Signs of Hope, Part 4

November 28th, 2011 at 1:42 pm | 48 Comments |

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FrumForum is on the lookout for Signs of Hope that the conservative movement is moving towards intellectual openness. Today’s entry comes in the form of a new Facebook group: Republicans for Responsible Reform.

The group was started by friends of the site D.R. Tucker and Michael Stafford. Tucker and Stafford have taken a lead in calls for Republicans to reform and they have started the group to connect like-minded Republicans together.

Here is their description of the group:

A group for Republicans and ex-Republicans who have drifted away over the years. We seek to champion the interests of America’s middle class and promote a more civil public discourse aimed at advancing the common good and laying the foundations for national greatness in the 21st century.

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48 Comments so far ↓

  • ottovbvs

    “FrumForum is on the lookout for Signs of Hope”

    Rarer than snowballs in hell or pork chops in synagogues. If this is the best Frum can do (a couple of bloggers) there is no hope!

  • Oldskool

    So only Rs or former Rs need apply. That sums up the problem pretty well, I think.

    • Reflection Ephemeral

      Well, I dunno, I think they’ve set things up on the theory that conservatives don’t have much of a home in the tribe that is the GOP.

      I am of the view that the problem with the GOP is too deep, that reform is impossible. I mean, Bruce Bartlett was excommunicated in 2006 for writing that just maybe the GOP should care about the deficit; and David Frum was ejected last year for writing that the GOP should have considered discussing policy, not just “death panels”, in the health insurance debates. And Utah’s Robert Bennett, a reliable conservative, lost a primary challenge because he’d proposed a policy not too far from the decades-long “conservative” health care policy. There’s not exactly a spirit of open debate, and no incentive whatsoever to take any rational policy positions on any issue.

      The thing is, the political system & elites– including the media– are completely unprepared for a party’s wholesale abandoning of rationality. The media’s approach to impartiality is to present both sides, then leave it there. Almost every pundit on the Sunday TV shows and the MSM op-ed pages thinks that “both sides are too extreme”, regardless of how many sides are extreme, or how many sides there even are.

      It seems to me that the only way to encourage rationality on the part of Republicans is for them to suffer a series of bad electoral losses. But you don’t have to take my word for it! AEI scholar Norm Ornstein: “The best way to reach a deal for Obama is to pull out the partisan cudgel and slam them between the eyes repeatedly. They’ll only come to the table if their political brand is damaged. They’re not coming for the good of the country.”

      (I’d love to know the Kremlinology of AEI– how on earth is it that Frum gets tossed for writing, “hey guys, maybe we should care about, like, policy and stuff”, but Ornstein gets away with pointing out that the Republican Party is entirely insane and indifferent to America’s well being).

      Hey, hope I’m wrong, maybe D.R. Tucker gets to be head of policy for the RNC in a couple years. But it’s hard for me to see how that organization reforms itself. There are no incentives for any Republican to speak rationally; they just have to profess that they hate Pres. Obama’s anti-colonialist Kenyan fascist socialistic atheist Islamic Rev.-Wright-style radical black liberation theology Christianity. That’s certainly Mitt Romney’s approach, with his “no apologies” line of bull that forms the central plank of his “platform”.

      • Oldskool

        Yes. Somewhere along the way, Rs discovered that people about to jump off a bridge get a lot of breathing room and then decided it would make a great political tactic. So here they are.

      • ottovbvs

        “but Ornstein gets away with pointing out that the Republican Party is entirely insane and indifferent to America’s well being).”

        Yep this has always been a bit of a mystery to me. I put it down to the fact Ornstein is much more of a marquee name than Frum. A token in other words.

      • DeathByIrony

        “anti-colonialist Kenyan fascist socialistic atheist Islamic Rev.-Wright-style radical black liberation theology Christianity”
        Good god, take a breath in the middle of that! Or at least throw in a few commas.

  • AnBr

    Curious that FF uses a portrait of one of the greatest progressives this country has known when many of the contributors here have shown themselves to be antithetical to such notions. Also, remember that Roosevelt himself gave up on the party.

