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The Republicans lost another crucial election last night. It was their third special election loss in a row. All three were deeply Republican districts in the past. This one was in the heart of Mississippi and was in a district that George Bush won with 62% of the vote in 2004.

The Republicans are in deep, deep trouble. If they lose in these districts (the other two were a Louisiana seat they had kept for three decades and Dennis Hastert's former seat in Illinois), they can literally lose anywhere. The whole electoral map can be redrawn.

So, what's their new plan? Go further to the right! No, you schmucks, that's what got you in trouble in the first place. The problem is the Republican Party has become so extreme there are no moderates left to tell them they should head in the opposite direction.

Usually when a political party is beaten this bad (as they were in 2006 and the elections since then), they correct course by going toward the other side of the political spectrum. They head to the center to pick up lost ground. The Republicans, on the other hand, have been like drunken gamblers who are sure that their next double down bet is going to make it all up. If we just double down one more time ...

Well, they did double their bets on these special elections. They spent $1.3 million in Mississippi of the precious $7.2 million the NRCC had left. They brought in Dick Cheney to campaign for their candidate (talk about heading in the wrong direction). And they lost again.

They have got to realize that they are not unpopular because they haven't been true enough to their principles, it's because they have. Their principles are merciless and lack all compassion. And it turns out that the American people look for some degree of compassion and competence out of their leaders. So, the Republicans are in a bind.

They wanted to drown government in a bathtub. They did and wound up drowning their own party instead. It turns out the American people want a government. They think it serves a purpose.

The problem isn't that conservative principles are never right. Of course it makes sense to lower taxes when the highest marginal tax rate is at 70%, as it was in 1980 when Reagan came into office. But equally obvious is that at some point taxes can be too low for the government to function effectively. And when you have a gigantic national deficit, a government that can't respond to national emergencies like Hurricane Katrina and a disastrous war you can't pay for - that might be the point where taxes are simply too low to pay for the government the American people want and expect.  

There might be a time for war, but it's not the answer at all times for any reason at all. We might have to get tough on immigration policies, but we don't have to crush people's souls to do it. There might be a time to get tougher on crime, but the answer isn't always vengeance. The Republicans have lost sight of all moderation.

If the Republicans keep heading due right, they will burn their party to the ground. And someone like Arnold Schwarzenegger or Charlie Christ will have to rebuild from the ground up as a more moderate, reasonable party. But it will take decades.

Remember George Bush ran as a "compassionate conservative" in 2000 and won with lots of smokes and mirrors by convincing people that he was a kindhearted Republican. I think history will look back at 2004 as the aberration. It will be the outlier in history.

In 2000, it was hard to know what Bush was exactly up to and he lied about his intentions (remember his "no nation building" and "humble foreign policy" pledges). But in 2004, we should have known what we were getting into. That election will be known as the Great Mistake.

But right now, as we speak, the American people are looking to correct that mistake. And when the Republicans run their tired, old campaigns based on pessimism, attack ads, fear-mongering and dark outlook, they will get crushed. Bank on it. There is a tidal wave coming in 2008. And apparently, the Republicans have no idea what is about to hit them.

Young Turks on You Tube

Originally posted to Cenk Uygur on Wed May 14, 2008 at 09:16 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  dont mean to hijack thread but cenk (0+ / 0-)

    what do you think of Randi Rhodes/Air America situation?

    I suffer with bill Press every morning who is a big clinton hack... he annoys me to no end and wish you were on the air

    i wasnt following things closely.. did they dump you because you were too progressive and when with the dlc hack, press?

  •  Superb analysis (3+ / 0-)

    Couldn't agree more, Cenk. In '06, they "took a thumpin'" as the boy king put it. This November looks to be a total wipeout.

    Nice to see you, btw. Been a while.

    Every day's another chance to stick it to The Man. - dls.

    by The Raven on Wed May 14, 2008 at 09:21:28 AM PDT

  •  I voted against reagan twice and (9+ / 0-)

    disagree with this:

    Of course it makes sense to lower taxes when the highest marginal tax rate is at 70%, as it was in 1980 when Reagan came into office.

    As Paul Krugman shows in his book, Conscience fo a Liberal," the times prior to Reagan (where there were "high" taxes on the wealthy, were much better  times for working people:

    "I was born in 1953. Like the rest of my generation, I took the America I grew up in for granted – in fact, like many in my generation I railed against the very real injustices of our society, marched against the bombing of Cambodia, went door to door for liberal candidates. It’s only in retrospect that the political and economic environment of my youth stands revealed as a paradise lost, an exceptional episode in our nation’s history."

