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The End of the Republican Majority
Posted by: Jon Henke on Thursday, May 25, 2006

Jonah Goldberg once made the case that conservatives could be divided into two branches: "conservatives who are 'anti-left' versus those who are 'anti-state'." At the time, Dale Franks argued that "while those of us on the libertarian side are firmly anti-state, much of the Republican Party is really anti-Left", and, further, that "anti-Left conservativism is a very live brand of conservative thought, and one which I oppose in many ways much as I do Leftism." anti-left conservatism is neither intellectually coherent, nor politically sustainable

Likewise, I believe that anti-left conservatism is neither intellectually coherent, nor politically sustainable. One cannot, as Republicans have endlessly reminded Democrats of late, run on a platform of contrarianism. At some point, the public will decide that "you suck" is not a useful governing philosophy.

If you need any more evidence of the ascendency of the Anti-Left faction within the Republican Party, consider this quote from National Review's Jim Geraghty... (via Instapundit)
So, no sooner than I spend the better part of a week making the case as to why conservatives ought to not sit out the 2006, elections, Dennis Hastert and many senior Republicans behave in a manner that suggests they’re riding to the aid of Democratic Congressman William Jefferson and declaring that the FBI has no right to search a member’s office. [...] At this moment, I completely understand the anger of the Tapscottians, those who are content to see a GOP majority fall. Although honestly, at this moment, I don’t want to wait until November to see this kind of behavior punished.
At some point, the public will decide that "you suck" is not a useful governing philosophy
So, there you go. Enormous increases in federal spending, entitlement programs and future debt? Fine. Failure to assert legislative oversight of the war on terror? Whatever. Massive federalization of the Department of Education? Yawn. Tossed aside the 1st Ammendment for the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform bill? These things happen. Repeated violations of State's Rights? What's your point?

But let some Republicans defend one lousy Democrat and Jim Geraghty wants blood.
The Republican Majority is not long for this world.
The Republican Majority is not long for this world. What's more, the ascendency of the Anti-Left may also bring to an end the Fusionist alliance of Anti-State and Anti-Left. The Anti-Left faction can ride with a dominant Anti-State Republican Party, but the reverse will not be true for long.
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

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I take the view that all politicians are weasels and that this operating presumption is so likely to be true in any particular case that well-nigh irrefragable proof to the contrary is required for me to admit an exception.

In the end, however, it doesn’t much matter whether our current insect overlords are motivated by ideology or self-interest. (I leave it to others to decide for themselves whether Republican members of Congress might rise to defend Jefferson more on principled constitutional grounds than concern that their own misdeeds might also be discovered. As for me, see my first paragraph above.)

As matters stand, we can only ally temporarily with whichever swarm is likely to do less damage at any particular time. Obviously, that time has past for the anti-left Republican party, but I have no reason to believe that the Democratic locusts who will soon, I hope, replace them in at least one house of Congress will be much better.
 
Written By: D.A. Ridgely
URL: http://
A constituency is powerless that can’t decide to stay home on Election Day or switch its vote to someone with whom it agrees more.
Sometimes you have to sit out an election cycle or two to keep the party from taking you for granted.

I can’t bring myself to put a stamp of approval on almost any Democrat I’ve ever had the chance to vote for, and precious few Republicans and Libertarians are even making the grade.

I’d love it if we had a "None of the Above" vote. (The idea being that if NOTA wins for a particular seat, we hold another election with all new candidates).
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
Jon -

I don’t agree with part of your analysis. I’ve read Jim Geraghty for a while now (since before the 2004 election) and I wouldn’t call him anti-Left. There are truly anti-Left bloggers out there, but nothing I’ve read makes me believe he is one of them. He is a nice guy which believes in Republican ideas. I’ve disagreed with his philosophy on many occassions, but never did I consider his analysis simply anit-Left. He offers more than that in his posts and to sum him up that way seems both wrong and unnecesary. Really, it seems a little bitchy on your part. You could’ve made a cogent argument without it.
 
Written By: Monica
URL: http://
Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg thrust himself into the national immigration debate Wednesday, advocating a plan that would establish a DNA or fingerprint database to track and verify all legal U.S. workers.
No, this is not a joke.

Anyway, the only evidence libertarians ever cite about the left being anti-libertarian is McCain/Feingold. Notwithstanding, of course, that it was cosponsored by the leading candidate of the Republican party for President, and signed into law by the current Republican President. Time and again this blog has blamed the left or Democrats or liberals for MF. Putting aside the merits of MF, it was made law only because Republicans wanted it to be law.
Tossed aside the 1st Ammendment for the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform bill? These things happen
Jon, ever the closeted rightwing partisan, cannot help but imply that the GOP stood by while MF passed. These things happen, after all.

