves to the front, via MSM ads that dumb everything and everyone down. I’m not smart enough to prescribe a workable system, but I know one that isn’t up to its billing when I see it.

  52. jdlarge08 says:

    @Chris Weekly Your point is deftly put, and in fact a change in the voting system that left only the final ballot between the top two or perhaps 3 (low man out, vote again). The goal is to get a better broader range of candidates than this two-party system has been producing (although the Dems looked better than usual this year). The system isn’t the only problem, though. The electorate, in failing to recognize and acknowledge the quality of candidates like Kucinich for the left, or long shots like Schwarzeneggar (if he were street legal) and give them more equal footing with those carrying heavy loads of markers from special interests and the money to push themselves to the front, via MSM ads that dumb everything and everyone down. I’m not smart enough to prescribe a workable system, but I know one that isn’t up to its billing when I see it.

  53. The European says:

    For me, an outsider and a European, its not too difficult to see the future of American politics and especially the GOP. The Democratic Party is still the same old party as always – its big government, health care, peace in the world, trade wars etc. – because of a financial crisis and a very unpopular Republican president along with a very articulate colorful young guy – those old slogans will probably give them the Presidency.
    The GOP I believe is more likely to change to become a grand center-right party like those of so many European countries. What the Right has done right in Europe is to embrace environment (as does McCain), they strongly support Free Markets (as Conservatives in the US), they protect their populations with more resources to Police and Military (as Bush), they engage in a fight for global Democracy etc. The GOP is already now positioning themselves in that way, but the Dems are still taking about protecting blue-collar workers, do they still live in the 19th Century?…Hasn’t America always been about creating your own destiny?
    We all know that Bush is a reaction to Clinton, and that Obama is a reaction to Bush, none of them were/will be very good presidents, but in 2016 we got a modern Republican with a party thats is flexible and modern with individual liberty, low taxes, free markets and an aggressive activistic foreign policy as their brands against a Democratic Party that still screams somewhere to the left of the middle – did the Dems come up with a McCain-style environmental policy or his League of Democracies? Once the old generation of social conservatives pass on their votes to their more moderate children and since the general population growth in the South is higher than in the North, the GOP will be a very tough opponent.

  54. The European says:

    For me, an outsider and a European, its not too difficult to see the future of American politics and especially the GOP. The Democratic Party is still the same old party as always – its big government, health care, peace in the world, trade wars etc. – because of a financial crisis and a very unpopular Republican president along with a very articulate colorful young guy – those old slogans will probably give them the Presidency.
    The GOP I believe is more likely to change to become a grand center-right party like those of so many European countries. What the Right has done right in Europe is to embrace environment (as does McCain), they strongly support Free Markets (as Conservatives in the US), they protect their populations with more resources to Police and Military (as Bush), they engage in a fight for global Democracy etc. The GOP is already now positioning themselves in that way, but the Dems are still taking about protecting blue-collar workers, do they still live in the 19th Century?…Hasn’t America always been about creating your own destiny?
    We all know that Bush is a reaction to Clinton, and that Obama is a reaction to Bush, none of them were/will be very good presidents, but in 2016 we got a modern Republican with a party thats is flexible and modern with individual liberty, low taxes, free markets and an aggressive activistic foreign policy as their brands against a Democratic Party that still screams somewhere to the left of the middle – did the Dems come up with a McCain-style environmental policy or his League of Democracies? Once the old generation of social conservatives pass on their votes to their more moderate children and since the general population growth in the South is higher than in the North, the GOP will be a very tough opponent.

  55. The European says:

    For me, an outsider and a European, its not too difficult to see the future of American politics and especially the GOP. The Democratic Party is still the same old party as always – its big government, health care, peace in the world, trade wars etc. – because of a financial crisis and a very unpopular Republican president along with a very articulate colorful young guy – those old slogans will probably give them the Presidency.
    The GOP I believe is more likely to change to become a grand center-right party like those of so many European countries. What the Right has done right in Europe is to embrace environment (as does McCain), they strongly support Free Markets (as Conservatives in the US), they protect their populations with more resources to Police and Military (as Bush), they engage in a fight for global Democracy etc. The GOP is already now positioning themselves in that way, but the Dems are still taking about protecting blue-collar workers, do they still live in the 19th Century?…Hasn’t America always been about creating your own destiny?
    We all know that Bush is a reaction to Clinton, and that Obama is a reaction to Bush, none of them were/will be very good presidents, but in 2016 we got a modern Republican with a party thats is flexible and modern with individual liberty, low taxes, free markets and an aggressive activistic foreign policy as their brands against a Democratic Party that still screams somewhere to the left of the middle – did the Dems come up with a McCain-style environmental policy or his League of Democracies? Once the old generation of social conservatives pass on their votes to their more moderate children and since the general population growth in the South is higher than in the North, the GOP will be a very tough opponent.