    Here's why:

    The Long Gilded Age: Historians generally say that the Gilded Age gave way to the Progressive Era around 1900. In many important ways, though, the Gilded Age continued right through to the New Deal. As far as we can tell, income remained about as unequally distributed as it had been the late 19th century – or as it is today. Public policy did little to limit extremes of wealth and poverty, mainly because the political dominance of the elite remained intact; the politics of the era, in which working Americans were divided by racial, religious, and cultural issues, have recognizable parallels with modern politics.

    The Great Compression: The middle-class society I grew up in didn’t evolve gradually or automatically. It was created, in a remarkably short period of time, by FDR and the New Deal. As the chart shows, income inequality declined drastically from the late 1930s to the mid 1940s, with the rich losing ground while working Americans saw unprecedented gains. Economic historians call what happened the Great Compression, and it’s a seminal episode in American history.

    Middle class America: That’s the country I grew up in. It was a society without extremes of wealth or poverty, a society of broadly shared prosperity, partly because strong unions, a high minimum wage, and a progressive tax system helped limit inequality. It was also a society in which political bipartisanship meant something: in spite of all the turmoil of Vietnam and the civil rights movement, in spite of the sinister machinations of Nixon and his henchmen, it was an era in which Democrats and Republicans agreed on basic values and could cooperate across party lines.

    The great divergence: Since the late 1970s the America I knew has unraveled. We’re no longer a middle-class society, in which the benefits of economic growth are widely shared: between 1979 and 2005 the real income of the median household rose only 13 percent, but the income of the richest 0.1% of Americans rose 296 percent.

    Paul Krugman: Introducing This Blog

    I am a liberal Democrat, a progressive populist.  Many of us fought Reagan.

    "They're going to give their power away when we take their power away." John Edwards

    by TomP on Wed May 14, 2008 at 09:25:08 AM PDT

    •  I agree, and I'll point out again (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bablhous, TomP

      that when we say "70% rate" that does not mean 70% of someone's total income was collected as tax.

      70% of their income over say the 60% bracket (which collects only 60% for the income over the 50% cutoff and so on) is all.

      Crunching numbers on brackets at WWII levels (where the rates topped out at over 90%) still amounts to less than half of the money taken.

      The top 1% of 1% was still wealthier after tax than their "lessers" and there was more government revenue.

      I'd love to see the Paris Hiltons (and the Warren Buffets) of the US pay more again.

      We're stuck with near Gilded Age inequality in earnings, and a middle and lower class that has seen almost no movement in earnings in 30 years.  

      "A word after a word after a word is power." -Margaret Atwood

      by John Shade on Wed May 14, 2008 at 10:10:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Excellent point. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        They like to conflate that and act like many folks were subject to a 70% rate on all income.  First, very few were subject to it.  Second, it si as you say..  70% income over a certain point.

        There were still rich folks, they just had less share of the pie.  And working people got more.

        "They're going to give their power away when we take their power away." John Edwards

        by TomP on Wed May 14, 2008 at 10:14:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  IIRC we had ~90% top tax rate under Eisenhower (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      who was of course a Republican, and not only did the world not come to an end, the country was rather prosperous.

      We got all sorts of projects accomplished in that era, for example the interstate highway system.

      High tax rates, prosperity, and accomplishment. Imagine that.

  •  Shhhhhh, let's keep it a secret and surprise the (0+ / 0-)

    I support Barack Obama, and I approved this message.

    by mlandman on Wed May 14, 2008 at 09:29:41 AM PDT

  •  Compassion and competence (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tuba Les

    Two of those deep red seats were in Louisiana and Mississippi and the people who saw the utter compassion and competence up close in Katrina days are not forgetting. Nor will they in Texas either. Not for a long time, I expect.

    We have only just begun and none too soon.

    by global citizen on Wed May 14, 2008 at 09:29:45 AM PDT

  •  Looks like the electorate are not as (0+ / 0-)

    ignorant and as easily cowed as the republicans
    were banking on.

    The influence of the right wing noise machine is most definitely waning.

    This house of cards will be blown away in November.

    "Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor liberty to purchase power." B. Franklin

    by istari5th on Wed May 14, 2008 at 09:30:05 AM PDT

  •  Maybe we should just keep this to ourselves (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I agree with your analysis, it does seem that the Repub. leadership is trying to do everything it can to self-destruct.  

    Given that, maybe we should just step back,not point out the error of their ways, make sure that they do indeed have enough rope with which to work.

