It is hard to imagine now that four years ago George Bush was reelected in the midst of a climate of fear and suspicion. Democrats were on the defensive, the long term relevancy of their party being questioned by the media. Today’s election may render the Republicans a minority party, completely out of tune with the mood of the country. What happened?
The easy answer would be to say “Iraq and Lehman Bros.”. Those two tragedies expose the fallacy of the neoconservative philosophy of preemptive war and radical deregulation. But I would argue for two different phrases–”Bottom-up and Broadband”. In 2004 Democrats were overpowered by two forces: the Republican Top Down money/organizing machine and the power of right wing talk radio. There were many states that will vote Democratic today (Montana, Virginia, North Carolina, Indiana) that in 2004 had neither organization or media that reflected a Democratic message.
When after the 2004 defeat Howard Dean came to LA to campaign for the DNC Chairman spot, he said he would build a Democratic organization in all 50 states. And he did. But what Barack Obama realized from the start was that he was building a movement, not just a political campaign and he seized upon the bottom-up power of the Internet that Dean had pioneered and took it to a new level. And while the Clintons didn’t run a 50 state campaign, Obama did and it really paid off in the final month of the general campaign with the extraordinary organization And that’s where Broadband came in to the picture. Think about the effect of the will.i.am “Yes We Can” video, viewed more than 18 million times on the net. Continue reading →
With despair rising even among many of John McCain’s own advisors, influential Republicans inside and outside his campaign are engaged in an intense round of blame-casting and rear-covering—-much of it virtually conceding that an Election Day rout is likely.
A McCain interview published Thursday in the Washington Times sparked the latest and most nasty round of Washington finger-pointing, with senior GOP hands close to President Bush and top congressional aides denouncing the candidate for what they said was an unfocused message and poorly executed campaign.
What is emerging is a group of Palinistas gathered around Bill Kristol and The Weekly Standard and the two kings of Right Wing Radio–Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. They believe the future of the Republican Party is in the way Palin can work up a crowd of The Base. Their theory is to return the early days of minority guerrila war when Newt Gingrich was a backbencher and Rush was just getting started. They will launch a permanent campaign against Obama in the same way they ran a permanent anti-Clinton operation. Continue reading →
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.
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. Continue reading →
The essence of Paul Krugman’s latest installment in his endless rant again Obama’s “politics of hope”is that Bill Clinton tried to run as a candidate of hope in 1992 and it got him nothing but scorn.
Whatever hopes people might have had that Mr. Clinton would usher in a new era of national unity were quickly dashed. Within just a few months the country was wracked by the bitter partisanship Mr. Obama has decried.
Krugman’s argument for the last six weeks has been that only a fighting partisan can take on the “malefactors of megawealth”that are wrecking this country, and that Obama’s vision of a Post Partisan Politics is an impossible dream–A Fairy Tale. My problem with Krugman’s op-ed is he assumes we are still in 1992, when the power of the boogie men he cites (Jerry Falwell, Rush Limbaugh, Richard Mellon Scaife) was unchallenged. Today, Falwell is dead and there are more evangelicals following the progressive teachings of Rick Warrenand Jim Wallis then the reactionary preaching of Pat Robertson and Ralph Reed. Right wing financiers like Scaife have enough of their own troubles that they hardly have time to try another Arkansas Project, especially with someone like Barack, who has less of a “bimbo eruption” problem than Bill.
Finally the much vaunted power of Right Wing Talk Radio is beginning to fade in the age of the Internet (just starting in 1992). Rush Limbaugh has enough trouble trying to convince hard core Republicans to vote against McCain and Sean Hannity’s embrace of Rudy Guiliani has not exactly produced results. Republican’s who might have passively nodded in assent to Limbaugh and Hannity screeds, now see that the curtain has been torn back on their Oz like manipulations and they really don’t have all the power they pretended to have. The notion that these blowhards could move the whole country is laughable. I know Krugman has been bloodied by these same forces of the right wing media machine, but he is letting his paranoia impinge on his judgement.