Saturday, November 10, 2012


Where now fror Grand Old Party?

Naturally, I'm delighted at the win for Barack Obama in Tuesday's election. Certainly he underachieved during his four years in the White House and, arguably, his somewhat cerebral, maybe aloof style prevents him from engaging in the back slapping, arm twisting negotiating  processes required to persuade Congressmen, especially Republican ones, that they should allow his bills through Congress. On the other hand Republicans have been intractably obtuse and impossible to persuade, creating the gridlock which restricted Obama's legislative record..

 Giles Whittel in The Times, 7th November recalled the meeting of the 15 most senior republican Congressmen in the Caucus Room Steakhouse the day after Obama won in 2008.  They resolved to oppose every single one of the new president’s policies, including those aimed at rescuing  and economy losing 750,000 jobs per month. As they left the meeting Newt Gingrich pronounced, ‘You will remember this as the day the seeds of 2012 were sown.’ Sadly for his party, Newt was dead right. 

His party's refusal to do business with Obama and its Tea Party flight from reality put Romney in a difficult position. Even his excellent showing against a subdued Obama in the first TV debate, could not erase the appalling twists and turns required to win the nomination of his too far to the right party and then his need to appear moderate and sensible for the national contest. The second major reason for his defeat, as Senator Lindsay Graham complained is that 'there are not enough angry white guys' to sustain the Republicans' bid for power. Demographically the Hispanics and Asians are increasing their numbers though immigration and much higher birth rate, than the white population.At the moment the GOP seems to be excluding itself from power through a refusal to perceive America is becoming less white and very much more brown.      

Connected with this is the third reason: given the need to engage with the Hispanic voter Republicans could not bring themselves even to be civil. Romney even suggested illegal Hispanics 'self deport'. I ask you.
Fourthly and decisively, the GOP neglected a key group: unmarried women. Comprising a quarter of voters- big slices of the black and Hispanic vote- they went for Obama by the huge margin of 38%. 

So what should Republicans do? Ever since they lost in 2008, the GOP has been a bit like the British Conservative Party after May 2010: it could not accept that it had not won. This is quite a handicap if it leads you into the wild excesses of Donald Trump's 'Birther' delusion and it could be this will continue. Some Republicans seem stunned, unable to believe they have lost. Trump even called, virtually for a revolution. And, to be honest, I wouldn't be surprised if some kind of direct action extremism embracing the idea of armed insurrection, actually begins to emerge.Their best bet is to follow the Tory Party's lead. They lost in 1997, 2001 and 2005 because they refused to accept the country as it had become. The Cameron to be fair hauled them back into the centre ground- even though he was probably insincere and seems now to have reneged on his tack to the centre. Republicans have to accept the wisdom of their own constitution and adapt themselves to what the majority of US voters want.    

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