To the contrary, the GOP wanted it passed. When the president wanted it passed, and signed it, and is gloriously renominated and elected, and when the cosponsor of MF is the next leading candidate for the party, in spite of, or more likely because of MF, you know that MF is the GOP’s baby.

What other evidence is there that Dems are fascists who want to control all apsects of your life? I don’t know. Maybe you should ask the moderate Repbulican Michael Bloomberg. He seems to be on to something.



 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
advocating a plan that would establish a DNA or fingerprint database to track and verify all legal U.S. workers.
I’m sorry, MK, but why the hyperventilation?

As soon as you postulate a government that’s supposed all sorts of nice things for its citizens, then it becomes important to figure out who is a citizen and who isn’t. It would be even nicer to have a proof which is difficult to fake.

 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
I’m not sure why I bother responding to you, since you invariably slink off for a bit and only return to be foolish again later, but I have to note that...
Anyway, the only evidence libertarians ever cite about the left being anti-libertarian is McCain/Feingold.
You are either a fool or a liar. Libertarians cite far more than McCain-Feingold as evidence of the Left’s anti-liberty views, and we usually cite McCain-Feingold as evidence of the Republican Party’s anti-liberty views. Moreover...
Jon, ever the closeted rightwing partisan, cannot help but imply that the GOP stood by while MF passed. These things happen, after all.
...I cited it as evidence of the Republican Party’s failure.

Apparently, you just completely misunderstood the point of the post. All of the items I cited were examples of failures of the Republican Party. What’s more, you cite Michael Bloomberg — a lifelong Democrat, who only ran as a Republican because the field was thinner — and his push for ID measures as "proof" of Republican intransigence. But only days ago, I expressly criticized Newt Gingrich (an actual Republican) for suggesting the initial steps to a national ID.

And in response, you call me a "closeted rightwing partisan"? You are a fool or a liar.

So, let’s review: MK (1) misunderstands and mischaracterizes my argument, (2) mischaracterizes my statement on McCain-Feingold, (3) mischaracterizes the libertarian criticism of democrats, (4) mischaracterizes Michael Bloomberg’s affiliation, and (5) ignores my stated position on national ID in order to criticize me for a position taken by a lifelong Democrat.

The decent thing, at this point, would be to admit you were wrong, apologize for mischaracterizing my argument and for questioning my integrity.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
I really don’t think Jim Geraghty’s dissatisfaction with the actions of Republicans began over this issue—and I don’t think his ire in this particular case was because Hastert et al. rallied around a corrupt Democrat, per se.

I think his ire was at yet another lost opportunity by Republicans in congress to demonstrate they’re something other than a parliament of whores (to steal a phrase).

I’m just not sure the message being imputed into the quote from his is completely fair.
 
Written By: JMD
URL: http://
Jon,

What evidence do you have that Geraghty is fine with "[e]normous increases in federal spending, entitlement programs and future debt", says "Whatever" to an alleged "[f]ailure to assert legislative oversight of the war on terror", that he yawns at the "[m]assive federalization of the Department of Education", says "These things happen" about the McCain-Feingold Campaign FR bill, or doesn’t see the point of questioning violations of State’s Rights? Any? Just wondering. Is it necessary that he rehearse every complaint he might have ever had with the current Republicans in Congress any time he complains about the current Republicans in Congress?
 
Written By: Craig R. Harmon
URL: http://
What evidence do you have that Geraghty is fine with [etc]
I didn’t argue that he liked them or endorsed them. Just that, so long as those were the sins, he continued, in his words, "making the case as to why conservatives ought to not sit out the 2006, elections". But when Republicans defend one lousy Democrat, he decides he wants to "to see this kind of behavior punished" by seeing Republicans lose their majority.

Perhaps this was just the straw that broke the camels back. But it’s a lousy straw.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.qando.net/
"I didn’t argue that he liked them or endorsed them."

I’ll put the "Fine", "Whatever", and "Yawn" down to rhetorical excesses then, since you don’t, now, claim that he, in fact, is fine with or is unconcerned about any of the issues to which you attached these words.

"...he decides he wants to "to see this kind of behavior punished" by seeing Republicans lose their majority"

I’m not sure that that’s necessarily the punishment Geraghty had in mind. He said "At this moment, I completely understand the anger of the Tapscottians, those who are content to see a GOP majority fall." He says that, momentarily, he understands the anger. I’m not sure that he’s saying that he now joins the Tapscottians in their contentment to see the Republicans lose their majority.

