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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Re: The History of a Split

Posted by on Wed, Apr 29, 2009 at 10:13 AM

Because commenters are so quick to point out when I'm wrong (though I'm not really wrong), I have to point out when I'm really right. As I predicated last year, the split of the GOP is now a happening. Rush telling McCain and his daughter to do like Specter and leave the GOP is nothing more than a symptom, an expression of the rupture of a hegemonic bloc that was fused in the late 70s. For now, the size of the Democratic party will swell (an effect of the economic crisis), but the moment things start stabilizing, a new party between the liberals (poor minorities and the educated class) and the base of the GOP (whites in the work class) will emerge. It will be a secular and pragmatic form of the GOP (the business class). The Europeanization of American politics will be completed without the world wars that transformed European politics. This result will be the end of a kind of history.

On September 4, 2008, I posted this:

What we learned from Palin’s speech? In 2004, the enemy was terrorism. RNC’s one message: terrorism is a real threat and the greatest military force is needed to defeat it. This time around, the enemy is simply one person, Obama. The single issue on the party’s mind is Obama. The Republican convention is not about McCain but his opponent. The speakers can look neither right or left but only straight ahead at the giant Obama. Why this magnificent obsession? Because of this one fear: If the reasonable Obama goes in the White House, America will never return to their crazy end of the political spectrum. Obama is being attacked not because he is black, but because he represents the Europeanization of the American democracy.

On October 15, 2008, I posted this:

...The real rupture in American politics is in the area of the Republican party. The exact location of this break is between its working-class base and the top layer of its professional/business elites. The break is not an isolated event but a part of the larger transformation of American politics—its current Europeanization. Obama's rise to power is also a consequence of this process. The result of Obama's presidency will be an increase of the government's role in the management of civil society; as for the break in the GOP, the result will be an American political system that has three parts: the Dems, the Republicans, and the far right. Or put another way: Obama, McCain, and Palin. The post-Obama problem for the Republicans will be how to draw to its side the more moderate elements of the hegemonic block that the Dems consolidated in Denver. As for Palin's far-right party, which, like its corresponding party in Austria, could well be called The Freedom Party, will remain powerful but never strong enough to control the political system.

On April 2, 2009, CNN posted this:

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich is warning of a third party mutiny in 2012 if Republicans don’t figure out a way to shape up.

“If the Republicans can’t break out of being the right wing party of big government, then I think you would see a third party movement in 2012,” Gingrich said Tuesday. The speech, to a group of students at the College of the Ozarks in Missouri, was recorded by Springfield TV station KY3.

On Friday April 3, I posted this:

My belief is in the larger steps of history. True, diurnal details are important, but only in the sense of explaining larger shifts and transformations in huge blocks of time. It is here, in thinking about the moment in historical blocks, that my Hegelianism comes out and shows its whole self. But because I think in the terms of historical movements and moments does not mean that I'm wrong. The big picture is often more true than the details of the daily.


Comments (26) RSS

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Just what kind of history are you talking about, Charles? The fruit flavored, packaged variety or the organic locally grown type?
Posted by I like mine with bacon on April 29, 2009 at 10:20 AM · Report this
Chuck, it's not so much a question of right or wrong when it comes to your writing. It's more of a question of sufferable or insufferable and you sir are definitely the latter.
Posted by bob on April 29, 2009 at 10:20 AM · Report this
This is something that has been predicted for some time. The problem is that change within the parties that exist is much easier. The GOP was not always the jesus freak party it is today and the dems not always so socially liberal.

