The Moral Center
The GOP scandals are more than just news, they are a direct threat to the heart of the GOP's governance. Maybe the pundits are too optimistic, I can't say, but I think this is a long term problem for the GOP.
The GOP lay claim to a moral center of church and economic prosperity, which was more goal than reality, but it worked for many people. It also provided cover for enshrining the rights of the rich. But to the working class people who voted GOP, it was that while the liberals sneered at them, the conservatives listened, sometimes they even helped.
The price was voting GOP. Family values isn't an abstract term, it was a government which kept taxes low, opposed the mianstream and respected church and religion. The reason that it plays poorly with Dems is that they have different concerns, social justice.
The reason the internal struggles within the Dems have muted themselves come from the power of change for victory. The DLC folks couldn't win with their half-baked strategy of appeasement, but the Dem internal debates are tactical. There is a general set of ideological agreements across the board, which center on economic and social justice. John Murtha and John Lewis both support unions, despite other disagreements.
The same is not true for the GOP. They were aligned tactically, but have fundamental disagreements. The Grover Norquist/Stephen Moore wing no more believe in creationism than your average biology professor. They tolerate the nonsense to get theit goals accomplished, but among their own, they have only contempt for them while smiling in their face. The religious conservatives tolerate the mammmon soaked ways of the fiscal people, but are convinced they're going to hell and God provides economic success. But as long as their needs were addressed, then they could get along.
The gulf was wide, but bridged as long as things went their way.
But the recent sex scandals are killer. Why? Because they go to the heart of the GOP's argumnent of the moral center. Pedophiles hunting pages in the halls of Congress? A Congressman choking his mistress? A Congresswoman fleeing a debate after being asked about her inability to deal with Mark Foley?
Yes, lower taxes can be a good argument, but not when the security of children are at stake. That's the subtext which drove a lot of the GOP's agenda, protect our kids. And they not only failed, they failed beyond words.
Which was the unspoken bargain between those two wings of the party. You lower my taxes and protect my kids and we'll protect you. And they can't even protect their own pages in the halls of Congress.
Then, they tried to minimize it. Dobson, of all people, tried to write it off as a joke. Now you have Jerry Weller tossing another congressman under a bus for messing with a page. Rumor was that he was going under the bus for messing with a16 year old girl. Funny how those things happen.
The spectacle is revolting.
But what I think is happening is that people have stopped listening. Polling may be one issue, but the obscene spectacle of Bush defending mistress choker Sherwood in a week he designated Character Counts week, is revolting.
The thing is to ignore the polling, because it is unpredictable with this madness going on. Everything keeps changing day by day. But the problem for the GOP is that people are now personally revolted by their actions and that means danger for them. Numbers, I have no idea about, but the outcome, not just now, but into next year, ends the GOP Happy Time and ushers in their Black May.
posted by Steve @ 1:23:00 AM