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Monday, November 12, 2012

The 2012 election aftermath:

It's still a little early to be making a full assessment, but the 2012 election seems to have really shocked Republicans and their conservative allies. Many of them are lamenting that the country is not center-right, as they had been led to believe, and is now center-left. Also, that the country is headed for severe decline with the "takers" now in control (and who will tax the "makers").

Much of that is due to the fact that the election was incorrectly declared to be "the most significant of our time" and that Obama was hell-bent on bringing socialism - or worse - to these shores. That's nuts, since Obama is in the mold of a centrist Democrat or moderate Republican. But that doesn't capture audiences and so the extreme portrayal won out.

A few days ago Peggy Noonan wrote that back in 2009, the Tea Party did Republicans a favor (!) by not starting a third party but this year they were a hindrance, what with candidates like Richard Mourdoch losing a safe senate seat in Indiana, and a general hostility to entitlements that many Americans support.

The Tea Party was, and remains, bad news for the Republicans. Instead of starting a third party, which might have faded away, the Tea Party contingent (which is very connected with what David Frum calls the "conservative entertainment complex") took over the Republican party. Or at least has parity with the establishment/business wing. Their extreme candidates have lost at least four senate seats in the last two years. They have cowed other Republicans who are scared of a primary challenge, like the ones that unseated Robert Bennett of Utah and Richard Lugar of Indiana. They are ideological and cannot compromise on anything. The recent talk that what they do is "constitutional", and by implication what others want to do is unconstitutional and hence invalid-on-first-principles shows the contempt for the democratic process. Their notion of bipartisanship was to have Democrats concede everything.

How much of this is a reaction to Obama, the man, is debatable. Racial animus does not appear to be the primary motivation, although there will always be Limbaugh and Drudge to use that angle on a subset of voters. But what is clear is that there was a last-gasp attempt to undo the New Deal and Great Society (the latter mainly civil rights and Medicare) while there was a chance. There was a chance this year, but it was always a bit of a long shot. And that effort failed.

It's not clear what will happen next. There is the usual big talk about shutting down businesses or leaving the country, but for most of the Tea Party crowd, that's not an option. Instead, they will be watching Hannity and others push for immigration reform and other intensely disliked policies. That will further alienate them and it wouldn't be a surprise to see that they retreat from politics for a decade or more.


10 comments

Oh, I don't see the Tea Party losing any influence as a result of this election. I see them GAINING influence.

The next series of elections will all be local, and the Tea Party controls the local elections and the primaries. They will be pushing for even more extreme-right candidates. There are many who feel that Romney lost because he wasn't conservative enough, so you can expect that every Republican candidate will have to adopt extreme-right positions on everything just to get on the ballot.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/12/2012 12:43 PM  

If the Tea party become the dominant force in the Republican Party, I can hear from "The Bells Are Ringing" this refrain [as sung by Nat King Cole]:

*****
The Party's Over, it's time to call it a day.
They've burst your pretty balloon and taken the moon away.

It's time to wind up the masquerade.
Just make your mind up the piper must be paid.

The Party's Over.The candles ficker and dim.
You danced and dreamed through the night,
it seemed to be right just being with him.

Now you must wake up, all dreams must end.
Take off your make up, The Party's Over.
It's all over, my friend.

*****

As Count Basie would say: "ONE MORE TIME!"

By Blogger Shag from Brookline, at 11/13/2012 5:21 AM  

Well said, Quiddity.

I don't know of any businesses planning to shut down, but the idiot who runs Papa John's is planning to cut employee hours and raise prices as a result of "Obamacare." It won't affect me at all, because I don't eat there. I tried a Papa John's pizza years ago, and it was nasty. All dough, with few toppings and almost no cheese.

Republicans are going to regret labeling the ACA "Obamacare." In a few years, when the law is fully implemented, people are going to end up liking it. "Obamacare" will be Obama's lasting legacy. LBJ and FDR would be envious. After all, Medicare isn't known as "Johnsoncare," and Social Security isn't "Roosevelt Security."

By Anonymous Death Panel Truck, at 11/13/2012 3:12 PM  

The Supremes have agreed to hear a new voting rights case so there's gonna be another chance to dynamite the foundations of the Great Society right there.

Been reading about the psychology of compliance and it turns out there's something called pluralistic ignorance, a way that social validation allows a crowd to fool itself. It becomes easier when people are uncertain. I suggest that the Repug's surprise at the 2012 election is an example of pluralistic ignorance.

By Blogger gmoke, at 11/14/2012 2:45 PM  

There is the angle that the Tea Party was in part a creature of the business wing -- various Tea Party web domains were registered before Rick Santelli's supposedly movement-inspiring rant, and the Dick Armey-led, Koch-financed Americans for Prosperity organized rallies, bus tours, and other aspects of the movement (though there was plenty of independent bandwagon-joining).

Will they withdraw the electricity (money) from their Frankenstein's monster? And will that kill it?

By Anonymous Yoknapatawpha, at 11/14/2012 10:29 PM  

An "Armey" of Dicks and Koch-suckers that make up the Tea Party may end up Koch-less.

By Blogger Shag from Brookline, at 11/15/2012 3:17 AM  

Where is mjs to explain to us how the recent election was a victory for Conservatism?

By Blogger Dark Avenger, at 11/16/2012 6:47 AM  

Based on post-elections comments from both The Mittster and Paul Ryan on why they lost, the dyslexic conservative bumper-sticker:

R-MONEY/R-AYN 2012

continues to convey their views.

By Blogger Shag from Brookline, at 11/16/2012 11:09 AM  

The 2012 election aftermath = GOP sucks at math

By Blogger Shag from Brookline, at 11/18/2012 5:09 AM  

R-MONEY is now blaming the Republican primary debates for significantly contributing to R-MONEY/R-AYN 2012 going down in flames. This suggests a documentary: "THE MOR(M)ON AND THE MORONS" featuring the lowlights of those debates that could end up replacing "THREE STOOGES" film festivals.

By Blogger Shag from Brookline, at 11/18/2012 5:27 AM  

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