    • valkayec

      I might be worth noting as a fact of history that the GOP invented “progressivism.” TR was one of the leaders of the movement because he saw that capitalism was in jeopardy without some reform. It wasn’t until the old Dixiecrats left the Democratic party for the promise of GOP support of racial segregation and their continued dominance in Southern society and politics that the GOP began it’s long decent into today’s current madness.

      As one of the people on the Facebook page noted, “I am sick of people who have to look into their ‘little red book’ of ideology before they decide whether or not to try to help their fellow citizens in need. An Old Barrister”

      I remember the days of Sam Nunn and Howard Baker. You couldn’t find two more honorable, intelligent, rational GOP senators. They represented the best of the GOP. Now, they wouldn’t get invited to the party.

      • Drosz

        I completely agree with your sentiment, but Nunn was a Democrat.

        For myself, I want to see reform simply because there are some huge problems out there we as Americans need to face, but the GOP isn’t even in the fight. Telling yourself that High Brazil isn’t sinking as the water laps at your feet is a special breed of insanity.

  • Fart Carbuncle

    ^Of course the Obots chime in with doom…

  • Solo4114

    I think the fact that there seems to be more than JUST David Frum saying “Let’s get back to being rational” is a good sign. It may not save the GOP from some internal schism, but parties shift their identities over time. If we could hop into a time machine and go back to, say, 1968, would anyone then have predicted a figure even vaguely approximating Bill Clinton and the whole “third way” approach ever taking hold in the Democratic party? It’s easy now to say “This will never change,” but you may be surprised.

    For one thing, an easing of economic tension among the populace may gradually start to shift attitudes. Let’s also not forget that today’s demographics are not immutable. The makeup of the GOP today is not what it will be in 10, 15, 20 years. As younger members rise to positions of power and authority within the party, especially today’s 20- and 30-somethings, perhaps we’ll see a shifting of tactics from those who remember the bitterly divided 2010s and want to do it differently.

    • Reflection Ephemeral

      Oh, for sure, things change over time. And a GOP grounded in Southern Strategy-vintage resentment is not a winning bet to take the 2040 elections. The question is how hard it is to get from here to there. Right now, there’s just no tendency toward rationality anywhere in the GOP.

      Maybe if the GOP suffers a few big electoral defeats, then folks like Frum and Tucker, who are now on the outside, could get back into influential party positions. And hey, God bless ‘em, I hope they come up with some clever policies that wind up being enacted to resounding success. But right now, the GOP wants no part of reality.

      • ottovbvs

        “Maybe if the GOP suffers a few big electoral defeats”

        This is the ONLY way the Republican party EVER returns to center right. Anything short of an electoral 8 x 4 between the eyes isn’t going to do it. If Romney is the candidate and he loses and they also lose a few house seats but hold on to their majority the right will just blame Romney for not being conservative enough. You can see this now in their reluctance to nominate him. Whoever is the candidate, if Obama wins which is still the most likely outcome, and the Dems win some house seats back I’m expecting full blown civil war to break out in the GOP. It’s hovering just below the surface right now.

        • think4yourself

          I think if Romney is the candidate, if loses big or little, the far Right will put the blame on lack of ideological purity. Only if someone like Bachmann was the nominee and gets creamed will the GOP put the boot to the ideological firebrands.

          I expect Romney or any other GOP candidate will lose and I expect the GOP to react in the same way they did after Obama won – political warfare.

    • LFC

      It’s going to be tougher for the GOP to swing back towards rationality than it was for either party in the past. The reason is that there is now a massive and highly influential industry that has sprung up which thrives on chaos, anger, fear, and irrationality. Leading the charge are the likes of Fox News, National Review, Weekly Standard, WSJ Op-Eds, Redstate, Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, etc.

      Rationality is bad for ratings, and they will not willingly give up their ratings in exchange for good governance. Remember the parade of Republicans bowing and scraping before Rush when they had the nerve to say something sane he didn’t like? They are caught between a dope and a dumb place.

      • ottovbvs

        “They are caught between a dope and a dumb place.”

        Or as Barney Frank said today of the Republican house…”Half of them think like Michelle Bachmann and the other half are scared to death of being primaried by someone who thinks like Michelle Bachmann.”

