At local and national levels, Republicans finally get to strut again. Failed shadow Vice President Sarah Palin never stopped strutting. That is, after all, the only way she can move. Increasingly though, her fellows join her.
Nationally, Republicans are fairly wetting their Depend garments in anticipation of 1) taking a Congressional majority (pure fantasy) and 2) sweeping all open seats (bloody unlikely). Yet, we can be almost positive of one outcome — as in almost all mid-term elections, the party out of power gains Congressional seats. Actually, let's make that two outcomes — whatever the loss, Republicans will grossly exaggerate their success and predict that they will create a juggernaut rolling to majority out of it.
Of course, there is a harm in leaving the GOP to hopes and delusions. When they continue to marginalize themselves through obstreperous and unworkable positions, democracy suffers. We don't have a worthwhile political and policy dialog. The we'll-show-'em Republicans become less and less in the game, further delaying their comeback. Even the befuddled and relatively gutless Dems in Congress end up advancing the country and being seen as the good guys.
DINOs and RINOs
Here in Massachusetts though, we could see real advances even with the predictable mid-term successes for the GOP. The cowardly crypto-conservatives here often hide as Dems, even the elected officials. They might emerge from their cover to snipe on this or that bill, but largely pretend to be that other party's members to get elected.
Much of the rest of the nation buys into related misconceptions. Notably, we are allegedly extremely liberal, in no small part because Dem registration is more than double GOP. That dismisses the slim majority of voters who are unenrolled in any party, as well as the number of DINOs in the party.
Many voters often loudly and insistently call themselves independents and like to claim they could, if so inspired, vote as a bloc and sway any election, any time...if only they chose to do so. They don't choose.
I would love to see more confrontation. That can't happen until the hidden GOP types out themselves. We have seen that in other places and periods, notably the huge shifts from Democrats to Dixiecrats to Republicans throughout the South following voter registration and integration and (shudder to many there) election of a Roman Catholic President.
Here some solid victories in 2010 and 2012 at the state level should inspire DINOs to switch. That has more benefits than simply being able to recognize which army someone follows. Primarily, that could frame and clarify debates both in the General Court and during election campaigns.
Elephants on the move
Meanwhile, we have some strategies, at least short-term ones. While I can carp about so-so coverage by the Boston Globe, it has two nice pieces today. Check State GOP looks to gain more ground and Cahill calls the two-party system 'broken'.
Starting with our governor's race, the GOP is probably deluding itself here as the national party is. Is somehow extrapolates such factors as failed candidate Palin's celebrity and U.S. Sen. Scott Brown's victory in the special election for Ted Kennedy's seat into a great portent of success in all endeavors.
They surely will have a lead candidate in Charlie Baker. He is stained with two dreadful marks — in charge of Big Dig money and overlord of a huge health-care provider. The first destroys his fiscal cred and the second lumps him in with modern robber barons.
Then even if he can tap dance away from those, he faces an incumbent governor who can unroll a tapestry of reforms and accomplishments. Baker has a huge vanity and Republicans are throwing bucks his way. He might be able to pull it off, but I doubt it sincerely.
A couple of other players to watch are goofball multi-millionaire Christy Mihos. He's missed deadlines, kited checks and more. Yet, he swears he can get the 15% of GOP delegates from the convention to get on the primary ballot. Maybe yes, maybe no, but either way, he's doomed to another also-campaigned ending. (As a pastime, perennial office seeking must be more exciting than many hobbies.)
The other fun at the GOP convention will be lurking Tim Cahill. The Dem turned independent treasurer of the commonwealth, he'll be there to impress conservatives for his gubernatorial run.
His other politically promiscuous move recently was to attend Wednesday's Tap Party play date on our Common downtown. While Brown and Baker blew off the event, Cahill told the Globe, "I went because I think we need to stop being afraid of talking to people we may not agree with on everything and start talking about how to fix the problems we face."
He said our local two-party system was broken. He presented himself as a sort of populist fixer. Unfortunately for his hopes of grabbing every unenrolled voter's mind and heart, he didn't spit out Palin-like slogans. He said he wanted to make sweeping reforms and fundamental changes. Good luck pitching that when the disaffected voters are tired of thinking and striving, and want simple and even simple-minded answers instead.
Cahill is not the only politician here willing to make out with the Tea Party. The state party chair, Jennifer Nassour, snuggled right down. She told WBUR that she'd like to deal with TPs. She also put that interview at the top of the party's Facebook page.
The BUR piece includes:
But Nassour says she hope’s the Republican Party can benefit from Tea Party enthusiasm. “I feel that it’s important for us to embrace everyone, whoever it is,” she said after the rally. In order to win in Massachusetts, Nassour and the GOP have to capture conservatives without alienating independents. And Nassour’s job is winning in November, as she acknowledged: “I would like them to come and talk about having a two-party system and how we can merge together and get our candidates elected in November.”In terms of the unlikely, we have to wonder what the chance that the tremendously ego-driven TP folk will stroke the MA GOP back. Unfortunately for her hopes (that word again), the numbers suggest they don't identify primarily as Republicans. She'll have to supply convincing reasons for aligning beyond the we're-not-Democrats one.
So, let's keep tabs on the predictions filling the air. We've heard many of the right that the GOP will cleanly sweep state and national races. I call bovine feces on that and forecast a net loss for Dems in line with any mid-term election. Voters who just can't stand Obama and liberalism will be partially offset by those who see the GOP as obstructionist and anti-humane for their health-care-reform ploys.
Then check back for the 2012 view. Mitt Romney still lusts for the top office and wants to convince America than he's more than Captain Brylcreem, the good-hair guy.
Congressional podcast: Keep tabs at Left Ahead! or our BlogTalkRadio site. We'll have more candidates on, including U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas. A boatload of Republicans have filed for her seat.
Tags: massmarrier, GOP, elections, DINO, RINO, Palin, Massachusetts, Baker, Cahill, Tea Party