Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Fireeaters

I love watching the Republican party implode.

And implode they are doing. They have no idea how to deal with defeat. They have no agenda. The best responses come from what I will call the Fireeater Republicans. The original Fireeaters were the extremist pro-slavery secessionists in South Carolina and other southern states in the years before the Civil War. Not surprisingly then, the leader of the new Fireeaters is South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, who has decided that actual ideas or civility is not the answer. No, the Republcians must retreat into the most batshit of their ideas and scream about them VERY LOUDLY. DeMint spews:

“We have to have a remnant of the Republican Party who are recognizable as freedom fighters,” Mr. DeMint said. “What I’m looking to do as a conservative leader in the Senate is to identify those Republicans, and even some Democrats, and put together a consensus of people who can help stop this slide toward socialism.”
OK then. Who is DeMint's strongest supporter in the august body? None other than Diaper Dave Vitter, who is salvaging his post-prostitute reputation by challenging DeMint for the most right-wing senator. Together, these men and their allies (Sarah Palin likely included) will make the Republican Party relevant again by a) talking about how much they love Ronald Reagan, a man who has not been in public office in 20 years; b) talking about how much they love their guns; c) supporting torture; and d) promoting the white man.

Why am I not scared about a return to Republcian domination in the near future?

Interestingly, the first person I thought of when I read this was the Pope, who has said similar things. With the Catholic Church too open to liberal ideology and people who exist in the modern world, he has openly hoped for a leaner, meaner Catholic Church, with a return to principles and members who believe in strict, conservative Catholic dogma. Like the future of that declining church, I don't think the Republican Party has a lot of hope in coming years.

To some extent, this is reminiscent of the Democrats after 1972. After McGovern's crushing defeat, the party was in the wilderness for a very long time. Yes, Jimmy Carter won in 1976, but he was a quite conservative Democrat who repudiated many of the policies of the McGovernites and who lost to an even more conservative Ronald Reagan in 1980. The difference I think between the Democrats of the 1970s and 80s and the Republicans of today is essentially a moral one. Ultimately, the Democrats wanted to help people and give them things. That it was black people and counterculture types is what cost them in the end. The Republican Fireeaters maintain deep-seated anger and hatred.

The way for the Republicans back to electoral success in the medium term is to move the party to the left, where the American public has moved. This is how Bill Clinton won two elections. But I see absolutely no movement that way yet, and think that the Republicans are going to have to lose more elections to come to this conclusion. Either way, it's good for America.