  • Secessionist

    There is an implicit assumption in all of David Frum’s commentary. David Frum just assumes that Tea Party voters and the GOP base will continue to vote Republican even if the GOP moves away from the ideas that are important to the base. It is a very questionable assumption. It is more likely they will either stay home or form a third party than vote for centrist Republicans.

    - DSP / Southern Populist

    • ottovbvs

      “It is more likely they will ….. form a third party than vote for centrist Republicans.”

      Which splits the GOP and put them in the wilderness for generations. Not very likely.

  • nitrat

    The GOP has held the White House for 28 of the last 42 years and look what it did for us.

    What is so sad is that Tea Partiers and the like don’t realize the party they keep voting for is what got us where we are today…they want to “take our country back” from the people they have sent to Washington. There is not much hope when the electorate is that willfully misinformed.

    Any party that gives over leadership to entertainers like Limbaugh, Beck and O’Reilly doesn’t deserve to survive.

  • Graychin

    “Moderate” Republicans were only too happy to adopt the “Southern Strategy” (dog-whistle racism) that helped flip the South into their party. They were only too happy to pander to followers of Jerry Falwell and Ralph Reed, using divisive social issues to help draw “Christian” conservatives into their party. Lee Atwater? Check! Karl Rove? Check.

    Republicans are still more than happy to promise the free lunch of tax cuts that pay for themselves, and a tax cut as the solution to every problem.

    As you sow, so shall you reap. It’s going to be hard to kill the Frankenstein monster you have created, especially with this pathetic ammo of platitudes from Tucker and Stafford. I think it’s going to take some serious eating of crow and humble pie before anyone but fanatics will ever take the “GOP” seriously again.

    Frum, Tucker and Stafford would be well-advised to form a new party of Democrat-hating moderates, leaving the crazies behind in the old party.

  • Baldezar

    Tell them I said, Good luck with that.

  • balconesfault

    There can be no effective control of corporations while their political activity remains. To put an end to it will be neither a short nor an easy task, but it can be done … Corporate expenditures for political purposes, and especially such expenditures by public-service corporations, have supplied one of the principal sources of corruption in our political affairs.

    As a matter of personal conviction, and without pretending to discuss the details or formulate the system, I feel that we shall ultimately have to consider the adoption of some such scheme as that of a progressive tax on all fortunes, beyond a certain amount, either given in life or devised or bequeathed upon death to any individual – a tax so framed as to put it out of the power of the owner of one of these enormous fortunes to hand on more than a certain amount to any one individual; the tax of course, to be imposed by the national and not the state government. Such taxation should, of course, be aimed merely at the inheritance or transmission in their entirety of those fortunes swollen beyond all healthy limits.

    Find me a Republican who speaks like that – and I’ll have a pathway to rejoining the GOP.

  • Secessionist

    Lee Atwater has been dead for 20 years, and the Southern Strategy hasn’t been used since the 70s.

    Given the amount of time that has passed since the GOP used the Southern Strategy, it’s ludicrous that people still bring up Lee Atwater and the Southern Strategy. It’s doubly ludicrous because even when the Republicans from those distant eras used the Southern Strategy, the strategy never amounted to more than a strategy of wordplay and rhetoric.

    Consider just a few of the race related issues from that era.

    In terms of policypolicy not words — what policies, regulations and laws did the Republicans create after using this notorious, smarmy, dog-whistling racist code appeal known as the Southern Strategy?

    What polices, laws and regulations did the leading Republicans produce after campaigning on the Southern Strategy as opposed to words?

    Was the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, or desegregation overturned. No?

    Was overturning them even seriously proposed? No.

    Was affirmative action overturned? No.

    Was busing stopped? No.

    Was illegal immigration stopped? No.

    To the contrary, a Republican president signed an amnesty law in the 80s a few years after the SS was in its heyday and while Lee Atwater was still alive.

    Going back a bit further, Richard Nixon, the alleged beneficiary of the Southern Strategy and the disgruntled Wallace vote, issued the first executive order creating affirmative action programs in the federal government.

    The Nixon administration also created the first “section 8″ housing regulations.

    Beyond that, the Nixon administration did nothing to overturn or counter the anti-White SCOTUS decision Griggs vs Duke Power Company.

