Reidblog [The Reid Report blog]

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Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Losing their religion?
With all that they've won in recent years, you'd think the American right would be in a constant state of triumph. Instead, they appear to be coming apart at the seems. After the Terri Schiavo fiasco, which laid bare for the rest of us 1) the agenda of their fanatical religious core and 2) the nakedness with which their politicians are willing to exploit #1, the schism between scheming politicians and the sincerely radical people they purport to lead has grown, and the marriage of convenience, between neocons, theocons and real conservatives, has hit a rocky patch.

Four issues dominate the current terrain: Judges (which really means abortion), John Bolton (which really means repudiation of the United Nations), illegal immigration (the last thing upon which the current crop of so-called conservatives and actual conservative Lou Dobbs still agree) and Social Security (which I suspect the base cares far less about, but which has become a test of George W. Bush's ability to wield actual and persuasive presidential power.

On Judges, the base appears to be going absolutely apoplectic. Writing on an albeit Canadian online site,, Alan Caruba, founder of an outfit called "The National Anxiety Center" (whose previous passion appears to have been debunking the theory of global warming,) sums up the angst:

A lot of thoughtful conservatives are having serious second thoughts about George W. Bush. His failure to act upon core values of fiscal conservatism and sovereignty is a growing concern.

Donations to conservative organizations and think tanks are in sharp decline. A lot of conservatives have decided to stop giving financial support because they are losing faith in the ability of these groups to have any effect on administration policies.

Bush has an engaging personality, but he’s not running for office anymore. He is already a very lame duck.

In concert with Republican party leaders in Congress, the White House has been unable to get its judicial appointments approved and the fight over John Bolton’s appointment as UN ambassador suggests the party lacks unity on Capitol Hill. Bolton has been confirmed four times for previous positions. Unless the GOP can unite to overcome the obstructionism of the Democrats, it bodes ill for the party.

If conservatives stay home for the 2006 elections, power can shift to the Democrats.
People are increasingly worried about the huge budget deficit created by a President and a Congress that have been on a spending binge. The national debt has increased by $2.16 billion every day since September 30, 2004. It is now a cliché that Bush has not vetoed a single spending bill while in office. New "entitlements" added to Medicare for prescriptions will add still more to the rising tide of national debt. It is not "if" the economy will reach a tipping point this accumulated debt cannot be
paid, but when.

Compounding fears is the appearance of an increasingly shaky economy that includes rising inflation and major corporations like General Motors in trouble. Wall Street is experiencing early tremors that forecast a bear market.

An issue reaching critical mass are the illegal immigrants flowing across our southern border. The assertion that they are necessary to do the work that Americans will not is nonsense. With the exception of the agricultural sector that has always depended on migrant workers, there are many jobs American workers would take if they weren’t already being given to undocumented workers paid in cash. Illegal workers sent $20 billion dollars home to Mexico last year!

Caruba goes on to blast the bloated Medicare drugs entitlement, the No Child Left Behind Act, which placed the federal backside firmly on top of local school districts, and the expansion of federally owned land. None of these are unfamiliar complaints, it's just that since Dubya went from bland 49 percenter to Beloved Leader after 9/11, they're complaints we've becom unaccustomed to hearing from Republicans.

The base may not want to hear these gripes seeming to come from Canada, and many folks on the Free Republic thread linked to Caruba's piece wrote him off as a swiper who can't swipe W, and complainers on the thread as moderate woosies and trolls. But some posters on the thread begged to differ, zeroing in on perhaps the two most important issues to two of the most important parts of the base.

Issue 1: Abortion (euphamisms in play -- judges, fillibuster, "people of faith")

To: MikeEdwards:
The Republican leadership has managed to alienate both of its wings - a remarkable feat considering the majorities they won across the board a couple of months ago. On this thread so far I've seen conservatives angry about immigration, and conservatives angry about spending policies. These issues are important, but they were never the reason my wing voted for the Republicans for all these 30 years.

Pro-lifers have been unified on just one thing: protecting life. We understood long ago that this meant getting Republican majorities to change the composition of the courts, and for pro-life judges to reverse Roe v. Wade. That's always been the strategy, and come last November, we were crowned with success. And that very DAY, Arlen Specter - new head of the Senate Judiciary Committee - stood up and warned the President not to press a "radical" slate of judges who would overturn Roe.

The Republican Party ignored the howls of pro-lifers. So the pro-lifers took a "wait and see" attitude when Specter was installed. Well, in just the past three weeks we saw the Republican party fail spectacularly and catastrophically on life issues.

