There is a lot of movement among voters this year. Republicans spitting one last time in disgust before tearing up their card and becoming democrats. Independents who needed to register democrat to vote for their candidate in the primary. New voters entering the fray because a candidate came along who asked them to do so.
I would hazard a guess that not too many people are joining the republican party, though.
I registered republican for the first time in my life in August, despite the criminals currently in charge of the party and their culpability in our country’s horribly weak and vulnerable position. I registered republican because of people in my life who I respected immensely and didn’t really come to understand until I stopped debating them over methodology and started listening to their actual long-term goals for the country.
Most of them believe in conservation and education and some sort of socialized medical system to make American businesses more competitive on a global market. These are smart and accomplished people with good hearts and high morals standards who are registered republicans nonetheless.
I registered republican because of my sister and brother-in-law who first supported Ron Paul and then switched to Obama for the general because of their belief in taking this country to a more state-centric union. That is what the Constitution was supposed to be, not an unaccountable and imperialistic federal government. At least if you are a follower of the first republican president – Thomas Jefferson.
I joined because of people like stillidealistic and witty1 and the few others around TPM who claimed republican roots yet displayed uncommon wisdom and insight into the issues. They were dismayed by the same things as I am. They were passionate about many of the same things. They didn’t offer anger and derision in the same measure as those on the left-side of the spectrum did. There is something about your party going down in flames that makes a person humble and for those republicans in flux, there was a humility and willingness to forget the past that was refreshing.
Humility combined with confidence is something I respect.
I registered republican because Barack Obama seems to recognize that we need both liberal and conservative methods to institute sustainable changes. This country has been pretty evenly divided between conservative and liberals for much of its history. Sometimes those two halves come together and do something great, like in 1932. Sometimes it isn’t so great, like 1980. But when it really works, America can do great things with both sides of our nature represented in our politics.
I registered republican because Barack Obama gave me the confidence and the awareness to realize I am much more conservative than I had originally thought. I don’t want a revolution. I don’t think we have time for that shit. 40 years ago? Perhaps, but a different generation of young people dropped the ball. Today we need evolution. We need to pursue many paths toward progressive changes, driven by smart and pragmatic thinkers on the left and right. We need to use all of our tools – public and private – in a way to maximize our effectiveness a nation. We need to quit using political parties as a way to bludgeon each other.
I became a republican because I think there is a movement in the GOP to be grand again. There is a movement to take Ike and Teddy and Abe as our examples instead of Nixon and Reagan and Bush. That movement should be encouraged. I also encourage moderate democrats to become republicans if they think the far left of their party is a little too erratic and not as results oriented as it should be. Together with the existing progressive movement in the GOP can allow us to craft a more conservative methodology to attain our larger goals as a nation.
Perhaps the democrats could use more pragmatism when deciding how we are going to do all these huge and seemingly impossible tasks over the next ten years. Perhaps the fact that many republicans are also the ones with access resources can help aid in that effort. They have a vested interest in America being great again and a case can be made that they need to step up to the plate and do the right thing.
It makes sense that the more people we have focused on the same goal, the more likely our chances of success are.
The only way “they” win is we keep working at cross-purposes as a voting public. The only way that atmosphere continues is if we leave the republican party in the hands of neoconservatives. Progressive moderates of good will and common sense must register republican in red districts and get better candidates through the primaries. There is only about 18% turnout nationally for midterm primaries, so the numbers aren’t huge to make drastic change. This project is worthwhile and doable, so there is an obligation to try to change the GOP into something more productive than an obstructionist roadblock to political success.
That is why I joined the republican party, even though I hate everything that the brand currently stands for. All things change. Millions of republicans just like me can be the catalysts of that change. I am patient and can look out over the next five to ten election cycles. I am also tied of the anger and hate coming from the left-side of the country. They have preached tolerance and love and peace for all these years and a little blood in the water is all it takes for them to start stringing up “repugnicans” from the nearest tree. No thanks. I want no part of such mindless vindictiveness.
I do ask that all the good republicans consider staying in the party. Without every progressive republican a really, really hard task becomes next to impossible. The democrats don’t need you. They have started tossing the DLC stooges who kept them from making the progressive changes we needed. Right now the GOP is ripe for takeover, but only if all progressive republicans stay and the ones who left come back. Your country needs you to not leave the only other major political party in this country in the hands of zealots. It will make the changes Barack wants much harder to manage. He must have committed republicans pushing their representatives to support progressive reforms.
Barack cannot do this with democrats and independents alone.
That is why I registered republican.
You’re a brave man, JEM. I wouldn’t be able to bring myself to do it. I remain an Independent, because there is just too much that I do not like about both parties. And yes, I recognize that my position limits my ability to do anything about it.
I had been an independent since Bill Clinton and the DLC took over the democratic party. After sixteen years of sitting on the fence, I realized that we need to pick sides in a two party system and work to change it from within – on the left and right.
I picked the republicans because they seem to need to most help and the numbers are such that a small percentage of motivated voters with resources could completely take over in a short period of time.
I truly believe we can only reshape our political landscape if take over the two parties and make them both progressive. What does the label matter if the policies and methods are in line with your own ethics and morals?
I think we were both independents because the two major parties had nothing for us. Now that the corporatists are being exposed and pilloried, what better time to pick a side and push for change from within?
This shit is too important to leave in the hands of zealots on the left or right.
Jason, I really respect what you did, and thank you for giving me props for helping you make the decision to change over.
I don’t know if you’ve heard or not, but I ended up changing my affiliation to Democrat. My core beliefs have not changed, but I HAD to make a statement to my lifelong party that I could no longer tolerate the way they do business.
McCain’s decision to chose Sarah Palin as his running mate was the straw that broke the camel’s back. That he is so lacking in honor as to literally put the country at risk with this Hail Mary pass rather than lose the election was more than I could take. Merely saying that I was a Republican filled me with such shame that I had to change.
I believe that we have a common goal for our country that will not change no matter what we call ourselves. I have a tremendous amount of respect for you and look forward to working with you to restore some dignity to this country!
Yeah, I saw that. Everyone has to do what they have to do, but I guess I don’t see how anything they have done recently is any worse than stuff they did in the past but didn’t make you switch parties. Palin is all it took?
