Jan 31 2008

GOP Reconciliation Ain’t Happening

Published by at 12:33 pm under 2008 Elections,All General Discussions

I was listening to Laura Ingrahm on the way in and she is trying to adjust to the McCain nomination, but it just ain’t happening. She wanted to know how to build a bridge between the hyper-conservatives and the moderate conservatives. It is an easy question to answer – try some respect. She was trying, but her anger was bubbling just beneath the surface and popped out over and over again. She railed against one caller who tried to call her on all her hostility (to calls it issue discussion) against McCain. She crowed about her knee-jerk response to Harriet Miers as an example of her efforts. But moderates point to that time as the beginning of the purity wars and the end of the governing coalition.

She wrapped herself in the Reagan image, but then let slip about “McSnide” when discussing the debates. I am no fan of McCain, but Laura was dropping right back into that trap of being snide, rude and disrespectful that created this mess in the first place. Her comment reminded me of the ranting by Mark Levin where he called McCain “McLame”, which has many connotations too ugly to tolerate given his physical handicaps from being tortured in Vietnam.

I can confidently say President Bush did do one thing for America – he made the juvenile comments from pundits intolerable by example. I use fun terms like “Amnesty Hypochondriacs” and “Mary Poppins Conservatives” to point out the fallacy and uselessness of certain points of view. It is a deliberate and pointed jab at those who fling invectives and rely on the Clintonian method of personal denigration to try and win arguments. It is also a reminder to those who were once allies that they are not the only ones who can create damning labels that can undercut a view. I have just as sharp elbows as anyone else. My passion is no less than others. I am labeled a moderate (or pseudo-conservative as Levin likes to rant) because I am not as far right as others. But in the ring of political debate if we need to degenerate the debate into this kind of discussion then those on the far right are not the only ones armed with sharp wits and dedication.

I can see conservative talk radio continue to tank into the juvenile politics game. Rush mimics McCain in the voice of a old geezer. Laura calls the potential next leader of the GOP causes “McSnide”. Levin demonstrates his lack of debating skills by the cruel innuendo of his “McLame” comment. I am pretty sure the coalition of conservatives will remain busted if the far right greets McCain as “El President Jaun McLame, head RINO”.

Bush has, by example, reminded Americans who respect each other and avoid the juvenile jabs that politics can be performed with honor and dignity. What the hyper-partisans are learning is the demeaning comments aren’t working anymore and America has matured beyond the nastiness. So we can thank Bush for another accomplishment – the Begala/Carville brand of negative political discourse is now very much out of vogue. So what if McCain mentions respect of Hillary or Sandra Day O’Connor (something that had Laura in full apoplexy this morning)? He is following on with the tradition of respecting each other as we disagree. Something the hyper-partisans would do well to emulate instead of ridicule. They are only hurting themselves when they don’t. And don’t think jumping on a GOP President McSnide will enamor people to the conservative cause – it won’t.

Addendum: I forgot to mention one great comment the caller made that set Laura straight. She was ranting on how the ‘establishment had anointed’ McCain. The caller, rightfully, reminded her it was the voters who ‘anointed’ McCain – which really put her back into reality.

20 responses so far

20 Responses to “GOP Reconciliation Ain’t Happening”

  1. MarkN says:

    On the subject of McCain there is an article in the WSJ today about McCain’s huge advantage over everyone else. Retail politics. He knows how to work and connect with a crowd. To make his voters emotionally indebted to him.

    And even though he needs a class in anger management, he has a certain level of charisma that Romney lacks. Romney may be better looking than McCain but McCain has a huge charisma advantage over Romney. That charisma makes him acceptable even to people in areas of weakness, i.e the economy. Charisma trumps expertise on the issues as long as one has the right advisors (Kemp & others).

    Why Reagan was so special is that he had the ideology as well as the charisma. Now McCain has those qualities when it comes to national defense, homeland security, and the Iraq war. The ability to take an ideology and emotionally connect it to the average person. On other issues though, he sounds like a career politician.

  2. Terrye says:


    I think the majority of people trust McCain to be sensible. I really think it is that simple. I read somewhere that his overall favorable rating was over 70% and only 25% said they would not ever vote for him.

    Average people view hyper partisans with suspicion and distrust.

  3. SallyVee says:

    The last time I caught Laura on the radio — sometime last summer, she was explaining in detail the “New World Order” conspiracy that she thought was surely playing out in front of our eyes, and over which President Bush presides (with the help of his evil minions at the CFR). At that time I thought: Art Bell is more lucid than this kook.

    In an odd way, though, I sense that Laura is taking a couple baby steps toward the sane center. She is not stupid and I doubt she is willing to martyr herself at a time when her career seems have some potential — with her new gig on Fox. There will be a certain period of wretching and renting of garments before there is any chance of reconciliation with the radio crowd. I’ll tune in a month from now and see what’s happening then. I don’t ever expect to hear “I was wrong.” It’ll be a process of careful revisionism and maybe eventually a pact to stick to a couple big issues on which we can all agree. That would be a spectacular place to arrive.

