Republicans Getting Complacent

John Cole, a life-long Republican, is dismayed by the creeping abandonment by the GOP of some of its more reputed principles. So much so, in fact, that he’s produced a checklist of abandoned principles. (Hat-tip: Instapundit)

Color me unsurprised. This is what happens when any party stays in power too long. It’s long been a fact of life here in California; it was true during the Gilded Age; and it was true from the time of FDR through to the end of the LBJ Administration. Then again, this is part and parcel of most political systems, including China’s dynastic cycles. It’s just that in the age of instantaneous communications and 24-hour news, these cycles get shorter and shorter.

Still, the Democrats shouldn’t get complacent and expect victory to be handed to them on a silver platter. They can still majorly botch things up for themselves, as they did in three general elections in a row (2000, 2002, 2004).

The 2006 elections should give us a clearer idea of what’s ahead. Expect to see the Republican schism exposed a little more, and expect Senator Clinton to attempt to rally the national Democrats to a point somewhat closer to the center, but still recognizably left thereof. That’ll be the campaigning. If the Republicans botch it, expect to see logjam continue. If the Democrats botch it, watch for a Republican split come in 2008, and if the Democrats aren’t completely down and out, they should be able to exploit that for a win.

[Cross-posted at Between Worlds]

11 thoughts on “Republicans Getting Complacent”

  1. I have little party loyalty, but for me Democratic candidates are not an option as long as they are not serious about national defense, and they’re not. That’s unfortunate, because the Republicans are not doing well by me on many issues, but I vote on the biggest issue.

    One of the downsides of a two-party system is that it’s easy for the parties to cartelize issues. The Democrats could easily challenge Republicans on a number of significant issues, such as copyright, personal privacy or our relationship with Saudi Arabia. But Democratic pols don’t do it, and I speculate that this is partly because they are on the take from the same interests as Republicans are, and they all come out ahead if nobody rocks the boat. Empirically, it appears that we have reached political equilibrium at an ideological position that’s quite far to the left of the electorate on most specific issues.

  2. Let’s simplify this and look tactically at the races: GOP in trouble in PA, to a lesser extent, RI.

    Dems in meltdown in MN, in trouble in FL and in MI. If you add that together, it’s +1-2 for the R.

    Victory does have a way of papering over differences.

  3. I read Cole’s piece this morning, Demimasque. Good point on the dynastic cycles of China. And Cole’s right. But like Johnathan, I just can’t vote for the party of Byrd, Rangel, Clinton and Dan Rather.

    But I do see a window of opportunity here for the Libertarian Party to climb out of its hole and pose a third option. As long as the “L” party adheres to small “r” republican ideals of national sovereignty, pushes global free trade, laissez-faire economics here at home, and national defense, there’s a chance their platform could force the Repubs “back to where they once belonged.”*
    The Beatles

  4. The L party needs to be more of the l party. Small l libertarians and fiscal conservative republicans have more in common and might be able to make a difference if our voices are heard. The right wing of the republicans now have control and I do not trust them anymore than I trust the party led by the Kerrys, Deans, and Clintons.

  5. The L Party has a big opportunity to continue to work against Liberty.

    Unless you consider abortion to be liberty and put it at a higher altar than the quasi-free markets.

  6. Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. Perhaps we should put Lord Acton’s picture on the banner of this weblog.

    I vote Republican but with a great deal of trepidation. Frankly speaking, the religious right in the Republican Party scares the hell out of me. These people have absolutely no respect for individual privacy rights. I only wish the LP was not isolationist in foreign policy.

  7. “This is what happens when any party stays in power too long.”

    Darned short “too long”, if you ask me. From about November 2nd, 1994, to some time in mid summer, 1995…

  8. Sulaiman, many of us who are libertarians consider ourselves small l libertarians. We support most of the libertarian ideas but do believe in a rational foreign policy and strong national defense. Although I suspect the majority of us ususally vote for a republican for president
    we would gladly support any candidate, regardless of party that advocated a return to fiscal sanity and personal freedom. We also are frightened at the possibilities of the abuse of power by the far christian right. The history of christian fanatics is very similar to the history of Islamic fanatics as both seem to believe in religious freedom for only themselves.

  9. I can’t bring myself to vote for (most) Democrats… abortion on demand? Not serious about defense? Higher taxes? No thanks.

    Unfortunately, I also can’t vote for Libertarians or Greens, because that’s like half a vote for the Democrats. I have to vote against them, and that means I have to vote Republican, whether or not I particularly like their candidates or some of the positions. There are a lot of their positions I do like — even some that aren’t traditionally “conservative” positions — but man, I wish they’d stop with the ridiculous overspending and such. Problem is, I can’t hold them to that, because if they lose that means Hillary’s party wins, and that spells disaster.

  10. Unfortunately, it will take 2 or 3 more years for the MSM to sufficiently self-destruct. Until that occurs the “prized swing voter” won’t be exposed to both sides of any argument. Had Bush cut ANY spending in his first term, President Kerry would have already surrendered to the savages in Iraq. In most of the disgusting bloated bills that have been passed Bush has managed to get the smallest of free market components included(no child left behind etc.). Patience, we have to win the war and finish off the MSM before there’s any hope of a smaller, less intrusive govt.Or, we can hyperventilate every time a “midnight basketball for albino lesbians” bill is passed and let the demos turn this country in to France.

  11. Jonathan, I don’t think it’s that they don’t take security seriously, I think they don’t understand it and don’t look at it objectively. They tend to hyperfocus on certain aspects and neglect others.

    I agree with Steve, it’s very difficult to vote for any party associated with Carl Levin of Joe Biden.

    Thing about dems that creeps me out most is that there is way too much party loyalty.

    What I’ve noticed the last few years is that the party of power will present a very sound general policy and the opposition party will fight it tooth and nail using very trivial emotional arguments. The broad policy eventually passes on its merits, the public debate focuses on emotial apects and trivial matters, and the politicians are free to power boker and finally pass moderatly effective legislation. They also throw out some absurd emotial policies that can’t pass on merit which function as nothing more than political posturing and distraction.

    Perhaps what politicians fear most isn’t the opposition, but outsiders moving in.

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