Can The Republicans Survive ’08?

Republican presidential candidate John McCain received a cold reception at yesterday’s Conservative Political Action Conference. Speaking a few hours after Mitt Romney dropped out of the race, the crowd of right wingers offered some very vocal opposition to the Senator from Arizona.

What sounds like boos may be a Republican death rattle. And that rattle only grew louder this morning.

While McCain holds a sizable lead over Huckabee on a national level, the Vietnam War veteran faces an electoral void in the South, where Huckabee’s religious background appealed to pious voters. The turnout this Tuesday highlights the internal division within the Republican ranks – and those Evangelical leader James Dobson may only exasperate the problem.

Dobson, the Focus on the Family found who previously vowed never to vote for John McCain, has endorsed Mike Huckabee:

In a statement first obtained by The Associated Press, Dobson reiterated his declaration on Super Tuesday that he could not in good conscience vote for John McCain, the front-runner, because of concerns over the Arizona senator’s conservative credentials.

Dobson said given the situation at that point, he was reluctant to choose between “two pro-family candidates whom I could support” – Huckabee and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

But Dobson wrote that Romney’s announcement Thursday that he was suspending his campaign “changed the political landscape.”

“he remaining candidate for whom I could vote is Governor Huckabee,” Dobson said. “His unwavering positions on the social issues, notably the institution of marriage, the importance of faith and the sanctity of human life, resonate deeply with me and with many others … Obviously, the governor faces an uphill struggle, given the delegates already committed to Senator McCain. Nevertheless, I believe he is our best remaining choice for president of the United States.”

Dobson’s statement may not take votes away from John McCain, but it will certainly influence a number of religious voters to sway to Huckabee.

Meanwhile, conservative pundits Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter promised they won’t vote for McCain. In fact, they’re both throwing their weight toward Hillary Clinton, a woman who’s long been anathema for the Republican party. Limbaugh’s even prepared to raise dough for the former First Lady:

After the withdrawal of Mitt Romney from the GOP race, Limbaugh said to his listeners, “might it be required (she’s having to loan herself money), do you think I should conduct a fundraiser for Mrs. Clinton? Mitt did his part today. He got out so as not to fracture the party any further and not to harm the effort to win the war in Iraq. Should I do my part, not by joining my liberal friends in the Republican Party, but actually raising money for Mrs. Clinton, and asking you to join me, so that she would have a chance here to once again have a good shot at getting a Democrat nomination so that we win the White House?”

Limbaugh seems to think that Republicans hate Hillary enough to unite the party. That may be true on some level, but Limbaugh’s forgetting that the Democrats have two powerful candidates, not just one. If Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama combined their power, they’d surely win the next election. Even if they don’t tag team our democracy, the fresh fissures in the Republican party certainly don’t bode well for the red staters.

As the Democrats rally around two strong candidates, the Republicans must make a soul-wrenching choice between the Baptist preacher man or the moderate conservative. Those odds don’t seem very good to us, but we’re not experts. So, readers, do you think the Republican party can survive this election cycle? Can they survive at all?

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  • todd

    At least Barak and Hillary will still be generating headlines and interest. McCain will put everyone to sleep unless he bomb bomb bombs Iran.

  • Bill Perdue

    If the Republicans survived the Depression and Watergate they’ll survive this just as the Democrats survived Vietnam and being tools of the KKK.

    They’re both right centrist parties utterly devoid of principle. They’re political chameleons who change at will and can accommodate to any situation.

    The question is will the Democrats survive the rage of those who’re going to vote for them this year and then are in for four to eight more years of Bush Lite?

  • jtperkin

    Rush just wants a democrat in the White House so he can have a reason to seem relevant again. He got popular during Clinton’s presidency. The last 8 years he only gets listeners when he makes horrible racist comments or gets arrested for drugs. It’s job security, pure and simple.

  • Bob R

    I have little doubt the Republican Party will survive. What I truly fear is just how much longer can the Democratic Party survive? I fear a McCain victory in the fall, coupled with a cowardly and ineffective Congress will mean the end of the Democratic Party. What we essentially have now is two slightly different branches of the Republican Party. Say what you want about the Bush presidency, but in reality he has been the most successful President in recent memory. Everything he has wanted he has been given with only token or phony opposition. If his new budget passes, he will successfully eliminate almost all government program except the military (all guns, no butter). He may not be popular, but his agenda has certainly been successful, in no small part due to the ever fearful and obsequious Democrats.