Many have tried to form a viable third way (Perot being the most recent one that was moderately successful) but non have succeeded in a long long time.
Posted by sgiffy on April 29, 2009 at 10:25 AM · Report this
As more and more of the business class and suburban middle class voters turn Democratic, the remaining Republican party is an increasingly poor demographic that could turn the party toward economic populism. Obviously we're not there yet, but I could see it happening over the next 20 years. The two parties are like a slowly spinning yin/yang, each chasing the other's tail.
Posted by BP on April 29, 2009 at 10:25 AM · Report this
Good for you, Charles, it must be nice when someone acknowleges that you were right after they've claimed you were wrong.
Posted by Jaheem Herrera's mother on April 29, 2009 at 10:28 AM · Report this
Charles, you are not the first person to write that the party would change.

You can cast a very large net, and hey, if you catch a minnow, TIME TO START BOASTING!

It's disingenuous and it demonstrates much of the Stranger's success when it comes to things like this (Urban Archipelago, etc.).
Posted by Over_It on April 29, 2009 at 10:28 AM · Report this
The party of Jesus is done for. So much the better for everyone. If a business class rises, as the new Republican party, I don't think they will be in the mood for any of that right wing religious oppression that Bush slavishly followed. It was bad for America because we are at our hearts a pragmatic people. "What does science say?" should be our new mantra. Now all we need to do is clean up the Supreme Court.
Posted by Vince on April 29, 2009 at 10:28 AM · Report this
Interesting, Charles.

Good riddance to those traitors in the party of No.
Posted by Will in Seattle on April 29, 2009 at 10:31 AM · Report this
Commenters are quick to point out when you're wrong? I think it's an oversimplification to boil down commenter distaste for you to a simple right/wrong dichotomy. I have noticed that you are often accused of being tasteless, callous, insufferable, incomprehensible or incapable of making a complete argument about a given topic, but not so much flat-out wrong.

And yes, you (among many others) were right about the G.O.P. split that we are now witnessing. Good job.
Posted by Hernandez on April 29, 2009 at 10:33 AM · Report this
Just because Newt Gingrich says it doesn't make it so. The various elements of the Republican Party can bicker all they want, but when push comes to shove, nobody wants to be the third party in a two party system. If there's one thing Republicans know how to do, it's fall in line.
Posted by Brandon J. on April 29, 2009 at 10:34 AM · Report this
Unfortunately for us all, our system is not currently equipped to allow for a third party to arise. How many electoral votes can a third contender snag? Zero, because the vast majority of states allocate their votes on an all-or-none basis.
Posted by chris on April 29, 2009 at 10:34 AM · Report this
eh - it could also be that the third party is birthed from the democrat side.

repubs become right wing, dems become working class, new party is green/educated/liberal/poor/etc... party.

i'm not sure which of these three would be the new corporate party.
Posted by infrequent on April 29, 2009 at 10:37 AM · Report this
maybe the corporate party will align with the libertarian party.... a four party system!
Posted by infrequent on April 29, 2009 at 10:40 AM · Report this
@11 Yeah if you are aiming for the presidency. Congressional districts are not that big, and legislative ones smaller still. An organized third party could easily ensure that every person in a district heard their ideas and message. Hell a candidate could probably knock on a fair number of the doors and talk to many of the voters (Ferguson did it in his run for County Council). There is little media for any candidate so that is not really a factor and it would not take much money. Certainly less than third parties blow on races they lost before they filed for election.

But third parties don't do this. They focus on high profile difficult to win races like president or governor. Honestly I think they do this because they know that they would lose as its not a matter of people hearing their message but agreeing with it.
Posted by sgiffy on April 29, 2009 at 10:42 AM · Report this
Good Morning Charles,
I disagree with your view of the Republican Party. But, I agree with your macro-view of history. The Republican Party was in terrible shape in 64' and 74' just like the Democratic party was in 80' and 94'. They both revived. I'm sorry to see Specter go. I like him in the GOP (like Specter, I'm a moderate Republican and voted for McCain). And, no, Obama isn't a giant yet. He's been in office a mere 100 days. Finally, the enemy is terror:…

There will be no revolution or viable 3rd party. Obama has his hands full with a great economic crisis and a possible pandemic. Overnight, things could swing right back to the GOP.
Posted by lark on April 29, 2009 at 10:43 AM · Report this
IF the Republican party really does fade out and lose power, that will leave a funny/sad legacy:
Started with Abraham Lincoln and ended with George W. Bush.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on April 29, 2009 at 10:45 AM · Report this
Only occasionally is it a question of right or wrong, usually when you take the world as you've stereotyped it to be and not as it actually is. For example, you are wrong about working class whites. Take a look at the recent demographic research by Andrew Gelman---he's even written a popular science book about it so it should be accessible to you.