  56. Ken Ballweg says:

    Perhaps, European, the GOP will come back to the center long enough to gain grace again. What is unknown is how much of a sea change the economy will introduce, and whether the public will actually imprint on the notion that Reganomics are the cause of it.

    If so, even a centrist GOP will have to stop being the POD (party of deficits) and that is going to require a major change in who is in charge. There are ton of old line fiscal and social conservatives out there, they just haven’t been able to get any traction against the right wing attack industry the party has relied on for years. If they try to distance themselves from the noise machine, the dynamics wont be anyway as smooth as you imagine.

  57. Ken Ballweg says:

    Perhaps, European, the GOP will come back to the center long enough to gain grace again. What is unknown is how much of a sea change the economy will introduce, and whether the public will actually imprint on the notion that Reganomics are the cause of it.

    If so, even a centrist GOP will have to stop being the POD (party of deficits) and that is going to require a major change in who is in charge. There are ton of old line fiscal and social conservatives out there, they just haven’t been able to get any traction against the right wing attack industry the party has relied on for years. If they try to distance themselves from the noise machine, the dynamics wont be anyway as smooth as you imagine.

  58. Rick Turner says:

    European, yeah, and next year NASCAR will be running electric cars…

  59. Rick Turner says:

    European, yeah, and next year NASCAR will be running electric cars…

  60. Rick Turner says:

    European, yeah, and next year NASCAR will be running electric cars…

  61. Rick Turner says:

    European, yeah, and next year NASCAR will be running electric cars…

  62. Tom Daniel says:

    It appears the division in the GOP to have neared the breaking point as this election appears to have left the party on the verge of divorce. The GOP has lost its identity and now learderless will flounder.

    Historically parties reinvent themselves. The question becomes which road the party chooses. Buckley’s defection exemplifies the quandry it faces.

    There are millions of “big D” Democrats who have felt long trapped. They are fiscally conservative, yet have historically been unable to digest the social agenda of the “Base.”

    The last 8 years have been a disaster for any intellectually honest member of the GOP, as it has regressed into the party of fear and intollerance.

    It would be a mistake for the GOP to discount Senator Obama as a lucky recipient of good luck. He has run a brilliant campaign tapping into “the heart of America.” His touch is deft and insticts are keen. It seems unlikely much will change when/if elected.

    History shows that economies rebound and four years from now the country will likely be in a period of prosperity. The chances of a two term president are good.

    Without a move to the center by the GOP the political map is ripe for realignment. Left with little choice it seems the party has left llittle room for intellectuals and fiscal conservatives.

    There will always be at least two parties in our system. Checks and balances demand it even if absolute power didn’t corrupt the party in power.

    A socially conservative party reemerge and force new alliances and at some point become relevent.

    Interestingly enough, if reallignment were to occure, there addition to the Democratic party of economic conservatives could strengthen the party bringing it further to the right.

  63. Tom Daniel says:

    It appears the division in the GOP to have neared the breaking point as this election appears to have left the party on the verge of divorce. The GOP has lost its identity and now learderless will flounder.

    Historically parties reinvent themselves. The question becomes which road the party chooses. Buckley’s defection exemplifies the quandry it faces.

    There are millions of “big D” Democrats who have felt long trapped. They are fiscally conservative, yet have historically been unable to digest the social agenda of the “Base.”

    The last 8 years have been a disaster for any intellectually honest member of the GOP, as it has regressed into the party of fear and intollerance.

    It would be a mistake for the GOP to discount Senator Obama as a lucky recipient of good luck. He has run a brilliant campaign tapping into “the heart of America.” His touch is deft and insticts are keen. It seems unlikely much will change when/if elected.

    History shows that economies rebound and four years from now the country will likely be in a period of prosperity. The chances of a two term president are good.

    Without a move to the center by the GOP the political map is ripe for realignment. Left with little choice it seems the party has left llittle room for intellectuals and fiscal conservatives.