I prefer to stay and make myself a pain in the ass then to leave it to extremists. What happens to this country when only the liberals are crafting solutions? The same sort insanity we just lived through I suspect.
No ideology is right all the time, despite the marketing.
That’s why I’m proud to represent the big “I”.
Except that being independent doesn’t get much done in a two-party system. At least, that is the conclusion I came to.
Seems to me that as the non-ideologues, independents have a duty to bring rational thinking to both parties and fix them from within. It is clear that a majority of the country is progressive and simply differ on how to actually implement those long-term goals.
Till now, many have sat out elections in protest or disgust. As soon as the common sense majority decide to start voting, this country will be fine no matter which label you choose.
The conservatives abdicated to their rabid zealots who pushed cultural/racial/class issues for how many election cycles? The wingnuts of the Left are no different. How many elections have they willfully abdicated in the name of purity? I look at both parties and find neither where I want to be. The Dems have something at least which I can value. Their convention looked like my family. The Republican convention looked like some 50’s country club gathering. For now at least, that gives me a greater identification with the Dems than with the Republicans. However, I remain an avowed Independent, a centrist and a pragmatist. Barack Obama, I find, is more where I’m at than his party is or where most of the far left are. I’m happy that if he’s elected, he will change the contours significantly. And he will too. I believe it.
Just be careful Jason that too much company does not change your values to accommodate theirs. If you alter too far, where does that commitment go? If you play in that red clay too much, it will stain the skin, deeply and irrevocably.
It’s not about what those existing labels stand for today. They have changed over the last 40 years to represent something the founders of the party would neither recognize nor countenance.
I haven’t changed at all. I will vote the issues and not the party, but that doesn’t mean I think it is healthy to abdicate an entire segment of society to an extreme ideology. Especially at the moment it is most likely to go in a new direction. I will be part of changing the republican party by encouraging a transformation that began before I registered.
You rightly note that the democrats have decided to change their party to represent more independent views. That is why the change candidate won. The democratic party is undergoing a transformation that will return it to its roots as well.
At the end of the day, I think it is incumbent upon all liberal and conservative independents to pick a side and change the party from within. The zealots on both sides have been in control for too long, creating chaos as a means of pillaging the country.
I think Barack can raise the bar for both parties, setting the stage for a progressive renaissance on the left and right.
I’m sure this blog is clearer to people who are more aligned with you politically. My impression is that you registered Republican, but plan to vote for Obama, while attempting to bring the Republican Party closer to your liberal ideals. Or maybe you’re voting for Obama, but prefer to hang around with Republicans, because they’re a better class of people? I’m not sure what you’re getting at here. Personally, I find it hard to identify with the values and personalities of 90% of the people in the liberal blogosphere. I thought the contrasts among the women on Face The Nation this morning was incredibly instructive.
How about you define what you think those values are and why they are different then your own. You come off as some kind of snobby elite.
The liberals in this blog aren’t good enough for ya?
Don’t worry about it. Billy has hats older than you. Or something. At any rate, it gives him a singularly unique insight on all things.
Yeah, the 90% figure is telling, ain’t it?
Oh. Them. The great unwashed.
Shoes. Johnson and Murphy shoes. You should get a pair.
As soon as you can afford them.
I don’t buy your argument, Jason Miller, you, just like, Billy Glad, are Republican apologists because your boss told you to.
I have yet to apologize for any republican and nothing in this blog could be said to do so. Perhaps when you reply to what I actually wrote we can have a conversation on the matter.
I prefer to consort with people who aren’t angry and are reality based. Those tend to be those toward the middle of the spectrum, on the left and right. Whether they call themselves republican or independent or democrat is immaterial.
I am trying to show that labels are over as a realistic way of identifying ourselves as they change meaning over time. People tend to change quite a bit over time. Political movements ebb and flow.
No one “party” can lay claim to a progressive tradition over the other. Liberal and conservative need to stop being weapons in an on-going culture war. We can’t take any more of this shit as a country.
That is my point. I thought it was pretty easy to get.
I thought it was pretty easy to get. Of course, I also thought Billy would be the first one to get it.
So I could be wrong. It might be really hard to get.
Seriously, he has blogged about “liberals” being less focused on National Enquirer shit and more concerned with issues. He ran into the same intransigence I expected to see for this blog, though it is pretty mellow so far.
I guess it depends on what you mean by “consort.” Political parties don’t generally turn power over to people just for showing up. That’s been my experience, at least. It sounds to me like you haven’t been very active in the Democratic Party and don’t intend to be active in the Republican Party. Or maybe you just neglected to explain how you are going to get control of the Republican agenda. Comment at their blogs instead of ours? Work in a campaign? Work your way up in the campaign organization? Give them a lot of money? Exactly how are you going to change the face of the Republican Party?
How is change being made in the democratic party? How is change made in any organization? Movements begin with small steps. The republican party is already changing at the grassroots level as can be seen in the open primary results this year, so what’s to say it won’t continue to transform, just as the democrats have in recent years. It always starts at the bottom. You seem to have a decided like of vision and an inability to think big. Sad to see so many years of dreaming come to naught.
There’s your answer, Billy.
Yeah. That’s too bad.
You guy are so clever that no one can understand you. Good luck with that tactic.
Clever, but with a lack of vision and an inability to think big. Jason, if you want to join your family and friends, join them. Why explain yourself and justify your decision with some murky logic about transforming the Republican Party the way Obama has transformed the Democratic Party to help Obama achieve a governing majority or something. Just join your friends. Reduce your cognitive dissonance. Most of these people are not worthy of an explanation. Me either. Just do it.
OK. That’s one way to shut down the conversation. You asked my motivation and didn’t seem to get what appeared to be a fairly straightforward premise. Nothing I have said is murky or hard to understand. Fixing this country from the partisan shit that is killing us requires that we change both parties and not just one. You don’t seem to see it the same way I do, which implies a lack of imagination and vision. This is backed up by many things you say, many of which are contradictory to other things you have said.
I guess you missed the part where I asked you how you were going to go about changing the Republican Party agenda. I gave you good advice. Hang out with your family and friends. Politics is useless. Culture is everything now.
