Sun Oct 14, 2012, 10:38 PM
applegrove (72,065 posts)
"How the GOP Destroyed its Moderates" by Jonathan Chait at the New Republic
How the GOP Destroyed its Moderates
by Jonathan Chait at the New Republic
Nixon’s re-branding of the party helped set in motion a long-term political swap, in which Republicans slowly lost support among white voters with a college education while gaining traction among the white working class. The transformation is now so complete that Rick Santorum can proudly announce “we will never have the elite, ‘smart’ people on our side”—“smart” referring not to native intelligence, but to those who aspire to a certain level of intellectual respectability. The party’s ideological and sociological evolutions have run in tandem, driving a progressively wider gulf between the Republicans and the technocracy.
Ronald Reagan supplied to conservative activists proof of the hypothesis that they had eagerly put forward through Goldwater: that a natural conservative majority existed among the public. For the last three decades, Reaganism has dominated the party’s self-conception to the degree that it is not possible within the party to dispute an idea identified with him. Intra-GOP arguments often divide over which side can more rightfully claim to be his heir, but like a religious text the merits of Reaganism itself lie beyond dispute. Alumni of the Ripon Society—the most influential of the moderate Republican organizations of the 1960s—took an informal poll of themselves in 2002 (a year when the GOP’s prestige had reached a recent apogee in the wake of the 9/11 attacks), and they discovered that three-quarters identified themselves by this point as independents or Democrats.
What remains of “moderation” within the party has taken on a definition very distinct from the meaning that it held originally. Unlike the moderate and liberal Republicans of yore, today’s “moderates” generally identify themselves as conservative. They are simply less so. The most recent wave of ideological re-making, undertaken since 2002, has seen a series of primary challenges largely replacing conservatives such as Bob Inglis, Richard Lugar, and Robert Bennett with even more implacably conservative Republicans.
What stands out in these contests is the lack of open ideological conflict. In debates within the party, both sides inevitably grasp for the conservative mantle. The virtues of the anti-government creed (except, of course, for the military and some aspects of social regulation) have no recognized limits. An incumbent challenged from the right can survive on other grounds—familiarity, likeability, the persuasive recantation of any past heresies; but the ideological ground on which he can stand has disappeared. Moderation can be successfully denied, but it cannot be defended.
5 replies, 1700 views
"How the GOP Destroyed its Moderates" by Jonathan Chait at the New Republic (Original post)
|Uncle Joe||Oct 2012||#5|
Response to applegrove (Original post)
Mon Oct 15, 2012, 01:37 AM
BobTheSubgenius (1,321 posts)
1. Excellent article.
Too bad it will be convincing only to people that already know of this paradigm, or at least suspect or intuit it. I know few 'conservatives' that would even read this piece, and none that would be convinced by it.
Thanks for a good read.
Response to BobTheSubgenius (Reply #1)
Mon Oct 15, 2012, 09:17 PM
Ash_F (5,861 posts)
3. I have one Republican co-worker who laments this.
He's still going to vote for Romney though.
The Republican party is going to need to to some soul-searching after this election. I hope they loose ground in both houses too.
Response to applegrove (Original post)
Tue Oct 16, 2012, 12:38 AM
Uncle Joe (41,519 posts)
5. That first paragraph gives an insight as to why the Republicans have waged war against education.
They simply want to dumb the nation down as a means to obtain or maintain power.
Thanks for the thread, applegrove.