  • Johnny

    The Republicans are in serious danger of completely alienating moderates. Like it or not, they cannot ever win the whitehouse or congress without the support of moderate republicans and independents.

  • Matt

    Bob R,

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I love the guns and butter reference by the way. Economic geek here.

    This is why I believe McCain will win in the fall.
    1). He has time to solidify the party behind him while Obama and Clinton duke it out until the end because of the delegate division the DNC uses instead of winner take all states like the Republicans.
    2). If he chooses Huckabee as his running mate he will solidify the southern state vote.
    3). McCain appeals to conservative Democrats and Independents as seen in the Florida primary. If let’s say Hilary wins the nod and Obama supports are disgruntled they may vote for McCain. There will not be an Clinton/Obama or Obama/Clinto ticket. You are more likely to see a Clinton/Edwards or Obama/Edwards ticket.

  • l

    “death rattle”? The best way to lose is to under-estimate your opponent.

  • Woof

    L is right, don’t under estimate the desperate Right, Rove may come crawling out of the depths of hell to spin anouther evil campaign.

  • emb

    Matt: Interesting analysis, and I agree that under current circumstances,McCain stands a good chance in the fall. Here’s where I differ, though: Choosing Huckabee as veep might well help McC in the south, but adding a theocon will drive away many moderate repubs, who are McC’s base, at the same time, making a Huckabee pick basically a wash. Second, I think it’s unlikely that disgruntled Obama supporters would vote for McC in protest: remember that he’s drawing in young, new, and left-independent voters. They might stay home, but they’re not going to run to the arms of McC, who is ancient and conservative, particularly if he’s teamed up with a religious yahoo. Third, I wouldn’t use Fla as an example of anything relevant to the rest of the nation: they’re Very Special down there. That aside, the point that a Clinton/Obama ticket is unlikely is itself questionable: as long as they manage to keep from utterly eviscerating each other over the next few months, a joining of forces would be a notable threat. Sure, HC will motivate the right wing of the repubs, but Obama has a large core of passionate supporters that could even the odds. Then it comes down to whether the country wants four more years of Bush, which it doesn’t seem to. At this point, way far away from November, I’d still call it for Clinton/Obama in a squeaker.

  • todd

    McCain might not even live to see the election. He’s old as dirt and looks like Gollum.

  • emb

    Todd, you’re right. Also his wife has Horrible Hair. I can’t deal with that as first lady.

  • ggreen

    As long as dumbbells continue to vote against their own interests (Log Cabin Republicans for example) there will always be a Republican party to rob the poor and working class and give to the rich. As long as politicians offer something for nothing some voters will drink the Kool-Aid. For every one informed voter in the US there are 10 that vote the way they are told to. Sad

  • hisurfer

    Here’s what I want to know (and I haven’t seen any information yet on this): who do the current polls say will win in the swing states? Because Idaho and Utah are going to vote Republican regardless of the nominee, and New Jersey and Hawaii Democrat regardless.

    Tell me who can beat McCain in Michigan, Ohio, Florida, California … then I’ll listen to ya if you tell me the Repubs are dead, or that HC or BO are more electable.

  • hells kitchen guy

    I think Cindy McCain looks great. John McCain is in good shape.

    It’s too bad that so many people on our side of the aisle stoop to the kind of petty bullshit that the other side throws, especially, at Mrs. Clinton. attack him on his views and record – not his age, his hair, his wife.

  • hells kitchen guy

    I should add that i respect him as an individual. I suppose bill purdue thinks that puts me in the right-wing camp. (I wish I had his vacuous certainty in all things. Not.)

  • james_boston

    what is it that your respect about mccain hells kitchen guy? is it mccain’s involvement as one of the gang of 14 senators that had it’s slimy, bribe-taking hands in the savings and loan debacle back in the 80’s? is it mccain having no pride and kissing up to bush and his gang for the past 8 years despite bush sliming him and his family in south carolina with untrue rumors about mccain’s innocent, adopted asian child in 2000? is it his legendary explosive temper you admire, the same temper which worries mccain’s fellow conservative republican thad cochran of mississipi to say just the other day that “the thought of mccain as president sends chills down my spine”?

    that’s just what we need in the white house; an unhinged old fart with his hand on the button!

