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Not that I care - or rather I do care that it wouldn't happen - but in the ever pleasing pastime of relishing their apparent political conundrum created by the new era - and I do think this election, not 2008, was a fabled "realigning election" and the end to the "center-right" country myth (though the end of the center-right country itself came long ago, if it ever existed) - and in contemplating their way out of their new dilemma - purely as political assessment, or perhaps as a preparation analysis to preempt what would be the new adversary - I stumbled into a thought process as to how the "GOP" would proceed that surprises me; that is instinctively implausible, but considering the intransigence of what are the truly immovable objects in their party I realized it may be their only rational course.

On Monday, October 27th, 2008 - just days before the first election of Barack "Hussein" Obama and still in the grieving period of the shattering of the illusion of a "permanent Republican Majority" - "conservatives," and in particular "conservative" "intellectuals" (and yes, I used quotes for each word individually because there are distinct problems with the use of each word in that phrase) had been in a frenzy of denial about the imminent thwacking they were about to endure, and coalescing around an idea: that the sole culprit for the first wave in the rejection of all the delusion they'd wallowed in for their entire lives, was merely the selection of Sarah Palin as their Vice Presidential nominee.

On that Monday evening, Stephen T. Colbert - their ally, mind you (wink) - reminded them in vivid detail what they were then, what they always had been, and what they are now.

"While these boo-hoo-acrats hold a pity party about the state of the Republican party politic, they seem to have forgotten just what the Republican Party's body was made of. We know it's many different body parts stitched together. Fiscal conservatives sutured onto Christian fundamentalists held together with a patchwork of Neo-Con foreign policy hawks that in 2000 they bolted George Bush's head on and bolted it on with 10,000 volts of 'gay people want to marry your baby (on a burning flag)!' I'm not saying that intellectuals like Brooks and Noonan and Frum are Dr. Frankenstein... I'm just saying - and I mean this in the nicest possible way - they are hunks of dead flesh sewn into the walking corpse of the Republican party. Think about it. It could not have lived long without them. Noonan was the larynx. She gave voice to the monster... Brooks was the kidneys because he processed the waste into NY Times editorials... And Frum"... for having compare liberals to Nazis.. "was the balls (or the anus)"
(If you can watch the video you should, but I have been unsuccessful trying to embed, so I transcribed the most pertinent part.)

They - and by they I mean the "conservative" "intellectuals" who are actually just the rich and well-to-do who have less interest in "the constitution" and "freedom" than even the straw-man liberal bogeyman of "conservative" lore - have used their wealth and "intellect" to animate the dumb in our country in a way that has allowed them to create a pseudo-majority and to wreak a devastation upon our country that has barely begun to be remedied (and why I have more patience for Obama than the average liberal since I know he must be the first in a long line of Democratic presidents, not the sudden savior that seems to have been expected by "progressives" - another problematic word) and the appallingly undemocratic effect of their unholy alliance with the idiot class was a mere tactic with which they ridiculed those who noticed it for being crybabies. "Hey it's a tough game! This is hardball! grow up!"

Of course, those were the glory days. Affeared, ign'ant conservatives marching into primaries were nothing but a boon, as the only choices they'd have were selected by the "intellectuals" and those same, always agitated soldiers could be relied upon to show up in the general election, too, also.

That was life, politically, my entire life. A minority in control through their willingness to dance with the devil - although that's not a fair analogy, since the devil, i'd imagine, is not stupid. So let's rephrase: a minority in control through their desire to win power at all costs, willing to promise a blind man he could see.

So now, to the point of the diary. Not that I want or wish it to happen, but purely as analysis, I believe we are on the verge of a rarity in American politics. A third Party.

Their unholy marriage is over. Now the only sensible question is how can the "intellectuals" divorce themselves from the lunatics. After having allowed them to evolve enough to learn how to engage in politics and run candidates of their own, how can they ever go back?

They can't. Not when the RINO (as they call them) is living in the burbs, too busy doing well to bother with primaries. The old order of master and serf is never coming back. Not with the organizing power of the internet.

Redstate. Ace of Spades. Free Republic. They are not going away, and they make their living in purification trials. So what could possibly happen?

"A third party is unrealistic."

I have thought this through many eras and it has been true. I still have vaguely "libertarian" Facebook friends who still post bullshit about Ron Paul blah blah blah and "3rd party" blah blah blah. I am numb to all of it.

But this is different. The weight of the zealots in the GOP is not going to get lighter, it is going to get much, much heavier. And while the Redstate lot may have learned how to howl loudly inside an already created construct, they would never have the ability to create their fantasy of a real viable "conservative" party.

So then that's that, right?

No, because there is an alternative.

The "conservatives" don't create a third party. Instead the "intellectuals" do. The original elite - the rich and well-to-do - cut the zealots loose.

At first thought this is ludicrous because they need the zombies to even get the 47% they manage to get in losing.

But here is why I think it plausible. The now unhinged (pun intended) GOP would be free to elect all the Sharon Angles and Todd Akins they want. They would be unencumbered in their extremities and to the point: They won't, suddenly start voting for Democrats.