    Ronald Reagan, Nixon’s successor and another supposed beneficiary of the Southern Strategy, also did not nothing to counter the Kaiser vs Weber decision. Weber was another anti-White SCOTUS ruling handed down during the era of the Southern Strategy.

    In point of fact, the Southern Strategy did not translate into policy during the periods when the Republicans ran the government and relied heavily on the Southern Strategy.

    All the Southern Strategy ever accomplished was convincing White Americans with legitimate grievances to support a party that hates their guts. It’s something the GOP does well.

    - DSP / Southern Populist.

    • Secessionist

      On a related point, Barack Obama has written off the White working class.

      I won’t hold my breath waiting for the people who decry the Southern Strategy to do the same now that Barack Obama is using race-based calculations in his election efforts.

      ===

      [blockquote]For decades, Democrats have suffered continuous and increasingly severe losses among white voters. But preparations by Democratic operatives for the 2012 election make it clear for the first time that the party will explicitly abandon the white working class.

      All pretense of trying to win a majority of the white working class has been effectively jettisoned in favor of cementing a center-left coalition made up, on the one hand, of voters who have gotten ahead on the basis of educational attainment — professors, artists, designers, editors, human resources managers, lawyers, librarians, social workers, teachers and therapists — and a second, substantial constituency of lower-income voters who are disproportionately African-American and Hispanic.[/blockquote]

      campaignstops.blogs.nytimes [dot] com/2011/11/27/the-future-of-the-obama-coalition/

      • balconesfault

        On a related point, Barack Obama has written off the White working class.

        To the contrary – the auto bailout saved about a million largely working class jobs, the ACA will provide government support for the working poor and lower middle class to buy health insurance which is currently unaffordable to them, and he’s bent over backwards making deals with the GOP to make sure that unemployment benefits could keep flowing while the unemployment rate is still far too high and to keep a payroll tax cut in place to stimulate hiring.

        Oh … wait … you didn’t just say the working class. You said the WHITE working class. Well, I will admit that Obama’s policies have not specifically targeted improving the lot of white people.

        As for the GOP failing to aggressively rolling back affirmative action, etc, despite reliably getting southern racists to vote Republican via the use of dog whistle politics … well – nobody said that southern racists are particularly smart, did they?

        • Graychin

          Obama is abandoning the white working class? Really?

          Secessionist is another sad victim of Fox Disinformation Syndrome:

          http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_11/fox_just_cant_help_itself_1033754.php

        • Secessionist

          The information came from the NY Times and Thomas Edsall, a recognized expert in national politics.

          I don’t read or watch Fox News. I don’t have satellite TV. If people here didn’t talk about it, I wouldn’t have any idea what goes on on Fox news.

        • balconesfault

          The problem is that people are too stupid, or don’t care enough, to distinguish policy from politics.

          Karl Rove recognized this instinctively, which is how he got George Bush elected, and how he got the Bush White House to function as a bunch of “Mayberry Machiavellis”, always putting political considerations above good policy when setting a public agenda.

          What Edsell was talking about was not Obama abandoning the working whites in America when it comes to policy – as I noted above, his policies have been critical in keeping millions of working class whites in their jobs and in their homes in the last few years … and in a couple years the ACA will be enabling working class whites in low wage and contract labor jobs with no benefits to be able to afford comprehensive health insurance.

          THAT is policy.

          On the other hand, when crafting a re-election strategy for 2012, it looks like Obama’s advisors have decided that the well of people like DSP/Secessionist has been poisoned too effectively – no matter how much Obama’s policies benefit them, they will still hate him. And thus, wasting resources trying to chase their votes will be … wasting resources.

          I don’t necessarily agree with this. I liked the Howard Dean strategy of the Democratic Party working hard in every State, in every district, to change the way people who are currently too stupid to vote for their own economic self-interest cast their ballots in the future. But I’m not in charge of Obama’s campaign.

        • indy

          I don’t necessarily agree with this.

          I rather do. The use of the word ‘abandon’ is somewhat pejorative. In reality, they probably aren’t going to devote the insane amount of resources they did in 2008, only to still lose by an 18 point margin. Instead, they will just admit they will lose that group, and try to keep it from being too severe. You can read the original study that prompted this bru ha ha here: http://www.americanprogress.org//issues/2011/11/pdf/path_to_270.pdf

        • Secessionist

          @balconesfault: “Well, I will admit that Obama’s policies have not specifically targeted improving the lot of white people.”

