Who’s Running This GOP Thing Anyway…

Random thought of the day, and this is not specific to any one party. Sometimes it stinks to be the party out of power, especially in the off-year (2011) of an upcoming Presidential campaign (2012). There is a leadership vacuum in the Republican party right now. By definition, McConnell, Boehner and to a lesser extent Preibus “run” the various aspects of the party, but the reality is that it’s split, and with the Presidential campaign on the horizon and personalities battling for attention, money, staff and brand positioning, things are getting interesting.

Politics and politicians abhor a vacuum. That giant sucking sound you hear, it’s the perennial race to see who can fill the void.  Sometimes people take it (Reagan literally taking the microphone), sometimes it’s offered (and even rejected as in the case of Powell), and sometimes there’s just an old-fashioned political brawl.  Given the amount of money in play, the mood of the electorate, the cult of celebrity and the personalities involved, I see this looking more like a World Wrestling Cage Match than I do a Lincoln-Douglass debate.

Watch Sen. DeMint, the power behind the power in the Senate. Watch John McCain, you know, the cranky guy telling you to get off his lawn — try to exercise a last gasp at control by tacking back to the center again and becoming a foil for DeMint. Watch Thune elblow DeMint in his quest for the Presidency. Watch the anti-Boehner in the House, not sure who that is yet, but there will be Tea Party inspired challenges. Pence, possibly?

And of course, watch the Presidential field try to play Congressional Republicans like pinball. Oh, and don’t forget the Governors/former Govs, like Pawlenty, Daniels, Jindahl, Haley, Barbour, who will make the whole lot of them in DC nuts and nervous.

My bottom line: like it or not, Obama speaks with a singular voice for Dems. No matter how Progressives like me holler, he is our candidate, period, and I expect that the campaign will be focused and disciplined, unlike most of the Presidency so far. Over the past couple years, the Republicans were remarkably lockstep in their opposition and disciplined in their communications. The chances are pretty slim that the Republicans will speak with one voice on anything for the next couple years…not for the lack of trying, however. Should be pretty interesting.

Buckle your seatbelts and put your tray tables up. This should be a fun ride…

— Jeff K

5 responses to “Who’s Running This GOP Thing Anyway…

  1. Couldn’t agree more. It’s difficult to see a unified party emerging against Obama. A palatable conservative will emerge, which is why I think it will be Gingrich. The good ones are not conservative enough to survive the primary. I predict that there will be a viable third candidate who will receive at least 25% of the vote, and have a legitimate shot at winning.

    This third candidate is just as likely to be a spurned common sense republican like Daniels or Pawlenty, as it is to be a Bloomberg.

    A Palin nomination makes a third candidate run and win more possible. Maybe that’s what we should all hope for – an election where 30% votes for Obama, 30% votes for Palin, and 40% votes for…….

  2. Thinking about the following scenario: “30% votes for Obama, 30% votes for Palin, and 40% votes ”

    The thing is Obama would have incumbancy in his favor, along with the opportunity to present a single authoritative, discipline message to the public.

    Now how realistic is it to assume that approval ratings would fall back to around 30% or that only 30% of likely voter would come out and vote for him? Didn’t he bottom out so far at around 40%. Otherwise, I recall Bill Clinton eaked out something like 49% of the vote 1996.

    Granted a renewed recession (say another bubble popping on wall street, or states repudiating debt a la the 1839 panic) or a big foreign policy disaster could do it….

    More significantly, what would a Palin run plus another competitive, conservative candidate run do to the electoral counts?

  3. Michael – all great points. My prediction is completely reliant on the overwhelming appeal of the #3. It can’t be just any ordinary candidate. It must be someone who only the die hard party faithful won’t go for, meaning he/she has to run the table on the independent vote and attract enough away from Palin and Obama.

    What if for example – the tea party, spurned by mainstream republicans over the next 2 years, got behind say a Michael Bloomberg, or a Chris Christie, or Robert Gates, or Gen. Patraeus.

    I don’t know a thing about the General Patraeus’s politics, but I think he would be able to walk away with it by channeling a Dwight Eisenhower-esque, – be afraid of the “K-Street Industrial Complex”.

    I think there are plenty of white nights out there. The problems is that the white nights are not generally risk takers, and don’t always have the ambition for the Presidency.

    Yes – a tall order indeed. But now I’m just rambling….

  4. The problem is the TEA party appears to comprise a sufficient grab bag of fringe elements – People promoting nullification, birthers, conspiracy theorists (maybe past militia types), nativists, anti democratic types (as inanti 17th amendment), possibly racists even – to make it unappealing to anyone seriously considering a run (it isn’t the 19th century where Morse could run with the Know nothings, or mid 20th century where Byrd and Wallace and Thurman could associate with segregationists, etc.).

    I doubt Bloomberg, Petreus and Gates would care to work with that crowd (imagine Bloomberg in front of self proclaimed evangelicals and Christian fundamentalists?), even if they tried to pursue a Southern lite strategy..

    Otherwise, their demands are largely incoherent, unrealistic or go against the grain of what most Americans want (like their social security).

    I said this before, if Palin got the nomination, the Republican party will be wrecked by clinging to the southern strategy from the 1960s. Would be like bust ups within the Federalists, Whigs, and Democrats in the 19th century, or the Republicans in 1912.

  5. I think you are right that the road to Republican ruin is paved in Palin. However – there are plenty of us who believe in everything the TEA Party stands for, but to your point – are a little scared to go to a rally.

    At the same time, I think the extremism in the TEA party is WAY overplayed by the left, rightly so, because its a real cultural movement that is changing the face of America regardless of whether you are a “member”.

    I’m and avid fan of Fox, CATO Institute, and a news-site called The Daily Caller. CATO speaks for itself, its a conservative-libertarian driven think tank. They think both republicans and democrats are both a bunch of brainless turds (my language not theirs).

    I’ve noted a change in FOX and the Daily Caller over the past couple weeks in bashing both Obama and Republicans. I sense that the media is turning on the politicians (of both parties) and realizing they (the media) have a role in “change”.

    People in the media are smart – and they see more of the stupid things than we do since they filter it. I don’t think they want to stand by anymore and be shills for policies on both sides that are wrecking the country.

    The change I see is that the media is more evenly critical of both parties. I argue that this is rooted in the idea of smaller government and the TEA Party.

    I think the next 2 years are going to be much crazier, and much more un-orthodox politically than everyone thinks.

    Now will Glenn & Jeff get their State of the Union episode up already!

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