That is the new ingredient in this modern phenomenon. Previously the dynamic of American politics that conspired to prevented third parties from maturing was that a disenfranchised rump could be wooed into the other preeminent party. That would very much not be the case if radicals were set free from the GOP. If the dumb were sent on their iceberg to die then that is exactly what they'd do. They would go back to their normal relevance, which is to say they would descend into political irrelevance, like it used to be.

Now the next absurdity in this idea is that the New GOP (though they'd have to surrender the name since it would be they who "left" the party) would be even weaker in their battle for electoral significance.

But here's the thing. The "intellectuals" of the party have only moved "right" in an effort to appease the growing unruliness of their base. If this hypothetical Frum/Brooks/Noonan party was freed from their burdensome anchor then they could... move left.

I think, easily move left. There's lots of ground to make up. There are lots of blue dogs and Third-Wayers to pick off. There are many Democratic voters who are only so because they see the baggage that the GOP carries. If the plutocratic wing were set free you'd here a giant sucking sound of wishy-washy Democrats abandoning the Democratic party for this new "pro-business" party. You might not want to accept it, but many of the votes that Obama gets are not from "progressives," but from people who are reasonable enough to see the insanity of the modern GOP but their allegiance ends, abruptly, there.

In this new reality, the Tea-Partiers, the Redstaters, the Idaho Militias and the Oklahoma confederates go back to being marginalized extremities. They go back to being potential Federal Building bombers and that benefits no one, but to my point, does not ever end up helping the Democrats because, while it may be fun to enjoy the eroding prospects of the 47% and shrinking coaltion of the GOP, it's important to notice that the Democrats have a ceiling too. It's about 53% and it takes a precarious coalition to hold onto it. If the "new" GOP held onto 27% of the electorate, while setting the 20% that are "conservatives" free they would instantly become 33% of the newly relevant voters. That sounds weak, but things would change fast. Quickly they could begin selling their "don't tax me bro" bullshit without paying for the "your fetus is my business" wing of the party, and, I fear, be in a position to win elections.

That's their only way out, as I see it, and it's not implausible, and that's scary.

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Comment Preferences

  •  A more sane Republican Party would ultimately be (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Andrew F Cockburn

    a good thing though.

    The worst trend of recent decades is how the radical became mainstream. A Democracy needs at bare minimum two viable parties to function, much as I would liberals to win every election from now until forever.

    Far far better that the other party is not beholden to an extremist base...

    By the way the comment about Colbert being an ally needs to be more o visually flagged up as snark otherwise someone reading this might actually take it seriously,

    hope springs eternal

    by ahyums on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 11:59:57 AM PST

  •  jack - anyone who knows anything (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ahyums, fou

    and I would think that the "intellectuals" do, understands that forming a third party, to the right or left, gives the remaining intact party a guaranteed majority for a generation. The conservative intellectuals aren't going to form a third party.

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 12:06:21 PM PST

    •  ..."to the right or left"... (0+ / 0-)

      but my point is that a group of "intellectuals," you know, the ones who use the dumb for so long, could form a party in the "middle" that cuts the dumb loose. That would give the "remaining" party benefit for a cycle, not a generation, in our modern world.

      •  jack - there isn't a viable middle (0+ / 0-)

        The leadership of a third party movement is going to come from one side or the other. The third party isn't going to have the resources or draw enough voters to do anything but harm their legacy side of the political spectrum.

        To actually have a viable third part would take billions of dollars and years of party formation and development. Who would provide the resources? Third parties are a fools game.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 01:51:37 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Very true which is why if it does happen (0+ / 0-)

      It'll be from the extreme right rather than from the left. A fracture does remain a distinct possibility though.

      Still think quite apart from the electoral benefits for Democrats that it would be a good thing. It would keep the lunatic fringe where it belongs, on the fringe.

      hope springs eternal

      by ahyums on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 12:20:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well written and this is perhaps the ONLY (0+ / 0-)

    Way out for the monied GOP 'intellectuals' - most of whom are socially elastic liberals.

    But it wont be easy as the Teahadist wing' have this knack of finding Latino Senators like Rubio and Ted 'Crazy' Cruz, who win elections and then are SUDDENLY a force to reckon with.

  •  Never happen (0+ / 0-)

    Those "intellectuals" are intellectual enough to recognize the value of the Republican party brand name over some new untried party. Not to mention the already-in-place universal ballot access the Republican party already has. They won't want to give those up. So IMO if they intend to make a play for visibility, they'll do it within the existing structure. Intraparty food fight! I don't think it will work. But I doubt they'll give up without a struggle.

    But even if they succeed, they'll only be transforming the Republican party into Democrats Lite. This will get them exactly nowhere. Remember when we tried (still are, in some districts) transforming the Democratic Party into Republican Lite? How well did that work out for us? Put us in the wilderness for years.

  •  If They Remain Conservative But Turn Fact-Based (0+ / 0-)

    they will be in the center of the Democratic Party. Not blue dog type, but mainstream Dems.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 02:32:03 PM PST

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