The GOP: Tripling Down on the Shrinking Base
After the 2006 midterms, in which the GOP was swept out of the House and Senate, and a bunch of state legislatures and governors mansions, Republicans concluded that they lost because they let their base down and weren’t conservative enough. Now, after the 2008 election, in which the GOP lost even more seats in the House and Senate as well as the White House, the Republicans have concluded that they lost because they let their base down and weren’t conservative enough.
Even though Obama received a higher percentage of the popular vote than Reagan did in 1980, the GOP’s response to this palpable shift in the electorate has been to obsess about the Fairness Doctrine and FOCA, repeat “center-right nation” like a mantra, publicly grovel before Rush Limbaugh while letting the drug-addicted college dropout set economic policy, and unanimously reject the extremely-popular new president’s first big legislative initiative.
(In contrast, Reagan’s first, the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981, passed overwhelmingly in a Democratic House.)
So how’s all this baseturbation working out for them?
Given last night’s House Republican vote, as well as tomorrow’s RNC chair contest and even the recent GOP fealty to Rush Limbaugh, it’s worth pointing out that the Republican Party is about as unpopular now as the president who just left office. In addition to December’s NBC/WSJ poll, which showed that only 27% of the country viewed the GOP favorably (versus 49% who said that about the Dem Party), a new Gallup analysis of the 350,000 interviews it conducted in 2008 finds the Democratic Party leading in every state in the nation except in Alabama, Kansas, Nebraska, Alaska, Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah. (That’s right, even in some states McCain carried like Texas and Georgia, voters identify more with the Dem Party than the GOP.)
And yet, if the Republicans lose another election in 2010, you can’t help but feel they’ll exactly reach the same conclusion after their losses in 2008 and 2006, and nominate someone like Sarah Palin to be their standard bearer in 2012.
As a Democrat, it’s really a beautiful thing to watch.