One of the things that everyone is seeing around them is the continual economic threat to states and local governments. Here in Oklahoma, as we talk about militias and pass legislation mandating a forcible medical rape of a woman and protection for doctors to lie about the health of a fetus--we are also hearing about cuts for schools and public safety. We can waste money on legislation that is A) destructive, and B) unlikely to pass muster in the courts even though it will cost us to litigate--but cannot pay for teachers or prison workers.
And of course, because this is a Republican state, it is impossible to raise income taxes. For Republicans, that is the same as being Muslim, Gay, or burning a flag while you have gay sex with an American flag. So we won't raise taxes. But we will raise fees. The license renewal fee might well go up from $21 to closer to $30. Of course that is fine with me, in that I can afford that. But it is proof that we don't actually cut taxes as much as we shift the burden away from the wealthy to those who find that $9 noteworthy.
There is your Republican family values. Screw women over, and then screw over the poor and working class.
I truly think that the Republican party is in a serious free fall, however. This closing of the conservative mind, might, as some have said, just be part of the cyclical pattern of both parties. After all, the Democrats floundered during the 1980s to find a legitimate candidate and message, but have more to offer now. Republicans found their movement conservatism in the 1960s with Goldwater and others, and that movement has run its course.
But I think there is something else afoot here, and this discussion over demographics is key. Anglican and I had a nice conversation over lunch about the racist components of the Tea Party. We both agreed that Hillary might have produced a similar level of hatred, but it is hard to dismiss the overall anger of older white males who seem to be pissed off that they are no longer in charge.
As a result, they seem to be doubling down on their conservative base. Duncan Hunter talks about revising the 14th Amendment to disallow those born of immigrants to be citizens, and that idiot in Iowa wants to micro-chip immigrants for tracking. Arizona, of course, has taken a pretty radical step--not necessarily in what it does to the illegal immigrants, but what it does to the legal immigrants and legal citizens who happen to be Hispanic.
The short term for Republicans looks ok. They have a real chance to pick up major seats in the upcoming mid-term election. Who knows what will happen in 2012. That is a long way out--and many, many, many things can happen before then. But there is a longer term trend that is easier to see, and it bodes poorly for a political party that seems hell-bent on alienating anyone not white, and that is the demographic shift. As Ronald Brownstein notes:
But the hardening GOP position also shows how the party is being tugged toward nativism as its coalition grows more monochromatic: In a nation that is more than one-third minority, nearly 90 percent of McCain's votes in the 2008 presidential election came from whites. That exclusionary posture could expose the GOP to long-term political danger. Although Hispanics are now one-sixth of the U.S. population, they constitute one-fifth of all 10-year-olds and one-fourth of 1-year-olds.
It is also pretty easy to connect this overall trend to that older white anger, and connect it to their rather pathetic call to "get my country back."