I am amused at the parade of pundits who continue to insist the Republican party is on a nosedive because of a stubborn unwillingness to become more inclusive. Recent events in upstate New York have given these pundits more ammunition.
In that traditionally conservative district, the grand party got together in a smoke-filled room and nominated a committed liberal to run for Congress. Dede Scazzafava is a pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage, pro-gun control Republican who supported Obama’s stimulus package back in February. Needless to say, when she was placed on the ballot, support for her was a bit subdued. The people in the district were once again placed in a position to choose between two liberals, one with an R beside her name, the other with a D.
Then there was Doug Hoffman, a member of the Conservative party, who is running as a true conservative, something the GOP used to stand for. He acquired some key endorsements from leaders of the conservative movement and suddenly his poll numbers surpassed those of Scazzafava, thus overcoming the old “third party can’t win” jinx. With dwindling support, the Republican bowed out and it now looks like a true conservative will win the election.
The liberal pundits love it. They see this as evidence that there is an internal war in the GOP. They criticize the party for not being more inclusive, not having a big tent. They criticize the party for “allowing” the conservative voices to have too much power. Basically, they criticize the GOP for not being more like the Democrats. In essence, the pundits want a two-party system consisting of an extremist liberal party and a moderate liberal party. There’s only one problem…voters.
Inside the beltway, GOP leaders drink the media kool-aid. They agree that the GOP needs to act more like Democrats. That’s why Gingrich, Michael Steele and John Boehner stood beside their liberal nominee. These guys, along with many others in DC, still haven’t gotten the message, and I think his endorsement of the liberal candidate will deal a crushing blow to any hopes he had of running for President in 2012, we’ll see.
The majority of Americans would consider themselves conservative over liberal, especially when it comes to fiscal policy. And the backlash over the ballooning federal deficit is further evidence of this. The pundits dismiss the backlash as Astroturf, and apparently the GOP leaders agree. Well, here are some numbers to munch on from an April 2009 CBS poll:
74% of Americans believe the government isn’t doing enough to control illegal immigration
51% feel that illegal immigrants should either be deported or placed in a guest worker program
63% feel that illegal immigration is too costly for the nation
52% favor building a border fence
76% oppose driver’s licenses for illegals
55% feel illegals should be turned over to the feds when arrested
72% disapprove of hiring quotas
68% feel that the poor have become too dependent on government assistance
67% feel that minorities are responsible for their own circumstances
51% are pro-life
79% are worried about harming the financial future of their children
53% support the death penalty
63% support immersion in English for illegals
33% support bilingual education
52% favor school vouchers
59% favor nuclear energy
74% favor offshore drilling
59% favor ANWR drilling
51% oppose cap-and-trade
77% feel the 2nd amendment protects gun ownership
57% feel that stricter gun laws would increase violent crimes
63% aren’t confident that Medicare will be available when they retire
61% feel the same about social security
52% oppose legalizing marijuana
56% believe social security is in crisis or serious trouble
36% believe health care is the government’s responsibility
Support for the Republican party is hemorrhaging. Leaders of the party seem to think it’s because they aren’t Democrat-enough. This is classic beltway thinking. They have no clue and refuse to acknowledge what the voters are clearly saying. The voters demand fiscal responsibility, plain and clear, and are more apt to have conservative values than liberal. That’s why the GOP was beat in 2006 and 2008, that’s why a “change” campaign won the White House, that’s why the tea party movement sprung up, that’s why Obama’s approval rating is dropping, and that’s why people refused to support yet another big-spending Republican who thought just having an R beside her name was enough to win the conservative vote. Well, no more!
The GOP is poised to become obsolete and if they choose to listen to the media pundits instead of the voters that’s exactly what will happen. I know many people who have abandoned that party, and not one of them says it’s because the party wasn’t inclusive enough. The GOP is losing support because they are too much like the Democrats, and until they start to bring some contrast to the progressives, that support will continue to erode.