Insipid, vacuous culture. Bread and circus. This song says it all:
It is changed one person at a time, one vote at a time. It changed this year due to Barack Obama. Maybe the next election will bring out even more progressives who tilt to the right-side of the spectrum. There is now law that says we have to be two parties of extremes.
I’m picking up what you’re putting down. Personally, I’m hoping for a crash and burn of the GOP this season. It needs to happen. Hopefully, people like you will be able to re-build it into something of value.
I wish we could simply do without party at all, but I’m not holding my breath for that. I would say more, but I’ll just leave it there. I dig where you’re coming from. It would be nice to live in a political culture composed on honest disagreement and pragmatic compromise instead polarized vitriol and ideological warfare. If that’s where you’re coming from, I don’t really care about what your party affiliation is.
You picked it up and threw back down with gusto! That is exactly where I am coming from. I believe the GOP is crashing and burning as we speak, rotted from within by a neoconservative infection.
As you said, I think it is needed in order to make room for something new. It took the last eight years of Bush wagging his dick in every liberal face before they decided to reclaim the democratic party from corporatists in their midst.
I hope to see a political environment in my lifetime where the republicans and democrats argue over who is the most progressive. An America where we debate methodology and process instead of overall strategic goals.
I think you are naive if you think it can all be reduced to methodology and process though I’ve read that this view has become more common even in liberal academic places like U W Madison. Who was it that made the trains run on time? I think we fought a war against that guy timely trains or not. I expect the Chinese will do pretty well with the methodology and process stuff too. There’s plenty of process in the Constitution. It was the “zealots” who knew it was about more than process. They gave us the Bill of Rights.
A Bill of Rights that was mostly written by the first republican president Thomas Jefferson. How do you propose we fix a system that is completely rotten from stem to stern? Do you think the best way to fix our country is by sitting in a circle and wishing it was better? Life is all about process and methodology. Comparing my ideas to the Nazis isn’t the best way to lend anything approaching credibility to your arguments.
You have some deep problems my friend – if you are what you hate, then something’s wrong.
I know a lot of “progressives” who have hated being democrats over the last few decades and yet still stayed democrat. They still worked within the party to make it more liberal and less corporate controlled.
Is that any different?
If all you got out of this, and everything else I have written around here, is that I have become what I hate then you need to read a little closer, grasshopper. I have joined the republican party in an effort to assist those republicans who are already trying to change it by voting for Obama this year.
That seems to be a worthy cause that I can do my best to support.
This post resonates for me because I spent my first thirty years or so in Washington state — a state with a long and illustrious history of moderate and pragmatic Republicans, which continues to this day with the Secretary of State, Sam Reed.
I often disagreed with those Republicans on issues of all sorts, but I had faith that they were acting in what they saw as the best interest of the entire community. They were opponents one could respect, and easily congratulate when they won elections. They were able to work with people from all parts of the political spectrum to achieve legislative goals, something that is sorely missing in today’s environment.
The hate, ignorance, and knee-jerk distrust of knowledge that characterize the GOP today were just not part of those Republicans’ makeup.
A Republican party with its feet firmly rooted in reality would change America from top to bottom. I hope you and other moderates like you continue to fight the forces of ignorance and hate.
That is certainly the goal. Oregon has a similar history of progressive republicans. I hope the democrats keep it up on their side as well. If we can get both sides moving in different directions we just might pull our asses out of the fire in time.
what a stupid blog
What a stupid comment.
but before something can be rebuilt it needs to be destroyed. Otherwise, without amputation the cancer will spread to the remaining healthy parts, and the Lincoln Chafees will be slowly lost.
If Obama/Biden do take the White House and Congress becomes overwhelmingly democratic then they too will succumb to the same corruption that has plagued Washington for the past eight years. The Republican party needs to contribute to the debate because the Democrats themselves can’t come up with ALL the good ideas. However, at present the Republican party is simply MIA, in the conversation about health-care, immigration, social security, you name it.
I am impressed by the audacity of your hope! Good luck, but the reduced Republican party that will be returning to Congress will be more partisan, more ideological and more absent from the much needed dialogue about the future of the nation. If you want to reduce their numbers, you’ll have to challenge them in their districts, in the country clubs, in the gated communities, in the churches. Without that Republican base destroyed, I don’t see how you can rebuild it.
It’s all about the primary elections over the next four election cycles.
Turnout is so little that making a significant change would be easy given the proper push in both parties. Rebuilding the republican party once the elections this year finish destroying it won’t be an overnight process, though I think it is very doable.
As long as the voters force Barack to hit his platform metrics and to continue raising the bar in Washington, over time, it can’t help but spread to the republican party. There is a lot to be said for good leadership that doesn’t seek to divide us further.
Thanks for the kind words!
Welcome, brother. Now if enough of us join the Ripon Society…
Except that all of the Ripon Society’s website content is exactly counter to what it purports to stand for. McCain-Palin is all about extremist ideology and would make Teddy Roosevelt form another Bull Moose Party to counter it if were alive today.
The republican party’s current leadership is not reflective of TR’s underlying progressive philosophies, no matter how slick the marketing is for repressive neocon policies. The Ripon Society is just another marketing tactic.
Lipstick on a pig indeed.
Were you saying they need to be taken over by new old republicans as well? If so, then count me in!
I thought it was a well reasoned post, and I respect your position. It takes just as much courage to fight for change from within as it does to take to the barricades, sometimes more, because isolation and ridicule is often the consequence. It can be difficult, unglamorous slog.
The Republicans need time in the wilderness to reflect and, hopefully, change. Without the participation of folks with a moderating and realistic approach such as you’ve voiced, it leaves the zealots to stew in their own juices and the results are destructive rather than constructive.
The same has been just as true for Democrats. Without their time out of power, Obama’s run would not have been possible. It seems the constructive won over the destructive. But EVERYONE needs to remain vigilant and active to ensure it doesn’t go to their heads.
After the excesses of the last several years, I believe both Democrats AND Republicans have the obligation to stand up and say ENOUGH.
I think you bring up an important point – the democrats needed the last eight years to get to a point that real progressives were able to change what had been a pretty corporate party for a number of years. The neoconservatives didn’t ruin this country all on their own.
