Ready to Lose in 2016?

I can understand the argument that religion can be a handy bulwark against an over-mighty and over-intrusive state (it can, incidentally, also be an ally of just such a state), but there is a limit as to how far that argument can be pushed, and in this speech to CPAC Rick Santorum has just crashed through it (not for the first time in his case) into a twilight zone of demagoguery, hysteria and madly Manchicean either/or.

I’m no fan of Obama, to put it mildly, but to claim that he wants to create a “Godless” America is not only silly (in fact, if anything Obama would probably want to recruit God as some sort of assistant, a super-Biden upstairs, in his attempt to transform the country) but is language almost certainly guaranteed to alienate yet more of the voters that the GOP needs to be winning over.

Bad thinking. Bad Argument. Bad Tactics.


Thank you, Rick Santorum

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16 Responses to Ready to Lose in 2016?

  1. Santorum plays to a key part of the GOP base. To rework the old saying, you go into elections with the base you have, not the base you want. The GOP base, for good or ill, consists of a large swath of socially conservative, religiously-minded folks. The best predictor of voting Republican is precisely whether or not you go to church regularly. For the GOP to ignore that fact or take positions antagonistic to that base would simply be electoral suicide — they would go the way of their predecessor party, the Whigs, and their predecessor party, the Federalists.

    There is no question that greater prudence on the part of GOP politicians is needed. And that an embrace of the fact that politics is the art of the possible — a practical discipline rather than a speculative one. But that goes for the old Rockefeller wing of the party as well, and for those social liberal/fiscal conservative types too. A GOP without religious conservatives is not a nationally viable party. It is not a regionally viable party. It is not any kind of viable party. Now, it is not a nationally viable party only with religious conservatives — but you already know that.

    To repeat, you go into elections with the base you have, not the base you want.

  2. Don Kenner (@DonKenner) says:

    Yes, you go with the base you have, but Santorum is part of that base. He really believes this nonsense. And that base (the one you have to go with) responds to arguments for shrinking the size and intrusiveness of the Federal Government. You can get a standing ovation for that. You don’t even have to mention God.

    And that base CANNOT win elections anymore by themselves. Pandering to them has produced two types of loser Republicans. The first are like McCain and Romney (and his team). They cannot get it done, even against a disgraceful opponent. The second type of loser Republican is like Bush; run on conservative principles, then spend money like a teenager with a credit card. Finish off with billions in handouts to corporations who fancy themselves too good to compete in a free market economy.

    No, you shouldn’t show up with your “God is Dead” t-shirt (or Santorum would call for your arrest and water-boarding), but the whole “gotta kiss up to the base” meme is a tired excuse for the same old same old. If the Republican’s solution to our problems is mixing God and Government, then I’ll just make my peace with Obama’ socialism. At least the latter is offering me (or my less-well-off relatives) some free stuff. And the theft of my money and the shrinking of liberty won’t be done in the name of capitalism or conservatism.

  3. First, the base was not enthusiastic about either McCain or Romney. McCain’s pick of Palin and Romney’s pick of Ryan for the VP spots on their respective tickets were efforts to generate base enthusiasm. They both largely failed. In the elections since 1968, when religious conservatives have been most energized about Republican candidates (1972, 1980, 1988, 2004), those candidates have won. When religious conservatives were split (1992, 1996 and 2000, at least among Catholic voters) the GOP lost. The GOP also lost when evangelical voters went for Carter in 1976. The message there is fairly clear. The GOP traditionally wins when it has the support of religious conservatives, it loses when it doesn’t.

    Now, if you look at my first comment, I was quite clear that the base of social/religous conservatives needs to take stock of the current political realities — and embrace that politics is the art of the possible, not the art of the perfect. But that applies also to other strains within the conservative side of the political spectrum. Libertarians, secular-folk, economic conservatives often seem to go out of their way to engage in the Right-wing version of “hippie-punching” — deliberately insulting or denigrating the voters that are most needed to provide enthusiasm for the GOP. You don’t have to like them or agree with their every position but you do have to show them respect and acknowledge that they are part of the team. Otherwise, the team won’t work.

    The folks who like to think of themselves as “reality-based” need to understand the particular political reality of the moment.

  4. One modification to my last comment — in regard to the 2000 election, my reference to the outcome was in regard to the popular vote, not the electoral college vote. My apologies for any confusion.

  5. Polichinello says:

    As if any of this shit really fucking matters. There is now a white party and get whitey party. the get whitey party is now at the tipping point, so we are fucked. Work on your trade, and get ready for the crack up. Don’t waste your time wringing your hands over whatever Rick Santorum says to a crowd of politinerds. It really doesn’t fucking matter. He could be Socrates offering up pure pearls of wisdom, and it wouldn’t, fucking matter. Because you, paleface, are now going to have to pay a lot of fucking money to Obama’s legion of leeches. End of program.

  6. CJColucci says:

    First, the base was not enthusiastic about either McCain or Romney.

    Indeed, it wasn’t, and should not have been; but what other candidate among those running would have taken a single state that either McCain or Romney lost? Especially the candidates preferred by the religious base. Running up the score in the Confederacy doesn’t help win a national election.

  7. John says:

    Giuliani would have done at least at well as McCain (OK, Giuliani wasn’t a religious conservative, but on economic issues he was much more conservative than McCain) in 2008. Probably nobody in the GOP could have done better than Romney in 2012, but I don’t see how they could have done much worse. Romney lost by 4% of the popular vote. We might as well have nominated Gingrich. At worst, he would have lost a few more states, and at best, he could have squeaked out a win by trouncing Obama in the debates. Plus, we might have gotten a real conservative in office.

