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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Operation Chaos II: A Proposal for GOP True Believers

There's a fight coming in the Republican Party. During the primary season, the fundagelical wing of the party thought all was lost, as its possible standard bearers (Tancredo, Hunter, Romney, Huckabee) failed to rally a majority and moderate media darling John McCain ambled down the middle to the nomination. The religious Right wrought a reality-defying resurgence at the convention, throwing the Colorado Springs cabal some red moose meat by rejecting McCain's preferred moderate running mates and forcing one of their own, Sarah Palin, onto the ticket. That choice energized the religious base (not to mention the misogynist meatheads who think, "Yeah, I'll vote for a hot chick!") but triggered the dismay, if not defection, of the GOP's intellectuals and pragmatists.

The Dobson-Dykstra camp and the Buckley-Powell camp are not hermetically sealed polar opposites. There's plenty of overlap, shading of the spectrum, just like there is among the various factions of the Democratic Party. But contrary to the conventional wisdom that we Dems are the experts at dividing and conquering ourselves, we see a Democratic Party emerging from the tightest, most divisive primary season in recent history to unite solidly behind its nominee. Meanwhile, the Republicans, whose primary season effectively ended four months before the Dems', still don't have their poop in a group. The division in the GOP is creeping all the way up to the presidential ticket itself, where McCain's people and Palin's people are already sharpening the knives to plunge into each other's backs at 8:01 p.m. November 4. (A VP candidate "going rogue" on her running mate? In what possible parallel universe is that good news for the ticket?)

United we stand, divided we fall. The divided Republican Party is about to fall. The question for GOP true believers is, will it fall hard enough to trigger a vigorous reëxamination, reconceptualization, and reunification of the Republican Party?

Republicans, you don't want to win this election. The man inaugurated on January 20, 2009, stands a good chance of presiding over a nasty recession (or worse) and budget constraints that may prohibit pursuing any new initiatives that could positively define that President's term. Tom Daschle, one of Barack Obama's closest advisors, has said the next President has at best a 50 percent chance of winning a second term in 2012.

More importantly for your party, victory nine days from now will forestall the fight you need to have between your Ralph Reeds and your George Wills. Even closing the gap and coming within a Gore–Bush margin of beating Obama could defy expectations and create the false impression within your party that "everything's fine, we did the right things, we just need to stay the course and yell Abortion! and Socialism! a little louder next time."

Republicans, you need to lose, and lose big... for your own good. And you can do it to yourselves:

Operation Chaos II:
The Road to Republican Victory... in 2012

In Operation Chaos I, Rush Limbaugh urged Republicans to switch parties and vote for Hillary Clinton in the primaries in order to keep her in the race and soften Obama up for McCain in the fall campaign. Republicans, now it's time for Operation Chaos II: join Republicans like Colin Powell and Christopher Buckley and vote for Barack Obama. Give Obama a 30-point win in Jim Dobson's backyard, Colorado. Give Obama Florida by 20 points, Ohio by 10. Heck, give him South Dakota by 1 vote, and you signal to your party, "You have failed. It's time for something new."

Republicans, you need a civil war. No coasting, no compromise, but a full-tilt intra-party civil war where your opposing factions break out the brass knuckles and decide again once and for all (o.k., at least for a few election cycles) what the party is about and who is in charge. Who comes out on top—classical Burkian conservatives, neocons, theocrats—that's your problem.

But you're not going to win until you resolve that problem. The road to that resolution is not a close win or an honorable defeat. It is a crushing, humiliating defeat (and maybe four years of socialist revolution under the Obama-Pelosi-Reid triumvirate, right?).

You have the power, Republicans, to deliver yourselves that saving defeat. Republicans, vote for Barack Obama. Repudiate the schizophrenic failure of GOP 2008. Destroy your party so you can rebuild it, better than it is now. Better, stronger, faster... and ready to unite, lead, and win in 2012.

I mean, if winning matters to you.

Update 2008.10.28 16:46 CDT: Rachael Larimore, deputy managing editor and copy chief and the only staffer out of 58 at Slate who plans to vote for McCain, appears to agree with my thesis:

However, I also think an Obama presidency can be a boon for Republicans, and not just because of the havoc a Democratic White House and a Democratic Congress could wreak. I don't hate President Bush like so many do, but even I can say his presidency has been a disappointment. And the Republican-led Congress was a disaster, as McCain pointed out, not in so many words, in his convention speech. I'm hopeful that an Obama victory would be a wakeup call as well as an opportunity—an opportunity for those who believe in limited government, individual freedoms, and free markets (yes, even in this crisis) to regain their influence, to take back the party from the religious right and social conservatives that have gained so much influence. So regardless of what happens on Nov. 4, I won't be too upset. But neither will I be too excited.