I think it will be a quicker turnaround than many people think given the gravity of our challenges. Americans of all political persuasions feel that sense of urgency and help explain how well Barack did in the primary elections.
I don’t imagine mainstream republicans will put up with such blatant lies and corruption once Obama is in the White House with a convincing victory, despite the spectacle of the neocon’s swan song.
“Without every progressive republican a really, really hard task becomes next to impossible. ”
Ah yes – so much easier to sign up into a party you despise and have few shared positions with – instead of merely remaining Independent or actually signing up with the Democrats and working for actual change. Because ‘healing’ the Republicans is more important than the national interests (which may have little or nothing to dow with the national interest).
I suppose I should sign up with the States Rights Party in an attempt to work towards bring them towards the ‘center’.
Possibly the most narcissistic blog I have ever read.
You’re right on target with this anemic comment. Independents have been so effective at changing the major parties on their own. Joining the republican party is exactly the same as joining the States Rights Party. It makes so much more sense to leave one of the two major parties in the hands of zeolots rather than fix it.
Democrats are the least likely to change given that they are on the rise. I see the democrats having enough trouble maintaining the progress they have made with Obama. The democratic leadership are still as compromised as they were before this pivotal election.
I thought I made it clear – I didn’t join the “party I despise” in any way.
I joined people I respect in their quest to change a party that is already starting to move to the center. I will help with time and money in the primary elections to find progressive republican candidates to counter what will certainly be progressive democrats moving forward. If the GOP fails to field a progressive candidate in the general election, then I will vote democratic. A generational project must start somewhere. This year it started with Obamicans. I don’t think it is narcissistic in the least to encourage that trend to continue.
I thought “liberals” were supposed to be smarter than this.
What DF and TJ said — the GOP needs to crash and burn before it’ll ever get its shit together. Maybe this election cycle will do it; if not, it’ll be a huge push in the right direction.
I’m sure you’re aware that you’ll be fighting a battle against a Republican tradition of divisiveness that goes back at least 50 years. Pandering to people’s fears has become their stock-in-trade.
Let’s start with Joe McCarthy in the 50’s with his commie witch-hunting.
Civil rights in the 60’s gave Strom Thurmond and other Republican segregationists a lock on the South.
In the 60’s, anybody who opposed the Vietnam war was branded by Nixon, Agnew, and many other Republicans as unpatriotic.
Ronald Reagan took anti-intellectualism to the next level. The actor known as the Great Communicator made perception-over-substance the enduring strategy of the Republican party.
Dubya and Rove and the Republican Congress — well, we’ve all seen how that’s gone.
My bottom line is that the GOP has always (in my lifetime) whipped up fear and xenophobia to divide and conquer the electorate. My sincere best wishes in your crusade to change that!
Well, I am angry. Angry and disgusted over the damage that’s been done to our country. The pick-pocketing of our people by damn-the-finance-charges borrow-and-spending. The weakening of our global moral authority. The weakening of our military and economic power.
I’m angry enough to take action to help stop it. Being reality-based, though, I want to channel that anger in a constructive way.
This time, it’s been by donating to Obama and other Democrats. And by hoping to be persuasive in a few non-bombastic posts that I hope will touch a few thinking readers. Shouting, screaming, and attacks on people’s character and motives really don’t get the job done.
I hope that in your journey into the unknown, you don’t lose the ability to feel anger at injustice. Just try to channel it productively.
I find that the biggest injustice right now is to leave one of the country’s tow major political parties in the hands if zealots. McCarthy and Strom Thurmond were oddities. It wasn’t until Nixon that the republican party went off the rails.
In fact, the history of both parties is riddled with progressive and repressive policies depending on the era. It is a little dishonest to blame this countries problems on one party.
Reagan had a democratically controlled Congress his whole time in office yet was able to ram every neoconservative plan through Congress. Bill Clinton gave his republican Congress a lot of red meat repressive policies that we are still dealing with. Even a minority party could offered more resistance to Bush and Cheney taking over the country.
Blame it on rank and file republicans if you like, but I think moderates need to embrace this opportunity to change both parties from within and aim our entire political system in a new, more sustainable direction.
That won’t be done by surrendering the fight before it even begins.
Oops… my reply to your reply ended up down-thread.
Total load of shit. Your party was anything but humble during the Republican National Convention.
You apparently don’t count reading comprehension as high on your list. I was speaking of individual republicans in my personal life and many I read on line as having been humble and willing to step back from the edge of partisanship. Much more so than people like you – all hubris and hate.
You can take care of yourself, but don’t pay any attention to blown gasket and Billy. They’re the Statler and Waldorf of our little TPM balcony, just brimming with the curdled milk of human kindness.
As to your original point, I take you at your word and wish you luck. As others have said, the twisted wreck that is the GOP right now must be humiliated and destroyed so that a humane alternative can be built. I have relatives that are both Republican and Democrat, and some that are Independents, yet we’re still able to find a common bond. Learning to find your own beliefs while respecting the basic right of others to find their’s is what a family teaches.
But just because the organization has become something no one likes, it’s reassuring that there are those who have the courage to fight for a better vision.
It’s not enough to just be angry, and there is no one right way. It’s going to take everyone, and everyone is going to have to learn how to let go of the hate if things are ever going to be fixed.
Thanks for contributing an essential truth on this thread and for seeing the bigger aspects of this idea of mine.
What amazes me are some of the comments from people who would have been my ideological compadres just a month ago when my label was Independent. No wait, my registration was Democratic since I wanted to vote for Barack in the primary.
All I have to do is affix the label Republican to my chest and all of a sudden people want my blood and can’t understand what I see in the republican party, despite very detailed explanations. The left is as surely blinded by their hatred, on some quarters, as the right has been these last 40 plus years. Partly why I didn’t stay democrat has been the conduct of many democrats.
If democrats are going to act as bad as neocons then what does it matter which party I join as long as my politics and votes are progressive?
While I admire your motivations, I’m not that patient. I’m an independent in a very blue state who voted Republican more often than not in the 1980s and 1990s. The Rep. Party today, however, is unrecognizable–the people in the party I respected are long gone, either driven out by the extremists or quit in disgust. The real tipping point for me was the Iraq War–by 2004, it was clear to me that the execution of the war, nevermind the lies it was based on, constituted criminial incompetence. It took 2 more years and Katrina for the rest of the country to finally see it that way.
