Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The Unelectable Republicans

The surprisingly large disparity, detailed here, that has emerged between Democratic and Republican presidential candidate fundraising, just re-confirms one thing: the Republicans have become simply unelectable. After being twice burned the past two presidential elections, there is just no possibility left that America is going to vote a Republican into the White House in 2008.

The only way out from this is if one of the GOP candidates ran against the Bush-Cheney legacy, in a big, dramatic way. But the current crop of candidates doesn't seem to recognize that. On the contrary, the center of weight of the Republican party has steered so far to the extreme right-wing, and all of the GOP presidential candidates are falling all over each other trying to be the favorite of that extreme right-wing. It's doubtful anyone could win the GOP primary these days without running to the extreme right-wing, but that strategy at the same time ensures absolute unelectability in the general election.

Bush somehow managed to squeek by his reelection in 2004, but it was literally within a month or two of that reelection that his ratings took a nose-dive toward the low thirties to high twenties, from which he has not recovered - with very good reason, of course. All the GOP presidential candidates are running essentially on the Bush platform: they are all aiming for that 28% approval rating, which will be equal to what their draw will be in the general election.

Only, even that is being too generous, because most of them are actually running farther to the right of Bush. Romney, Giuliani and Thompson have all parted sharply with Bush on immigration, including Thompson's astonishingly ignorant and ill-considered suggestion that Cuban immigrants are likely to be dangerous secret agents of Castro. Romney wants to double Guantanamo and make sure habeas rights stay good and dead. Giuliani can't get enough of waterboarding, and thinks it's an awesome idea. Even though McCain has thrown away the only qualities that used to set him apart with many Republican voters to join the rest of the GOP candidates in pandering to the extreme right-wing, at least give him credit for making some noises about waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation being unacceptable. Not much credit though, since he didn't match his words with deeds in helping pass the Military Commissions Act, which purports to immunize officials for torture and make statements gained under enhanced interrogation admissible in a judicial proceeding. And the GOP base has left McCain dwindling into a second-tier candidate for even what half-hearted stabs at American ideals he has made.

At this rate, the GOP candidate in the general election will end up only wishing his share of the vote was as high as Bush's 30% approval rating.

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