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March 22, 2013

Liberal Writer: Reports of the GOP's Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

Doing the Allah Overthinking Thing (you know it's true, Allah): Is he just saying this because he thinks it's true, or is he trying to provoke the GOP into doing the same old stuff so we keep losing elections?

I actually think he thinks it's true -- and that's probably because I think it's true.

When your traction slips on the road, what do they always tell you not to do? Overcorrect. Do not violently turn the wheel. Sure, turn into the skid a little, but don't overcorrect.

We're overcorrecting like hell right now, and not only will we turn off GOP voters, we're also about to create millions of new Democratic voters.

This [Doom of the GOP Narrative] has practically reached the status of conventional wisdom these days. [editorial niggle: Practically? Why the qualifier?] Republicans are doomed because they don't appeal to the young, or to Hispanics, or to women, or whatever. Their core base of pissed-off white guys is shrinking, and they're inevitably going to shrink along with it.

That makes sense to me. And yet....there's something about it that doesn't quite add up. Republicans control the House, and no one seems to think that's going to change in the near future. (And no, it's not just because of gerrymandering.) On the other side of Capitol Hill, Democrats seem genuinely concerned about holding onto the Senate next year. As for the White House, Republicans have only lost two presidential elections in a row, both times in years where the fundamentals favored Democrats. And they continue to hold outsize majorities in state legislatures and governor's mansions.

This doesn't seem like the markers of a party so far outside the mainstream that they're doomed to extinction. Frankly, they seem to be holding on fairly well.

The fact of the matter that Republican economics aren't terribly popular, either. But we're not talking about jettisoning that aspect of our beliefs. (Of course, we'll do what we always do; keep the rhetoric while insulting it with our actions.)

Let me propose the heretical thought that whenever someone wants you to change your position, he always claims it's the pathway to electoral success. A lot of people in the GOP are quietly in favor of gay marriage, for example -- people with urban values, who work in liberal cities, and have Gone Native as far as social beliefs.

Now, of course, it is quite true that sometimes a change in policy will in fact bring greater electoral success. But for ever time this is true, it is claimed, falsely, about eleven or fifteen times.

I don't think the GOP has to be pro-gay marriage.* What I think it has to do if it wants to stop alienating otherwise-natural-GOP voters is to stop sounding like they're anti-gay. It's slightly tricky to oppose gay marriage while not sounding anti-gay -- that of course is always the immediate claim by the pro-gay-marriage people-- but it can be done. And should be done, anyway.

The GOP does not need to be pro-amnesty, either. I don't think the public itself is pro-amnesty. I think the public is what it always is -- pro-"niceness."

I really think these two issues demand "niceness" -- as vague as that is -- and not abrupt departures of policy.

For years I've been calling for the GOP to change its stupid anti-Gay Marriage Amendment. I said it would never pass. It never passed. Now, certainly, it will never, ever pass.

It was chump-bait, a con for the Social Cons. It never had any chance of passing. It was a Lie foisted on conservative voters.

Now, a version of it could have passed. I don't know if it could still pass. Probably not. But a version of it would at least have a better chance of passing. The version of it I'd suggest is not the unattainable full ban of gay marriage, but the more-attainable (but perhaps now out of reach) ban of judge-imposed gay marriage.

Leave it to the legislatures. Leave it to democratic decision-making. Empower citizens. Take it out of the hands of the judges. Who could be against that?

Well, actually, 45% of the public could be against that, but that's not 60%.

Similarly, on immigration, sure, offer the "niceness" of a potential future plan for a pathway to citizenship. But demand that we get border crossings down to a trivial level first. Do not permit the former without having the latter.

I think that's actually what the public wants. They do not want to feel as if their "niceness" is in question, picking on poor Latin immigrants, but they actually would like an end to the endless flow of millions and millions of poor immigrants who pay little for the support of government services but have a greater than average need for them.

Yes, the public is in favor of "niceness." They are not, however, in favor of having their wallets lightened for the sake of "niceness." They always said they were in favor of the "niceness" elements of ObamaCare, too... what they weren't in favor of was ObamaCare itself, because while it's nice to support niceness, it's costly to support higher costs.

* You may have guessed my own position has shifted from "I'm against it" to "I no longer care." I suppose that the idea just doesn't seem as weird to me as it once did, and that the things I feared would flow from it haven't really flowed all that much.

Nevertheless, I agree with Rush -- in order to appease people who probably won't vote for us, we're abandoning those who usually do. But might stop.

I think it's a rather undemocratic situation to have so many millions of people be completely unrepresented by either party on an issue of importance to them. For the political class, who are all largely in agreement on this, no matter what their partisan stripe, to strike a deal on this among themselves while ignoring the voters strikes me as not only undemocratic but also as electoral suicide, or, if not suicide, electoral cutting.

What I hear is people like Rob Portman declaring their new position to the liberal media. What I don't hear them doing is making a cogent argument to conservatives, trying to get them to agree. Major political changes should be forged by agreement, not by ipse dixits.

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posted by Ace at 05:28 PM

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