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Born at the Crest of the Empire

Thursday, November 06, 2008

My money's on Gingrich/Jindal to win the GOP civil war.

Here's my prediction. I believe Newt Gingrich will end up running the GOP after the "civil war."

Evangelicals like him. Low tax business folks like him, he's viewed as an "ideas man," and, to many GOPers, he harkens back to their "storming the gate" moment in 1994.

I don't know if he ever formally takes over, and I don't know who his RNC chair choice would be, but I would bet Gingrich ends up with the most influence.

Probably the surest tell is to watch the fortunes of La. Governor Bobby Jindal, his favorite current acolyte, who he desperately tried to push on the McCain campaign as a VP selection.

(I would say Romney as the other likely, but I'm not exactly sure who his power base/backers are. (And it looks like Palin is done.))

13 Comments:

  • Democrats have to remind themselves, for pretty much the rest of time, that Republicans are REALLY good at running an insurgent campaign. They have their own network and a very loyal and active base. But when it comes to actually holding the reins of power they fail every single time through their anti-democratic and excessively greedy and corrupt practices. Democrats need to remind the public of that at every election, implicitly or explicitly, the GOP is great at staying on message but in the end that's where their discipline ends.

    By Blogger matt, at 8:01 AM  

  • I agree completely. That's one of the reasons I'm so skeptical of this grand "realignment" so many are speaking of.

    The main thing is for Obama to perform well. The argument then being, look at Clinton. Look at Obama. Look at Bush.

    And, Back to the post, I think Gingrich will symbolize for the right a purer time, before Tom Delay.

    By Blogger mikevotes, at 8:08 AM  

  • This makes some sense. Gingrich has the political managerial skills and network to do this. The thing is, can the the christianist wing be put back into a bottle? Gingrich was good at manipulating the evangelicals, but he was never a true believer. Now, these folk realize they were being played and may not get back in line.

    Gingrich, like Norquist and even Bush are part of the "let's kill government" school of politics. If, under Obama and the Dems, the national view of government becomes a more progressive one -- that government isn't necessarily the problem, bad governance is -- then the Repubs have little chance of success because.

    Just very quick streaming thoughts....

    By Blogger -epm, at 8:21 AM  

  • Very true. But the christian wing liked him, and since that group reacts to stress by looking backward, I would think he'd be a good fit.

    The one question I would have about this is that after Obama, would the "change" of Jindal feel as needed? The political demands in 4 or 8 years might feel very different.

    But then, Newt's got more than one horse in his stable.

    By Blogger mikevotes, at 8:24 AM  

  • I hate to keep saying this, but the Republican we saw in 1994 is not the same Party we have now.

    Everything changed under Bush.

    Moderates were purged. Independent thought was punished. Loyalty was supreme; competence was optional or even suspicious. It was either "all in" or "all out". You can't get anywhere in the Party if you are not fundamentalist evangelical Christian. Those who are not are merely relics waiting to be replaced. Ideology is the only thing; pragmatism is for "wusses".

    Just as it's not 2004 anymore, the Party was that was "REALLY good at running an insurgent campaign" is not there anymore.
    The people who would be smart enough to go with Jindal and Gingrich have been marginalised, purged, or beaten into submissive drone status. Just look at how the campaign was run. If there were people with brains and practical sense in positions of power within the Republican Party, don't you think they would have been tapped?

    There is no cleverness left - just crude, strident, hateful ideologues with ham-fisted methods who are proud of their ignorance.

    It is not the Party of Gingrich, Dole, and Romney anymore. It's the Party of NASCAR fans, Joe the Plumber, and Michele Bachmann. The future of the GOP is with whites who have a high-school education and fundamentalist Christians. Any demographic with critical thinking skills is suspect, part of the "elite", one of "them" and not "us".

    I don't expect you to agree with me on this, but I ask that you do not fall into the same trap that so many others did this election by over-estimating the Republicans' wisdom and cunning.

    By Blogger Todd Dugdale, at 8:35 AM  

  • I agree completely that this isn't the same GOP, but it's my sense that their first reaction will be to reach backwards in stress, and Gingrich feels to them like strength.

    As to your later points, but that's the whole point of this civil war. The top of the GOP is going to try to regain control of the NASCAR fans. It's their only way back, and that's another reason why I think Gingrich wins. He can reach into both groups. (Unlike Romney, unlike Palin, unlike Huckabee.....)

    And, I don't think I'm overestimating them. I think they're a party rocked and flailing, that are simply without leadership and out of control. I think the last three campaigns have driven them down a narrowing channel.

    But I also think there are some smart people in the party who kinda see the mess, even if their solutions aren't necessarily a good way out.

    (And I wouldn't completely write off the GOP as a rump. There is a section that voted for Obama this time which can be tapped with some version of a GOP message, although it has to get past slogans and jingoism.)

    By Blogger mikevotes, at 8:45 AM  

  • Todd you are right, they have beaten the brains out of their own party. It's like having a massive army of brown shirts but no Goering to rally them under the banner.

    Gingrich is poison fruit and there is too much to dredge up and use against him. In the eyes of the 'new GOP' wouldn't he be considered an elite wussie?

    By Blogger matt, at 9:12 AM  

  • it's my sense that their first reaction will be to reach backwards in stress, and Gingrich feels to them like strength.

    Gingrich failed. Republicans despise failure.

    The top of the GOP is going to try to regain control of the NASCAR fans.

