Wednesday, November 18, 2009


To               GOP
SUBEJCT    Wooing New Voters
If u r selling fear, u r doing it rong.
This week has seen some pretty spectacular fear-mongering amongst the GOP, and I suspect it will spell the eventual downfall of the party as a whole.
Ad infinitum, ad nauseum.
And that was just today's headlines!
Fear-mongering worked in 2004 because the Bush administration, from their bully pulpit, were able to terrorize Americans with constant tales of terror alerts and rainbow-colored fearcandy. Week in and week out, month in and month out, the Bushies seemed to manufacture terrorist plots by the bushelful.
And like Rudy Giuliani's prosecution of white collar criminals in the 70s and 80s, it was mostly smoke bombs and mirrors. No real convictions to speak of, certainly none in proportion to the almost-constant stream of "We are at war with East Anglia" stentorian pronouncements of imminent death, disease, and devastation.
Are you afraid? It seems Republicans sure are. I wonder why?
Admittedly, when one has been in control for a long time and loses not only control of the executive branch but also control of the legislative branch, it's going to cause a certain amount of uncertainty.
Uncertainty creates a vacuum of authority. New voices struggle to be heard or to even grab power while old voices, now discredited and humbled, have to be muted.
And vacuums create more uncertainty. And uncertainty creates fear.
You're driving a car. You have a map. You pull over and look at the map and confirm your route.
You get back on the highway. Your map tells you "Turn right" only when you look to the right, there's this big gaping hole where the exit used to be.
What to do?
If you had GPS, of course, you'd be fine. It would adjust your route as you drove ahead to the next exit, re-routing you around your problem.
Ah, but now with a map, you've got to rely on instinct and improvisation. Suppose that next exit is ten miles down the road and then the map cuts off at the county line?
This is where the Republicans are right now: off the map. And terrified.
The odd thing, instead of being humbled and learning the lessons of 2006 and 2008, the front-runners in the party are acting as if nothing happened, that it was all according to plan.
But the true story, the backstory, is watching the Palins and Limbaughs and other crackpots try to justify their previous escapades by fomenting fear, by playing off the ignorance of the base, by manipulating information.
I foresee the crash of the Republican party as the most likely outcome here. I think within the next five years, the Republican party will have finally filled enough people with enough fear that they will either commit mass suicide like the Heaven's Gate crew, or more likely, the boy who cried "Wolf" will finally be shown to have piped up once too often with the lies and scare tactics.
After all, this is a country we're trying to all of us run here, not a class election.
What I can't foresee is what comes next? Do moderate Republicans abandon the party for the Democrats or do they force the conservative Neaderthals out, forcing them to come to grips with their hate-mongering in some backwater party like the Libertarians or Reform party?
Either way, Duverger's Law comes into play: third parties don't stand a chance in a country where winner-take-all elections are the norm.
So goodbye to the Republican party as we know it.