  •  Time to Remind Voters that Newt's Class of '94 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bablhous, pamelabrown

    were hot air:

    Non-implementation of the Contract

    A November 13, 2000 article by Edward H. Crane, president of the libertarian Cato Institute, stated, "... the combined budgets of the 95 major programs that the Contract with America promised to eliminate have increased by 13%

  •  They're in disarray and any strategist can tell (3+ / 0-)

    you that disarray in a campaign is deadly. It's going to take several big defeats for them to get their bearings again and realize the answer to their demise doesn't lie in embracing the politics of the past - but rather the politics of the future.

    the shane life The story of a boy alone in New York City. God help the city.

    by Shane Hensinger on Wed May 14, 2008 at 09:32:28 AM PDT

  •  All part of Bush's plan, going back to 1969 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bustacap, Tuba Les

    Cartoonist Tom Tomorrow had a brilliant cartoon that explains a lot, including how destroying the Republican party is all part of Bush's plan.

    The cartoon is here:

  •  Small correction, Cenk (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Bush didn't win BY 62%, he won WITH 62%.  By 62% implies that the margin was 62%, like winning 80%-12%.

    Impressive win nonetheless

    Why don't you tell me again about the time the Depression fought Abraham Lincoln naked in your front yard?

    by WhenIsItEnough on Wed May 14, 2008 at 09:34:14 AM PDT

  •  GOP, MSM pundits will ignore at own peril (0+ / 0-)

    As a Mass. resident, I witnessed some of these horrible, racist tactics in 2006 against Deval Patrick. The result was a blowout win over the Rep. Lt. Gov. Kerry Healy.

    IMO, 2008 will be more of the same. The fact that in each of the three recent special elections, attempts to link each Democratic candidate with Obama failed miserably should be a wake up call to the GOP, but they will continue these tactics in November.

  •  Thanks for this, Cenq. Right on. I would like (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bablhous, Casper46

    to add that I'm not only appalled at what has been done to our democracy, Bill of Rights, Constitution and Rule of Law, as well as our economy, our military, our dollar's value, our treasury and our reputation around the world, but I am also so disgusted and embarrassed by the amounts of money offered as foreign aid to disaster areas like Myanmar and China!  $200k to Myanmar and $500k (!!!) to China!!!  WTF???  
    When did America become a poor, Third World starving orphan?

    Unbelievable.  Outrageous.  Unacceptable.

    Bush and Cheney have done more damage to this country than any terrorist could dream of, IMHO.


  •  Go Ron Paul organizers! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    While Rush Limbaugh et. al. are calling for riots at the Democratic Convention, the perfect storm is brewing for the clueless party of big bidness come September's meetup in Minneapolis-St. Paul. As a previous diary here noted, under the radar, there is a revolt being put in place by the Paulites. Hooray!!

    "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act," George Orwell.

    by not4bushwa on Wed May 14, 2008 at 10:22:33 AM PDT

  •  Failure emboldens perpetual victims (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The entire conservative narrative is one of victimization: any of countless boogeymen both foreign and domestic, both real and unreal, are oppressing real Americans.

    When liberals win, it plays right into the conservative narrative of the Liberal Juggernaught: look at how powerful the latte-sipping, Volvo-driving, Birkenstock-wearing hippifeminists are, look at how powerful the godless sodomites are, look at how powerful the terrorist-loving, white male-bashing, anti-Semites are ... if we don't act soon, they're going to destroy us all.

    The mantle of victimhood is perhaps the most powerful weapon in the history of the world: words and bombs both shatter impotently against it. Anyone who can successfully claim it can pretty much have their way with all but the most heartless.

    You can use it on your friends and followers as well as your enemies too. The fundangelicals grow up believing they're surrounded by the minions of Satan anyway; the rich and powerful know they're at the mercy of the unwashed masses should they ever wake up: they're primed to see themselves as victims, constantly under attack by the forces of evil.

    Like all good zealots, conservatives are constantly searching for ever greater ideological purity. Conservatism will only continue to become more and more extreme: and this will only strengthen the resolve of the fewer and fewer followers. They already match the Wahabi and Salafi Muslim terrorists and Talibanists in their goals: it might well be only a matter of time before they stop talking about adopting their methods and actually do it.

    "I must Create a System or be enslav'd to another Man's." - William Blake

    by Visceral on Wed May 14, 2008 at 10:35:19 AM PDT

  •  Oh! This is what Hillary must have meant... (0+ / 0-)

    ...when she said, "The tide is turning!"

    I thought she was talking about herself. :-)

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