    There will always be at least two parties in our system. Checks and balances demand it even if absolute power didn’t corrupt the party in power.

    A socially conservative party reemerge and force new alliances and at some point become relevent.

    Interestingly enough, if reallignment were to occure, there addition to the Democratic party of economic conservatives could strengthen the party bringing it further to the right.

  64. Tom Daniel says:

    It appears the division in the GOP to have neared the breaking point as this election appears to have left the party on the verge of divorce. The GOP has lost its identity and now learderless will flounder.

    Historically parties reinvent themselves. The question becomes which road the party chooses. Buckley’s defection exemplifies the quandry it faces.

    There are millions of “big D” Democrats who have felt long trapped. They are fiscally conservative, yet have historically been unable to digest the social agenda of the “Base.”

    The last 8 years have been a disaster for any intellectually honest member of the GOP, as it has regressed into the party of fear and intollerance.

    It would be a mistake for the GOP to discount Senator Obama as a lucky recipient of good luck. He has run a brilliant campaign tapping into “the heart of America.” His touch is deft and insticts are keen. It seems unlikely much will change when/if elected.

    History shows that economies rebound and four years from now the country will likely be in a period of prosperity. The chances of a two term president are good.

    Without a move to the center by the GOP the political map is ripe for realignment. Left with little choice it seems the party has left llittle room for intellectuals and fiscal conservatives.

    There will always be at least two parties in our system. Checks and balances demand it even if absolute power didn’t corrupt the party in power.

    A socially conservative party reemerge and force new alliances and at some point become relevent.

    Interestingly enough, if reallignment were to occure, there addition to the Democratic party of economic conservatives could strengthen the party bringing it further to the right.

  65. Tom Daniel says:

    It appears the division in the GOP to have neared the breaking point as this election appears to have left the party on the verge of divorce. The GOP has lost its identity and now learderless will flounder.

    Historically parties reinvent themselves. The question becomes which road the party chooses. Buckley’s defection exemplifies the quandry it faces.

    There are millions of “big D” Democrats who have felt long trapped. They are fiscally conservative, yet have historically been unable to digest the social agenda of the “Base.”

    The last 8 years have been a disaster for any intellectually honest member of the GOP, as it has regressed into the party of fear and intollerance.

    It would be a mistake for the GOP to discount Senator Obama as a lucky recipient of good luck. He has run a brilliant campaign tapping into “the heart of America.” His touch is deft and insticts are keen. It seems unlikely much will change when/if elected.

    History shows that economies rebound and four years from now the country will likely be in a period of prosperity. The chances of a two term president are good.

    Without a move to the center by the GOP the political map is ripe for realignment. Left with little choice it seems the party has left llittle room for intellectuals and fiscal conservatives.

    There will always be at least two parties in our system. Checks and balances demand it even if absolute power didn’t corrupt the party in power.

    A socially conservative party reemerge and force new alliances and at some point become relevent.

    Interestingly enough, if reallignment were to occure, there addition to the Democratic party of economic conservatives could strengthen the party bringing it further to the right.

  66. len bullard says:

    @Tom:

    Obama got this far by voting present. That doesn’t work in the Oval Office. The phrase “the buck stops here” comes to mind.

    The ‘gator beneath the still pond is the ACORN investigations by the FBI. His campaign sent them almost a million dollars. If they did that and it is proven they knew about the registration fraud, then a RICO indictment will follow. Who will be in it will depend on who is willing to fall on their sword for Obama.

    I don’t think the Republicans will have a hard time recovering. I believe they are already working on that. I think the Democrats will have a hard time holding on.

  67. len bullard says:

    @Tom:

    Obama got this far by voting present. That doesn’t work in the Oval Office. The phrase “the buck stops here” comes to mind.

    The ‘gator beneath the still pond is the ACORN investigations by the FBI. His campaign sent them almost a million dollars. If they did that and it is proven they knew about the registration fraud, then a RICO indictment will follow. Who will be in it will depend on who is willing to fall on their sword for Obama.

    I don’t think the Republicans will have a hard time recovering. I believe they are already working on that. I think the Democrats will have a hard time holding on.

  68. len bullard says:

    @Tom:

    Obama got this far by voting present. That doesn’t work in the Oval Office. The phrase “the buck stops here” comes to mind.

    The ‘gator beneath the still pond is the ACORN investigations by the FBI. His campaign sent them almost a million dollars. If they did that and it is proven they knew about the registration fraud, then a RICO indictment will follow. Who will be in it will depend on who is willing to fall on their sword for Obama.

