We Republicans and conservatives may very well get wiped out this November; it is certain we will lose more seats in the House and Senate than we lost in 2006. Some prognosticators see a loss of around 25 seats in the House and 6-8 in the U.S. Senate.
The presidency? Well, we have already lost it. We lost it when G.W. Bush and the Bush family machine hijacked the GOP and made it a big government party — just like the Democrats.
George W. Bush has destroyed the current Republican Party, and he has come close to killing the organized conservative movement as well.
His successor as the so-called leader of the Republican Party, John McCain, has morphed from the successor-to-Barry-Goldwater he was hailed as when he won Goldwater’s Arizona Senate seat 22 years ago to the maverick-anti-conservative- Republican in 2000 and now to a G.W. Bush clone in 2008.
In the process he has blurred his persona and lost his status as a unique candidate with a signature brand. Now, if you ask people what they think of McCain, the answers are all over the map. And he is not identified with a cause, a must in national politics.
McCain still might win the White House in November. Never underestimate the ability of the Democrats to screw up anything and everything they run. So today’s certain winner, Obama, may very well implode by the fall, just like Dukakis, Kerry, and Mondale. But if McCain were to win, what of his presidency and a McCain-led Republican Party?
Has there ever been a president who has had so little support inside the base of his party? Has there ever been a president who went out of his way to attack that base? And took such glee is that base’s unhappiness?
How could McCain possibly lead the GOP, and the nation, with such poor relations with his own party?
This is just one of the many reasons there is palpable despair throughout GOP and conservative ranks. We all realize that the Republican/conservative movement has run aground and isn’t likely to be rescued, repaired and relaunched for years to come. (The length of this exile will be determined by the success or lack thereof of the Democrats in D.C. If history is a guide, it won’t take them long to screw everything up and in two and four years a resurgent and re-made GOP can come back.)
But here is a simple message to all Republicans and conservatives: The Bushes and McCain can’t kill our movement, our party, or our cause.
And the neo-cons, who have tried to take over our movement and in the process have helped ruin it, are not going to be allowed any longer to be in positions of influence.
Many on the right these days are actually hoping that McCain gets defeated in November — not because they want an Obama administration — but because ridding ourselves of all vestiges of the failed Bush era (and McCain has become an integral defender and partner of Bush) will accelerate the inevitable soul-searching followed by the necessary reconstruction of the Conservative Movement and its vehicle, the Republican Party. The sooner we shed ourselves of Bush and McCain, and all their behind-the-scenes handlers, the better.
A fascinating note: a long-time Reaganite Republican told me that virtually every conservative he knows is plotting against McCain not against Obama! What does that tell us about the state of the GOP and the conservative movement? It is riven with dissent and discord and, like any addict living in denial, it can’t be fixed until we reach the very bottom.
November 4, 2008 may be that bottom.
If it is, do not despair.
This coming self-examination — done out of power — will lead to the re-emergence of the right, stronger than we have been in more than two decades and filled with the memory of how we allowed the Bushes and McCain and the so-called mainstream media to take over a unique American political movement and ruin it.
We must never allow that to happen again.
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