Thursday, November 29, 2007

The state of the Party

MSNBC's Howard Fineman has a riveting and somewhat frightening piece that tells the honest truth about the state of the Republican Party and just what it is that the Republican nominee must do to win in November. Fineman asserts that we are in no small amount of trouble if we do not bring the old Reagan coalition together:
In the midst of a shaky economy and an unpopular war, it is nothing short of
astonishing that the Republican Party's contenders run neck-and-neck with
Democrats in test matchups. But the GOP is going to lose next fall if it cannot
reunify the three pieces of its conservative base: evangelicals, libertarians
and hawks.

Fineman points out that evangelicals are slowly coalescing around Mike Huckabee, libertarians seem to be moving in the direction of Ron Paul, and the hawks like Rudy Giuliani, who seems bent on leading the country straight into Armageddon. It may be that none of these three win the nomination (obviously, the ideal choice in my eyes is Fred Thompson), but whoever does must bring the other parts of the Reagan coalition together if they are to win in November-you do not win General Elections with a divided house.

Things may change in the weeks ahead (we've looked divided in campaign before at this point and we still managed to come together) but right now it is quite clear that the GOP is very much a divided camp. One group of people who aren't helping the situation are certain supporters of Dr. Ron Paul.

I've often been asked from the beginning of this campaign why I did not throw my support behind Ron Paul since his ideology is the most closely in-line with my own in this race. Ron Paul's great weakness is not his views, but the behavior of many of his supporters. They engage in poll bombing, spam wars on the internet, and filling people's comment boxes with hateful and malicious diatribe. Some have even blocked traffic at intersections while holding up signs, and are known to call those who confess that they won't be voting for Dr. Paul nasty names. People claiming to be Ron Paul supporters are reported to be the ones responsible for bringing an independent effort to raise funds for Senator Fred Thompson to an early end. Some of these folks have no regard for the basic "unwritten rules" of political and social civility. While it is true that many great people are supporting Dr. Paul, I want no part of a campaign that clearly condones these kinds of tactics. Why can we say the Paul campaign condones this behavior? Because the campaign is doing nothing to stop this wretched band of malcontents from doing their dirty work.

These people are a discredit to a fine human being. What's more, the kind of behavior exhibited by some of these so-called "supporters" is precisely what undermines the unity needed to win an election. It ought to serve as a warning to the supporters of all Republican candidates: Bad behavior and poor political manners will not only do a disservice to your candidates, but it undermines the GOP as well.

Note: Now that I have said this, regular readers should be prepared for the hate-filled and foul language-laden comments (and other despicable tactics) to fill the comments section. It will be a blessing if they do not.

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At Thursday, November 29, 2007 5:23:00 AM, Blogger Sharon Cobb said...

Now when did you think you'd see the day, though, that the polite comments are from liberals, and it's Republicans who are filled with hate for other republicans?

Although I ranked Paul 3rd in my wrap up of the debate, I also mention how he went from being a revolutionary and maverick to a wacko.

He said some really wild things last night. Also, he refuses to denounce David Duke, one of his biggest supporters.

But you're right on target about those three hurting Fred, and why they are. I ranked Fred 4th, but my comments were all nice about him.

But Rudy, Huck and Ron are going to divide up the republicans for the reasons you mentioned.

Good piece, my friend!

At Thursday, November 29, 2007 9:49:00 AM, Blogger Matt Daley said...


Dr. Paul won't distance himself from the 9/11 Truth people, either. And that whole thing about the North American Union and the international highway is just creepy. I suppose that Renee and I are conspiracy theorists to a point, too -- we both believe there's more to the JFK assassination than meets the eye -- but there's only so far that a person can legitimately go with that sort of thing.

And what did you think of CNN's panel analysis of the debate? Frankly, I couldn't believe some of the things I was hearing. At times, if I hadn't known better, I would have sworn they were talking about a beauty pageant or something. They evaluated some of the policy discussion, but far too much of the talk revolved around how the candidates looked.

With that said, it's amazing that none of the pundits said ANYTHING about how everyone kept saying things like "I agree with Senator Thompson". In all my years of watching debates, I can't recall any other debate where that sort of phrase was uttered by opponents on as many occasions as it was last night. And none of the other candidates attacked Fred on anything.

Renee and I both agree that Thompson ought to make a campaign ad out of that. Done right, it would be a huge opportunity for him.

At Friday, November 30, 2007 5:53:00 AM, Blogger Sharon Cobb said...

Almost all of us believe the JFK assassination was a conspiracy. Papers released by the late Gerald Ford recently confirmed he said there was a CIA cover-up.

Fred needs to do a few drastic things at this point in the game, though I'm not sure going negative like he did in the debate with Mitt and Huck is the best way. Most people saw that as desperate.

Actually, let me correct myself. If he had used the same message of the hypocrisy, but delivered it in a humorous/entertaining manner, then he would have been viewed as confident and someone with a sense of humor, instead of desperate.

It's all in how a candidate frames any issue. Again, this is why Huckabee is moving up so quickly. And he hit the Jon Stewart show, Colbert and Maher shows several times, which added a hip element to him, even though he's not. (Though a Baptist Minister getting out and playing Rolling Stones on his bass on the campaign trail is a really nice hook)

Fred needs to do something like that. (Now would be the time to redo the Tina Turner song and call it, 'What's Issues Got To Do, Got To Do With it?') Very sad commentary on America, but since we're not going to change that today, he can get his message out while campaigning, while doing some little catchy stuff for the media.

He should go on Stewart and Colbert and be self deprecating. A lot of Republicans what those shows, and he needs to show his hip side. Look, it's not like Fox, the Giuliani network is going to do him or any other candidate any good.
(I'm not a violent person at all, but I sure wanted to smack Chris Wallace, that disrespectful little turd) The point being, Fred went on the "Conservative" network, and we all know how well that worked.

So he needs to get the right spin and frame the issues right.

BTW, read George Lakoff on how language makes all the difference in the world in a campaign.

Example, instead of saying 'global warming,' say 'climate change.'

I digress...

Here's the bottom line: The media is picking the candidates and the American people lose.

We must go to a system where you get free airtime and can only campaign for 6 weeks like England. (Your better half and I agree completely on a plan like this)


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