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
“And Dems sawed off the South a long time ago.”
Tell them that. Obama won in North Carolina, Virginia, and Florida.
North Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Virginia are governed by Democrats.
They hold Senate seats in Louisiana, Virginia, Florida, North Carolina, and Arkansas. Both US Senate seats in Virgina and Arkansas, for that matter.
Even the Mountain West, which has traditionally been far more loyal to Republicans than has the South, is splintered.
Tell the DA "prominent national republican" to take the long way and stay out of Indiana!
That’s because they are winning.
Now you know why Rush calls him Maxi Shields...
You make my point. Election are cyclical.
“Most of America is right wing... they just dont know it yet.”
The problem is the definition of right-wing...if you don’t get it “exactly right” too many stay home. Libertadrian’s and “strict constructionists,” depending on the subject, need not apply.
Bush II effect. Put a real conservative in and these numbers get flipped wholesale. A couple of years of Obama-stink and people will flock in droves toward someone like Sarah Palin.
First, you have to have a conservative, then, you can make comparisons that really matter. I'll take your popularity poll and raise you one genuine American.
I'll wager in five years you'll hear nothing of gay marriage, nor will you have a flaming faggot trashing Miss USA contestants. We'll have gone through whatever the pig flu throws at us by then and Obama's response will be on record. We'll have seen major corporations taken over by government and the ill created that will also be on Obama's ledger.
The Left's pendulum swing peaked with the Caramel Messiah. They've known all along that they only had a small window of opportunity to exploit and boy, are they exploiting it. It won't last and they know it.
Income Tax =Socialism
The more income tax, the more redistribution, the more the Dems will use your money to buy their votes.
We haven’t sawed off the Northeast though Goldwater joked about doing so. The Northeast has severed itself from constitutional principles.
No, “right-wing” terrifies the American people and has since the days of Senator Joseph McCarthy, who was right on 90 percent of his charges. The people want these government programs, and even a conservative like Bob Taft supported socialized housing after World War II.
You are correct, Louisiana has twice as many Republican U.S. representatives as New York State.
It should have the added bonus of forcing Obama to veto such legislation as well, gaining ammo for a (hopefully) conservative candidate for POTUS to use in an election bid.
“No, right-wing terrifies the American people”
I was talking about the FR definition.