  8. CJColucci says:

    Plus, we might have gotten a real conservative in office.

    Only if he — or she, when Bachmann was still running — would have won several more states than Romney did. We seem to be in agreement that none of the other candidates from the 2008 or 2012 primary races would have taken a single state that the eventual candidate lost.

  9. Daily Kenn says:

    From Ancient Egypt’s priests contending with pharaohs to the narratives of the prophet Daniel refusing to eat the king’s (Nebuchadnezzar) meats, religion has been a alternate authority contending with secular powers. Consider the ongoing tiffs between popes and potentates througtout most of Europe’s history, e.g., Henry II’s supposed murder of Thomas Becket, or the arrogance of Henry the VIII in forming the Church of England just to get an annulment, denied him by the papacy.

    A Santorum principle — supporting religious alternate authorites to goad the government — may be a page from Saul Alinksy’s playbook that will work in our favor.

    Considering that religion is a hardwired component of the human psyche and, therefore, is not going away, we may as well utilize its positive aspects as well as employ its leveraging properties to keep the cultural Marxists off balance.

  10. In the American tradition, religion is both a support for civic order (by inculcating virtue in the populace) and a challenge to it (by existing as a separate institutional force that can appeal to the conscience of the people in order to challenge the government when it becomes oppressive). If one looks at what the Founders did, they very consciously sought to create institutional breakwaters to prevent the federal government from becoming tyrannical. Some of those breakwaters are within the structure of our govt. itself (3 branches, 2 houses of Congress, presidential veto, the power of Congress to override vetoes with a big enough majority, federalism, etc.), but the existence and protection of intermediate institutions (the family, private businesses & business associations, churches & houses of worship, voluntary charitable associations) were all very much part of that plan as well. There is a reason that churches were often at the heart of most of the movements for social change in our society (both for good and ill). Aside from whatever cosmological virtue they may possess, they are organized institutions that in many instances are part of larger denominations that can function on a national and sometimes even international scale. This provides networks that can be mobilized to oppose the government when it does something wrong, and to push the government in the direction of doing something right.

    Cherokee removal, abolition, Prohibition, the civil rights movement, the pro-life movement, the anti-war movements — all of these movements had strong roots in organized religion. The only movements that I can think of that don’t are move recent movements like feminism and LBGTQOA rights.

  11. cynthia curran says:

    Well, the Republicans were less so like that before Reagan, they did tend to be more religious than Dems but remember Jimmy Carter his first time around took the Evangelical vote away. The Party moved from being based in Southern California in the 1960’s, Suburban Warriors in Orange County and San Diego which both interesting still have some old religous rigth whites remaining and a non-religous conservative group which in both counties have went to the libertarians or moved left to Texas. Texas is filled now with people like Chuck Devore, economic and social conservative that use to Represent Orange County to work for Rick Perry. Texas and Arizona are full of thousands of people that use to live in Orange County and San Diego who got mad at taxes and high cost of housing.

  12. cynthia curran says:

    In 1964, Barry Goldwater won Orange County and San Diego, in 2013 Obama barely won San Diego and still lost Orange County. Texas voted about 3 to 4 points higher for Romeny than Orange County Ca but Orange County and Maricopia in Arizona voted for Romeny while Texas’s largest counties didn’t. Harris barely went for Obama and Dallas went for Obama about 5 percent. Harris and Dallas have the highest illegal hispanic populations and larger black populations than the state of Texas as a whole. Harris and Dallas politics are similar to Los Angeles around 1980.

  13. cynthia curran says:

    I mean some folks that were non religous conservative in both San Diego and Orange moved to the left. I met that a lot of conservatives and some liberals from both counties moved to Arizona, Nevada and Texas since the taxes are lower and the cost of housing cheaper.

  14. cynthia curran says:

    This is why the Dems have hope in Texas in the long run since Harris and Dallas are picking up as much population as the more conservative whiter burbs. Increase in hispanics, asians and blacks moved Texas leftward and while prices are cheaper whites will moved if the placed gets too hispanic. That means maybe in 2025 Texians will moved to Ok, or Utah or some other state.

  15. cynthia curran says:

    Well in 1976, Evangelicals were just a new force and in 1968, Nixon and Humphrey spilt on them and they didn’t vote very much. Romeny did good in heavily evangelical states like West Virginia and poorly in states like Oh among whites. Oh protestant population isn’t as Evangelical as West Virginia.

  16. cynthia curran says:

    Well, Santorium like a lot of the elite Republicans wants immirgation reform which would legalized illegal immirgants to do low skilled jobs and then more guestworker programs but loses his middle to lower middle class white based that have to compete against illegal immirgants mainly in the construcation industry. The Democratics are not going to allow Republicans to legalized Hispanics if they can’t vote. I never like Santorium and Romeny self-deportation if they don’t get jobs because e-verify I agree with. But a lot of social conservatives that hate the immirgation of a lot of Hispanics end up voitng for the Santoriums and even the Newth Grigrichs since on other issues Romeny is not conservative enough but both Santorium, N Gringrich and Rick Perrty were worst on immirgation than Romeny was in the primary. Also, because of the Red State versus Blue state if you live in California or New York Republicans will give you hell notwithstanding that a lot of the South and Texas are poor because of their racial minoritie. The south has too many blacks and Texas too many hispanics to have ecent stats on poverty.

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