  4. Rich says:

    AJ, I think you overstate the influence of all talk radio, except Rush and Hannity. LI is on a tiny station here in Philly where the scan button on the radio skips over it half the time. They are engaged in a battle for ratings where the more extreme they are, the greater ratings they will get. Or so they think. I’d like to see their ratings history. I doubt they have improved. Niche radio and the internet has given these people the impression that their opinions matter much more than they really do. Hannity will come around, if he already hasn’t. mcCain is so significantly better than Hillary or Obama that only an idiot or menglomaniac would say there is no difference.

    Which brings us to Rush. I doubt at the end of the day that Rush could convince even 100 people to cut McCain, based on his recommendation. I don’t even think it will come to that. His “threat” to not endorse McCain in the general election was just a cowardly way of endorsing Romney without actually doing it. It allows him to keep is “purity” So much of his base (loyal Rs who are conservatives)would bale on his show if he supported a D or didn’t support an R that he would never do it. Rush is alot of things but principled and stupid aren’t two of them. Expect a “for the greater good, better than the alternative, hold your nose” dog and pony show when it is finally certain that the nominee isn’t Romney.

    Think about this, all this in the support of a Republican John Kerry. How ironic is that.

  5. Terrye says:

    Rich is a smart guy.

  6. MarkN says:

    John McCain is no John Kerry. McCain has charisma, Kerry, well??? Seriously, Reagan was a once in a century politician because he had an extraordinary amount of charisma. So much so, that he made Goldwater republicans win 49 states in 1984. Look up 1964 and see how many states Goldwater won 20 years earlier.

    Anyway, John McCain is carrying on the recent tradition of what I call the Vietnam split. In fact McCain is a Pro-American Democrat. John Kerry is a blame America first Democrat. If this was before Vietnam John McCain would be a Democratic Senator and Kerry would be either a academic or a Rockefeller Republican.

    Speak of purity wars, the Democrats have quietly pushed out all Pro-defense, pro-strong America supporters into the waiting arms of Ronald Reagan. The result is the surrendercrats we have today.

    To add a snipet on Huckabee. Mike H. is a traditional values liberal. In fact the whole notion of social conservatives is the MSM’s way of marginalizing evangelical Christians. Most are not conservative in the Goldwater tradition but are big government great society liberals. If this was 1956, Mike Huckabee would be a Democrat. The Democrats have quietly pushed out all traditional values people in their progressive cultural values campaign into the waiting arms of Ronald Reagan. Many in the cultural wars would be natural Democrats (Bill O’what’s is name comes to mind). The party of LBJ has through its own purity wars made itself into the minority. First with RR in 1980 and then Newt in 1994.

    AJ is right that a Republican (Goldwater) purity war will guarantee a Republican minority of a long time.

  7. The Macker says:

    Charisma- is purely a media creation.

    McCain benefits by name recognition over Romney

    Right now, it’s still primary time and a time to show our differences. But come the general election, any principled conservative will support either McCain or Romney, if nominated. The perfect must not be the enemy of the good.

  8. WWS says:

    Charisma is more than a media creation – I try not to be affected, but even I admit to responding favorably to McCain when I see him talk, even though I disagree with many of this ideas. Romney has ideas I support, but everytime I see him I can’t think of an old boss of mine that I never liked – a cold, cold fish.

  9. NNB says:

    Anyone who tells me by shouting at my senator that they know more about the illegal issue and then tries to push a bill through in the dead of night is unscrupulous and arrogant in action; and actions speak louder than words. And that is just one recent example.

    If Republicans choose to nominate a Democrat in Republican clothing and then tell me they need me to consolidate behind him – you are not really interested in my thoughts or my vote. Nominating a candidate who has consistently been more concerned with getting along with Democrats than with the people who elected him may get you a Republican president, but he will govern no differently than Obama or Hillary because he is more interested in their approval than yours or mine. And you don’t need my help for that to happen!

  10. The Macker says:

    But if you had the media constantly reminding you how smart he is, that he is a self made man, that he “sacrificed” 3 years to do missionary work, that his devoted wife has MS and that his family is “camelot”- you might attribute a certain amount of charism to him.

    Wait till the MSM has to choose between a Dem and McCain. Some of his “charism” his disappear.

    The media doesn’t respect character and doesn’t understand ideas.

  11. The Macker says:

    Agree with some of your observations, but there are still big differences between McCain and the Dems.

  12. MarkN says:

    I don’t think we see the significance of McCain’s front runner status. If it wasn’t for the Democratic purity war of throwing out all the pro-Vietnam members, McCain would be a Democrat today albiet a conservative Democrat instead of a liberal Republican.