First there was the Terri Schiavo debacle, in which the Bush boys themselves and Congress and the Republican-controlled courts (Greer: Republican; Justice Kennedy: Republican) all washed their hands of the matter and killed her. And then Frist waffled and thus far has failed to pass the nuclear option, despite thre being 55 Senators.

Pro-lifers are not very calculating souls. Most are devout Christians and not very political. They're not going to change parties. What they will do is stay home. And with them gone, the Republican majority will collapse. At this point, all the Republicans can do is pass the nuclear option. That would stanch the bleeding. They have lost trust, but not all of it. If they don't, they are doomed in 2006 and for a long time thereafter. If the pro-lifers leave, many of them will turn back to their private lives and faith and not enter worldly politics again. Republicans are blowing it, and it starts with the failure of both Bushes in the Schiavo case. They showed weakness, and became lame ducks the instant they did. It's too bad. But it is what it is.
41 posted on 04/26/2005 11:42:56 AM PDT by Vicomte13 (Et alors?)

Issue 2: immigration (code for economic worries, jobs) next poster:

To: MikeEdwards:
that piece absolutely spot on imo.i know it is treasonous, but i am either sitting out 2006 or voting straight libertarian (which means sitting out).probably the same in 2008 the way things are advancing presently.we are up to our eyeballs in illegals working for half wages, in the meantime our taxes, fees, fines and penalties are going up (only for the legals). our hospitals and municipalities are going bankrupt, and we are paying $2.25 a gallon for gas to get to the jobs that we no longer have because they left for china or mexico.

in my town there is one empty (for 3 years now) osram facility that went to mexico, and a second closing operations in a year (800 more layoffs). also our hunt memorial hospital, long since bankrupt and currently (imo)the most expensive sparrow nesting site in north will be worse when the dems regain control, but likely the total collapse they will inevitably cause (i'm from massachusetts, i've seen it before) will bring about a new generation of real leaders. if not, we all will have to learn to become landscapers and chimney sweeps for trial lawyers, college professors and other "government" employees. massachusetts been there too... that was the
"massachusetts miracle".at present i would not give the gop the steam off of my urine never mind a vote or donation.above is my donation to the gop.
49 posted on 04/26/2005 12:00:02 PM PDT by mmercier

And what are some of the disgruntled Freepers going to do about it?

Donations to conservative organizations and think tanks are in sharp decline. A lot of conservatives have decided to stop giving financial support because they are losing faith in the ability of these groups to have any effect on administration policies.

Yep, that describes me. As I responded to Ken Mehlman's latest solitication:

Hi Ken,
I can't believe you sent this while I'm reading that Stoneless Frist is negiotating with the DemocRATS.

Hypocrite? Talk to Frist.

Are we the majority or not?

Mitch McConnell said Sunday we have the votes.

VP Cheney has said he'll gladly break a tie.

What more do we need?
Why can't we "git-er-done?"
We need to get a pair, grow up and like the
MAJORITY we are! I guarantee you if the situation were reversed the DemocRATS would be beating us up so bad our mothers wouldn't recognize us. I truly dislike the DemocRATS and all they stand for. But they got STONES!

upchuckAiken, SC

PS -
1. Judges
2. Bolton
3. Criminal aliens
4. Social Security

Four issues that MUST be resolved to our benefit. If not, 2006 and 2008 are gonna be total disasters for us.
48 posted on 04/26/2005 11:56:44 AM PDT by upchuck ("If our nation be
destroyed, it would be from the judiciary." ~ Thomas Jefferson)

Never thought I'd hear Democrats accused of having "stones," but there we are. The perpetual victims on the right continue to feel victimized by "the system" even when they run the system. They can't blame Democrats for being unable to implement their agenda (Biblical control over the governing philosophy of the United States and sealed borders), so what to do? Who do you blame when your guys are in charge?

My guess is that it probably is still too close to 9/11 for Republicans to confront their cognitive dissonance with Dubya. They will continue to worship him at least as long as the other side continues to loathe him. But Congress is another matter, and we could be looking at payback in 2006 (remember the old term "throw the bums out?")

Whatever happens, it's clear that Republican politicians will not be able to run on abortion fever forever. Abortion is THE Holy Grail of the Christian right, and once it's clear that the RNC is exploiting the Grail, they're toast. Having whipped the Christian right into a frenzy, they can't exactly mollify them comeanother election time with promises that "if we just elect (fill in the blank), Roe is as good as gone."

Fool me once ...
posted by JReid @ 3:51 PM  
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