One blogger’s personal bridge to nowhere

Why the Republicans should have seen this coming

And it’s not just because the unpopularity of the incumbent president — he of the lowest approval ratings in American history — has turned the (R) next to their names into a singing indictment.  In short, it’s because, from the outset of this nearly two-year campaign season, the Republicans have not had any good candidates to succeed him.

As the growing poll deficit belatedly atttests to, John McCain was never really an ideal candidate.  He is old, cranky, and tempestuous, and his desperate reliance on mud-slinging only makes him seem more so.  Perhaps worse, he was never truly embraced by a significant cohort of the Right — remember his unpopularity with former Jerry Falwell (an “agent of intolerance” until an oh-so-tolerant hug made the two chums) and erstwhile Hillary Clinton supporter Rush Limbaugh.  His attempted makeover into a conservative ideologue makes him look even more ghostly than does the actual makeup that tries to keep him from looking like what he really is — an old man in the headlights.

Unfortunately for the GOP, the bus is coming, it shows no signs of slowing, and, even had the powers-that-be connived to select a sprightlier dodger of Democratic destiny, they really had no one to craft into the Roveian mold.  Rudy Giuliani?  Yeah 9/11 right.  Mitt Romney?  A Mormon — which is not insignificant for those “agents of intolerance” — who flipped more than the figure skaters in the Olympics that he supposedly saved.  Mike Huckabee?  Grover Norquist and the tax mavens would not have been too keen to make that happen.

This is obviously only a cursory run-down.  But the point is clear: the Republicans this round were doomed by underwhelming, one-dimensional, and/or ideologically problematic candidates.  Most of them needed to redefine themselves (Ron Paul being only the most literal to do so) as Republicans — and then try to out-Republican one another — even to compete in the primaries.  The redefinition is clearly due for a party in such dire straights, but by 2012, they’ll have to actually synchronize this definition with a viable candidate.

October 20, 2008 - Posted by | Conservatives, U.S. politics |

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