Skip to comments.Mark Shields: Republicans Saw Off the Atlantic Seaboard (hurl alert)
Posted on 05/02/2009 2:33:13 PM PDT by lewisglad
You call Tom Rath, the former New Hampshire state attorney general and longtime Republican national committeeman, because he is smart and he is quotable. Rath was upset that, after five terms in the U.S. Senate as a Republican, Pennsylvania's Arlen Specter -- for his own political survival -- had left their party to join the Senate Democratic majority: "Forty-five years ago, Barry Goldwater so disliked the Eastern establishment that he proposed sawing off the Atlantic Seaboard. In 2009, that's what the Republican Party is finally doing."
Don't just take his word for it. Listen to this from a prominent national Republican: "You can walk from Canada to Mexico and from Maine to Arizona without ever leaving a state with a Democratic governor. ... And on the East Coast, you can drive from North Carolina to New Hampshire without touching a single state in between that has a Republican in the U.S. Senate."
Those are not the musings of an academic -- they are the blunt words from a speech to the Republican National Committee by the GOP's Senate leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who warned: "(T)he Republican Party seems to be slipping into a position of being more of a regional party than a national one. In politics there's a name for a regional party -- it's called a minority party."
McConnell's concerns were rejected by the nation's most popular radio talk-show host, Rush Limbaugh, who upon receiving news of the conversion, urged Specter to take Sen. John McCain and his daughter Meghan with him.
Contrast this with what a Democratic Party leader told me in 1995 when then-Colorado U.S. Sen. Ben "Nighthorse" Campbell, the Senate's only Cheyenne tribe member with a fondness for bolo ties and driving a motorcycle around Washington, deserted the Democrats for the GOP: "When the one Indian in the Senate with a ponytail and a Harley leaves your side to become a Republican, you know your party's in real trouble."
Lindsay Graham of South Carolina apparently believes, unlike Limbaugh, that politics is a matter of addition and not subtraction. Graham told Fox's Greta Van Susteren: "Here's the challenge for the Republican Party. Can the person running in Pennsylvania win? ... I can't win in Pennsylvania. Rush Limbaugh can't win in Pennsylvania. If you're worried about turning the country over to the Democratic Party and not being a vibrant, relevant Republican Party, we need to find somebody that can win in Pennsylvania."
Which brings us to an iron rule: The vitality of a political party, or any organization to which people voluntarily belong, can be accurately measured by whether that party is spending its time, effort and energy seeking and welcoming converts or exposing and banishing heretics.
In 1980, the Republicans under Ronald Reagan's leadership were recruiting with open arms disaffected members of the opposition. Remember "Reagan Democrats"? In 2008, Barack Obama repeatedly courted Republicans and other non-Democrats to his campaign and cause. His efforts were rewarded in November when he carried independents, suburbanites and Catholic voters.
Those avenging Republicans who might prefer the recreation of another Salem tribunal must first confront these numbers. In 2005, there were 55 Republicans in the U.S. Senate. And with Democrat Al Franken of Minnesota almost certain to eventually be seated, there are now only 40 Republican senators. In 2005, there were 232 Republicans in the U.S. House. Today, there are 178.
Barely five years ago, according to the authoritative Pew national poll, 33 percent of voters identified themselves as Democrats and 30 percent self-identified as Republicans -- just a three point difference and almost within the margin of error. In 2009, 35 percent proclaim themselves Democrats, while Republican identification has slipped badly to 22 percent -- opening up a 13-point gap.
Rath and Graham, two grown-up politicians, understand from personal experience in the arena what too many in their party do not: Politics is always a matter of addition, not subtraction
So who wants to be a member of the big spenders party owned and operated off of wall street. This story says 12+ percentage see the GOP as Democrat lite.
They should ask who sees themselves as CONSERVATIVES or ask for their opinion on specific issues.
Most of America is right wing... they just don’t know it yet.
Another nonsensical ‘analysis’ of the Republicans in 2009, this one from Mark Shields who is no friend of the party.
Not a credible source or analyst.
“Hurl alert”? If Republicans don’t recognize that they’re turning into a regional party and do something about it they’ll never recover. This doesn’t mean compromising on our core fiscal values, which should be able to have as much appeal in Connecticut as in Utah, but it does mean eschewing messages like Sarah Palin’s “pro-America areas” of the country comment.
You get a good, deadly flu epidemic underway and those dots are toast!
frequently quoted, while polling showing that the generic congressional ballot now shows R43%-D41% and is ignored. That said, I agree an idea that is more inclusive, as formulated by Gerald Ford, certainly an establishment Republican, " The government that is big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take everything that you have," is a good starting place.
And the Dems advantage in party affiliation percentages has eroded since the November vote, down by 2.6% since December. Some Obama followers are finally looking beyond “hope and change” and are not quite so thrilled as during 2008:
I thought Mark Shields was dead....killed in a violent crash with total stone-cold obscurity, in a Prius driven by Eleanor Clift.
In 2006 and especially 2008, even many of those “vast stretches” went to the Democrats. And the entire Northeast and mid-Atlantic region is not a “small dot.”
I usually see the figure 21% cited for the number of people who identify themselves as Republicans. We’ve seen enough polls that have been manipulated to know that the numbers can’t be trusted too far, but even if the numbers are right, that means nearly half the people in the country don’t identify with either major party.
If the cotton picking machine hadn't been invented in the 1950s this wouldn't have happened.
They party i.d. numbers have change considerably in Republicans’ favor since Obama and the Dems won. The parties are even again now. But dem polsters still use the old numbers as does this author calling for Republican liberalism.
Very few. There are now no Republican congressmen in New England, and only three (out of 29) in New York. New Hampshire, only recently strongly Republican, is now almost completely run by Democrats. Likewise Virginia has seen a significant shift--if we can't win Fairfax County we probably can't win America.
Exactly. And there are lots of fiscal—but not social or cultural—conservatives in the Northeast. Many of these used to be Republicans, but what did they get for it? Some of the fastest spending growth in decades under Bush? I’m not surprised they abandoned the party if the Republicans are little different than the Democrats on fiscal issues, and they lean Democratic on other issues anyway.
And Dems sawed off the South a long time ago.
Right. So Republican numbers have gone up since the election for some reason. Maybe it is just that Obama and the Democrats have scared the heck out of people and the slow road to hell offered by the rinos is better than the fast road to Obama’s Utopian hell.
Couldn’t you find anything from Pravda?
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.