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October 14, 2005

Sometimes You Feel Like a...

Does it not seem that the GOP's 2008 primaries are going to prove particularly chock full o' nuts? Democrats always have the odd liberal outlier or two, but Republicans, now, have Tom Tancredo commanding an army of xenophobes while Sam Brownback promises to install Christ back on the Oval Office. And these guys may be marginal figures, but they're atop serious constituencies with real power in the right's presidential primaries. It all goes back to the odd value judgments made on interest groups.

It's well known that Democrats are in hock to unions and blacks, environmentalists and baby-killers. Indeed, for Clinton to win, he had to prove himself independent of these forces. But somehow, the crazies comprising the GOP's base never got tarred with the same brush, never became similarly unacceptable. Republicans need not disavow them, it's Democrats who need to constantly profess respect. It's bizarre. Maybe post-Schiavo, Brownback and his orcish forces will prove as repellent as they did in Florida, while Tancredo and his minutemen will do for Republicans nationally what Pete Wilson's prop 187 did for them in California. Given the flack Democrats have received for helping minorities and working folks, it'd really be only fair.

October 14, 2005 in Election 2008 | Permalink

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Comments

I don't think it's totally true that the Republicans don't feel any pressure to disavow their maniacs, at least in part. Bush ran as a "compassionate conservative," after all, in 2000.

Posted by: Haggai | Oct 14, 2005 3:55:47 PM

Don't forget about Newt - he is threatening to run, too, saying that he fears that GOP candidates will not give proper attention to the issues that he deems important. (But then he also promises to "drop out" if his pet issues get the props...or if his campaign tanks maybe...)

Posted by: sprocket | Oct 14, 2005 3:56:41 PM

"But somehow, the crazies comprising the GOP's base never got tarred with the same brush"

Young whippersnapper doesn't remember the Buchanan speech back in '92, does he? But yeah, it's been a long time.

Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Oct 14, 2005 4:06:34 PM

Those frickin' minutemen are going to be camped out 15 mins from my house this weekend. Why the hell did they decide to patrol the Vermont border? Most of the land along the border is private so they can't spread out. So they'll keep the border crossing guards company. Real effective, guys.

Posted by: verplanck colvin | Oct 14, 2005 4:33:28 PM

Unfortunately (that is, for anyone who isn't a right-wing fanatic, or anyone who really CARES about the state of this country) - 20+ years of relentless Republican propaganda attempting marginalize ANY organized opposition to their agendas as "extremist", "out-of-touch" and/or "elitist" (with the occasional addition of "self-hating" for an intellectual touch) have borne evil, bitter fruit.Most of the mass of American voters (whether they buy into the fringers' wingnut viewpoints or not) have become numbed-out or unheeding of the virulence and extremism of the far right; since the extemists have redefined themselves as the "center", while demonizing anything that might remotely be termed "liberal".
Almost literally "demonizing" since most of today's Right wrap themselves in the mantle of religion: a stance, sadly, few politicians are willing to challenge.

Posted by: Jay C | Oct 14, 2005 4:35:02 PM

Brownback "is contemplating a big bet on a resurgence in traditionalist faith"

Witch-burnings, yippee! The only tradition these folks have faith in is "God helps those who help themselves."

Posted by: CParis | Oct 14, 2005 4:45:25 PM

Robertson won Iowa in 1988. That's with religious voters having less muscle then -- and with a candidate with more credibility (say what you want about Brownback -- and I probably have -- but he is a sitting US senator).

Posted by: Chris R | Oct 14, 2005 4:47:32 PM

Robertson won Iowa in 1988.

Dole won the Iowa caucuses in 1988. Robertson was 2nd.

Posted by: Constantine | Oct 14, 2005 5:18:23 PM

Don't forget about Newt - he is threatening to run, too, saying that he fears that GOP candidates will not give proper attention to the issues that he deems important.

Awesome. I wanna see him tell the fundies how visiting the wife in the cancer ward to lay out the divorce was an Affirmation of Life. Kinda like a pre-emptive Schiavo intervention. Oughta be the biggest hoot since 'Kingpin'....

Posted by: sglover | Oct 14, 2005 5:59:28 PM

Ah, you're right Constatine. My bad. In my defense, Robertson *did* beat the sitting vice president.

Posted by: Chris R | Oct 14, 2005 6:18:58 PM

The Republicans are 100% fucked unless they pick Giuliani or McCain. The rest of them come off as too crazy. IMHO.

Posted by: Sandals | Oct 15, 2005 7:58:44 AM

Democrats always have the odd liberal outlier or two...

Yeah, and somehow the Democrats always put these crazies in powerful party positions(Yeaahhhhhhh!!!).

Posted by: Fred Jones | Oct 15, 2005 9:10:49 AM

I'm with Jay C. While I agree with some of the other commenters that the Republicans have sometimes had some limited problems with their crazies, it's unquestionably unbalanced. (I don't recall any major Republican leader having a "Sister Soujilah" moment.) Like Jay C., I think this goes back, as so many things do these days, to Republican domination of the media. This allows them to relentless propagandize against Dem interest groups, while getting a mostly free pass on their own.

Posted by: Rebecca Allen, PhD | Oct 15, 2005 1:30:36 PM

The WaPo Style section had a fairly large article about Pat "Assassinate 'Em, Jesus!" Robertson. The most interesting thing was how people on his side of the aisle were unwilling to be quoted as saying, Yep, the guy's a flaming loonball.

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