Eroding A Fundamental Pillar Of The Right

One of the curious things that happened as a result of this election is the obliteration of a central line of thought on the right. In wins and losses electorally, Republicans and conservatives often comfort themselves with the idea that fundamentally America agrees with them. Even in what passes for a big electoral win in the modern era, the 2008 election, the right told themselves that Obama had simply fooled America into believing he was a moderate.

The thesis of 2012 was that now exposed as a leftist, the right would simply need to show up and appeal to the America they know and love and they would win. Even better, they thought, was the idea that Obama didn’t run away from his ideology. Obama ran on raising taxes for the wealthy, on an activist federal government that would involve itself on a host of issues.

But America didn’t reject Obama. It rejected the conservative position and even though the election was closer than 2008, it was a more outright rejection than conservatives expected.

For the first time in a long time, even after electoral losses to Clinton and in the 2006 midterms, the right has to actually question a fundamental pillar of their movement – the idea that their positions are America’s true defaults.

Polls indicating a new generation of Americans who believe in an activist government, one that favors federal stimulus over tax cuts, further erodes this mindset.

Even when Clinton crushed Dole in 1996, the right didn’t feel as if America had flat-out rejected them as it does now.

The right has returned to this trope so often, and it is regularly used to blast liberals for being the ones who are truly out of touch. But a lot of it hasn’t actually worked. Polling shows that Republicans are thought of as the party of the rich far more often than Democrats are considered elites. Despite oodles of GOP rhetoric about latte-sipping liberals, Democrats are more often associated with the middle and working class than Republicans.

Despite the size of the right’s megaphone, the perception hasn’t caught on.

This isn’t to say Republicans can’t or won’t be elected, but the central idea – the forthright rightness of the conservative/Republican outlook on the world that was thought to be held by Americans who only supported Democrats when they could fake these positions – is bankrupt.

I expect they will continue to reassure themselves that the nation will come around, though I also expect that day won’t come. As in the past, it’s going to take a change in the party for them to get over this disconnect. That’s not impossible, both parties have morphed over time. The Democratic and Republican parties of 1960 are nothing like the parties today.

  • oi ly

    “Wow, I have no idea who either of you are, but syncit1228 seems like a total asshole.”

    Put it this way – he grovels at the altar of Limbaugh.

  • enlightened liberal

    Frank Cuffman,
    Pretty sure Frankie DiWelcher is alive and well (as he can be anyway). His FB page seems to be updated hourly. Is it just me or does anyone else find it odd that all of Frankie’s female FB friends have Adam’s Apples?

  • oi ly

    Limbaugh’s ugly mug reaps rewards!

  • enlightened liberal

    db,
    Refresh my memory, was Frank the one who made a bet benefiting a homeless shelter and reneged when he lost? He disappeared without a trace after the election.

    • M2

      Not to speak for db but I believe it was and look at the date. Over a month and Frank and Dennis cannot bring themselves to return here. Fucking hilarious.

      • Plunket

        Marco, save the begging for your late night Craigslist ads, how about it.

        • M2

          You’ve been on another “business trip” since November 7th and that’s all you brought back? How sad.

          • M2

            Looks like Dennis got up early to run away the rest of the day.

          • Zython

            “Business trip”. Is that what the kids are calling rehab now?

          • oi ly

            Takes about 4 weeks for anti depressants to kick in. So i’m tole.

  • Buzz Killington

    Before getting too cocky, while it’s true that “Republicans” are facing this crisis, conservatism doesn’t seem to be. Democrats at this point have shifted to the right such that they are at best centrist, IMO, and frankly closer to what I’d like to see from the right-leaning major party in our country.

    • oi ly

      There’s a big difference between a “centrism” and “conservatism”. You seem to be conflating the two. It’s gonna be a year or two of magical thinking for republicans.

      • db

        oi,

        Conservative & Center are very dependent on where you stand. To Frank; we are all dangerous, leftist, radicals. To Christopher, I am a hide-bound reactionary. To me; you, Marco, & I seem pretty much together on politics. It’s a matter of your view-point.

        Marco,

        Romney as the best Candidate? The only time he showed emotion was when he was clutching hundreds of dollars in his hands. He made Scrooge McDuck look like a sympathetic character. He never appealed to the SC branch of Republicans. His positions on every issue were a matter of convenience. Romney was the ultimate “packaged” Candidate. He looked like he came from Central Casting. Could Huck or Santorum have engendered more enthusiasm? Probably. Would it have changed things? Doubtful. Would it change the aftermath? Certainly as the “Republican (SC) Message” hasn’t been tested. At least to the SC point of view.

        • M2

          Yeah, i reiterate: Mitt was their best candidate. Never did I say he was a good candidate. Far from it, but compared to Little Ricky and Huck who appeal to Jesusphiles and homophobes and no one else, he was their best shot in that field by far.

  • M2

    They didn’t have a better candidate. Mitt was their best shot. Remember that months-long Comedy Central Roast, I mean Republican debate schedule? Mitt was the only one of those with half a chance to appeal to the electorate at large. Ricky Santorum and Newt would have turned a few Red States blue in their best case scenario.

    But what doomed the GOP at the start was their message, and as that Media Matters clip illustrates, they think it’s who presents it that’s the problem. Only a few like Jindal are coming around to the idea that their issues and vision are problematic. Ronald Reagan’s Big Tent was with country club-white from the outset and never really changed much over the years, and that doomed them last month and will keep doing so.

  • M2
  • M2

    Here’s the latest example of Republicans “learning” the lessons of November 2012.

    http://mediamatters.org/video/2012/12/06/foxs-gretchen-carlson-do-we-need-a-better-mouth/191708

    • db

      Marco,

      Could another Republican Candidate have done better? Highly conjectural, but I think you & I had it when we kept pointing out that no one was giving any reason to vote FOR Romney as opposed to voting AGAINST President Obama.

      Romney had at best lukewarm support from many Republicans. There was a reason that he rarely polled above 25% of the primary electorate.

      Did Romney run a particularly “bad” campaign? No, the polls showed a small, but noticable lead for president Obama from the beginning. To my mind the campaigns did little more than pump billions into the American Economy.

      You’ve heard my opinion of th EC/SC fracture. Shoq Value (above the fold) sees it more fractured & splintered than I do, but the concept’s the same.

      So, what do you see?

  • db

    Oliver,

    First off there’s the “ACORN Stole the Election” argument that apparently has a substantial following among Republicans. Then there’s the “Obama gave them stuff” argument that has been suggested at the highest levels.

    I’m not sure that the Proponents of either argument see the need for much change as America hasn’t rejected the Republicans.

    What changes do you see coming in the Republican Party? I’d bet on more “tokenism” & given Marco Rubio’s recent “recantation(?)” of his statement that he didn’t know how old the Earth is; I’d guess that the hard-core SC are going to be chucked under the bus.

  • Christopher Foxx

    OW: For the first time in a long time, even after electoral losses to Clinton and in the 2006 midterms, the right has to actually question a fundamental pillar of their movement – the idea that their positions are America’s true defaults.

    I don’t believe that they will actually do that. And apparently, …

    I expect they will continue to reassure themselves that the nation will come around

    … neither do you.

  • M2

    That mug is scaring everyone off.