Friday, January 11, 2008

McCain and the Future of the GOP

The GOP is in trouble.

Yeah, I know, what's new? Aside from stating the obvious, the GOP is not the "party of tomorrow." It hasn't been for a long time. It has been so focused on trying to raise Ronald Reagan from the dead, that it has forgotten that times have changed.

Take tax cuts. When Reagan came into office in the 80s, the tax rates were crazy. Over time, they have come down considerably. The fact is, Republicans were sucessful. The problem is, conservatives started seeing tax cuts as the answer to all that ails us. But times have changed. People are no longer worried about Washington grabbing more and more money from us, they are concerned about health care and rising gas prices- and they know a simple tax cut isn't going to solve it.

Then there is the shrinking GOP base. Reagan was willing to open the door to a whole bunch of people who had never thought about being Republican. Not many changed, but I would gather that his message attracted many an independent and Democrat which is why he served two terms. Today, the party seems to think the GOP can win on the backs of the religious right and the Club for Growth crowd. The rise of "Tancredoism" has alienated Hispanic voters. If elections are won and lost by creating coalitions, then the GOP is making sure it won't win the next few elections.

The GOP needs to change. It has to provide an competent asnswer to pressing issues and so far, they haven't bothered to do that, except a few people...among them, John McCain.

I've supported McCain in the past, and then fell out of "love" with him for some of his social stands. But as time went on, I have come to seem him, not only as the one who can be a credible candidate for President, but one that could help expand the GOP and being about needed change in the party. As one writer notes, McCain seems to be the only GOP candidate that is courting Independents, while the others try to please the ever-shrinking GOP base.

The Republican party isn't headed for extinction, but if it doesn't really take on economic issues, if it doesn't care about expanding it's base, we can get used to Democratic dominance for quite some time.


Steve Nizer said...

If McCain had won in 2000, this would be a very different country. A better one. The social fundamentalism is a loser for the party. Hopefully, if McCain gets the nod, Ralph Reed et al will be frozen out and minimized.

The Truffle said...

The GOP should drop the fundie wing of the party. Right now, they're dragging down the rest of the party. Also, if they really want to be the party of fiscal conservatism, they need to lose the borrow-and-spend mentality that has plagued the GOP in the last eight years.

musemonk said...

You guys are on the right track. The more I research McCain, the more he evokes the memory of an earlier POW,
maverick, and principled conservative by the name of winston churchill.

Paul Wartenberg said...

The irony is, the GOP base is now so polarized that someone like McCain, someone who appeals to moderates and independents, can't even win the primaries. The GOP doesn't even really have a base anymore, the party now divided between the social/religious extremists (Huckabee, Hunter, Tancredo) and the neocon warmongers (Giuliani, Romney, even McCain to some extent). Any fiscal conservatives still in the tent are pining for Paul.

Anonymous said...

As a pro-choice, pro-environmental protection, anti-war conservative, there is but one candidate. That candidate is Ron Paul. In politics compromises must be made. Rudy Giuliani is pro-choice, John McCain is in favor of environmental protection. I would endorse either one of them if they repudiated their foreign policy stance. Ron Paul is neither pro-choice/gay rights nor strong on environmental issues, but I think foreign policy is at stake here. This is why I think Ron Paul is best for those who are sickened by the direction of the Republicans. Despite his pro-life stance, he is a strong social liberal in most other respects. In my opinion, as with Barry Goldwater, staying out of people's private affairs is an authentic conservative platform. McCain and Giuliani are better than most, but they are not the best.

Goldwater said...

I see Huck-A-Looser has just blown away any chance of ever being elected again. Equating a care giving doctor to a murdering koran thumper?!! Just like all the other fundies, need to kick them out and make sure they bounce a few times out the door.

Can you imagine all that wasted cash that could have been spent on the real race?! What a waste!!

While everyone talks Reagan it is really Goldwater they should be looking at. Right ideas, still right, and you know it in your heart, just need to add a little charisma to the package.