If McCain wins this election running a campaign so nasty that even Rove thinks they’ve gone too far, it will destroy the Republican Party, and for some time to come the Democrats will have no choice but to do it the same way.
I’m fully behind Obama in this one, not just as the anti-stupid candidate but because I think he can begin to heal this country. A McCain victory would mean a long-term coarsening of political discourse, and frankly he would deserve to get a Democratic version of the Rovian strategy in 2012–attack his military record, which is pretty bad despite POW! POW! POW!, attack his wife’s drug addiction and thefts, etc.
In this campaign, I’d like to see the Democrats spend some media time reminding people not just how bad Bush has been but also how rotten the 108th and 109th Congress were. This election should be an indictment of Republican Rule, and the Republican party, not just Bush.
Rove doesn’t mean it. Rove is giving McCain free advertising.
Thomas Jefferson was NOT “the first Republican President.” Jefferson was a member of the Democratic-Republican Party, which evolved into the modern Democratic Party by the 1830s–see wikipedia for a start:
“The Democratic Party traces its origins to the Democratic-Republican Party, founded by Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and other influential opponents of the Federalists in 1792.”
The first Republican president was Abraham Lincoln. Given Lincoln’s firm adherence to the survival of the Union, even in the midst of the Civil War, I believe that Lincoln would be nauseated by the modern Republican Party.
It sounds like maybe you should do a bit more research and reading before you decide on your party affiliation.
Despite your Wikipedia quote, the beginnings of the democratic party are not traced to Jefferson. States rights were always the hallmark of republicans while the modern democratic party can be traced to the federalists, or Big Government folks like Adams and Hamilton. Lincoln was not the first republican. Perhaps you should read a little more before making disparaging remarks.
“The republican party, despite wikipedia, did indeed begin with Jefferson and is based in the notion of states rights. The democrats have never been about states rights. The essential conflict form day one was strong federal government versus strong state governments.”
The Republican party never gave a whit about “States’ Rights” until it adopted the “Southern Strategy” in the 1960s–a naked appeal to racism and wedge politics that characterizes it to this day. If you will recall, it was Southern States Rights Democrats that voted for secession and started the civil war.
Republicans today have a habit of trying to appropriate great Democratic presidents, so I guess you bought the correct brand.
Prior ot the 1940s, most black Americans voted for Republicans in deference to Lincoln and the association of yellow dog democrats to Jim Crows in the South.
Today, the Republican party apparently represents unrestricted Executive authority and wedge politics. Even the Federalists would find that extreme. Look at the electorate today– black registration for the Republicans is at historic lows, and Hispanics have swung strongly toward the Dems since 2004. That leave the Republicans appealing to their base– corporate interests, white “values voters,” and those who can be easily duped by the shiny object knows as Sarah Palin.
Pick whatever party you want, but stop deluding yourself about what the Republicans represent or how they evolved. In a well-functioning democracy, the Republican Party would be facing the fate of the Canadian Progressive Conservative Party in 1993–it ceased to exist.
The only thing that can “save” the Republican Party from it’s present course of devisive wedge politics, imperial foreign policy, fear mongering, rank corruption, and war is utter repudiation at the polls in successive elections. Perhaps something worthy of Lincoln and Eisenhower could arise from the ashes. Thing is, if they win the White House this year, the Republican will view it, to quote George W. Bush, as an “accountability moment”–and a complete approval of the tactics and lies that kept them in power.
I don’t view the Democratic Party as efficient, incorrupt, or particularly effective. I remember how Democratic congressional leaders behaved after decades in power, and they were every bit as corrupt as current Republicans–and paid for it dearly. But the Democrats have a huge advantage in my eyes simply by not devolving to current Republican standards.
I am not advocating returning the republicans to the White House, but your continued insistence that nothing can change is not supported by the historical record. This country has been roughly divided since its inception between those who wanted a strong federal government and those who advocated for stronger state governments. That is the main tension our system and it still is.
As recently as the 1990s, the democratic party was taken over by the DLC and started promoting corporate-centric politics, so You are fooling yourself if all you think we need to is elect democrats and all of a sudden this country will be fixed.
Did you miss the part where I said this project would most likely take 4 election cycles to really get moving if not an entire generation? Republican voters of good will and common sense need to decide to support progressive candidates in the primaries. That is how change starts.
You can’t stand here at the beginning of decades-long project and cast aspersions as if they had any real meaning.
Okay, so you are asserting that regardless of the actual, historical evolution of the modern Democratic and Republican parties, Thomas Jefferson is philosophically the father of the Republican Party. I guess I could see that– Jefferson lived well beyond his means, owned slaves–and basically raped at least one–lived well and left nothing but debts when died.
Okay, I concede the point 😉
Jefferson was for distributed power and a comparatively weak central government–relative to the position of the Federalists and the Alien & Sedition Acts. Do you think that the United States should be a voluntary association of the constituent states?
Interesting blog. Can you elaborate on your beliefs and what you think a *new* Republican Party would look like? Reason I ask is, holding on to and being held hostage by the radical Right in terms of social issues doesn’t sound like where your interest lie. OTOH, the so-called tax and spend Liberalism (Bush notwithstanding…get it?) is obviously not going to ever be a part of a Republican idealogy.
But borrow-and-spend Conservatism (an obvious oxymoron) sure seems to be.
Nevermind the “future generations” who will be saddled with this debt. That’s bad enough. It’s we who are saddled here-and-now by the huge finance charges resulting from GOP deficit-spending.
Imagine what could be done if all the taxes we pay for interest on the debt could be spent for other things? Or even split the difference — cut taxes and increase spending at the same time.
And who is it that gets all the tax money we’re paying for interest? Well, the lenders, of course. But who are they?
How many bankers do you know who are Democrats? I tell ya, we’ve had our pockets picked.
I think a pragmatic and progressive republican party would offer perhaps market-based or faith-based solutions to social problems. A progressive republican party would recognize the essential benefits of regulation and strategic planning.
“Tax and spend” is just another talking point that isn’t real. The modern republican party has spent as more money on corporate welfare as democrats have spent on social welfare.
