Sunday, January 13, 2013

It's Too Soon to Bury the Republican Party

By Alan Caruba

Last week, courtesy of CSPAN, I had the opportunity to hear a speech Patrick Buchanan gave at an event to celebrate Richard M. Nixon’s centenary. It was published on CNSnews and is well worth reading in full.

Buchanan said that most of us of an advanced age were, in fact, “the Nixon generation” and this is true. There wasn’t a year since his election in 1946 when he joined the 80th Congress when Nixon did not, in one fashion or another, play a pivotal role in the politics and great issue of his time despite defeats that would have driven a less determined person to leave politics and enjoy the life of a successful attorney in private practice.

The Republican Party has had its share of defeats as regards the presidency. It had the good sense to nominate the war hero, Ike Eisenhower, and he in turn chose Nixon to be his running mate for two terms from 1953 to 1961 The mainstream media savaged Nixon and would continue to do so throughout his political career, especially when he became President. Despite many achievements in office, the Watergate scandal would force his resignation.

Speaking of the Republican Party, Buchanan noted, “After the crushing defeat that fall (when Goldwater ran against Lyndon Johnson in 1964) the Republican Party was reduced to one-half of the Democratic Party’s strength; 140 House seats, 32 Senate seats, 17 governors. The Republican Party was a house divided and a house in ruins. It was an open question whether it would survive. And then began the greatest comeback in American political history.”

Despite his election, Lyndon Johnson’s expansion of the Vietnam War would result in his decision in 1968 to forego running for a second term. Nixon would run and win, twice. Buchanan reminded his audience, “In November 1972, (he) was rewarded with the most sweeping landslide in history—49 states and 60 percent of the vote.” The MSM has tried ever since to re-write the history of Richard Nixon.

“Because of the campaigns he had conducted in ’66, ’68, ’70 and ’72, a party on its deathbed in 1964 was on its way to becoming the new majority party, America’s party, which would capture the presidency and carry forty or more states in four of the next five presidential elections.” Its apogee was the two terms of Ronald Reagan in the 1980s.

The Republican Party, we’re told, is in disarray, ruled by elites, and with weak candidates like Bob Dole, John McCain, and Mitt Romney, is doomed—again. If the story of Richard Nixon and the two terms of Ronald Reagan are any indication, it is too soon to order a casket and headstone.

A slim majority of three million votes out of a total of 126 million may have reelected Barack Obama, but there are growing numbers of Americans who are already shell-shocked to discover the harm that Obamacare has imposed and the reality of his constant call for more and higher taxation. Despite the role of the MSM in getting an unknown first-term Senator from Illinois elected and their effort to protect him, public opinion is already beginning to shift.

The day after the election, Patrick Martin, on the website of the World Socialists, wrote “Obama will repay those who turned out to vote for him by carrying out measured that will devastate their jobs, living standards, and social conditions.” He predicted that “The ‘grand bargain’’ that he has pledged to negotiate with the Republicans will come at the expense of the working class, through cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other social programs.” Martin was only half right. Socialists and other liberals are already being hit by new taxes and a hint of the inflation to come. Obama, however, has shown no intention to negotiate anything with the Republicans.

The first and now second decade of the current century are far different from the turmoil of the 1960s and 70’s. They were times in which protest marches in Washington were commonplace. The last major march was in 2009 when a million or more Americans showed up to oppose Obamacare and, in the end, the Democrats—having not even read the bill—passed it on Christmas Eve. It was supposed to lower healthcare costs. It has only served to increase the costs of healthcare insurance and the provision of healthcare.

Even a generation or two of Americans who have passed through the liberal indoctrination of government schools are beginning to feel the pain in their wallets. Despite blaming George W. Bush throughout his first term, the reality is that millions of Americans are not only unemployed, given up looking for work, but will be joined by more workers, many of whom are already having their hours and paychecks reduced because of Obamacare. More than 48 months of unbroken records of unemployment nationwide are being noticed even by Democrats and Obama supporters.

The current attempts to do an end-run on the Second Amendment have caught the attention of eighty million gun owners in America. The suggestion that a massacre by a single crazed gunman is cause enough to confiscate guns or impose more restrictions on gun ownership defies common sense and is scaring a lot of Americans including liberals.

President Obama has not solved the nation’s financial crisis and the midterm elections of 2010 that gave control of the House to the Republican Party is likely to be repeated in 2014 with the possible loss of the Senate as well if voters grow increasingly unhappy.

Obama, even to those who voted for him, is increasingly creepy. He lies all the time. His selections to replace cabinet posts are running into resistance, not just from Republicans, but members of his own party.

The essential problem that the Republican Party has is “messaging.” Granted it is hard to get out one’s message when the bulk of the MSM is liberal and devoted to Obama, but even during the Romney campaign, the Republican message was weak and avoided taking on Obama’s obvious failures. Its two primary spokespersons, Rep. John Boehner and Sen. Mitch McConnell totally lack Obama’s personal appeal and neither has shown much inclination to directly or dramatically call him out on his continuous lies.

Obama has painted the GOP as the party of the rich, as a party that wants to cut entitlement programs, as war-mongers, as enemies of women, and other accusations, none of which are true. The GOP has done little to fire back in a coordinated fashion.

