>> Monday, December 1, 2008
Matt Taibi has a piece in rolling stone on the McCain campaign that is classic Taibi. Biting, sardonic and generally painfully true. It lays open the GOP of 2008 as party without a plan and without a clue.
They lost in every way imaginable, on every political front. The symbol of their anti-gay crusade, Colorado congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave, was beheaded. The party that had made so much hay running against Mexicans saw noted anti-immigration crusader Bill Sali of Idaho ousted along with several other members of the Immigration Reform Caucus. The GOP's grasp on the so-called "moral values" issue likewise went up in roaring flames, with Rep. Vito Fossella of Staten Island the poster child — his morals were once so perfect that he refused to be seen with his gay sister, and now he's a national joke, bounced after being caught drunk driving and having unprotected, babymaking sex with a married Air Force officer.
The ironic thing is that the destruction of the Republican Party was a two-part process. Their president, George W. Bush, did most of the work by making virtually every mistake possible in his two terms, reducing the mightiest economy on Earth to the status of a beggar-debtor nation like Pakistan or Zambia. This was fucking up on a scale known only to a select few groups in history, your Romanovs, your Habsburgs, maybe the Han Dynasty, which pissed away a golden age of Chinese history by letting eunuchs take over the state. But John McCain and Sarah Palin made their own unique contribution to the disaster by running perhaps the most incompetent presidential campaign in modern times. They compounded a millionfold Bush's legacy of incompetence by soiling both possible Republican ideological strategies going forward: They killed off Bush-style neoconservatism as well as the more traditional fiscal conservatism McCain himself was once known for by trying to fuse both approaches into one gorgeously incoherent ticket. It was like trying to follow the recipes for Texas 10-alarm chili and a three-layer Black Forest chocolate cake in the same pan at the same time. The result — well, just take a bite!
I witness the whole pathetic mess summed up a week before the election, on a baseball field in Quakertown, Pennsylvania. The campaign has scheduled an outdoor rally, with a joint appearance by McCain and Palin, at this crucial moment in the race. But now there is driving snow and sleet, trees downed on roads all around, and the campaign — with no alternate indoor plan — is forced to cancel the event at the last minute. I watch as locals keep pulling up to the field, looking for the candidate, a lonely, rain-soaked "Country First" banner whipping back and forth above the stage. The whole scene captures the essence of the McCain run perfectly: Instead of a plan, they had an endless succession of dumb ideas scrapped at the 11th hour in favor of even dumber ones.
It was like that all election season. McCain kicked off his campaign with a stump speech that emphasized his inspirational personal story and experience. Then he picked someone even less experienced than Obama as his running mate and switched to a strategy of attacking his opponent's relationships with people like Bill Ayers. When that petered out, he switched to a new line of attack, trotting out the socialism business and claiming Obama was running for the office of "redistributionist-in-chief." The McCain camp tried running against the press, they tried running against Washington, they tried running against the Bush administration, they even tried running against the "liberal feminist agenda" — the latter just a few weeks after Sarah Palin called herself a feminist.
That was then and this is now. Certainly the GOP must have learned from the disaster that was for them the 2008 election. Umm well no. When democrats went out of power many of them said it was because they acted too much like republicans. they sacrificed core beliefs for some ill defined belief that america is a center right country that hates everything the dems stood for. These people were right that acting too much like republicans was a bad idea because the american people already agreed with the dems position on issue after issue. the dems were literally taking the less popular stances out of fear.
Republicans have a different problem in that the vast majority of americans dont agree with them or their core beliefs. still that has not stopped people from advocating the purge like Katon Dawson, the chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party,
Renew our commitment to our Party’s timeless principles...by reconfirming our commitment to be the party of smaller government, lower taxes, individual freedom, strong national security, respect for the sanctity of life, traditional marriage, the importance of family and the exceptionalism of America.
How many more elections must one party lose before it makes a real change? we might have a chance to find out.