Friday, May 16, 2008

Noonan: the GOP is dying

From Peggy Noonan in tomorrow's WSJ (hat tip: Craig Ladwig)...

The Democrats aren't the ones falling apart, the Republicans are. The Democrats can see daylight ahead. For all their fractious fighting, they're finally resolving their central drama. Hillary Clinton will leave, and Barack Obama will deliver a stirring acceptance speech. Then hand-to-hand in the general, where they see their guy triumphing. You see it when you talk to them: They're busy being born.

The Republicans? Busy dying. The brightest of them see no immediate light. They're frozen, not like a deer in the headlights but a deer in the darkness, his ears stiff at the sound. Crunch. Twig. Hunting party.

The headline Wednesday on Drudge, from Politico, said, "Republicans Stunned by Loss in Mississippi." It was about the eight-point drubbing the Democrat gave the Republican in the special House election. My first thought was: You have to be stupid to be stunned by that. Second thought: Most party leaders in Washington are stupid – detached, played out, stuck in the wisdom they learned when they were coming up, in '78 or '82 or '94....

They are also – Hill leaders, lobbyists, party speakers – successful, well-connected, busy and rich. They never guessed, back in '86, how government would pay off! They didn't know they'd stay! They came to make a difference and wound up with their butts in the butter. But affluence detaches, and in time skews thinking. It gives you the illusion you're safe, and that everyone else is. A party can lose its gut this way.

Many are ambivalent, deep inside, about the decisions made the past seven years in the White House. But they've publicly supported it so long they think they . . . support it. They get confused. Late at night they toss and turn in the antique mahogany sleigh bed in the carpeted house in McLean and try to remember what it is they really do think, and what those thoughts imply.

And those are the bright ones. The rest are in Perpetual 1980: We have the country, the troops will rally in the fall.

"This was a real wakeup call for us," someone named Robert M. Duncan, who is chairman of the Republican National Committee, told the New York Times. This was after Mississippi. "We can't let the Democrats take our issues." And those issues would be? "We can't let them pretend to be conservatives," he continued. Why not? Republicans pretend to be conservative every day....

That's what you get when principles are overwhelmed by politics-- and when you have a big tent with various types of conservatives, many of whom must then be ill-served. You can also see evidence of this in the allergic reactions to Ron Paul in many GOP circles and the GOP's inability to turn things around on fiscal conservatism.


At May 16, 2008 at 5:35 PM , Blogger Don Sherfick said...

I recall reading predictions one to two decades ago that there would ultimately be no Republican or Democratic party, but that what would emerge would essentially be a Liberal and a Conservative party. Now it appears that at least the latter is having some idological purity problems in the big tent. It might just be that the Second Law of Thermodynamics has its political equivalent and that ultimately there will be smaller and smaller blocks of inert material scattered throughout the political landscape.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home