Nov 07 2007

GOP Needs To Stop Digging Their Political Grave

Update: Another indication that the far right is alienating (of course, insulting moderates, er.. RINOS, clearly alienates) the voters and costing elections:

Republican losses yesterday, even in solidly GOP districts, he said, were more often the result of a candidate being too conservative for the moderate direction most voters want Virginia to take.

“If you want to take a look at who’s winning in the Republican Party, it’s middle-of-the-road Republicans who have not moved too far to the right that they’re considered extremists,” he said.

The GOP coalition has been torn asunder. And the illegal immigration problem had nothing – absolutely nothing, done on it. – end update

Update: The Washington Post notes that the GOP in Virginia had focused the races this season on immigration – supposedly to help them hold their seats:

In late August, GOP leaders sought to shift the focus to illegal immigration after Congress failed to address the issue.

House and Senate GOP leaders agreed on a plan to bar illegal immigrants from public colleges and deny them bail when they are charged with a crime.

In Northern Virginia, several GOP state legislative candidates also teamed with Stewart in Prince William to promote cutting off services for illegal immigrants in that county.

Immigration also became a factor in Connolly’s race. But unlike Stewart, Connolly focused on illegal behavior, such as overcrowding, and did not support withholding services to people in the country illegally.

Unlike some previous Virginia legislative races, many GOP candidates shied away from campaigning on social issues such as abortion. House and Senate leaders unveiled plans for more spending on health care and school construction.

The result of shying away from social issues, going moderate on health care and school spending, and emphasizing hard immigration policies the results are clear:

In Fairfax County, Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald E. Connolly (D) easily beat Republican Gary H. Baise of Falls Church. Democrats also appeared well positioned to retain their majority on the Board of Supervisors.

Democrats also picked up at least four House seats, including two in Northern Virginia. Democrat Margaret G. Vanderhye beat Republican David M. Hunt for the seat of retiring Del. Vincent F. Callahan Jr. (R-Fairfax). In Prince William, Democrat Paul Nichols picked up the seat of retiring GOP Del. Michele B. McQuigg. Del. Thomas Davis Rust (R-Fairfax) beat Democrat Jay P. Donahue.

The GOP took a pounding in Northern VA even with (or because) of the hard stance on immigration. And where Northern VA goes so goes the state. I could care less how long it takes, and how many losses it takes, for the GOP to wake up. It is clear there will be no hard line on the long time immigrants supported by the voters (which is the issue – forget all the diversionary issues were everyone agrees). The GOP will keep losing opportunities on the BROADER conservative agenda.– end update

Purity or governance (with some patience for compromise and letting people ‘come around’ to conservative views on issues)? Which path will the GOP pick. The hardliners have chased all the RINOs off (insults over policy differences do that). I am all for conservative and libertarian principles. But you need a majority in our democracy to have a shot at moving the policy – even in small steps. Otherwise you lose and the policy shifts backwards, erasing years of hard fought successes.

You can see the pending 2008 disaster playing out now in 2007 elections in Virginia (my homes state) and Kentucky – two formally red/GOP states:

Two red states turned slightly blue in off-year elections as Kentucky’s Republican governor lost, and Democrats picked up at least three seats in Virginia’s state Senate.

In Kentucky, former Lt. Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, took nearly 60% of the vote against incumbent Gov. Ernie Fletcher, who was plagued by scandal in the early days of his administration. Gov. Fletcher campaigned on social issues but couldn’t overcome a furor surrounding a 2006 indictment for his part in a patronage scandal. Charges against the governor were dropped after he made a deal with prosecutors, and he later pardoned all others accused.

Democrats picked up at least three seats in Virginia’s upper chamber and were likely to take more. The party’s most impressive gains were in the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C. Early returns indicated that Democrats might take control of that body.

Democrats have swept recent high-profile statewide elections in Virginia, including the last two governor’s races and a surprise victory in the U.S. Senate race last year, and the party hopes the trend will hold for the 2008 Senate race, where former Democratic Gov. Mark Warner is favored.