          I agree that Obama has done nothing for them specifically. It’s probably a reason they are abandoning Obama. The poor souls are going to have to learn the hard way the GOP isn’t going to do anything for them either.

          I always find it fascinating when people choose to roll out the snark in these online discussions (Oh … wait … you didn’t just say…).

          Peoples’ reflexive hostility to the notion of policies that specifically benefit Whites is so ingrained that no one ever stops to ask this question: what exactly is so bad about the idea?

          It’s clearly possible for the government to help everyone and help a needy subset of the electorate at the same time. The government has attempted to do exactly this for decades. The government has pursued broad policies that help everyone while also pursuing narrow policies geared to various subsets of the electorate (women, Blacks, Hispanics, etc.).

          Working class Whites are the only subset that needs specific help that does not get it. Blacks, Hispanics, women, etc. benefit from the broad policies for everyone as well as the targeted policies. Working class Whites only benefit from policies that help everyone. There is no additional layer of help for them.

          The disparity is pretty glaring.

          In point of fact, once you raise the analysis above the level of cliches, rote responses and talking points, it’s clear that the White working class has been abandoned because they are the only demographic subset in need that gets no specific help.

          Not that matters it matters.

          I know guys like you, Graychin, Indy, LFC and people who think the SS is relevant either 1) don’t believe they need specific help or, 2) don’t care that they don’t get it.

          It’s disappointing because all of you are smart, informed and pretty reasonable.

        • balconesfault

          I agree that Obama has done nothing for them specifically. It’s probably a reason they are abandoning Obama. The poor souls are going to have to learn the hard way the GOP isn’t going to do anything for them either.

          What they need to learn is that while the Democrats aren’t pressing an agenda aimed specifically at the WHITE working class, the Dems are going a lot further than the GOP will ever get near going towards pressing an agenda aimed at the working class in general. And this will benefit the WHITE working class, as well as the brown and black working classes.

          Peoples’ reflexive hostility to the notion of policies that specifically benefit Whites is so ingrained that no one ever stops to ask this question: what exactly is so bad about the idea?

          There are only three reasons to have a policy which specifically targets race as a factor.

          a) you are a member of a race that will benefit from the policy
          b) you are a bigot
          c) there is some historical discrimination created by public policy that has been suffered by a race that has demonstrably disadvantaged that race, justifying policies designed to counteract the measurable effects of that historical legacy.

          There IS no historical discrimination suffered by whites specifically because they were white. There is no way to measurably demonstrate that poor whites have been disadvantaged versus their brown or black counterparts. Therefore, there is no good public policy reason for providing advantageous treatments to whites.

          The government has pursued broad policies that help everyone while also pursuing narrow policies geared to various subsets of the electorate (women, Blacks, Hispanics, etc.).

          Working class Whites are the only subset that needs specific help that does not get it.

          Working class WHITES have not been discriminated against historically because they were whites. They have been shat upon by the wealthy classes because they were working class, and thus a broader agenda aimed at the working class is the proper remedy for any discrimination or disadvantage they may have suffered, or continue to suffer.

          The disparity is pretty glaring.

          Are you REALLY that obtuse?

        • Secessionist

          There IS no historical discrimination suffered by whites specifically because they were white…There is no way to measurably demonstrate that poor whites have been disadvantaged versus their brown or black counterparts.

          There is no historical discrimination suffered by recent Mexican, Somali, Jamaican, Korean and other non-White immigrants either. Yet they all benefit from targeted help in the form of preferences, set asides and so on, and they benefit whether they need it or not.

          This is the factor you (and most people) overlook. The eligiblity for these race policies has been gradually expanded over the years to include demographic groups that did not suffer historic discrimination. The exception is Whites and Whites alone. Whites are the only group excluded from targeted policy benefits.

          It is an example of what I mean when I say working class Whites have been abandoned by both parties in terms of receiving targeted help. Niether party cares about rectifying this pretty obvious injustice. And yes, extending targeted benefits to every group that did not suffer historic discrimination except working class Whites is an injustice.

          What would you call it?

