Did that really happen? Is the Party of Reagan, the Party of Lincoln, going the way of the Whig Party?
I think the answer to that question
But since the conversation is taking place, a question that can be asked and answered right now is “Who ruined the Republican Party?”
There’s this guy, Mike Whitney, who contributes to the website “Online Journal” who thinks he knows who ruined it, and it isn’t George W. Bush.
It’s Karl Rove.
One guy, Karl Rove, ruined an entire political party.
I’m serious. That’s what he says, and after reading his explanation, I think there is some sense in all of that.
First, he explains why George W. Bush didn’t, or rather couldn’t be the culprit.
“But Bush wasn’t as important as people think. He was chosen for the job because his supporters thought they could stitch together another Reagan and because he could be counted on to follow orders without question. But Bush wasn’t steering the ship o state, not really.”
Now, why Rove:
“…it was probably Rove who did the most damage through his backroom maneuvering, his ham-fisted public relations operations and his political arm-twisting. Rove’s bullyboy antics produced a number of short-term triumphs, but they cost the party dearly in terms of credibility. Just look at the Terry Schiavo fiasco; an emotionally-charged issue of personal morality which the administration turned into a circus sideshow. The poor husband was blasted as the devil incarnate for simply carrying out the explicit wishes of his stricken wife. Michael Schiavo was ripped to shreds by a feral media that had become the propaganda-arm of the White House. The incident had “Karl Rove” written all over it.”
“His scorched earth, “take no prisoners” approach galvanized the base, but alienated decent conservatives who were not comfortable with his win-at-all-cost shenanigans. Ultimately, the party of
became the party of Rove, slipping its ideological moorings and abandoning all claim to moderation. By the time Rove left, the party was in ruins.” Lincoln
But in the end, I think the editorialist gives too much credit to one man. One fat, ugly bald white guy. Actually I think two other fat, ugly bald white guys must have had a hand in dealing the Republican Party out.
Newt Gingrich and Dick Cheney probably helped Karl Rove a little.
Dick Cheney is undoubtedly the man behind torture and a war of choice. The talking heads in the media are now starting to say that these two are actually intricately intermeshed. And now with him in the media defending and justifying things left and right, to the horror of those in his own party, Cheney is right now delivering the coup de grâce on his own party while it slowly strangles itself.
And I think Newt Gingrich started the ball rolling. Remember back in 1994 when the Republicans came back with their “Contract with
Newt Gingrich made me the partisan political creature that I am today.
And where there’s one there must be more. And there must be moderate conservatives out there that were similarly affected and turned off by a party that they had called home for years and years.
Newt Gingrich did that, and effectively cleared the way for Karl Rove to work his magic.
But I was talking about this Mike guy’s op/ed piece, wasn’t I.
He finishes his argument with something that I just don’t believe at all. He says that the Democrats didn’t win the election; it was the Republicans that handed the country over on a platter.
“Obama didn’t beat the Republicans. The Republicans beat themselves. It was a self-inflicted wound. The party had become too ideologically rigid and self-destructive. Besides, how much mileage can a party get on a platform which only contains two planks: War and tax cuts? That’s not a vision of the future; it’s the fast track to disaster.”
All good points, but more was won than just a presidency, More, like a Democratic majority in both houses of congress. True people who were turned off by what Republicans were doing from coast to coast started voting Democratic as early as 2006, but I like to think that at least some people vote Democratic because their beliefs are more in line with Democratic principles.
And maybe just a little tired of being scared into voting for Republicans.