The G.O.P. Is Finished — Stick a Fork in It

The experts think the Republican Party can get up off the canvas and stage a comeback, but don’t bet on it. The poor GOP isn’t really even a party anymore; it’s more like a vaudeville troupe scuttling from one backwater to the next performing the same worn slapstick. No wonder party membership is in the tank. Who wants to stick with a loser. George Bush drove a stake through the heart of the Party with his gratuitous wars and his reckless spending. He left behind a bloated, intrusive, out-of-control Federal government and an economy in tatters. Things have gotten so bad, the Party has a hard time fielding a second place candidate in a two-person race.

But the GOP’s problems run deeper than just Bush. The party has become an anachronism: a plodding, dogmatic, self righteous amalgam of disgruntled white zealots who are wildly out-of-step with the times. It’s become irrelevant, and that’s its biggest drawback. The party has lost its Reaganesque glitter and become a rigid, monochromatic “non-party” that no one pays much attention to apart from the occasional zinger on the Daily Show or Letterman. The truth is, the party is just plain dull.

That doesn’t mean the Democrats are any great shakes either. Far from it. In fact, the feckless Dems became Bush’s biggest enablers. In two terms they never stopped Bush once from doing exactly what he wanted, however heinous it might have been.

Wiretapping. Iraq. Torture. Never. The Dems never seemed to grasp that politics is more than just trolling for campaign contributions and preening for the camera. Every once in a while representatives are expected to earn their pay and show some guts. That message is lost on the Democrats.

The Democratic Party is loaded with pompous windbags like Barney Frank and Nancy Pelosi who “talk the talk” but never deliver the goods. Frank has proved over and over again that he’s just lobby fodder for the banking fraternity, faithfully doing their bidding and dressing it up in altruistic mumbo-jumbo. Pelosi’s just as bad. When she’s not applying tooth whitener or getting her hairpiece re-lacquered, she’s busy making sure that anything remotely resembling progressive legislation never reaches the floor of the House.

Yer doin’ a heckuva job, Nancy.

The only thing the Dems have going for them is that they’re not Republicans. They’re not the party that took over all three branches of government and then drove the country off a cliff. That’s how the Republican’s celebrate their victories — mass hara-kiri. In America’s 230-year history, no party has ever crashed and burned so fast or with such fanatical zeal. Republican leaders have been given a permanent roost at FOX News so they can appear from time to time and hurl stones at Obama or hold forth on the evils of illegal immigration. It’s just more of the same polarizing claptrap that keeps them from becoming a serious contender. They’re determined to dig an even bigger hole for themselves by opposing Obama at every turn. What are they thinking? Their ranks are already thinning faster than anyone expected, and now want to duke it out with the most popular president in modern times? No wonder they’re the brunt of every joke on late-night TV. The Republican strategy is tantamount to suicide.

Who Deep-sixed the G.O.P.?

Now that the election is over, the finger pointing has begun and everyone wants to know who’s responsible for destroying the Party. Naturally, the first name that comes to mind is George Bush. But Bush wasn’t as important as people think. He was chosen for the job because his supporters thought they could stitch together another Reagan and because he could be counted on to follow orders without question. But Bush wasn’t steering the ship o state. Not really. The administration was essentially a franchise split up between the three main actors: Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rove. Of those three, it was probably Rove who did the most damage through his backroom maneuvering, his ham-fisted public relations operations and his political arm-twisting. Rove’s bullyboy antics produced a number of short-term triumphs, but they cost the Party dearly in terms of credibility. Just look at the Terry Schiavo fiasco: an emotionally charged issue of personal morality that the administration turned into a circus sideshow. The poor husband was blasted as the devil incarnate for simply carrying out the explicit wishes of his stricken wife.

Michael Schiavo was ripped to shreds by a feral media that had become the propaganda arm of the White House. The incident had “Karl Rove” written all over it.

Eventually Rove’s wheeling and dealing caught up to him and he was forced to step down amidst a barrage of allegations. His scorched earth, “take no prisoners” approach galvanized the base, but alienated decent conservatives who were not comfortable with his win-at-all-cost shenanigans. Ultimately, the party of Lincoln became the party of Rove slipping its ideological moorings and abandoning all claims to moderation. By the time Rove left, the Party was in ruins.