So, no, the Republican Party is wounded—mostly self-inflicted—but far from dead. Neither is the Tea Party movement. The GOP needs to fire up an aggressive approach to its key values and issues. It has spent too much time on the defensive. It has a backlog of talented governors—in thirty states, the highest in years—and members of Congress from whom to draw for a new generation of leaders.

The 2014 elections will test whether the Republican Party regains its voice and its heart. It has nothing to lose by vigorously challenging Obama. It will go along with an increase in the debt ceiling, but it can do so by demanding spending cuts. It must do so loudly.
© Alan Caruba, 2013


AD said...

Why do you call Obama's margin of victory "slim?" He got 51% of the vote, 4% more than Romney. Maybe you're just confused... his margin of victory is not 3 million votes, but rather 5 million. And, of course, he got an Electoral College landslide.

And why do you think public opinion is beginning to shift against Obama? He has a 53% approval rating, which is a few points higher than the steady ~48% it hovered at for a long time.

I agree that the GOP is not dead, but your analysis seems crippled by wishful thinking.

TexasFred said...

Personally, I think the GOP went from being a pretty good place to be, mostly Conservative, America 1st and such, to being nothing more than *Democrat Lite*.

Lately I don't feel like it's all that *Lite*...

Alan Caruba said...

The GOP is only defeated if it just gives up now. Too many Republicans are still depressed over the election. The next four years may well be unkind to obama and the Democrats.

Obama's margin might have been slimer if Republicans had turned out and voted. There is also the likelyhood that ballot boxes were stuffed in various Dem districts.

Alan Caruba said...

@Fred. I am disappointed, too, but I have seen the GOP make comebacks and it can again.

Unknown said...

The only thing on which I disagree in what you wrote is this:

" Rep. John Boehner and Sen. Mitch McConnell totally lack Obama’s personal appeal and neither has shown much inclination to directly or dramatically call him out on his continuous lies."

There is no personal appeal in a constant liar with an agenda to either destroy or weaken the United States and most of his "appeal" has been manufactured by the MSM, in my humble opinion

Alan Caruba said...

Hugh, a lot of people are oblivious to Obama's lies. For now his popularity numbers around above 50% and will likely stay there through his inauguration. The MSM will continue to cover for him, but the rise in taxes and other factors will take their toll.
Second terms are rarely happy ones for presidents.

dfordoom said...

It was supposed to lower healthcare costs. It has only served to increase the costs of healthcare insurance and the provision of healthcare.

In Australia we began our experiment with allowing the government to take over health care. The health system has never recovered. The health system (with its army of social workers) is now in the vanguard of the movement to deprive Australians of their fundamental rights and freedoms. It's a system that fails to deliver health care, but it does deliver massive government control over the lives of citizens.

The same agenda will undoubtedly be played out in the US. Once the socialists have completed their takeover of the education system then the health system becomes the inevitable next step.

dfordoom said...

The problem throughout the English-speaking world is not that conservative parties can no longer win elections. The problem is that they are no longer conservative parties. What they stand for is merely a slightly slower transition to socialism.

Here in New South Wales our newly-elected conservative government has found a new cause to champion - the suppression of that dangerous evil, freedom of speech. Make any criticism of multiculturalism and face six months in prison. This from a conservative government that just won a landslide victory because people were fed up with the socialists.

Alan Caruba said...

@dfordoom. Okay, you have definetely convinced me not to move to Australia. I had no idea things are as bad as you describe.

TonyfromOz said...


I also live here in Australia, in Queensland. I was a member of the Royal Australian Air Force for 25 years, and in the 70's during Nixon's Presidency, I was with a Squadron that would go away on deployments, mainly to Darwin, and during those deployments, other Air Forces would also participate as well. During one such exercise with a USAF Detachment, we made close friends with our American 'brothers', mostly in the 'canteen' after working commitments for the day, usually over a few beers. They were a friendly bunch, and we all got on really well.

One of them told a joke that was an 'in joke' with Americans, but fell fairly flat when told to Australians, mainly because U.S. politics was not something that we, as Australian servicemen were au fait with, but this was at a time when I was becoming really interested in U.S. politics, so I saw the 'liberal' humour in the joke, much to the puzzled looks from my Australian friends when I laughed, as they had no idea what the joke was really about.

The joke went as follows:

A man was injured in a car crash in 1958 and fell into a coma. He finally came out of the coma in 1973. The first thing he asked was after the health of President Eisenhower.

When told that the President was now dead, his reply was, 'Oh no, that means that idiot Nixon is President'.

The joke sort of falls flat now, but at the time it was funny, mainly because the Americans had no idea that (some) Australians knew anything at all about U.S. Politics, and my Australian friends looked at me with puzzled looks, and it was actually me who had to explain the point of the joke to them. I got a few free beers from my American friends out of that little episode.

Also, I just love that wonderfully emotive image you have used with this Post. I was surprised that I knew all the 8 faces at first glance, and just musing here, this is one game where my guess the winner would be Theodore Roosevelt, in my humble opinion, your best President, and the youngest ever President also.


Ronbo said...

In regards to the Republican Party's alleged death made mostly by Leftists in the Media - I would say if I were Mr. Republican - "Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated."