As you know, we're keeping an eye on the emerging "GOP Civil War" unfolding as various consituencies within the GOP react to the antics of the red meat Palin wing of the party. Some of the conflict is internal and genuine, some of the drama is driven and stirred up by observers. Or opponents.
Paul Krugman offers some keen insights from the other side of the aisle:
You might think, perhaps hope, that Republicans will engage in some soul-searching, that they’ll ask themselves whether and how they lost touch with the national mainstream. But my prediction is that this won’t happen any time soon.
Instead, the Republican rump, the party that’s left after the election, will be the party that attends Sarah Palin’s rallies, where crowds chant “Vote McCain, not Hussein!” It will be the party of Saxby Chambliss, the senator from Georgia, who, observing large-scale early voting by African-Americans, warns his supporters that “the other folks are voting.” It will be the party that harbors menacing fantasies about Barack Obama’s Marxist — or was that Islamic? — roots.
Why will the G.O.P. become more, not less, extreme? For one thing, projections suggest that this election will drive many of the remaining Republican moderates out of Congress, while leaving the hard right in place.
Still, why doesn't Krugman address the hints of racism within his own party (see Southern black voting blocks in lockstep for Obama)? Or the liberal guilt of the media that prevented it from adequately and fairly scrutinizing Barack Obama as a candidate? Or the shrill, haughty, cult of personality groupthink that seems to characterize Obama's most ardent supporters?
Some thoughts and questions:
1. The GOP needs to find a way to play with an increasingly urban and suburban populace. It can't seem to get traction anywhere north of the Mason Dixon line, and Obama is threatening to create a new national majority map, and even to thwart the Southern Strategy.
2. Social conservatives and social conservatism will continue to decline as a sizable enough base to unite a competitive national party.
3. But the repudiation of traditional Republican economic principles, as blame is heaped on them without adequate response, stand as a less effective unifying lower common denominator in the short term.
4. Neither party has any significant concern about size of government, government spending, fiscal responsibility, individual responsibility, and individual liberties.
5. Can the anti-Palin forces within the GOP (or the folks that abandoned ship this time around) ever hope to succeed in driving that wing out of the Party? Or can Palin actually be rescucitated?
6. Will the GOP retain any intellectual core that advance principles in a thoughtful, eloquent, positive, non-frenzied way?
A year ago, I warned about the GOP's weakness, especially in the context of social conservatism and in the wake of Bush.