Obama didn’t beat the Republicans. The Republicans beat themselves. It was a self-inflicted wound. The Party had become too ideologically rigid and self destructive. Besides, how much mileage can party get on a platform which only contains two planks: War and tax cuts? That’s not a vision of the future; it’s the fast-track to disaster.

The Republican Party has never been “the party of ideas”; that’s a complete myth. The Republican leadership hates ideas, because ideas mean social programs that divert money from the coffers business tycoons and crooked banksters. Republican ideas are different; they usually involve poking around people’s bedrooms telling them what they can and can’t do or railing against science like evolution or stem cells. The party should lay off ideas altogether and do what they do best; traditional values. Republicans have always been able to sell the notion that America needs to return to some mythic “Golden Age” where Pops ran the corner store and Mom baked cherry pies. That idealized vision resonates with a broad cross-section of the voting public. The Republicans should go back to the things that won them elections and forget the war on immigrants.

The United States has always veered to the right politically, so winning elections shouldn’t be hard for a party that truly represents conservative values. But the Republican Party doesn’t represent conservative values, that’s another myth. In fact, the party isn’t really even pro life. If they were, then Bush would have pushed for anti-abortion legislation when he controlled both houses of congress. But he didn’t, because he knew that if the Republicans put an end to the abortion flap for good, half of their base would have no reason to drag themselves to the polls every two years. Preserving abortion as a permanent issue is all part of a cynical calculation to keep the single-issue fanatics engaged. The Republicans will never end abortion. It’s their meal ticket.

Republicans seem to like their role as minority party; they were never comfortable governing anyway. Besides, wandering aimlessly through the political wilderness has its upside, too. There’s more time for drumming up campaign contributions and appearances on Hannity with the other far-right screwballs. There’s even time to work on that slice and (hopefully) shave a few points off the old golf game. Political parties are like people. They should do what suits their temperament. The Republicans aren’t suited for governing; they had their chance and they made a mess of it. And that’s a good thing, because no one wants another eight years like the last.

Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He can be reached at: Read other articles by Mike.

32 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. rg the lg said on May 6th, 2009 at 11:40am #


    I wish I could agree.

    The Republicans ARE NOT FINISHED. There will be a resurgence … though the current bunch of wind – bags touting the same old, same old of Reagan-Bushism is NOT likely to pull people to their banner.

    The democrats, as exemplified by the Obama phenomena … Bush policies being carried out with a note of sincerity … and a different style is little more than the same old same old. But at some point there will be a sense that we need a change … and then …

    The so-called agent of change will be changed.

    Our alleged political parties switch around every now and then so that the illusion of democracy can be maintained … but it was an illusion at the beginning, is an illusion now, and will be an illusion for the foreseeable future.

    Still I do have to admire your hopefulness … I guess …

    RG the LG
    Cynically Skeptical

  2. Yanaar said on May 6th, 2009 at 4:43pm #

    I think you’re right on. There may be a new GOP sometime in the future, but it’s not going to include the psychos that are passing as normal people anytime soon. But for now, we can expect alot of burbs and farts as the GOP continues to fail to “get it,” and dig their own grave.

    The country is moving left. It’s pretty simple.

  3. opeluboy said on May 6th, 2009 at 4:52pm #

    Moses had 40 years in the wilderness. That sounds about right.

  4. brian said on May 6th, 2009 at 6:58pm #

    Both parties are atrocious..All americans can hope for is the system collapses allowing a Chavez to arise.

    Of course, a hitler could or Netanyahoo could also arise…

  5. Terry said on May 6th, 2009 at 10:09pm #

    As the saying goes, Democrats and Republicans are two wings of the same bird. Unfortunately for us disenfranchised American citizens, this goose is cooked.

    Will the last person to leave the Empire please turn out the lights?

  6. Christopher Lee said on May 6th, 2009 at 11:05pm #

    Mike Whitney wrote, “Blah blah blah blah blah, Republican Party, blah blah blah.” Get this: THERE IS NO REPUBLICAN PARTY, THERE IS NO DEMOCRATIC PARTY! There is… JUST A PARTY! AND WE AREN’T INVITED! What is the difference between democracy and the illusion of democracy? It’s no different than being in love and thinking your in love. Get it?

