Is the Republican Party giving up on the 2012 Presidential Election? It sure seems so, according to this long article published in the current issue of New York magazine by John Heilemann - The Lost Party.
In it, Heilemann paints a picture of a political party wholly unsatisfied with and, indeed, thoroughly disgusted with its current crop of presidential candidates. With no political savior in sight and the GOP headed towards defeat, several prominent voices are predicting doom in November.
LOL - from the article!
Romney and his people never expected, however, to be confronted in the Republican phase of the race with a raft of challenges related to the legitimacy of his wealth. But first on his record at Bain Capital and then on his tax returns, that is what occurred. With Gingrich and Perry sounding more like commenters on Daily Kos than Republicans, Romney coughed up a remarkable collection of gaffes: from his fear of pink slips to his enjoyment of firing people to his “not very much” in speaker’s fees (when they totaled $374,327 last year).
I'm going to summarize some of the highlights from the article but you really need to read it in its entirety to get a good feel for the inner dynamics of the Republican Party
- Republicans are being delusional if they think that just like the 2008 Democratic primaries, a long drawn out contest between Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum will actually strengthen either candidate for the General Election.
- The last few primaries and caucuses have really exposed the weaknesses inherent in Mitt Romney's candidacy.
- The fragmentation of its political base is not only reflective of the 2012 Republican field but, also, the changing political times.
- None of these candidates has much appeal for independent voters.
- The calls for a white knight to come riding in and save the party from itself are growing louder.
- A loss by Rick Santorum to President Barack Obama in 2012 might be better than one by Romney to preserve the long-term health of the GOP.
In either case, there is not much optimism to be found. Heilemann quotes a disillusioned Ed Rollins, who ran Ronald Reagan's 1984 Presidential Campaign
[T]he Democratic tussle in 2008, which featured two undisputed heavyweights with few ideological discrepancies between them, may be an exception that proves the rule. Certainly Republican history suggests as much: Think of 1964 and the scrap between the forces aligned with Barry Goldwater and Nelson Rockefeller, or 1976, between backers of Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan. On both occasions, the result was identical: a party disunited, a nominee debilitated, a general election down the crapper.A political party that built its base on working class white racial resentment after Barry Goldwater's historic defeat in 1964 deserves this. Exploiting the ginned up feeling that many were being deprived of their basic political and social rights after the passage of the the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act, Richard Nixon honed his "Southern Strategy" to pry away a previously solid electoral South from the Democratic Party. Even after the disgrace of Watergate and Nixon's resignation from office led to Jimmy Carter's election in 1976, Ronald Reagan shamelessly exploited these racial tensions in 1980 and with the help of religious fundamentalists, continued this tradition.
With such precedents in mind, many Republicans are already looking past 2012. If either Romney or Santorum gains the nomination and then falls before Obama, flubbing an election that just months ago seemed eminently winnable, it will unleash a GOP apocalypse on November 7 - followed by an epic struggle between the regulars and red-hots to refashion the party. And make no mistake: A loss is what the GOP’s political class now expects. "Six months before this thing got going, every Republican I know was saying, 'We’re gonna win, we’re gonna beat Obama,'" says former Reagan strategist Ed Rollins. "Now even those who’ve endorsed Romney say, 'My God, what a fucking mess.'"
Fast forward three decades. With the Cold War long over and the Republican propensity to conjure up imaginary external demons severely diminished, the GOP has tried to invent domestic ones. If Reagan united Cold War hawks, fiscal conservatives, and religious nuts obsessed with social issues, in 2012 that coalition is at the very end of its political usefulness.
The current Republican strategy is not working. It couldn't have happened to a nicer group of people.
Please read the full article.
The Lost Party by John Heilemann, New York magazine.
The strangest primary season in memory reveals a GOP that’s tearing itself apart.