    I don’t think the Republicans will have a hard time recovering. I believe they are already working on that. I think the Democrats will have a hard time holding on.

  69. Thornhill says:

    The statement that the “limbaugh kooks” will split off is conclusory. What evidence is there to support that notion? To the contrary the kooks have been clutching on to the moderates like a jilted lover, and the moderates love the attention because the kooks are the loudest screamers in the land. The intellectual wing of the GOP will never go with the Democrats unless the Democrats lost their own left wing. Impossible. So either the intellectuals form a new party or they stay in bed with the only grand old tired party they’ve been sleeping with since Reagan.

  70. Thornhill says:

    The statement that the “limbaugh kooks” will split off is conclusory. What evidence is there to support that notion? To the contrary the kooks have been clutching on to the moderates like a jilted lover, and the moderates love the attention because the kooks are the loudest screamers in the land. The intellectual wing of the GOP will never go with the Democrats unless the Democrats lost their own left wing. Impossible. So either the intellectuals form a new party or they stay in bed with the only grand old tired party they’ve been sleeping with since Reagan.

  71. Thornhill says:

    The statement that the “limbaugh kooks” will split off is conclusory. What evidence is there to support that notion? To the contrary the kooks have been clutching on to the moderates like a jilted lover, and the moderates love the attention because the kooks are the loudest screamers in the land. The intellectual wing of the GOP will never go with the Democrats unless the Democrats lost their own left wing. Impossible. So either the intellectuals form a new party or they stay in bed with the only grand old tired party they’ve been sleeping with since Reagan.

  72. Rick Turner says:

    “History shows that economies rebound and four years from now the country will likely be in a period of prosperity. ” Tom, you’re ignoring some of the more Malthusian issues that surround this current economic meltdown. Peak oil, climate change and the subsequent shrinkage of arable land, overpopulation, the desire in the 3rd World to have what the New World has had, revolutionary anger in the Islamic world, and the plague of HIV and AIDS are the underpinnings of the destruction that greed has brought upon the world economy. I think it’s going to take major change and perhaps two generations for “prosperity” to return. Look for major “corrections” along the way. Not fun times…

  73. Rick Turner says:

    “History shows that economies rebound and four years from now the country will likely be in a period of prosperity. ” Tom, you’re ignoring some of the more Malthusian issues that surround this current economic meltdown. Peak oil, climate change and the subsequent shrinkage of arable land, overpopulation, the desire in the 3rd World to have what the New World has had, revolutionary anger in the Islamic world, and the plague of HIV and AIDS are the underpinnings of the destruction that greed has brought upon the world economy. I think it’s going to take major change and perhaps two generations for “prosperity” to return. Look for major “corrections” along the way. Not fun times…

  74. Rick Turner says:

    “History shows that economies rebound and four years from now the country will likely be in a period of prosperity. ” Tom, you’re ignoring some of the more Malthusian issues that surround this current economic meltdown. Peak oil, climate change and the subsequent shrinkage of arable land, overpopulation, the desire in the 3rd World to have what the New World has had, revolutionary anger in the Islamic world, and the plague of HIV and AIDS are the underpinnings of the destruction that greed has brought upon the world economy. I think it’s going to take major change and perhaps two generations for “prosperity” to return. Look for major “corrections” along the way. Not fun times…

  75. Rick Turner says:

    “History shows that economies rebound and four years from now the country will likely be in a period of prosperity. ” Tom, you’re ignoring some of the more Malthusian issues that surround this current economic meltdown. Peak oil, climate change and the subsequent shrinkage of arable land, overpopulation, the desire in the 3rd World to have what the New World has had, revolutionary anger in the Islamic world, and the plague of HIV and AIDS are the underpinnings of the destruction that greed has brought upon the world economy. I think it’s going to take major change and perhaps two generations for “prosperity” to return. Look for major “corrections” along the way. Not fun times…

  76. Rick Turner says:

    And Len, you’re sounding more and more like a permanently spliced tape loop.

  77. Rick Turner says:

    And Len, you’re sounding more and more like a permanently spliced tape loop.

  78. Rick Turner says:

    And Len, you’re sounding more and more like a permanently spliced tape loop.

  79. Rick Turner says:

    And Len, you’re sounding more and more like a permanently spliced tape loop.

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