  7. J WIlson said on May 7th, 2009 at 1:12pm #

    So much to agree with, so much to disagree with. I agree with your evil Triumvirate of Blame but disagree with the idea of getting back to the ‘mom and pop values’. Sure it sounds good to the Baby Boomers because we are really the last generation that remembers or maybe even experienced that phenomenon. Our children grew up rebelling against that in the 60’s. Became distrustful of the government in the 70’s and were disappointed along with the rest of us when those infamous three words were uttered that spelled the absolute end of the American Dream.
    I trusted and had great hopes that Bush 41 wold be the continuation of the values revival began by Reagan. Never mind that Reagan actually raised taxes, offered amnesty and other distinctly non-republican issues. The Dream died when Bush the Elder violated his “Read My Lips” pledge. I was astounded that a man could so boldly and blatantly contradict a previous pledge.
    The Dream died that day. I haven’t voted for an ‘R’ or a ‘D’ since. So far I’ve not regretted that decision.

  8. Brooke Wilson said on May 7th, 2009 at 1:24pm #

    You’re right, Christopher. It’s just A party and it doesn’t matter who you vote for. You’re going to end up with scum every time. Unless we ALL start recalling candidates who continue to kow-tow to corporate fascists.

    I’m hoping all the 10th Amendment states start seceding. Go Texas!

  9. Richard said on May 7th, 2009 at 1:35pm #

    I’m hearing “not a dime’s worth of difference between them”… I’m old enough to remember the politician who first used that phrase. That was George Wallace, the Alabama governor who famously stood in the school house door to prevent blacks from enrolling in U of A. He was certainly a racist but that was not his only appeal. He tapped into the resentment of average white people who quite correctly thought main stream politicians of both parties cared nothing for them.
    We need a viable third party which, if it cannot win, can deny victory to whichever major party happens to be worst in a given election.
    We need to make secession respectable again. No empire can survive secession; the sooner we destroy our empire the better for us and the better for our “allies”. Our empire will fall. The only question is how much money and how many lives it will take down with it.
    BTW, is this a progressive website? If so, why can’t I find the word “Israel” anywhere on it? Does anyone think Israel is NOT in favor of our wars on Iraq and Afghanistan and soon to be Iran?

  10. D. Keane said on May 7th, 2009 at 1:38pm #

    There is only ONE party, THE WAR PARTY, it is STATIST thru and thru.
    It agrees on all wars: The Iraq war, the Afghanistan war, the war on drugs, the war on poverty, the war on illiteracy, the war on males, the war on nuclear energy, the war on the human rights, the war on private property, etc., etc. ad nauseum.

    Nock had it right, The State(ie.the WAR PARTY)is the Enemy.

    Free men need no leader or ruler, the men and women of the Enlightenment knew this. We are entering dark days bathed
    in fear, ignorance and evil. Jefferson and and Thoreau had it
    right, the government that governs least governs best, and
    perhaps the best government of all in NONE.

  11. bozh said on May 7th, 2009 at 1:52pm #

    i too am astounded that many jornalists 0n DV still speak of two parties in US.
    there is only one, tho peculiar, governance in US, not two. tnx

  12. robertsgt40 said on May 7th, 2009 at 1:55pm #

    We haven’t had a two party system since long before they could cook the vote. It’s two heads on a single monster working for the same evil ends. When the rule of law is abandoned, it doesn’t make a rat’s as which “party” is in “control”. It’s all an illusion.

  13. Big M said on May 7th, 2009 at 2:00pm #

    I don’t pay any attention to polls, so I don’t know where Mike got his line that Osama is the most popular American Fascist-in-Chief of modern times, but if it’s true, considering what he’s already done, it’s testament to the enduring stupidity of Americans.

    And as for the country “moving Left,” that would explain why all of these “progressive” idiots (progressive is a communist term, by the way) think that government should “solve” every problem known to man. If these jerks would pick their noses up out of their books, and actually strive to use the gray matter upstairs, they’d realize that government is the CAUSE of practically every major problem confronting this country, and will NEVER be the solution.

