November 9, 2005

Dark Days for GOP

I don't mean the elections. Speaker O'Neill famously said "all politics is local" and I don't see any trends from yesterday looming large in '06 or '08. You could say that W has lost the star power that propelled the party so well in '02 and '04. That may be right but it may not.

No, today is a dark day because the GOP has no principles. AP:

WASHINGTON - The chiefs of five major oil companies defended the industry's huge profits Wednesday at a Senate hearing where lawmakers said they should explain prices and assure people they're not being gouged.

There is a "growing suspicion that oil companies are taking unfair advantage," Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., said as the hearing opened in a packed Senate committee room.

Gotta love the AP. The word huge does not belong in the lede but that's not the story here. GOP capitulation is the story here. GOP capitulation is nothing new to me, but the idea that it's a successful strategy and not a mistake is.

The cover story in this week's Weekly Standard alarmed me. Is it real? Does the Weekly Standard buy it? Is it a sign of Bush weakening that it is printed now? Here is a subscriber's link. If it goes to the free site I will update, but I'd suggest you pick up a copy. (Silence, I don't expect you to support Kristol & Barnes -- call me and I'll get you my copy!)

I consider myself a pragmatist, but authors Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam -- armed with a bevy of poll data (how many polls in a bevy?) say there is no plurality for small government and that the GOP, in moving from the "party of the country club" to the "party of Sam's Club" has marginalized the portion of its base that believes in free markets, free trade and limited government.

Populism, according to the article, is now a Republican phenomenon, inherited with the less elitist base.

Wow. I agree and point with pride to the fact that the Democrats are now the elite party. But it's difficult to turn around and argue with Douthat and Salam. Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh conservatives are going to demand closed borders, won't have a problem with tariffs, and will want --um - government health care! Tuition credits for child-rearing!

I suppose that the right leader might rally these troops. But I have always held that people just need a little education and they'll all be little Hayekians. Hate to put words in another's mouth but I think Johngalt believes similarly that Randian beliefs just need a fair hearing to gain ascendancy.

Maybe these guys are all wet, but it requires some consideration -- think about it while you watch GOP Senators on TV beating up Oil Executives for making money for their shareholders. I'm going back to bed!

UPDATE: Michael Barone says: "The spin doctors of the other party quote Tip O'Neill's adage that 'all politics is local' and say that the results were due to state and local issues and have no relevance to national politics." Good to know one of my heroes is reading ThreeSources...

Politics Posted by John Kranz at November 9, 2005 11:07 AM

I'll add another dark thought to this negative post.

Republicans in Ohio (who have scored a lot of ink this decade for being more about incumbency than ideas) fought tooth and nail against an anti-gerrymandering initiative. Just as Democrats in CA fought the same.

I hate gerrymandering more than I love control of the House. If Ohio and Florida (and Colorado) lose Rs to real representative Democracy, so be it.

Posted by: jk at November 9, 2005 11:45 AM

Gerrymandering is a problem everywhere. It's a problem with politicians being out for politicians not being out for the people.

When the Dems and the Rs agree to carve up a town, county or state into ludicrous ways to protect each other in some sort of a horse trade, we're all losers.

Posted by: AlexC at November 9, 2005 12:32 PM

Gerrymandering is anti-democratic, I don't see how you argue otherwise and both parties are guilty. I had hoped with the advent of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) that we would have tool to put a stop to it. Unfortunately GIS seems to just be a new weapon in increasing the effectiveness of gerrymandering. Commissions of judges would be better than the politicians at being unbiased but no where near perfect. We used to think of the Supreme Court as above politics and look where that got us. I have to believe there is a mathematical model concept that could be used to draw districts so that no (biased) humans carve the playing field. With available computer technology is a 10 year census really the best we can do as well? I can do a Google search in 1/10th of a second, surely we can update census data more than every decade?

Posted by: Silence Dogood at November 10, 2005 4:42 PM

The Constitution calls for a census every ten years. I fear more frequent counts would tempt legislators to more accurate gerrymandering.

Posted by: jk at November 12, 2005 4:51 PM | What do you think? [4]