It is possible that, when he writes "Although honestly, at this moment, I don’t want to wait until November to see this kind of behavior punished[]" he’s saying that a) this is a momentary experience that he expects to pass, perhaps rather quickly, and b) that the punishment Geraghty has in mind for this most recent behavior is not losing the majority in Congress which, as he must know, could not take place until November anyway. Wanting them to be punished with some unspecified punishment before November could mean that he wants the Republicans who are speaking out against the constitutionality of what is plainly a legal search with safeguards in place to prevent any draft bills, memos, or other documents relating to the debates in Congress from becoming part of a criminal investigation against a member of the other party, a search that was conducted with a warrant by agents that have no other connection to the investigation, to snap out of what he views to be their brain-addled behavior and that it will take some form of punishment to accomplish that.

It’s hard to argue that such statements don’t come off as a circling of the wagons behind a fellow legislator against whom there seems to be plenty of evidence of criminal activity, statements which, given the current bumper crop of suspicions of corruption resulting from lobbying, sound like nothing more than an attempt to protect themselves and theirs from similar, future investigation. The fact that the fellow legislator to whose defence they appear to be coming is from the other side of the aisle, a party that has done it’s best to paint lobby-connected corruption as a solely Republican problem, only adds to the impression that these Republicans are brain-addled and need to be punished for their behavior. If it takes some bitch-slapping from Conservative political commentators and thousands of calls and tens of thousands of emails and letters from Republican constituents to do that before November, that might constitute a punishment for this behavior that would not necessarily result in the loss of Republican majority in November if they do snap out of it before then.
 
Written By: Craig R. Harmon
URL: http://
I’ll put the "Fine", "Whatever", and "Yawn" down to rhetorical excesses then, since you don’t, now, claim that he, in fact, is fine with or is unconcerned about any of the issues to which you attached these words.
Cripes, it was a literary technique to indicate that he’s shrugged off those sins at the ballot box, but the defending a Democrat is the one that got him excised. You might note I did not put the statements in quotes.
I’m not sure that he’s saying that he now joins the Tapscottians in their contentment to see the Republicans lose their majority.
If you’re arguing that he might eventually change his mind, I won’t gainsay you. He might. But at the time, he wrote "at this moment, I don’t want to wait until November to see this kind of behavior punished" immediately after saying he understood the "Tapscottian" anger. That sounds like a clear—albeit perhaps momentary—endorsement of the position Tapscott took.

For my part, I’ll be happy to see the Republicans lose their majority, but for the reasons he seemed to have shrugged off, rather than the one that got his dander up.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
I don’t presume to know what Geraghty means by the words that you quote. I don’t say that I am right and you are wrong. I say only that your reading is not the only one that is self-consistent. In any case, I have emailed him to inquire as to what he meant by the passage in question. Seems less silly than arguing with you over what he means by the passage.
 
Written By: Craig R. Harmon
URL: http://
I don’t presume to know what Geraghty means by the words that you quote. I don’t say that I am right and you are wrong. I say only that your reading is not the only one that is self-consistent. In any case, I have emailed him to inquire as to what he meant by the passage in question. Seems less silly than arguing with you over what he means by the passage.
 
Written By: Craig R. Harmon
URL: http://
Ugh! Sorry for the double comment.
 
Written By: Craig R. Harmon
URL: http://
I’m guessing that this should settle the question of what Jim Geraghty meant by not wishing to wait until November to punish the Republicans.
Well, there’s a lot of ways to punish a lawmaker’s behavior. Hastert could see donations dry up; he could see himself labeled a “blithering idiot” all over the right half of the blogosphere (uh, check) ; he could see a dearth of volunteers for his own reelection this fall (not that I expect his defeat), he could see angry calls to his office, he could hear angry reactions when he meets with the conservative press, and he could hear angry denunciations of the decision from his caucus and/or the White House. Some interest group could even put together a campaign-style attack ad that would berate Hastert for his anti-FBI stand, and run it in his district.

When Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty and FBI Director Robert Mueller threatened resignation, that was a form of punishment, or perhaps a warning might be a better term. Their throwing down the gauntlet made clear the consequences to the President — if Hastert got his way, the President would lose his top three Justice Department officials.

My hope would be that a conservative backlash against Hastert’s stand starting much sooner than election day would get him to backtrack and shape up – and that similar actions on other issues could yield a Republican caucus that is publicly committed to a more consistently conservative course of action. None of these moves would necessarily bring about a Democratic House of Representatives, which I again observe would give conservatives none of what they want.
Some of that sounds awfully familiar.

Q.E.D.
 
Written By: Craig R. Harmon
URL: http://
That’s certainly his ex post facto reaction. It’s a bit difficult to accept the notion that he expressed sympathy for the "Tapscottian" throw the bums out notion by arguing that Republicans should be, er, ridiculed.

He and I have exchanged frank but pleasant emails. I general, I think he misunderstands what "fine/whatever/yawn/etc" meant. I did not imply that he liked those measures — merely that they didn’t elicit demands for punishment, as did the defense of Jefferson.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net

 
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