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Kevin Buck: Singing the Blue Party blues

Democratic Voices

Posted: June 29, 2009 4:47 p.m.
Updated: June 30, 2009 4:55 a.m.
There is a great amount of angst flowing through the conservative base of the Republican Party these days, and as a lifelong Democrat, I could not be more pleased.

Barack Obama has proven to be a deft politician, an inspirational leader and a uniter, not a divider, and his successes are creating a very small place for Republican conservatives to launch a comeback.

Making it even more difficult, the current GOP leaders and future presidential candidates continue to crash and burn, further handicapping any chance of gains in the 2010 midterm elections or contending in the 2012 presidential campaign.

In January, Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal gave a tepid and incoherent response to President Obama's first State of the Union address. He immediately went from a frontrunner for the nomination to "not ready for prime time."

Senator John Ensign of Nevada, fourth ranking Republican in the Senate leadership, recently admitted to an extramarital affair with a member of his staff, the wife of one of his best friends, who was also on the Senator's staff.

Last week Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina, a top tier Republican, the chairman of the Republican Governors Association and on John McCain's short list to be his running mate in 2008, crashed and burned in spectacular tabloid fashion.

Sanford was missing for a week, ostensibly to "hike the Appalachian Trail," but when he finally resurfaced, he was getting off a plane from Argentina, where he had been visiting his mistress. The sanctity of marriage indeed.

Even this soon, this considerably narrows the field of viable Republican presidential candidates, and all of the remaining carry some sort of political baggage that precludes an easy run to the 2012 nomination.

Newt Gingrich is a politician from the last century, who has his own family values and adultery problems.

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has yet to demonstrate he has major league ability; he is tearing up AAA, playing for Fox News, but has not yet shown he can hit a big-league curveball. Still, he's a comer and he bears watching.

Mitt Romney is (and was) the most qualified Republican politician in the presidential field, his only problem is that he is a Mormon, and the Christian Right, a major voice in the current Republican Party, has yet to move past this religious obstacle.

The most popular Republican in the polls right now is Alaska governor Sarah Palin.

I know I speak for most Democrats and a majority of political junkies when I say, please, please, please, let it be Sarah Palin running against President Obama in 2012. I can't think of a more entertaining campaign to watch. The Obama/Palin debates alone would be instant classics, destined to live on my TiVo forever.

The Big Tent of the Republican Party has always been more of a political myth, rather than an electoral reality.

Republican candidates and office holders must adhere to and support a strict conservative agenda.

Any politician who dares even a single vote for raising taxes, women's choice, marriage equality, against business interests or anything else outside of the Boss Limbaugh-approved talking points will quickly face a well-funded primary challenge from the right.

Since the right wing base makes up the majority of Republican primary voters, moderates and centrists have little chance of survival in today's GOP.

One needs only to look at the travails of Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, driven from the party for a vote against conservative orthodoxy.

The problem with this scenario is that while hard-right candidates can easily win Republican primaries, they increasingly cannot win local, statewide or national general elections.

All politicians need Independent and centrist votes to win and since 2006 those have been moving in droves to the Democratic Party.

During the Bush reign of error, Republicans crowed about a permanent majority and it is easy to see why they engaged in that kind of hubris.

The view from the top often does not see what is happening directly underneath.

Today, Democrats may be tempted to believe in a permanent majority as well, but this is just an illusion. The egos and hubris of politicians, left or right, eventually cause those in power to crash and burn.

Twenty-first century information technology has sped up the swing of the political pendulum and someday I do expect Democrats to stumble from power again.

But technology and human nature notwithstanding, it appears the Republican Party will be in the political wilderness for many more years to come, and they only have themselves to blame.

Kevin Buck is a Santa Clarita resident. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal. "Democratic Voices" appears Tuesdays in The Signal and rotates among several local Democratic activists.


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