I don’t know what it might look like, but it has to be better than what we have now and seems to have some traction.
Good for you, Jason–be the change you want to see in the world (or the Republican Party). That is the how change happens, one committed citizen at a time. I’ll look forward to meeting you and others of like attitude in the middle once this election is over. Best regards, Kristina
Thanks, Kristina. It is really more a protest registration that helps to shore up the moderate voices on the right side of the spectrum.
A soulful, thoughtful newly registered Republican who just happens to want to hang out on TPM?
Riiiggghht. What’s wrong with this picture?
Anyway, having sifted through the comments, I find I agree with, oh, this one:
“Total load of shit. Your party was anything but humble during the Republican National Convention.”
Check my blog, I have been “hanging out” at TPM since February and this anything but a sudden transition or one done without thought.
In fact, really, it’s laughable:
“Barack can’t do this with just Dems and moderates. He needs Republicans too. So I figured if I re-registered as a Republican, then he’d have a Republican in his camp.”
Tickles the absurdist bone, though, I gotta admit that!
Yeah, because Obama didn’t have republican votes to help beat the democratic “incumbent” in the primary. If Obama wins this election with a convincing majority it will include republican votes despite your laughing. Do “liberals” even pay attention to history as you comment on every facet of it or just flap your gums?
In fact, shoot, let’s just go for broke here. Here’s my take on JEM, having noticed his postings on occasion before, and having learned in my one exchange with him that he’s so insupportably cocky he doesn’t need to know anything about who he’s posting to to suggest that that person’s education is perhaps not up to snuff (can you imagine?!) — anyway, here’s my take:
JEM is no longer content with being one of the noisier posters here. He now wants to be declared Sun King.
You are clearly incapable of reasoned and rational discussions. This has nothing to do with your education (or lack thereof) but is based purely on your comments to this blog.
Thanks for the reply.
I think that’s an injustice worthy of righting, but not among the biggest.
Hmmm. I don’t see them as oddities as much as extreme examples of an attitude and strategy representative of the GOP. But you’re right about Nixon. Before him, candidates Eisenhower and Goldwater were pretty decent people.
What you say about the history of the parties may well be true. My personal awareness goes back only as far as maybe 1968. I was just entering college when my Senator from NY, Bobby Kennedy, was killed.
But since that time, it’s only the GOP that I’ve seen use wedge-isue politics to routinely divide and conquer. Fear of commies was repleced by fear of blacks. Then came fear of pointy-headed intellectuals and then fear of homosexuals. Issues became invisible. And this was perpetrated by the GOP hugely more than by the Dems.
I’m saddened if you really see any dishonesty in my comment. The word blame is a bit slippery. Can I really blame the GOP for taking advantage of an environment that let their cynical stragegy work? Well, maybe a little, but the root causes go deeper. The synergy among TV, campaign financing, and monied interests is up there among my prime suspects.
I’ve heard that claim made many times, and I’ve been deeply disappointed that it hasn’t been challenged by those within earshot who should know better. It just isn’t true.
Reagan had a Republican Senate for his first six years. Dems controlled the House, so I’d call that a split Congress. Only during his last two years did the Dems control both houses.
BTW, regarding your claim of Thomas Jefferson as the first Republican president, let me cite this excerpt from Wikipedia…
Sorry to nit-pick on a detail of your post that’s not germane to your point. It was your Reagan-Dem-Congress mistake that pushed me over the edge.
Yep. Fear is a powerful force. After 9/11, a huge fraction of the country really wanted an imperial executive.
I don’t. I’m reacting to what I’ve seen coming from Republican candidates over the last 40 years. Hey, I was a big fan of John Lindsay, FWIW 🙂
Agreed. And not just moderates, but reasonable liberals and conservatives as well. I think, however, you can leave the wingnuts out of it.
Oops… this was meant as a reply to Jason’s reply up-thread.
“Reagan had a Republican Senate for his first six years. Dems controlled the House, so I’d call that a split Congress. Only during his last two years did the Dems control both houses.”
And a large portion of those Dems were southern reminants of the Dixecrats–Dem in name only. Those parts of the country are almost completely Republican today. You know what they say now, “If Granpappy was in the Klan, you vote Republican.”
There are very few modern republicans I would consider worth the name. The republican party, despite wikipedia, did indeed begin with Jefferson and is based in the notion of states rights. The democrats have never been about states rights. The essential conflict form day one was strong federal government versus strong state governments.
I still don’t think we have the right mix. The federal government is much too powerful and unaccountable for my tastes.
The modern democratic party more properly evolved from the Federalists and a strong central government. The modern democratic party could also be said to have started with Lincoln, despite the name of the respective parties, since Lincoln would seek to hold the Union together no matter what individual states had to say.
That is the problem with labels that are wrapped up in complex historical records. Woodrow Wilson, a democrat, won by accusing the republicans of being socialists. Where the origins of this or that movement can be traced back to multiple places is my main premise and are less important today. In the last 40 years, a neoconservative ideology took over this country. It just happened to take root in the republican party, but could have just as easily been the democrats. Reagan won 43 states in 1980 and captured a huge number of democratic votes.
I apologize if I took your comments to be a little more combative and dismissive than they came across. This is not the best venue to have a discussion that is much deeper than we could get across in blog posts.
“Just as easily have been Democrats”…I think this needs a qualifier or two: after the ’60s the Democratic Party became ever more associated with the so-called “northern liberals” in the Northeast and the West Coast. Also, after the Civil Rights movement, the South was lost to Democrats as I’m sure you know. So, taking these two dovetailing points into consideration, a neo-conservatism based at least on cultural/social issues and as it has manifested itself, would not have happened in the Democratic Party.
By cultural/social I mean Equal Rights, busing, “cultual liberalism”, etc.
No Equal Rights for those damn Vietnamese though. Johnson was a complex man. Hell, Ted Kennedy basically gave us Reagan on a rusted tin platter by taking Carter to the convention. I am advocating a generational shift in perception that includes the grays we have been so busy destroying for the last 40 years.
Hi, Jason. Thanks again for the reply. Your determination to reply to all the traffic you’ve generated is commendable.