Most of the time your "ideas" are a rehashing of op-ed page wisdom dressed up in the language of someone who desperately wants others to think that he's smart. In fumbling with even those simple ideas you manage to botch them into something that, as the canard from Wolfgang Pauli goes, is "not right. It's not even wrong."
Posted by N on April 29, 2009 at 10:53 AM · Report this
@15 You know, people like you like to point out that Obama has been in office one hundred days and he's been wrong all along. But Bush was president nine months when we were attacked and you never hear people like you blame him for having his head in the sand. Things will not swing back to the GOP for a long while because they are just plain lousy at governing.
Posted by Vince on April 29, 2009 at 10:59 AM · Report this
I never said Obama has been wrong all along. I said he's been in office 100 days.
Posted by lark on April 29, 2009 at 12:03 PM · Report this
The collapse of the finance capitalism has made the Chinese model attractive to a lot of those who naturally tend towards authoritarianism. The term "Beijing Consensus" has been getting tossed around a lot lately. The Euro Central Bank seems to be working for Germany and France, but failing other countries (Spain). There's a new admiration among policymakers for the kind of central planning and state banking that has propelled China's remarkable growth.
Posted by Curmudgeon on April 29, 2009 at 12:24 PM · Report this
The problem with history is that it all depends on where your reference points are. When you discuss "the larger steps of history," to what exactly are you referring? The Republican party, for instance, has already gone through at least one major cleve in its ranks in the last 100 years, when the sitting Republican president (Theodore Roosevelt) broke ranks with his party to run as the Progressive candidate in 1912. That intra-party split continued well into the 1920s.

My point is that even if the current Republican party splits along the lines you're talking about, it by no means heralds the kind of enduring permanance implied by a "larger step" of history. Just as the Republican party reunified in the face of Democrat FDR's 4-term run, and the Democrats reunified after the Dixiecrat runs of Strom Thurmond and Harry Byrd, it's more likely this is just a passing footnote. There may be some upheaval, but in the end there is no reason to doubt that America's politics will soon return to the 2-party template it has mostly followed throughout its existence.
Posted by schmacky on April 29, 2009 at 12:29 PM · Report this
Hegelian teleology is in the eye of the beholder. And it's a bunch of crap. Shit happens then folks comb through looking to hew that crap to their notion of progress. See Walter Benjamin's take on Klee's painting Angelus Novus - it belies the notion of historical march towards or away from anything, much less "the end" of any kind of history.
Posted by oxyala trio on April 29, 2009 at 1:00 PM · Report this
#15 is right. Specter leaving is no more an indicator of a GOP crack-up than Sen. Richard Shelby's defection to the GOP in 1994 was an indicator of a Democratic crack-up.
Posted by Reader on April 29, 2009 at 1:00 PM · Report this
Horn meet Mudede's lips...
Posted by Smoked Salmon Lover on April 29, 2009 at 1:30 PM · Report this
have they tried family counseling?

and who gets custody of the Palin kids?
Posted by michael strangeways on April 29, 2009 at 2:37 PM · Report this
Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In 26
Well Charles, looks like you sure rustled someone's jimmies. Somethin' fierce.

(btw, I keep the unregistereds off-- I don't need any more crazy in my life, thank you: I get enough of it from Congress & the Republicans.)
Posted by Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In on October 17, 2013 at 10:38 AM · Report this

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