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  • Lance Mannion
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« All over but the shouting, even for the winners | Main | The world made over new »


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Myt working theory on politics is that the GOP trails the Democrats by about 30 years in terms of party dynamics.

Meaning that the "revolution" the Democrats supposedly had where "liberal" Jimmy Carter pushed out the moderate Democrats (forcing them to join the Reagan platform) is only just now being shadowed by the GOP.

Of course, Carter himself was fairly mainstream...I mean, come on, a peanut farmer, nuclear scientist, Baptist being a radical???...but the perception as painted afterwards was that his faction and the Jesse Jacksonites somehow forced the Dems so far to the left they became irrelevant for thirty years.

Nevermind they controlled Congress for most of that, but I digress.

The fact is, the Republicans are reliving those days for us, only instead of actually coming to grips with the divides, they are jettisoning good moderates like Scozzafava and Olympia Snowe.

People they will need for balance.

It's easier for a party to come back to the center than it is for a country to lurch to an extreme. I'm shocked they don't realize that, but conservative movements in this country tend to be far more ideologic than progressive ones.

Probably because of fear. haven't thought that out completely.

Ken Muldrew

"If the spring of popular government in time of peace is virtue, the springs of popular government in revolution are at once virtue and terror: virtue, without which terror is fatal; terror, without which virtue is powerless. Terror is nothing other than justice, prompt, severe, inflexible; it is therefore an emanation of virtue; it is not so much a special principle as it is a consequence of the general principle of democracy applied to our country's most urgent needs."

No doubt the modern tea-baggers feel that they can recognize virtue as well as Robespierre. No doubt they are equally mistaken (and far less astute, but luckily they have no Danton nor a publicist as able as the Attorney-General of the Lanterne).


That was a superb read, Lance. Thank you, so thoughtful and well done.

Anne D.

Lance, I agree with Belvoir, this piece is a superb read. It puts into words what I am watching as the Republican party self-destructs.


What you wrote about Beck,"...he also has a longing to see the world burn," jogged my memory about a line from "The Dark Knight," where Alfred says to Bruce Wayne,"...some men aren't looking for anything logical, like money... they can't be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn."

The man Alfred refers to, of course, is the Joker.


"much of the Right Wing animus towards Scozzafava was fueled by her stand on gay rights and other social issues"

That's a little like saying "much of the Right Wing animus toward John Wayne Gacy was fueled by is disastrous choice of clown makeup and other criminal issues."

I read a mile of newsprint inches on Scozzafava. I never saw one word about gay rights. Not one.

This is more sock puppetry on your behalf, Lance. It's so much easier to vilify your moral opposition if they'd just follow the script you wrote for them.

Opposition to gay rights among FRINGE right conservatives is now a third or fourth tier concern (thanks to President Obama). See. I can admit a fringe exists. Try it sometime.

The vast majority of conservatives have "de-listed" gays from victim status (whether they're ready to relinquish their victim status or not). They got everything they wanted short of a constitutional referendum on marriage. Now the marriage issue is being handled at the state level, so that's that.

Bill Altreuter

It seemed to me, driving home from Binghamton and listening to various pundits discourse on NY-23 and its significance, that what we were looking at was a very local phenomenon, peculiar to New York State. First of all, New York is unusual because of all the alternate parties on the ballot, which makes it look like we're in Milan or Lyon, or some other Romance language place governed by fusion coalitions. That's not usually how it works out, but there have been two US senators in my lifetime essentially elected because of, or on, minor party support. James Buckley was elected on the Conservative Party line, and when the Republican Party declined to re-nominate Jacob Javits he went out and got the Liberal Party nod, splitting the vote for Liz Holtzman and clearing a path for Al D'Amato. And even though the politics of New York City in the 60's was so nutty that the mayoral candidacies of Norman Mailer and William F. Buckley were taken seriously, John V. Lindsay, a Republican, was actually elected on the Liberal line. People in other places don't know this history, or overlook it.

The other peculiar point that seemed to elude the commentators is that New York Republicans don't have primaries. Again and again I heard that Scozzafava was a poor candidate, and that a primary would have produced a better horse to back. First of all, I doubt that this is true: primaries tend to yield candidates that are less moderate, don't they? In any event, the Republican committee members that hand picked Scozzafava, who had been a successful politician in the area in the past, should be presumed to have some sense of what sort of politician would appeal to the constituency-- that's their job.

It would not surprise me a bit to hear that the people who actually turned out to vote in this race resented characters like Sarah Palin and Glen Beck bigfooting around in their backyard. People who live in Watertown want roads and sewage plants and decent schools and they don't care so much about the stuff that Jonah Goldberg writes about-- I expect that the subscription base of the National Review in that neck of the woods is in the high two figures, including libraries and colleges.

Far too much ink (and pixels)has been spent on Sarah Palin. It's more than anybody needs to read, ever, but consider the irony: five years ago she was the equivalent of Scozzafava-- a local pol with some background in issues of local importance. Now that she has swollen to proportions better suited to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade she has also, it seems, aquired about the same influence. If you can't swing an election in a district that's been Republican since the Civil War you aren't accomplishing much.


I think there may be another angle that many people might be missing, and that is the North/South cultural divide. The Republicans haven't yet found a way to move on from more than 40 years of the so-called "Southern Strategy." They have no "Northern Strategy" except to try and Southernize the rural North, and rural Northerners, particularly Northeasterners, are just not buying it. In a comment thread on another blog, I described Fred Thompson's ad for Hoffman as a "comical classic of cornpone condescension" that struck me as something the people of New York's North Country would see right through. Judge for yourselves:



MILES of newsprint?

Did it actually have printing on it or did you just watch empty rolls of paper roll by?

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