The Kentucky race could be considered a loss due to personal issues, but clearly VA is turning purple. We have had GOP Congressman in my areas of Northern Virginia for as long as I can remember, and now we don’t. It is not just the Iraq war. Northern VA has an enormous (and sometimes troublesome) immigrant population from below our southern border. But the area has people from all over the world, given the work done in downtown DC. So immigration and diversity of cultures and traditions is the norm overall. Herndon, one of the most visible flash points in the illegal immigration issue, is now possibly a very democrat place.

So how is being hardline on long term immigrants benefiting the GOP here? We all agree we need to boot the criminals ASAP, get the rest background checked and processed into the above-the-table economy, and restrict all future immigration to be truly temporary and enforceable. Conservatives implode (and get nasty and testy) when we discuss the option of having long term, crime free immigrants pay fines and stay. Seems to be some sort of emotional issue with some. But I can see the results. Democrats win.

Democrats just took away decades-long GOP seats in areas of VA rife with illegal immigrants. If the GOP hardline won’t work here it won’t work in a lot of places. Not all, but too many to consider a governing majority. The problem is the long term illegals are interwoven into our society. They are neighbors or friends and teammates of our kids. They sit next to us in Church (OK, they would if I attended church). They are not usually or obviously criminals.

The GOP is attacking and maligning friends and neighbors to too many people who will vote against such posturing and are in sufficient numbers to move 5-8% of the vote and tip seats into Democrat hands. 5-8% of the population is not a large number, but when they switch sides or are repulsed away from one side that shift in voting can be like a political earth quake.

It really boils down to this: how long does the GOP want to be sitting on the sidelines of the minority screaming their frustration versus making progress? The far right was pissed off the pace of their reforms they demanded were too slow and went on a purity purge and attacking moderates and others who would not go as far as fast as some would like. Well now that pace of conservative progress has now been stopped, And in fact recent gains are being, or could be, reversed. Is that the solution they wanted? Don’t tell me this is the solution they planned on!

34 responses so far

34 Responses to “GOP Needs To Stop Digging Their Political Grave”

  1. Mike M. says:

    I’m sorry, but I think the GOP’s problems are more linked to corruption and competence than to immigration issues. Once you get outside the Beltway, there is a tremendous resentment of the flood of illegals and the refusal of the Government to do anything about them.

    As for Virginia, I fear that it’s problem is the growth of the Federal Government. Northern Virginia has some software/computer companies (AOL, for instance), but it’s quickly becoming a Government Company Town, much like Montomery and Prince Georges counties in Maryland. That, and the fact that Virginia Democrats have sense enough not to pick a fight with firearm owners.

  2. dave m says:

    Sorry. I meant the comment to be here, not in the article
    about the media and Iraq:

    Ya think the dhimmicrats are going to win because there
    is a grassroots movement sweeping the nation about us
    being unfair to illegal immigrants?

    The dhimmicrats may well win, but not because a new
    romanticism is dawning for illegals. That strains credulity
    beyond the breaking point of common sense.

    If the dhimmicrats win, I suspect it’s because the conservative
    Right stay home and the majority of the electorate decide to
    “give appeasement a chance”. Who knows? Probably won’t
    work this time either, but if you’re going to vote without
    studying, it’s more likely the decider than “we need more illegals”.

    If you read debka today, you’ll know that the Israeli government
    gives Iran no more than until 2009 to have nukes, probably less.
    As soon as they have them, they will use them to fulfill their
    prophecy of bringing back the “hidden imam” to “save the world”.
    After that, the political landscape of America will be changed
    beyond our ability to speculate. And nobody will be talking
    about illegals beyond the possibility that they are terrorists.

    Left by dave m on November 7th, 2007

  3. MerlinOS2 says:


    Most of the coverage I have read on the Virginia issue pretty much said the immigration thing was contentious but neither side had a plan anyone really wanted.