          Son of a Korean immigrant born in 1990=did not suffer historic discrimination but nonetheless benefits from targeted help.

          Son of a White farmer from the Ozarks born in 1990=did not suffer historic discrimination but does not receive targeted help.

          The government could correct the situation by taking one of two paths. It could either rescind the targeted benefits from groups that did not suffer historic discrimination or create new targeted benefits specifically for disadvantaged Whites (the policy modification that makes the most sense to me).

          But whether Republicans or Democrats are in power, it doesn’t do either which is my point.

      • indy

        The southern strategy persists today. Your first mistake is in thinking it was a strategy to change policy. It isn’t, and it never was. It was a strategy designed to exploit tribal instincts and garner votes, which it did and does very well.

        Your second mistake is in thinking that you will find overt signs of it. You are right the overtness died in the 70s but the covert appeal remained.

        I would say around late 90s to early 00s, it became less effective for two reasons. The first is that it is a new generation, where some of the animosity has been lost. Second, a change in demographics, particularly a large group of educated whites, which has made new sorts of coalitions possible. Democrats have exploited these changes quite well and which made an 18 point loss among the white working class in 2008 simply irrelevant.

        Yes, the southern strategy was merely a mechanism to string along a large segment of the population. Now that they finally figured that out (as balconesfault pointed out, they aren’t the smartest group around), they aren’t really all that useful as a voting block any more. Problem is, it’s all the GOP has left outside the top 10%.

        What you see in this quote is the Democrats recognizing their weakness with that voting block, and instead of adjusting their strategy to capture it, they see it is basically irrelevant, so why bother?

        I have always said that the most important, sea-changing aspect of 2008 was not that America elected a black man, but that it elected a northern democrat. 2012 is, I think, the last chance the current incarnation of the GOP has to produce a president. After that, they either change or hunker down in the wilderness.

        • indy

          P.S. I sincerely hope they go for change. A long democratic reign will be just as disastrous as the long republican one was.

        • Traveler

          Wow Indy,

          That is unusually left field for you. For starters, I don’t see how such a reign ever happening. I long for the good old Sam Nunn days, when there was dialogue and compromise, regardless of who had more seats. The only we get back there is to see the jihad wing of the POG completely crumble. This is unlikely in 2012 if Romney gets the nod and loses. Another term for BO would be no dynasty, and no picnic for him either, assuming that down ticket races still go POGer. The only way this electorate will ever get responsible is for the jihadis to lose so utterly that there is civil war. That might happen come 2016.

          If you care about our nation, you should pray for a democrat dynasty until reason comes back to the opposition.

        • indy

          you should pray for a democrat dynasty until reason comes back to the opposition.

          What kind of change do you think I have in mind? Naturally, it is change for the better. But I am of the opinion that it won’t happen quickly and there won’t be a civil war. It will be a long, rambling process, and that just isn’t good for anybody.

      • indy

        I won’t hold my breath waiting for the people who decry the Southern Strategy to do the same now that Barack Obama is using race-based calculations in his election efforts.

        Did you not notice the coalition includes a large group of mostly whites as well, just not the ‘working class’ whites.

  • agentsl9

    David,
    Like you I grew up a Republican and remained so until the day your former boss proudly proclaimed during his State of the Union that we were going to Mars and that steroids were bad. We were facing real problems both at home and globally and I realized at that moment that the Republican party was anything but serious about stepping up and doing something. Since then the party has continued to disintegrate into a sad resemblance of high school cafeteria jockdom.

    But, like you, I think there is hope and it’s in people like you. Your charge, should you accept it, is to become this generations William F. Buckley. While there are several conservatives that haven’t lost their minds you’re one of the few with the platform, position, respect and intellect to put a stake in the ground and start rebuilding.

    I look forward to our rebuilt party.

  • LFC

    Secessionist asked (with backwards punctuation)… “Was the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, or desegregation overturned. No?”

    Were the Acts themselves overturned? No. Were the basics of the Voting Rights Act ignored? Effectively. It’s a big part of what the Bush attorney firing scandal was all about. Multiple attorneys who were fired said that they refused to push BS voter fraud cases (since that would be unethical) right before an election (since that flies in the face of the Justice Dept’s own rules). Of course they bogus cases were all against organizations working with minorities which traditionally vote more Democratic.