This is really beside the point, but I find your understanding of the history and lineage of the parties to be very curious. It’s not that Wikipedia is an unerring authority, but it does agree with my understanding of history.
Indeed, going back into the 1800’s, what Republicans and Democrats have at times stood for does vary greatly from where they are now. But their ideological positions seem to have remained pretty stable for the last 50 years.
My personal observations go only as far back as the mid-60’s. Beyond that, I have a bit of book-learning familiarity with national politics going back to the 30’s, though it’s hardly thorough or complete. The way I read it, the main ideological divide between the parties continues unbroken from today back to the New Deal and Social Security — rich vs. poor. If that 70-year conjecture is true, I see little chance of an ideological realignment anytime soon.
Anyway, I do commend you on an excellent post, and I sincerely wish you well in your endeavor.
P.S. If you could clue some of your friends into the fact that Reagan did not have a Democratic Congress to work with for most of his tenure, I’d be much obliged. Hey, maybe it’s an opportunity for you to win a few friendly wagers 🙂
I don’t disagree with your reading on the 20th century political parties or how the country has been divided into rich and poor in order to keep us firmly under control.
I just don’t find that examining the past 70 years for a clue as to what we need to do moving forward to be all that helpful. Even while Johnson was passing the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts he was escalating Vietnam at a furious pace.
Even while Bill Clinton was talking about our “pain” he continued neoconservative trade and tax policies that did nothing to alleviate that pain and made it worse for millions of Americans.
I am not saying my reading of history is one-hundred percent accurate, but much of “historical fact” is open to interpretation. hell, just compare People’s History of the United States to any of the textbooks you had growing up. In know I didn’t learn any of that shit going to school in the 70s and 80s.
I guess my main contention is that we need to wake up the destructiveness of having a pure two-party system working at cross-purposes to each other.
It is killing us, despite the progressive resurgence we have seen recently on the part of mainstream democrats.
PS: With less than 40% turnout for most off-tear Congressional elections and only 18% average for primaries, this country’s actual personality is far from represented in our politics.
I won’t make any real judgments on the American electorate until we see 70% turnout or better. Right now, the fringes are ruling our lives, on both sides of the equation.
I prefer to consort with people who aren’t angry and are reality based.
BZZZZT! Mutually exclusive terms! Does not compute! Does not compute!
The only reason to be reality based and not angry is cause the reality is goin’ your way. In which case you are not gonna change it.
And.. oh never mind, it just hit me, you’re one of those “progressive libertarians”, aren’t you?
Anger shouldn’t rob you of your senses. This year, that is exactly what seemed to happen with democrats. That is why I started leaning more right than left, evolution over revolution. A decision or a strategy made in anger is much less effective than one made in reason.
I claim no labels, but I suppose progressive libertarian is as good as any. Conservative democrat. Liberal republican. Not sure why the fact that there actually is a center in this country comes as such a surprise.
JEM, I generally agree with you, but this??!!!
Come on! Changed parties to save it. How about saving the Democratic party from it’s hard nosed extremists?
Come back, Jason!!!
I didn’t switch, I simply stopped being an independent and decided the GOP was in greater need of moderates than the democrats. They have plenty of help already these days.
I live in a suburban Philly county that’s been Republican controlled forever, but is also fairly moderate. When we moved here, I half thought about joining the GOP just because the Republican primary was where all of the action was. There were conservative Republicans and moderate ones, but whoever won the primary won the election. So that was really the only place to have any influence.
Couldn’t bring myself to do it though. I’ve voted for any number of Republicans but I couldn’t abandon the party I’ve always been part of and still fit ideologically. And now, lo and behold, the parties are roughly at parity and the Democrats routinely get people elected. So I’m glad I stayed.
But I get your reasons for checking out the GOP and if you can help reform it and, in the meantime, bring some of your peeps over to Obama, you’ll have done a mitzvah.
See, you get it perfectly. It isn’t something that happens overnight and all the changes will really be made in the primaries because turnout is so low that only a few percentage points are need to completely flip the script.
If there number enough of these guys we may have to set up shelters for them. If at this stage you’re not angry you’re not a particularly serious person.
I never said I wasn’t angry. I said I had no interest in revenge over results.
But you did say this:
“I prefer to consort with people who aren’t angry and are reality based.”
So what is your bottom line? That you’re angry after all, but you don’t want to consort with others who are angry?
Tsk, tsk. What would TR say about such chickenshittiness?!
No, that lashing out in ANGER AT EVERY SLIGHT, REAL OR IMAGINED, IS INSANE. That is the kind of irrational and counter-productive anger found on the left, whether you care to admit it or not.
Here is a little gem from this blog.
Yeah, your side of the fence is uber rational and reasonable and able to separate the wheat from the chaff.
You have not good arguments so you lay down ad hominem attacks and try to insult me by saying I am no TR. Oh garsh, Miss Lynn Dee, I guess I better drag myself off TPM then and lick my wounds.
If I decided to unleash both barrels on you, I would hazard a guess that tears would be involved at some point. I could spin every democrat on this site in fits of lathered rage just by using a few, well-oiled insults.
Much like you assholes have done on this blog. I choose the high road. Like the democratic candidate. Even if many of his douche bag supporters can’t seem to have civil discussion on a freaking blog.
Good luck with that tactic in real life. I bet it has made you very successful.
Two points: First, someone who can’t pass up any note that is remotely critical is blowing smoke when it comes to claiming the blustery confidence of TR; and second, this kind of over the top response:
“You are clearly incapable of reasoned and rational discussions. This has nothing to do with your education (or lack thereof) but is based purely on your comments to this blog.”
is a primo example of just what a bullshitter you are. Your “reasoned and rational discussion” is about half an inch deep. The slightest bit of resistance by any other poster and you just go ballistic.
What’s your problem anyway? I’m guessing it’s not political. This is just a stage for whatever it is you’re acting out.
But it’s fascinating in its way. So do carry on.
So, you find replying to people who bothered to comment on my blog, positive and negative, a sign of my weakness? You come to very odd conclusions based on the available evidence. It is little wonder that we are unable to communicate.
