Monday, September 24, 2012
Could an Obama Victory Be Good for the Republican Party?
Forty-three days remain until America decides who will be forty-fifth President of the United States. Various polls see the incumbent, Barack Obama, enjoying a slight lead in most national polls but perhaps more importantly, slightly larger leads in most of the vaunted "swing states."
What happens if once again, the Republican Party can not defeat Barack Hussein Obama? What happens if once again, the electorate decides the more conservative choice is NOT who they want in the highest office in the land? What will the future hold for the Republican Party if they can't beat the man who many believe to be one of the most controversial figures in American politics in the last one hundred years? This President, who 17% believe to be a Muslim in a recent Pew research poll, this President of the chronically above 8% unemployment rate, this President of no Federal budgets and this President of various wars on religion, Christmas, Christmas trees, freedom, liberty, America, etc...
I know it was never supposed to be this close, but clearly something happened on the way to election day 2012 for the Republican Party in America. What was supposed to be one of the greatest ass-kickings this Country has ever witnessed, isn't just too close for comfort, its very possible the most evil, liberty hating, freedom hating, America hating, probably a Muslim guy/sleeper agent might just win. How the HELL could this be happening?
Don't worry, it might actually be good for Republicans.
In the mid-term elections of 2010, Conservative candidates won many offices across the land and especially gained seats in the House of Representatives. Following Grover Norquist's mantra of "no new taxes ever" and willing to affix their signatures to his anti-tax "pledge," it was quite clear that the traditional Republican Party was being dragged to the right. The thinking was in 2010, they got back the house and in 2012, they'd at least get the White House back and possibly even the Senate. There was absolute joy for conservatives and Fox News-at least the evening division. "Start packing Obama" was the mind-set as most on the Right predicted certain doom for this man from somewhere/probably not America.
Fast forward to today. Conservatives disagreeing and clearly stressing over the current condition of the Romney campaign. Romney calling a press conference to reset his campaign's tone, promising to do better providing details at a very soon to be announced later date. Romney calling a late night press conference to clean up his pirated video comments from a May fundraiser where he potentially insulted 47% of Americans. Things are not going well in Romneyville and the Conservatives are getting restless and just a tad pissy about it. Should Willard Mitt Romney lose to this Obamination, some careers will end, other careers will benefit and political tacticians will immediately begin to figure out 2016's can't miss strategy.
If Mitt Romney wins, the far right will feel empowered to hold President Romney to his severe conservative self labeling during the primaries. Women, Latinos, the young and the poor will probably not be too pleased and as growing sectors of the electorate, it means bad news for the long term growth of the Republican Party.
It goes without saying before much can be decided, a conversation has to be had to decide who was to blame should Obama win. Was it the Tea Party segment of the Party, who rode the no-compromise train into power in 2010? Or, was it the establishment Republicans, who cling to an old-fashioned sense of governance, deal making and compromise? Who's fault is it?
It's an incredibly important time for the Republican Party. Should Obama get re-elected, the GOP has to select a direction to go. A tone to rally behind. They all want smaller Government, fewer regulations, etc. but its really a question of how extreme do they want to be? In recent elections, moderate Republicans have been shown the door in favor of more severe conservative candidates. Clearly, the trend has been toward hard stances and if it means we have to stop the wheels of Government, then so be it. If the Tea Party faction of the GOP wins this discussion, look for more entrenchment, more obstruction for President Obama's second term and an even higher level of rhetoric as they look forward to 2016.
The trouble with this approach is the public has consistently rated the Congress very poorly. Most Americans expect people from different points of view to be able to find a middle ground, a position Obama has consistently endorsed. Should the Tea Party element of the GOP grow, they run the significant risk of losing even more of the undecided voters. Chances are very good the next Democratic presidential nominee will not have a funny name like Barack Obama does. Chances are very good there won't be a flap about his birth certificate. Chances are very good there won't be whispers about the person's faith or patriotism. Chances are very good that a Tea Party led GOP will get its ass kicked once again in 2016.
In other words, if you couldn't beat the sleeper-agent in charge, how on earth do you expect to beat the next, less controversial-guy? Doubling down on rigid ideology will likely cost the GOP more voters than it earns them, which is a losing proposition. Combine that with the demographic trends of more Hispanic voters, and more voters from the LGBT and women voting blocks and it doesn't take Kreskin to see storm clouds brewing for the Republican Party.
I think it would be madness for the Party to go further/harder to the Right if Obama wins re-election. It could cost them dearly. I fully expect and hope that the establishment republicans will hold the Tea Party faction responsible and tell them to cool it.
Far better for the GOP would be to embrace a more moderate, traditional stance and shun openly the harshness of the far right. Reasonable goes a long way with voters and if the loyal opposition announced on day 1 of the President's second term that for the good of the nation, the Republicans would accept several Obama ideas, heads would turn. Let Obama have his victories, but then judge him openly on the performance of his programs. Chances are good there will still be plenty things to attack the Democrats in in the next general election, but being able to point towards a "new leaf" if you will in terms of cooperation will pay dividends down the road.
Obstructionism hasn't paid off and I don't think it will. Bi-partisanship plays much better and is the smarter path forward for the Republicans. By showing in words and deeds a willingness to compromise...to govern...they will find receptive Latinos, women, lower-income voters, etc, very willing to reconsider the GOP. Which would reverse a dangerous trend for Conservatives. A Obama victory is perhaps the only thing that can balance the Republican party enough to make it more, not less appealing to many voters.