Martin Wisckol of the Register has a terrific story in this morning’s paper about how divisive social issues are still tearing the Republican Party apart. Â But its a story we’re seeing over and over again, both locally and nationally.
Republicans still cling to Ronald Reagan’s legacy like the brass ring on a Merry-Go-Round; the problem is that message of optimism is no longer anything the Republicans have governed with on run on since 1984. The modern Republican Party has been about divisiveness, fear and Rovian slash and burn tactics that Americans can no longer stomach.
OC GOP Chairman Scott Baugh points to the Iraq War and out of control spending by Congressional Republicans as reasons the GOP lost elections in 2006 and 2008. Â But Baugh and other prominent Republicans still supported this war and many of President Bush’s policies. Â Its going to take a long time for Republicans to recover from sticking with these positions over their principles.
Baugh and State Assemblyman Chuck DeVore point to a message of limited government and lower taxes, and oddly enough, to the fact that blacks and Latinos supported Prop 8 as the way back to power, but both can’t agree on the issue of illegal immigration. Â I believe if the No on Prop 8 campaign had done a more effective job refuting some of the more outrageous claims by the “Yes on Prop 8″ side and if Barack Obama had done a more effective job voicing his opposition to the addition of this new Constitutional Amendment, more minority voters would have voted No on 8. Â Still, what a weak card for the Republicans to play.
DeVore points to illegal immigration as something that deters Latino voters. Â I think preserving tax loopholes for luxury yacht owners while seeking drastic cuts in education would also deter Latino voters. Â But this is from a guy running for Senate saying Barbara Boxer is too old after he supported Fred Thompson initially for president and then backed John McCain.Â
Baugh still ignores a core underlying weakness in the GOP — younger voters. Voters 18-24 went Democratic by a margin of 68-30; voters 24-30 went Democratic by a margin of 60-30. Â Obama won John Campbell’s CD-48 of Irvine, Newport Beach and Lake Forest – a traditional Republican stronghold. Â And the No on Prop 8 won in the ethnically diverse city of Irvine. Â A Muslim council candidate in his first race outraised a popular Republican candidate for Mayor in Irvine. Â The dynamic of Orange County elections still favor Republicans but frankly no race is safe as long as there is a solid Democratic candidate in the race as well.
A Washington Post article last week carried a lament from a conservative activist complaining that President -elect Obama had no conservatives as part of his transition team, which he described as “hard left” (which amuses us hard lefties who think his team is actually moderate). Â But I don’t recall Republicans having any token Liberals on President George W. Bush’s transition team, which I’m guessing was just a-ok. Â
Barbara Boxer was right. Â Elections have consequences. Â
Its a worthwhile read, but how many times are we going to read the same thing?