    Everything I have been reading stated it was the momentum from back to back Dem Governors and the Webb election and just plainly the shift in party registration due to growth in the northern counties of Virginia.

    I have been reading almost consistent opinions of that from all sides of the spectrum and few if any even spoke of a political purity issue, and if it was an issue I am sure some of the places I read would have considered and evaluated it.

    One of the issues in play seemed to be control of the reapportionment situation in 2011 after the next census.

    Plus the open seats did not help and the Dems were heavily targeting 8 seats for contention and won 3 or 4 depending on who you read when last night.

    So I think putting all your eggs in the purity basket is questionable.

  4. AJStrata says:

    LOL! Folks, I am a life long Virginian with politicians (a US Congressman) in my family. You can believe the liberal media if you like (which would love the GOP to get a false sense of security). No skin off my back. But folks commenting from way out of state are not impressing me.


  5. dave m says:

    So it’s Spring, 2008. Israel decides it can wait no more and
    launches an attack using our bunker busters on Natanz and
    Isfahan and plain old bombs on Bushehr and so on.
    Iran closes the straits of Hormuz and fires VX tipped missiles
    at our bases in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as Tel Aviv and
    other Israeli cities. A Polonium dirty bomb goes off in NYC. Israel
    finds itself in a multifront war being attacked by Hezbollah
    and Syria and Iran. Threatens use of nukes in response if the
    USA doesn’t enter the war on it’s behalf. We decide there is
    no option. A US minesweeper is destroyed by Iranian missiles
    trying to clear the now blocked straits of Hormuz. Oil hits
    a high of $400 / barrel. Democrats oppose drilling in ANWR.

    This is all pretty likely.
    How does that affect the politics in Virginia?
    Business as usual not likely in the near future.

  6. lurker9876 says:

    We are hearing about a high number of Republican seats up for election next year and a low number of Democrat seats up for next year’s election. What does 2010 look? Is it the reverse?

    So, if the Democrats gain more seats in 2008, could they be in the situation of losing more seats in 2010 as they continue to goof up more and more?

  7. AJStrata says:


    A are you saying world wide slaughter is the only hope the GOP has?

  8. AJ, I’ve noted this as well at Called as Seen.

    We’ve been promised that a hard line will lead to victory.

    For the past three elections, the GOP has lost ground.

    So now, the question is simple: Do we keep believing the false promises of the Krikorians and Malkins on the right, or do we insist upon a change in approach because our own eyes are seeing the election results?

  9. MerlinOS2 says:


    Discount your own readers if you wish that is your option, but you know how I work and you know I have to be going to the source and reading both party state websites, looking at the registration data maps, reading the local papers positions which the net makes readily available and reading analysis by life long Virginians just like you who have been in the political game there for 30 years or more. Some of can with valid review and analysis may see it another way from the composite view of all we have read. So simply we have a respectful disagreement of opinions. Nothing more nothing less.

  10. Terrye says:

    I know I that I have been voting Republican for some time but I was told in no uncertain terms by more than one hardliner that the party does not want or need people like me.

    Is that anyway to win elections?

    I think we need to strengthen our borders and have stronger enforcement penalties as well, but in a country that is split as nearly 50/50 as this one is that means some compromise might be necessary. That does not make me an open border fanatic.

    I just think that people are tired of the fighting all the time over everything. They want too see more solutions and less ideology. And sometimes the hardliners seem to forget that. In fact sometimes I think they would rather keep the illegals here and the issue alive rather than fix the problem.

  11. MerlinOS2 says:


    Most of what I have seen is in the 70/30 area. I do not recall any down in the 50/50 range.

  12. AJStrata says:


    I saw your post earlier this morning and it was right on.


  13. dbostan says:

    When 80% of the Americans want the border to be secured, when the guy who implemented tough measures against the illegals in a county in Virginia got 90% of the vote, when state after state and county after county gets tough on the illegals, it is ludicrous to claim this issue is a losing one for the GOP.
    Quite the contrary.
    When this party will return to its patriotic roots, and stop being the party of the big business only, it will start winning elections again.