  1. Cory, you speak the truth, but I could not quite bring myself to vote for Barack Obama. I did vote for Tim Johnson and Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin, however. Two Democratic votes in a single election is a first for me.

    The Republicans must return to their conservative fiscal values. If the Democrats, with Obama in the White House, get too tax-and-spend-happy in the next four years and middle-class people feel the pinch, Obama could unwittingly help save the GOP.

    But the Higher Powers help only those who help themselves ...

  2. Anyone notice the correlation between the increase in Barack Obama's poll numbers and the decrease in the stock market? Obama's Marxist thinking of wealth redistribution has Wall Street scared silly. Watch the numbers. If the lead widens, the market will continue to decline. If McCain closes the gap or wins on November 4th, watch the markets fly forward.

  3. Anyone notice the correlation between the increase in Barack Obama's poll numbers and the decrease in the Dallas Cowboys' offensive output, gasoline prices, tornadic activity, and the average daylight temperature? Obama's Marxist thinking...

    Gee, and not so long ago, folks were saying I sounded desperate....

  4. Why not suggest that Obama's increasing poll numbers are caused by the bear market? As the economy deteriorates, more people seem to be blaming old-style GOP capitalism for the whole debacle. That would translate into more votes for Obama.

  5. We Republicans really do need to revolt, but voting for Obama is not the answer.
    Voting for Obama means accepting socialism, the vilest thing a Republican could ever do.

    I also think we Republicans should start a new party, "Libertarians without all the crazy stuff".

    Get back to a minimalist government, cut spending across the board and let the people take care of themselves without having to depend on the government.

    As a friend said to me one day, "when people realized they could vote for money, democracy died."

  6. Terry, think of it this way: you wouldn't be accepting socialism. It's like when you're playing tug of war and you let go of the rope. Stop resisting, let the other guy win, and he falls flat on his can.

    As always, though, Stan is on point: McCain's poll numbers could be going down because of the stock market decline, not just because people are anxious about the economy and desire real solutions instead of GOP rhetoric, but because McCain's wealthy Wall Street donors have lost money on their portfolios! McCain doesn't have the cash to fight to win those poll nunmbers back!

  7. Stan suggests that old style capitalism is responsible for this mess. Maybe and probably in part. But part of is laid at the door of the socialist policies and aims of the Community Reinvestment Act, which said that everyone was entitled to buy a home regardless of ability to pay for it, that it was their right adn the banks darn well better give them a loan. We can all see how well socialism worked there. And now with Obama it is only going to get worse and maybe unfixable and our country is gone the way of Karl Marx.

  8. Novel ideal, Cory. The idea sounds awful familiar, though...


    BTW, you're welcome!

  9. No plagiarism intended, my friend. While we're talking about a similar end result—the complete reorganization of the Republican Party—we're still talking about different (and not mutually exclusive!) strategies. If I understand your September post correctly, you are advocating a hostile takeover by outside forces, you and your Libertarian friends, who might find assistance from some oppressed natives within the GOP. I'm recommending a way to make your infiltration and conquest easier: demoralize and debilitate the GOP by voting for Obama! Heck, pour on the votes for Herseth Sandlin and Tim Johnson, too. Kick the Republicans completely out of office, crush them, leave them with nothing to do for the next four years but duke it out amongst themselves, rebuild the party, and plot victory in 2012. Are you and your Libertarian friends game?

  10. Indeed, there's plenty of blame to go around among key figures in both major political parties. But laissez faire capitalism (which I like to call free-for-all enterprise) is anything but blameless.

    I don't think Barack Obama will drive our country to Marxism. That's sheer nonsense in my opinion, a hysterical reaction right up there on a level with my paranoia about a South Dakota state income tax!

    I am concerned that the national debt would grow under Obama faster than under McCain. That could mean a tax burden on our children comparable to (or greater than) that of the benevolent European socialist states such as Sweden or Denmark.

  11. Our kids already face an enormous debt burden to pay off our profligacy. And Republican GW Bush has increased that debt over 70% (and he has two months of possible bailout madness to go). The empirical evidence suggests we can't trust the GOP any more than the Dems to keep our kids out of debt.

  12. Good point, Cory. The Republicans have not shown themselves to be very trustworthy in recent years. But in my opinion, our current President is no Republican. Hillary Clinton said it well when she used the words "hard-edged" and "radical" to describe his administration. The cruelest irony is that he has done more to advance this country toward "socialism" than all the Democrats since the Second World War.


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