Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Incredible, Shrinking Republican Party

The Washington Post has an article today about how the current crop of GOP candidates are bothering not to show up at debates hosted by African Americans and Latinos, two important voting blocks. Part of it stems from the latest anti-immigration push among GOP activists and some extends from thinking it would be a waste of time because they would be booed off stage anyway.

This, along with ditching the debate on gay issues, underscore a big problem for the GOP: a party that is in denial and that is totally out of touch. Former Presidential and Vice Presidential candidate Jack Kemp has it right when he says that if the GOP seems not to want Latinos or blacks to vote Republican.

My take on all of this goes a little like this:

I think what we are seeing is the fingerprints of Karl Rove. He was big on getting the base out to vote and that means getting white evangelicals to the voting booth. This is key, the Holy Grail. No longer are Republicans interested in expanding the GOP coalition ala Reagan, but in doing all they can to please the far right, even if it means losing the vote of independents and minorities. Gays, Latinos, and blacks need not apply. In a recent column, Ron Brownstein notes that the GOP candidates think that they problem with Bush is not that he was a good enough conservative and not that something might be wrong with conservatism itself.

The GOP is in some serious denial. They think that Bush is the problem, but they still think the key to victory is following Bush's guru and not bothering build a conservative coalition that would be made of people from all walks of life.

My own guess is that the GOP won't take on anyone else besides the far right until they get shellacked in 2008 and 2010. Maybe when they become a weak minority party will they decide to change their town and give up trying to please a rabid base.

I'm expecting the 2012 GOP convention to be held in a phone booth if the Republicans don't wake up.

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