  14. AJStrata says:


    The Washington Post has information that supports my point, but it has been down all morning. When it comes up I will update this post.

    DBoston, you missed the point. The ONLY point of contention with the far right and the rest of the conservatives is on the issue of dealing with the long term immigrants with penalties, background checks and permission to stay. Forget about all the things we agree on – it is a distraction for those easily distracted.

    The reason the hard right is losing is it will not compromise on the long term immigrant issue – which polls show are a LOSING position.

    Not my fault the far right still can’t get it. And as long as they don’t they will stay on the losing side of elections.

  15. MerlinOS2 says:


    The after election analysis I have read says from multiple sources of all sides that the immigration issue was almost neutralized but not quite because most of the Dems came on strong about immigration enforcement to take the issue away from the Republicans.

    After all this was the most expensive Virginia election in history by a wide margin from the spending profiles I saw.

  16. AJStrata says:


    I could care less what you read. The facts are clear and obvious on the ground. Don’t pretend to tell Virginians they don’t know Virginia. We’ll just laugh at you.

  17. MerlinOS2 says:

    To try to say it’s all about immigration and to in effect dismiss the troubling issues of corruption within the party, plus spending profiles not in the historic conservative beliefs, big government programs like the drug program and abortion as just window dressing for everything just to go with the it’s all about immigration defies the polls of all stripes and commentary on conservative and liberal sites.

  18. AJStrata says:

    We don’t have corruption issues. And we have the Pentagon and many other major military facilities, intelligence facilities, etc which tend to NOT be so much against the Iraq war.

    Sorry Merlin, as I posted in the update the immigration issue was front and center and was a loser!

  19. Terrye says:


    When I say 50/50 I am talking about the overall balance of power. As a general rule it is hard for one party to have a huge advantage over the other and our most recent presidential elections have been largely 50/50.

    As for 70/30, this is where hardliners screw up. I would be in that 70% myself often as not, but a lot of hardliners consider me the enemy because I don’t follow Tancredo.

    In other words, I support more enforcement and more border security myself. The problem with the hardliners is that even after I tell them that they will respond by saying I am an open border fanatic or something just because I support guest worker programs or because I think that allowing some people an opportunity to gain legal status might be a good thing.

    So that 70/30 might not be what you think. That would explain why so many of the hardliners keep losing elections. They are hearing what they want to hear rather than what people are actually saying.

    Not long ago on another site I saw people trashing Laura Bush because she had worn a modesty scarf given to her by a breast cancer survivor from Saudi Arabia. The First Lady was over there to raise awareness about breast cancer in the Arab world, because it is something they just do not like to talk about. At the conference one of the survivors gave her a traditional modesty scarf covered with pink ribbons. Well these folks were calling her a dhimmi and a sell out and saying she might as well be wearing a swastika. I defended her and said she was just being polite……and low and behold one of AJ’s former commenters jumped in there and said that I supported illegal immigration blah blah blah.

    The point being, that hardliners have picked a fight with people who could well have been their allies. There is no reason for me to feel any loyalty to people who treat me that way just for having my own opinion. The truth is a lot of people on the right do not realize what debt they owe to Hillary Clinton. I say that because if the Democrats could get it together and come up with a strong sensible centrist for the nomination they could probably run right over the Republicans. After all thus far the Republicans seem more interested in attacking each other than anything else. They seem more interested in bullying people than they are in convincing them or winning them over.

    And immigration is one example of that. I am not some radical leftist who wants to open the borders to criminals and yet that is just how a lot of people on the right treat me. And I doubt that I am the only one who is tired of it.

  20. Terrye says:


    I want to see the border secured too, that is the point. Harliners assume that everyone who wants to see the border secured are just like them…they are not. If you asked me that question on a poll I would say yes too.

    Immigration is not that black and white.