Saturday, January 19, 2008

WTF is wrong with the GOP?

Our friend Patrick who blogs at The Pagan Temple left this comment on one of my posts about the outcome of the South Carolina primary:

McCain has won two out of six, and in this one he only got about a third of the total vote. That's hardly a ringing endorsement. He got most of his support from military veterans, whose support for McCain is based on an emotional attachment to his status as a war hero, not any different than evangelical's support for Huckabee as a Baptist pro-life minister.

Your party is in serious trouble. It's fragmented, and the various parts of the whole are coalescing around the people they are attached to on a personal level. They are voting for themselves and their values as expressed through these candidates-not so much for an overall party leader.

You need somebody with the strength of character to mold those different factions together. That could have been Fred, but he waited too long. Or, he didn't try hard enough early enough. Or, the media didn't like him. Or, not enough party leaders approved of him. Pick your reasons, but whatever it really is, it's probably too late.

McCain is probably going to be your nominee, the way it stands now. I say this because of the simple fact that, as far as Huckabee goes, he can't seem to extend his support beyond evangelicals. As for Romney, his support is a mile wide and an inch deep.

One thing you have to say about McCain's supporters-they really seem to love and believe in the guy. That's a hard force to beat. Yeah, a true conservative can still beat him. The operative word is "A" conservative. That means one, not two or three or four of them dividing up the vote, first one getting an advantage over the other based on what direction the wind seems to be blowing in at any give time.

That's because McCain's support is constant, and it is consistent. As long as the opposition to him is divided, his support is strong enough, and steady enough, to carry him to the GOP convention, and maybe on from there to Pennsylvania Avenue.

This is an excellent analysis in almost every respect. McCain won a narrow victory in SC based upon his status as a war hero. Those voters who supported him were willing to overlook his betrayals of both the GOP and the nation as a whole by his constant pandering to the left and his attempt to engineer an amnesty for alien criminals which would have destroyed the Republican Party and condemned the nation to European style socialism.

The fact that the close second in the race was Mike Huckabee, who I call Elmer Gantry, is almost as bad as McCain's win. This indicates that the majority of South Carolinians, and SC is a deeply red state, do not consider authentic conservative credentials to be a determining factor in who they vote for.

Of course one positive, or at least potentially positive, aspect of this is that SC has open primaries. Any registered voter, regardless of party, can vote in either the Republican or Democrat primary. This allowed independents and Democrats (where McCain's real strength lies) to have a voice in choosing the Republican candidate who would receive SC's delegates.

However exit polling showed that most of the voters casting a ballot in SC were in fact Republicans.

Patrick's observations about Fred Thompson also have a great deal of merit. Fred didn't exactly wait "too long", instead he appeared indecisive in his "making an announcement to make an announcement" for months. Even stalwart Fred-heads were growing impatient with him. Also his lackluster performance in the early days harmed him in ways that were difficult to overestimate. If the Fred of the last debate had been in evidence from the beginning he would have never lost that first place position he was occupying for awhile.

Bottom line is that Republicans ARE in deep trouble with no clear conservative leadership too many of us are falling into identity politics.

If you are waiting for me to give you the answer to this you will wait a long time because I haven't a clue. Right now all I can come up with is "sometimes it takes a Jimmy Carter to give us a Ronald Reagan". Maybe letting Hillary win will turn out to be the best possible thing given the situation we face now.