    The GAO also found that the Civil Rights division of the Justice Dept. under Bush greatly reduced its activity.

    When the Bush administration ran the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department, career lawyers wanted to look into accusations that officials in one state had illegally intimidated blacks during a voter-fraud investigation. But division supervisors refused to “approve further contact with state authorities on this matter,” according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office auditing the activities of the division from 2001 to 2007.

    When compared with the Clinton administration, its findings show a significant drop in the enforcement of several major antidiscrimination and voting rights laws.

    The study also found a sharp decline in enforcement of a section of the Voting Rights Act that prohibits electoral rules with discriminatory effects, from more than four cases a year under Mr. Clinton to fewer than two cases a year under Mr. Bush.

    From:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/03/us/politics/03rights.html

    So were minority protecting laws appealed? No. Were they properly enforced? No. How about environmental laws? No. How about securities regulations? You’ve got to be joking.

    The upshot is that Bush and the GOP simply ignored laws they didn’t like, including those designed to prevent suppression of voting in targeted groups. The damage they did to our nation will be felt for years if not decades.

  • jdd_stl1

    We are still looking for signs of hope in the conservative movement?

    Take Joe Scarborough’s quiz:
    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1111/69231.html
    and think about who the two leading candidates are for
    the Republican nomination.

    How about Gingrich? I love his take on the old out running
    the bear joke (You don’t have to run faster than the bear, you
    just have to run faster than your friend.) .
    Gingrich basically saying, (not a direct quote), “I don’t
    have to be perfect, I just have to be more conservative than Mitt.”

    And of course he is smarter than EVERYONE:
    http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/29/gingrich-and-the-destruction-of-congressional-expertise/

    Sorry, I don’t see how two guys with a facebook page is a strong sign of hope.

  • AnBr

    The Southern Strategy worked and is still very much with us. It effectively turned Dixiecrats into “Dixicans”. One of the things that Republicans like to claim is that it was Democrats that voted against the Civil Rights Act. While technically true, it was the Dixiecrats that did. This generation’s iteration of that group are now Republicans.

    • balconesfault

      While technically true, it was the Dixiecrats that did.

      And everyone should remember – twice those Dixiecrats (Thurmond in 1948, Wallace in 1968) left the Democratic Party to run Presidential Campaigns that fought to hold onto a segregationist South.

      Oh well – at least they weren’t secessionists.

  • beowulf

    Ehh, only way to elect moderates (from either party) is to shift to “top-two” nonpartisan primaries for House and Senate races.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nonpartisan_blanket_primary

    • balconesfault

      With House races, I would be satisfied with a technocratic criteria that said something like … no Congressional district shall be drawn where the geospatial width along any axis is greater than 2x the width along a perpendicular axis.

      Let Congressmen fight it out in districts that are drawn because a bunch of people live close to each other … and not because some demographers working with politicians stretch, twist, and distort districts to provide maximum advantage to a specific party. You’ll have a LOT less ‘safe’ districts, and create pressures for parties to nominate candidates with crossover appeal because the worst extremists will be unelectable in the general election.

  • ottovbvs

    “I have always said that the most important, sea-changing aspect of 2008 was not that America elected a black man, but that it elected a northern democrat. 2012 is, I think, the last chance the current incarnation of the GOP has to produce a president.”

    Indy: as ever your usual insightful take. Obama is the first Northern Dem president since Kennedy although the fact he was black did also cross a threshold. And yes if the Republicans don’t elect a president in 2012 they are going to have to seriously reconfigure. And you’re also right about Democratic strategy. I think it’s Krugman who says economics is not a morality play…well neither is politics (though DSP/Secessionist who has chronic ODS doesn’t seem to appreciate this). The Obama strategy has to focus on energisation, turnout and maybe ten states.

    • indy

      2008 was obviously out of the ordinary, so it’s somewhat hard to see clearly whether or not there really was some sort of cataclysmic shift, but it sure would be nice to get out of the hammerlock the south has maintained on only allowing Democratic presidents that come from their ranks. Another unfortunate consequence of the southern strategy that apparently died in the 70s. Just like the civil war ended in the 1860s I guess.