    When I think that these tens of millions of stupid shits have the right to reproduce and vote for people who make laws, I want to start drinking until my kidneys explode. The only hope in the long run for this country is if the nearly 100 million gun owners finally decide they’ve had enough, and instead of killing their families or co-workers, they take care of the right people once and for all.

  14. Jason said on May 7th, 2009 at 2:17pm #

    Oh they said the same thing about the dems in 2000, and 2004. They said the party couldn’t get it together. Every 8-16 years people get totally fed up with the party in power, and for a few months they say the other side is finished. Neither side has a good track record on much of anything, so you can be sure, after the dems surge, there will be a downfall and we will repeat the same bullsh*t we have done before. It’s all the same party anyway. They just want you to believe otherwise.

  15. joed said on May 7th, 2009 at 2:35pm #

    hello Big M,
    what you said about guns is just what the govt says about you. now, who has the best chance in that fight? advice fer ya’: don’t go to a gun fight with a knife! now, if you want to stop the govt then just stop buying stuff you dont need. the govt will collapse in short order.
    those 100 million gun owners are just as stupid and shitty as any other amerikan. if any amerikan was gonna’ do something to stop the govt then they woulda’ done it years ago. no, your gun owners aren’t the answer. killing is not the answer. stop being a consumer–now thats an answer! also, non-violent civil-disobedience is probably the very best answer. put that in your google and learn something.

  16. Troxel said on May 7th, 2009 at 3:07pm #

    Republicans are a morally bankrupt political party. To emphasis this point just look at the position they took regarding offshore accounts hiding profits from taxation, “This practice should not be investigated or stopped since it would create an increasing tax burden on businesses.” What a load. Anyone who hides profits in offshore accounts is basically stealing from the American people, in that they will face higher taxes to pay for lost revenues. The correct stance our government should take is that any offshore accounts that cannot promptly show a 1040 income tax form to associate with these profits should have them completely confiscated. This would result with many businesses permanently moving operations to other countries. To counter this, the US government must then put in place import tariffs on all non-agricultural products; resulting in the end of free trade. American businesses have been leaking out of the country for years with no effort to keep them here. American manufacturing bases is a ghost of its former self. Innovation, the driving ideal that starts new businesses and manufacturing, is dead. No money to bank innovation and secrecy orders to restrain it, if it competes with carbon venders. Welcome to present day America.

  17. Tennessee-Chavizta said on May 7th, 2009 at 4:11pm #

    MIKE WHITNEY: I wish you were right, but remember that millions of americans are uneducated and dumbed down. In fact here is a good article about how most US citizens are too dumbed down even with internet and computers americans get into facebook, myspace and porn-sites instead of philosophy, science and news sites:


    Chris Herz: US citizens have been relentlessly propagandized and “dumbed down”

    VHeadline’s Washington DC-based commentarist Chris Herz writes: As a young field grade officer, Hugo Chavez Frias was witness from the inside to the massive repression of its own helpless citizens by the then supposedly democratic government of Venezuela. Disgusted with shedding the blood of those whom his service was sworn to protect this obscure soldier attempted a coup against the violent corruption of the Fourth Republic. The rest is history.

    This phenomenon is not uncommon in today’s world. Remember, it was a young Russian subaltern who instead of attacking Boris Yeltsin and the people of Moscow disobeyed his orders and turned his tank around to attend his real duty: To defend the citizens. That was the day the Soviet Union died. Then in Serbia, the army and the police refused their orders to fire on their own kinfolk. At that moment the dictator Milosevic was history!

    I am forced to think of this reading in Le Monde Diplomatique how the French Army is using an old Soviet base in Germany to train for the suppression of uprisings in the Paris suburbs. And here in the USA the imperial Army is being made to reorganize itself for a role in what is laughably called “law enforcement”. Nervously its leaders prepare for the day when the battle of Fallujah will be re-fought in Detroit. Even with the heavy drain on its limited manpower this force retains 20,000 men in the homeland security forces.

    What they will be defending, of course is the sort of law the bandits now plundering the US state enforce against everyone but themselves. How long the Army’s morale will bear this is anyone’s guess.