  • Bill Perdue

    james_boston – hells kitchen chickenhawk likes McCain because both of them are comfortable with the idea of killing people in the Middle East who oppose Bush’s oil piracy or who oppose zionist apartheid policies against the Palestinians.
    McCain, who expects a hundred year war in the Middle East, thirsts for revenge for being tortured and is willing to kill another million Iraqi’s and however many more GI’s it takes to get it.

    hells kitchen chickenhawk is also willing to waste Arab and GI’s lives to prop up zionist apartheid and even wants us to nuke everyone in Iran. He holds the racist view that Iranians and all muslims are subhuman. Just don’t expect hells kitchen chickenhawk to enlist. Like Cheney and Bush during Vietnam, hells kitchen chickenhawk thinks he’s a Precious National Asset and is content to let others do the dying.

  • james_boston

    hmmmm. so you’re saying bill, that chickenhawking begets chickenhawking? someone needs to warn people…at least hells kitchen chicken-hawk admires a veteran…usually they only admire other chicken-hawks.

    and i’m not even going into the rumors being advanced by local right-wing talk show hosts about how the manchurian candidate spent his years in vietnam.

  • Meeg

    I like the way things are turning out. Even if McCain were to win having him in the White House would be 100% better than what we have now.

    And if Conservatives are this upset with the impending McCain nomination maybe we will see a conservative third-party that would really help democrats.

  • Steve

    The extremely rich will always fund a political party, and use it to maintain or increase their wealth and privilege. The only way the “Republican” party can cease to exist is if their marketing types decide to change the name. Then it will still be the same old product, just with a new marketing campaign.

    I am far more worried that democracy (with a small d) may be extinct in the USA. Our elections have become a complete fraud. Our voting machines count votes the way the programmers (or their employers) want them counted, without regard for the way the voters actually cast them. Our elections departments are run by partisan political hacks, who see nothing wrong with rigged elections as long as the “right” candidate wins.

    We seriously need honest elections — with paper ballots, full chain-of-custody, witnesses from all sides, and counted in full public view. If we ever get honest elections, I expect the Fascist party that now calls itself “Republican” will hold very few offices. But, that is precisely why they cannot allow honest elections.

  • Bill Perdue

    Steve. Your comments are correct, but they’re fragmentary and incomplete. You’re totally right when you say “The extremely rich will always fund a political party, and use it to maintain or increase their wealth and privilege. “ In fact they’ve often switched their party allegiance with total confidence because there are only cosmetic differences between Democrats and Republicans. If they know the voters are pissed of at Bushes war, economic chaos and bigotry they close Door Number One, the red one, and open the blue door. When the “Applause” sign comes on the sheeple and the shills clap till it hurts and run of to vote for the latest less evil, er, savior.
    If you go to opensecrets dot org you’ll see graphic evidence of that. This year the big money is betting Democratic (sic). An example is the $100,000 that Faux News autocrat Rupert Murdoch ‘donated’ to Hillary Clinton.

    You’re right about fair elections, they don’t exist. The Electoral College, the fact that only the rich can afford the immense cost of campaigning, the twin party system, the primary system and laws that make it nearly impossible for third parties to get on the ballot all make for a profoundly undemocratic system.

    The only major disagreement I have is describing the Republicans as Fascist. It’s absolutely not true and although that could change everything in US political history says it won’t. In fact calling them Nazi’s is just election year hysteria intended to send people fleeing to the Democrats to ‘escape the ovens’. This silly season hype ignores the fact that Democrats and Republicans are killing cousins and both are owned by the rich. Democrats bear the responsibility for DOMA and DADT, gutting ENDA and dropping hate crimes bill; a record that proves beyond a doubt that Democrats are every bit as much enemies of our equality agenda as the Republicans. They wear different colors of eyeliner and lipstick but that’s the extent of it.

  • seitan-on-a-stick

    McCain could well beat Obama on Experience which is why the media is trying to dispense with Hillary. Will she rise once again like a Phoenix from the Ashes or have the Voters been Obama-washed?

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