Is the GOP Headed for Oblivion?
Barring an unforeseen catastrophe on the level of a mob in some Middle Eastern nation taking U.S. Embassy personnel hostages, which was the final blow to Jimmy Carter’s presidency, it is becoming increasingly apparent that Mitt Romney is going to go down to defeat against President Barak Obama.
At this point, the big question is by how many electoral votes Obama will best his GOP opponent. Lest you think that I’m being overly optimistic, I’ve been monitoring GOP-leaning and right-wing websites. Without exception, they’re now engaging in a circular firing squad.
The Wall Street Journal’s opinion pages, considered the most popular and important source for the Right’s thinking, is publishing more and more pieces of critical of Romney’s campaign. Even Fox News, the main national cheerleader for the Right, has joined in the finger pointing.
The Democratic Party, meanwhile, remains unified behind Obama. To be sure, there are those are disaffected by the lack of substantial progress on the economy or the housing market. But blue state voters’ lack of enthusiasm palls in comparison to the red state voters’ antipathy to Romney.
Some of this may be a result of the deep suspicion among the party’s Evangelical base with the Mormon religion, which they see as an apostasy against basic Christian beliefs. But many of these people have a pretty clear view of what has happened: By far the second-most liberal GOP presidential candidate had to veer far to the right in order to defeat fire-breathing conservatives like Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich.
The irony is that the most liberal (and not a liberal at all in any general sense), John Huntsman, may well have swamped Obama in the general election. But the GOP base that comes out in force in the primaries saw him as a traitor because he dared serve their nation as an ambassador to China under Obama.
This points to the great weakness in the Republican Party. Voters in the primaries are the meat-eating right-wingers. The moderates increasingly see themselves as an endangered species. Ridiculed as "RINOs," they have ceded primary after primary to unelectable candidates.
Thus a nitwit like Sharron Angle, who ran against the very vulnerable Harry Reid for the Senate in Nevada, managed to lose. So did Christine O’Donnell in Delaware, who was so crazy that her GOP opponent endorsed her Democratic rival. And then there’s Missouri’s Todd Aken, whose comments about rape were so out-there that the entire party establishment has abandoned him to defeat against the (formerly) most vulnerable Democratic senator up for re-election this cycle.
Meanwhile, Mass. Sen. Scott Brown is patiently trying to demonstrate a middle path to lead the party out of the wilderness in which it has found itself: moderate on social issues like abortion while to the right on fiscal policy and national defense. On gay rights, Brown has tread very carefully. He injected himself into the fight to repeal the military’s "Don’t Ask Don’t Tell" rule (and isn’t shy to point up his services). As for same-sex marriage, he simply dismisses it as a non-issue in his home state.
Instead of looking at politicians like Brown as a way to cipher votes from urban professionals, Roman Catholics and Hispanics, party members either berate him as a turncoat or dismiss him with "Oh, well, that’s the only way to get elected in Massachusetts."
What they don’t realize -- or don’t want to acknowledge -- is that, in the post-post-Stonewall Era, there are very few Americans who don’t know a gay man or lesbian or have at least one in their extended family. So issues like same-sex marriage go from the abstract ("It undermines the institution of marriage") to the personal ("My brother-in-law’s partner can’t have the same rights my husband and I have").