    Nothing is more destructive to good order and military discipline than the misuse of an army in the suppression of democracy and its own people. Such forces become what we saw in Argentina, for instance. A military accustomed to assaulting its own unarmed civilians succumbed in the Malvinas almost immediately to a much smaller British professional force.

    But as state after state loses political legitimacy what is left to a ruling oligarchy but to attempt to rest their regime upon their military command? A government like that of the Fourth Republic or like the USA now, is only a life-support system for a bunch of corrupt kleptocrats. And surely we have now enough experience with the corporate, bureaucratized state whether Soviet or capitalist to understand this is what it always must come to.

    US citizens have been relentlessly propagandized and “dumbed down” by a corporate media for generations now. But this same people are also very heavily armed and exploit language in the national constitution to insist they keep these arms. For they also sense what is being done to them.

    Last week two of my young journeymen took me with them to the country and with some other young men we met there we all had a merry time blazing away at targets with a quite considerable arsenal. I was amazed that among four men there were no less than a dozen weapons, two of which were but slightly modified modern military assault rifles. Each of which with a few minutes attention from any skilled machinist could become a light machine gun. There also were three Russian rifles and one German of World War vintage. Police-type shotguns and pistols completed the armory.

    Here in the exurban landscape of the USA such people are far from unusual. In the cities thousands keep pistols in their homes. It is also now commonplace to hear from all sides of the need for rebellion. Most of these persons are deeply suspicious of both our ruling factions. They understand that the Republicans and the Democrats each represent no one other than factions of the elites. They dimly comprehend in a politically naive way that for many years the people have been abused. Manipulated, whipsawed between the two, for the glutting of what is now openly a parasitical elite. This is certainly just what I heard from my young colleagues.

    Since 1789 the constitutional order of the USA has been a device for the organized plunder of nature and society by this elite. Most major change in US history, whether the separation from the British Empire, or the liberation of the slaves has not been addressed politically. It has taken armed struggle to really change things. The time is not distant when the regime in Washington must consider how to disarm the peasants. After all, if they wish to reduce wages to the Chinese or Mexican level, as they certainly do, they can hardly leave all these weapons in the hands of so many workers.

    The Democratic Party have had for years impulses to start on this task. But the Republicans have cynically exploited this fear of disarmament in the face of corrupt and autocratic governance, so for the moment our armed workers exist in this fracture between the two ruling factions. But just as the task of the modern Democratic Party is now to figure out how to withdraw Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid from the people the task of the next Republican regime will be to discover some means of national disarmament.

    An autocratic warfare state cannot do otherwise.

    From the imperial capital

    Chris Herz


  18. Tennessee-Chavizta said on May 7th, 2009 at 4:19pm #




  19. Deadbeat said on May 7th, 2009 at 5:15pm #

    T-C thanks for posting. It’s great to see that VHeadlines is back.

  20. Suthiano said on May 7th, 2009 at 7:17pm #

    “Mr. Friedman was chairman of the New York Fed at the same time he was a member of Goldman’s board. He also had a substantial stake in the firm as the Fed was crafting a solution to keep Wall Street banks afloat,”

    Hahaha, if Friedman is resigning because of his ties to Goldman Sachs, then the whole goddamn government/federal reserve should resign.


  21. Bob said on May 8th, 2009 at 8:22am #

    A vicious, rabid, lethal article….but accurate

  22. Enzo said on May 8th, 2009 at 3:11pm #

    Yes, the Republicans ARE finished. They are attracting zero young members. Their ideas are ridiculous and only the religious wackjobs run the party.

    Republicans are against abortion, but pro death penalty?
    Republicans are patriotic, but majority in Texas & Georgia want to secede?
    Republicans think Sarah Palin is some kind of leader?
    Republicans leaders are Ann Coulter & Rush Limbaugh? Lol
    Republicans think it is ok to spend billions on wars, but not healthcare?
    Republicans call Obama socialist but Bush gave away trillions?
    Republicans believe stem cell research is bad?
    Republicans only issue is abortion? That’s all I ever hear.

    Republicans are shrinking down to nothing and will never be more than a regional party anymore. Their who philosophy is out of touch with the mainstream. I actually voted for W, but will never vote Republican again.