    You have the tail wagging the dog there, I think. That's why they are in the mess they are in. People who are "just like" their demographic are the ones considered for leadership. You have to be "one of them" in order to lead them, or else you are an "outsider elitist".
    Remember, they still believe that they are "real America", that the majority supports them, and that the public was fooled by the "liberal media".

    And I wouldn't completely write off the GOP as a rump.

    I'm not writing them off. There is a lot of potential with the demographic I mentioned, and the ability to use wedge issues to peel off Democrats, at least temporarily, on certain issues.
    My point is that one should not expect any kind of cunning or smart choices from the Party. We are not dealing with the "smart" people anymore, but "crude, strident, hateful ideologues with ham-fisted methods who are proud of their ignorance" will always have a place in American politics.

    You think that the competent people will rise in the Republican Party, but that is what happens in the Democratic Party. The Republican Party is an extremely top-down organisation, but the price of that obedience is that leadership failure is punished by political death. See here.

    In short, I feel that you are analysing the GOP in light of what the Democrats would do in a similar situation; find more competent leadership and broaden their base. You are correct and insightful when you say that the Republicans tend to look backward in crisis, but Gingrich lost his stature for a reason: he was considered a failure against Clinton.

    Palin is not really considered a failure, just a victim of the failed McCain. The more the McCain campaign rails against her, the more certain her "base" is of her since McCain is a "loser". You have to think like a Republican when you analyse that Party.

    By Blogger Todd Dugdale, at 9:25 AM  

  • I think Todd is right here. The question is, do today's Republicans see Gingrich as a failure or a victim. He is, after all, a frequent guest on the right wing tv/radio circuit. So you have to assume some degree of acceptance by the right wing.

    By Blogger -epm, at 10:41 AM  

  • I hit Publish instead of Preview... the rest of my comment...

    I don't, however, think Palin's future prospects as a national Republican figure are very bright. Here's why: FoxNews is the one reporting this. If FoxNews liked Palin, they would have either buried this or "balanced" it with other unnamed sources defending her as victim of the "liberal" John McCain and his RINO staff.

    FoxNews doesn't like Palin. And unlike McCain, FoxNews DOES speak for the Republican party.

    So at least as far as where the lines are drawn in the Repub civil war, the party big wigs are against Palin. However, these guys are dealing with something they've never had to before... REAL grassroots uprising (not just astroturf manipulation from above).

    Hey honey, make some popcorn. This is gonna be interesting.

    By Blogger -epm, at 10:58 AM  

  • Obviously I'm losing the consensus here, so I'm just going to answer broadly.

    It's my contention that, although the GOP is currently down to a rump party (in theory,) there are still lots and of centrists who are sympathetic to some of their message.

    Yes, George Bush turned them against, but as Bush fades from the view, in four or eight years, and some of the immediate messes start to clean up, I would argue that the GOP will likely be able to reach back into that group of moderates.

    I don't believe the GOP is dead. They're definitely in the wilderness, and they may have not yet hit their bottom, but in a two party system there is always an inevitable swing back. The question isn't really if, but how long, in what form, and when.

    As for Gingrich, my bet that he wins the fight is based, in part, on this line of thinking., so if you don't accept the thinking, my prediction doesn't make sense.

    I think the real deciding question is, who are the next leaders. Jindal, Pawlenty, Shadegg, or do they go down the culdesac of more religious?

    (And, Todd, as for Palin, the McCain folks are trying to make her a failure. They're destroying her key character asset. The 150,000 wardrobe and Wasilla hillbillies and doesn't know Africa is a continent, not a country will all come back up if she tries to run again. She will forever be fighting those stories.

    Also, how does she do when she has to go back to Alaska?)

    By Blogger mikevotes, at 11:01 AM  

  • there are still lots and of centrists who are sympathetic to some of their message.

    Agreed. While I don't think the centrists can be turned into 'card-carrying members', they can be peeled off on wedge issues or "neutralised" so that they no longer support either Party.

    I would argue that the GOP will likely be able to reach back into that group of moderates.

    Good point. This would be a sure thing in the Democratic Party, and the sensible thing to do. But I just don't see the Republican Party as one to "forgive and forget". That's not their style. YMMV.

    I don't believe the GOP is dead.

    And I don't either.
    I am just saying that they aren't as smart or pragmatic as you give them credit for.

    as for Palin, the McCain folks are trying to make her a failure. They're destroying her key character asset.

    Agreed. But since McCain is a "loser", these efforts can be dismissed by The Faithful as treachery befitting a loser. In a perverse sense, these attacks validate Palin in the eyes of the rank-and-file. Attacking people means you are afraid of them. You have to think like a Republican.

    I think the real deciding question is, who are the next leaders. Jindal, Pawlenty, Shadegg, or do they go down the culdesac of more religious?

    I think that you are discussing what they should do, and I am discussing what they are likely to do. That seems to be the crux of any disagreement.

    By Blogger Todd Dugdale, at 11:54 AM  

  • A little more on Palin.

    My argument is that the wardrobe story is "definitional" because it runs against her self professed identity, much like the Edwards $400 haircut, but much bigger.

    That's not to say it kills her, but it creates a permanent wedge against her desired political identity.

    Plus, she now has to go back to Alaska, where she's pissed a bunch of people off over Troopergate.

    And, as EPM points out, even FoxNews is propagating anti-Palin.

    There's just a lot of people out to get her.

    Plus, the McCain camp is not done. They're sending "campaign auditors" to Alaska to review the wardrobe, and we're going to end up with a list of seriously overpriced buys.

    By Blogger mikevotes, at 1:12 PM  

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