No, you said that you were tired of all the anger and hate coming over from the left side of the country. Something about how all it takes is a little blood in the water, etc for them to want to string up “repugnicans”. I’m not sure what this references. The blogosphere, incidentally, is a kind of rough and tumble place where, commonly, people who occupy that fringe group who for the last eight years have grown tired of being ridiculed and called unpatriotic, show up to ventilate. And then get labeled “the left side of the country”. By libertarians, to boot.
They represent liberals or democrats or whatever you want to call them and they are hateful and angry. They smell blood in the water and have been driven to a feeding frenzy based on vengeance and not reason.
They are becoming that which they have hated all these years.
Sites like this one represent the left half of the country. Comments on Washington Post and NY Times is representative of mainstream democratic thinking and can be quite nasty. Also, quite prejudiced and not inclusive, which pretty much makes the entire democratic marketing campaign a lie.
The first step to actually being a true progressive party is forgiving those who may have acted poorly in the past yet are still essential to our future success. It is called pragmatism and realism.
Not something ideologues do very well, on the left or right.
I was with you, pretty much, or at least willing to go along with your reasoning, until you wrote in one of your replies, “No one “party” can lay claim to a progressive tradition over the other.”
Isn’t there a time limit on a party’s claim to having progressive ideas? What progressive ideas have the Republicans put forth in the last 40 years? Privitizing Social Security? The Flat Tax? Haven’t most of the GOP ideas lately been regressive, wanting to turn the clock back or do-away with liberal ideas? Isn’t it more accurate that the Democratic party is, and has been for the last 40 years or so, the party fighting for progressive ideas? Or do I misunderstand your meaning of the word ‘progressive’?
On a side note, it’s amazing to me that Republicans invoked the image of Teddy Roosevelt at their convention, when almost everything they believe and do now is completely opposite what he stood for.
Depends on the definition of “progressive” I would assume. Lets just use the accepted one:
This is one of my main beefs with the Republican Party-the lack of progressive social activism or policy. Democrats have led on Civil Rights, Voting Rights, Equal Rights, labor, regulation, environment, etc. for decades. The Republicans have very little except regressive attitudes at worst or ignoring these issues at best.
Jason’s choice of TR as an avatar is a bit ironic.
TR’s politics were wholly an anathema to the Republicans at the time. But they wanted some pizazz for their ticket from a well-liked war hero, so they offered him the VP spot. Kinda like McSame with the Earmark Queen.
If they had any inkling that McKinley would die, it would never have happened. When he did die, TR became the Republicans’ own worst nightmare.
Hmmm. Maybe Jason will become another Republicans’ worst trust-busting nightmare. So maybe his avatar isn’t as ironic as it seems.
No argument from me. The republican party has been regressive and destructive for at least the last 40 years or so. Nixon was the last republican president to sign progressive legislation.
However, the last truly progressive thing the democrats have done has been that far back as well. The dems have a recent history of passing some fairly regressive shit down the pike and calling it cream cheese. Does it cancel all their good works? Of course not, but it does show that no party is immune to imperialistic notions or from working in their own best interests.
I say that labels are immaterial.
We have always had two ways of thinking in this country – liberal and conservative. It was John Adams insulting the French Court versus Ben Franklin playing to their vanity. It is Revolution versus Evolution. All In versus Raise You 50. It was only with the neoconservative takeover of the republican party that our bipolar natures were turned to social issues vice methodology.
I want to reinvent our definitions and ideas of what these labels mean in the same way that Barack Obama has sought to change the way we view ourselves as Americans. If we must have parties due to some quirk in the America psyche then at least those groups should look like mainstream America and not its loudest and angriest fringes.
Sorry, I need to amend my previous reply. I’ve read more of your replies and think I’ve come to a better understanding of your reasoning.
I’m not sure you’ll be able to do it, but I wish you luck. It seems to me, the task you’ve assigned yourself is a difficult one and will take decades, if not longer. The Evangelical base of the GOP seems to be so deep right now that moving control of the party back to a more moderate position seems daunting, even under the best of circumstances (Their losing big-time in November.)
I think the “evangelical base” split into three or four groups, many voting democratic this year, and no one noticed. The Rapture Right are far from of a plurality of Christians.
The are more Jimmy Carter than Jimmy Falwell.
You might be surprised by the actual beliefs of people self-labeled as “Born Again” Christians and what they dedicate themselves to in a Barack Obama administration that isn’t afraid of faith.
As far as the timing of this project, I am prepared to take decades. I already plan out projects in ten-year chunks of time. The Rich Motherfuckers aren’t enough to crowd out the Upper Middleclass Progressive and Highly Motivated Professionals, so I think the project may hit a tipping point sooner rather than later.
You heard it here first. :O)
Cripes! What a whirlwind of point/counterpoint.
The American landscape is littered with defunct, defamed, deranged, and/or devolved political parties. Given the general short sightedness of our politics, party doctrine expires in about an hour and a half, and starts to smell in a day or two. Look at what influence the so called party platforms have for either party now. You can’t vote a straight ticket as in days past really “know” you’re supporting a certain general philosophy (and probably not even then, really). You vote for party leaders and hope like hell they’re pointing it in the direction you’d like it to go.
I predict a resurgence of the Whig Party for 2012.
I can try to promote progressive republicans in the primary and then vote democratic if I have to since their goals are closer to mine, even if I don’t think their methods are the most effective. Same thing the democrats need to keep doing.
Rinse and repeat.
II am not compromising anything by encouraging progressive republicans to stand up in the primary while at the same time voting my values and ethics in the general. Democrats will appreciate the help as well as more and more republicans demand their representative represent sustainability and Seventh Generation thinking in our policies.
The Free-for-All is over for both parties as far as I am concerned. I don’t think I am alone in that estimation.
Obama summed it up perfectly: Enough!
This is the biggest pile of horse shit I’ve read in some time. The only good Republican is a dead Republican.
Assholes like you are also why I joined the republican party.
Quote: “Assholes like you are also why I joined the republican party.”
What happened to your “rational and reasoned debate”?!
Then my work is done.
What an idiotic post. You don’t have a fucking clue as to how the republican party operates.
You’re right. I am an idiot.
It operates like a political party hijacked by an extreme ideology. Kind of like how the democratic party operated under Clinton and the DLC.