alien & sedition.
Monday, March 19, 2007
  The Republican Crack-Up Factor

At The Right's Field, Matt Browner Hamlin highlights Matt Stoller's comments on the "Republican crack-up" factor in the 2008 presidential cycle. I recommend giving both posts a read. Stoller argues that, in the era before blogs, Republican candidates could get away with saying "different things to different audiences," which enabled them to manage the difficult task of locking up the reactionary vote without alienating moderates. Now, however, their ugliness and hypocrisy will be on full display.

Hamlin, for his part, points out how both left and right blogs are targeting the Republican primary field. The GOP frontrunners are likely to face as much damaging scrutiny from conservative blogs (such as these) as from the liberal blogosphere. Thus, in Hamlin's words, the potential for a "blog-driven crackup."

I think Stoller and Hamlin make good points. Bloggers will be able to heighten the contradictions within a party that is run by a narrow ideological movement but depends upon its ability to appeal to moderate voters for electoral success. Ironically, this is the very same narrative conservatives would like to apply to the Democrats, but the proof is in the pudding: while there's disagreement over the war, the Democrats suffer nothing like the demoralization and confusion currently running through Republican ranks.

At the same time, and as much as I like to give the blogosphere credit, the Republican dilemma has to do with a number of factors besides bloggers. Primarily, as this blog has analyzed, it has to do with the crisis caused in conservatism by the movement's own experience of power, which has forced conservatives either to re-examine their assumptions about government and the nature of their coalition, or to retreat further into self-delusion. This, in turn, has raised the stakes for intra-party squabbles.

Much of this does trace back to the same problem with the iron law of American political history: a major party must be a broad coalition in order to survive. As the GOP has narrowed itself ideologically, it has relied increasingly on smoke and mirrors to maintain the illusion of inclusivity. But now, confronted with the bright light of the blogosphere and the hard physics of actual governance, the magic is beginning to fade.

Labels: , , ,

I think perhaps some of the fliratation with Giuliani is a hope among some conservatives that they can nominate someone who appears moderate to the general public, but who at the same time sells out to the Right in private. I don't think that sort of dance will last long in the heat of a primary campaign, when they all start accusing each other of being flip-floppers, but it certainly indicates a certain desperation among conservative strategists.
Post a Comment

<< Home

"An obscure but fantastic blog." - Markus Kolic


Critical analysis of the American conservative movement from a progressive perspective. Also some stuff about the Mets.

Email Me

Favorite Posts

I Was a Mole at the Conservative Summit, Part One
Part Two
Part Three

Wars of Perception, Part One
Wars of Perception, Part Two

Conservative Futures
Reading Conservative History


I also post at:

The Daily Gotham
The Albany Project
The Right's Field

Various favorites:

Ben Weyl
Chase Martyn
Cliff Schecter
Crooked Timber
D-Day (David Dayen)
Daily Kos
Ezra Klein
Five Before Chaos
Future Majority
Glenn Greenwald
The Group News Blog
Jon Swift
Lawyers, Guns, and Money
Matt Ortega
Matthew Yglesias
My Thinking Corner
New Democratic Majority
The November Blog
The Osterley Times
A Pedestrian View
The Poor Man Institute
Progressive Historians
Skippy the Bush Kangaroo
Talking Points Memo
Think Progress
The Third Estate
Undercover Blue
Vernon Lee
wAitiNG foR doROthY

Watching the right:

Orcinus (Dave Neiwert)
Rick Perlstein
Right Wing Watch
Sadly, No!

The conservative wonkosphere: (AEI)
The American Scene
Andrew Sullivan
Cato @ Liberty
Contentions (Commentary Magazine)
Crunchy Con (Rod Dreher)
Daniel Larison
Eye on '08 (Soren Dayton)
Jim Henley
Josh Trevino
Mainstream Libertarian
National Review Online
Patrick Ruffini
Ross Douthat
Ryan Sager
The Weekly Standard

New Yorkers:

Amazin' Avenue
Chris Owens
Z. Madison


December 2006

January 2007

February 2007

March 2007

April 2007

May 2007

June 2007

July 2007

August 2007

September 2007

October 2007

November 2008

Powered by Blogger