    The irony is that the Republican party became the majority party because of the ideological purity wars in the Democratic party. That is how the Republican party grew to include the McCain’s of the political war. It would be a complete lack of historical knowledge if the Goldwater Republicans embarked on their own purtiy war and ended up back where they were in 1964.

    Further irony is that the Democrat who needs to learn what Goldwater Republicanism is all about was a junior Senator to him for a long time. Reconciliation cuts both ways. McCain must learn conservative economic (read private sector, profit, less regulation, property rights), judicial, and social ideas and LI must learn that majority status depends on having a very big tent.

  13. The Macker says:

    McCain wouldn’t be welcome in the Dem Party at the present time.

    The Dems were on the wrong side during the Cold War, even before Viet Nam. And Goldwater would be on the wrong side of the “social” issues today. Even Buckley’s current views are mixed ( ie. the War and legalized drugs).

    “Purity” depends on the definer. We all must accommodate to some extent, to achieve our highest priorities.

  14. Terrye says:

    No, McCain would not be a Democrat. His attitude on issues like spending an abortion would make him unwelcome.

    And NNB, considering the fact that everyone heard about nothing but that bill for weeks and weeks I hardly think it is accurate to say it was pushed through in the dead of night.

  15. the struggler says:

    I can’t listen to Laura anymore.She’s turned into an “elite”, just the people she’s always railed against.She acts like a brat when things don’t go 100% the way she thinks they should go.I tune her out and wait for Rush.

  16. crosspatch says:

    I am gonna vote for Romney in the Feb 5 primary here in California but if McCain is the nominee, I will vote for him over either Obama or Hillary even if I have to hold my nose to do so.

  17. wiley says:

    McCain charisma? To each his own — I see a surly, cranky, old man. This contrast will be striking if he goes against Obama.
    If McCain is the nominee as we all expect, he better show respect and reach out to the base conservatives on a few issues (e.g. taxes, border security, constructionist judges) or he has no chance.
    He is such a flawed candidate that it will be hard voting for him, but in the end most GOP’ers will. He is not conservative (that rating is meaningless) nor is he principled in terms of being consistent and logical. McCain-Feingold speaks for itself – a mess of legislation that not only seeks to limit free speech, but at it’s heart it corrupts by further tilting the unfair advantage to the incumbent. He’s strong on Iraq, but weak in other aspects of GWOT with his positions on Gitmo, interrogations, and cavalier on border security. He talks loudly against pork, but was against Bush tax cuts yet supports new regulations on free enterprise and is for the drug reimportation. His vote may have been the difference in why oil isn’t flowing from ANWAR, yet he talks about energy independence (who doesn’t). And as George Will pointed out, his “straight talk” is anything but. He talks like he was instrumental in the Reagan revolution, more like riding his coat-tails. And everyone saw his twisting of facts on what Romney said and his own recent comments on lack of economic savvy.

    Contrary to what you may think, conservative talk radio is doing better than ever. Laura, the Great One, Hannity numbers are all growing, and Rush is as strong as ever. Their passion is high as the GOP lurches left, tugged by the D.C. establishment buying into the myth that McCain is the best chance to win in Nov. Meanwhile, a center-left candidate, who has yet to win a majority of self-identified GOP votes, is now their presumptive nominee for the presidency. Crazy … and some wonder why there is angst and frustration.

  18. Whippet1 says:

    Go Wiley!
    Watching McCain in the debate last night was nauseating.

    Remember when the left had their panties in a wad over President Bush calmly finishing his book to the schoolchildren on 9-11? The look on his face said it all and eveyone knew it except those afflicted with BDS. Now picture President John McCain in any remotely similar situation. Can he control that temper? Can he be presidential? He has a tough time in the most innocuous of situations.

    And while I will always honor him for his service and the hell he went through in Vietnam, I was angered that just like John Kerry did, he used his military experience, in McCain’s case, as the leader of a squadron and as the leader of the prisoners of war in that camp as his proof of experience to lead. Bringing that up for that reason in a televised debate was because no one would dare question his leadership credentials as to appear to denigrate his service. I thought it spoke volumnes about the lack of character in the man.

  19. wiley says:

    Hey, did you hear that McCain was for the surge? In fact, if not for him, there would not have been a surge … or so he would have you believe. It’s really getting tiresome. No doubt he’s been a stalwart on Iraq, but the truth is that part of his agenda was simply to bash Bush to get good press. He felt the Bush campaign team played rough & unfair in 2000, yet here he is twisting Romney’s statements, rewriting his past and unleashing disingenuous attacks on the eve of the key primary. Whenever questioned, he brings out his trump card – patriotic Vietnam experience – to squelch further examination. We see thru it, and in time (the general election) I wouldn’t be surprised if the media helps clarify when it’s to their advantage (dem pres).

  20. wiley says:

    For confirmation of McCain’s bonafides as a conservative or GOP stalwart — NOT, check this column in The Hill (via Drudge).