  23. Hue Longer said on May 8th, 2009 at 4:26pm #

    I love people who rail against government and taxes…I imagine them getting all fired up about it while driving down a road they by themselves didn’t pave.

  24. lichen said on May 8th, 2009 at 6:04pm #

    When will the democrats also be finished? And what about the end of the autocracy we have now, and the beginning of a direct democracy?

  25. Danny Ray said on May 8th, 2009 at 7:59pm #

    democrats are for abortion, but anti death penalty?
    democrats are patriotic, but majority in New York and Calif ornia want the rest of America to shut up and go away
    democrats think Barak Obama is some kind of leader?
    democrats leaders are Al Gore & Arianna huffington? Lol
    democrats think it is ok to spend billions on healthcare but not on freedom?
    democrats call Bush crazy but obama gave away trillions?
    democrats believe stem cell research is good?
    democrats only issue is abortion? That’s all I ever hear.

    See Enzo how easy it is?

    Lichen, Direct demoracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner. it works well as long as you are a majority but poorly when you are a minority.

  26. lichen said on May 8th, 2009 at 8:58pm #

    Direct democracy is empowering communities to collectively decide the policies which effect their lives, but is backed up by an egalitarian constitution, so no, ugly minds like yours don’t have it pinned down.

  27. bozh said on May 9th, 2009 at 6:38am #

    question arises! Uncle may never allow more than one party or politicians to squabble about anything of importance like healthcare or no wars for acquision of land and resources.
    these and other very important topics are taboo to politicians and clergy. tnx

  28. Danny Ray said on May 9th, 2009 at 7:02am #

    Lichen, in a perfect world direct democracy will work; unfortunately, we do not now and never have lived in a perfect world. In addition, the only way to make it perfect would be to eliminate humanity and start over.

    as for an egalitarian constitution, they all start off that way but any document can and will be bent any way you need to bend it. Look at the Koran and the Bible both teaches love and understanding but people bend them to mean anything they will. Look at your self, you obviously have no respect for any opinion except your own, I am sure you and others here would be happy to enforce your belief on others thru the power of a constitution. This is a truism if you live in a huge county or a small village.

    Moreover, as for my ugly (and you left out little) mind, what we see in others in mostly a reflection of our selves. I have read many of your comments, you say the most hurtful things about any one and anything that goes across the grain of what you believe, but you refuse to have your own beliefs examined.

  29. bozh said on May 9th, 2009 at 7:29am #

    danny ray,
    please allow me to jerk your ear!? We know there is nothing perfect. Neither are we out to create an utopian or perfect world.
    OK, here i am speaking for others; chnage it to me talking for self only.

    it wld be beneficial when talking about a better strucure of governance if we wld totaly avoid using the word “democracy”. No one has to date experienced it. It doesn’t exist anywhere and may never be possible; especially in utopian sense.

    instead of using lofty and far- removed- from- reality- words like “democracy”, “capitalism”, or “socialism” let’s talk and muse about the basic panhuman rights.
    such as right to healthcare, peace, to be educated/informed/represented by a political party, etc.
    such basic rights- or as i say peoples’ inheritance- is obtainable but only thru a political party that wld diametrically oppose the one party uncle has.
    uncle not being stupid to have two or more parties like most other lands; he’ ll do everything possible to thwart establishment of a party that wld represent low and lower classes.
    it is up to young amers to get going or remain for decennia/centuries an underclass. tnx

  30. Don Hawkins said on May 9th, 2009 at 7:41am #

    And underclass is with knowledge the place to be and very free. Granted it must be fully understood but once you got it you got it.

  31. Danny Ray said on May 9th, 2009 at 8:51am #

    I think you are agreeing with me, I was telling Lichen how direct democracy will never work.

  32. bozh said on May 9th, 2009 at 10:00am #

    OK, danny,
    i have misunderstood you. You were saying that there is no perfection!
    right on!
    but you’d agree, i think, a better governance and thus better gov’t is possible to achieve?

    i also hope you make a distinction btwn governance [constitution, jurisprudence, ruthless competition, etc.] and gov’ts.
    these are much different realities; i.e., there is a difference btwn management of a people’s affairs and guiding principles under which a gov’t shld labor? tnx