posted on March 19, 2013 10:06
Senator Phil Berger says national Republicans have a messenger problem, not a message problem. Democrats might well hope he believes that.
After attending CPAC – the right-wing Woodstock – Berger told Travis Fain at the Greensboro News & Record: “It’s not just a communication problem. Sometimes it’s the individual messengers ... (and) some folks who lend themselves to caricature.”
Berger said Republican policies “are supported by a broad spectrum of people.” And he liked this assessment by Texas Gov. Rick Perry:
“The popular media narrative is that this country has shifted away from conservative ideals, as evidenced by the last two presidential elections. That’s what they think. That’s what they say. That might be true, if Republicans had actually nominated conservative candidates in 2008 and 2012.”
Now for a completely different view – from a Democrat who helped rescue his party from its ideological death spiral in the 1980s and 1990s. Will Marshall, who started the Democratic Leadership Council that led to Bill Clinton that led to a Democratic revival, writes in the Daily Beast that Republicans today are where Democrats were then: caught in “the politics of evasion. They know their electoral base is shrinking, but only a few have connected the dots between their demographic quandary and their ideological stridency….
“Angry extremists have hijacked the party, and someone is going to have to wrest it away from them. If the New Democrats’ experience is any guide, there will be blood.”
Marshall says “the key difference between Democrats in 1989 and Republicans in 2013 (is that) the DLC spoke to, and for, a Democratic rank and file that was considerably more moderate than the party establishment. For Republicans, however, the ‘base’ is the problem, not the solution. Radicalism rises from the grass roots. The Tea Party–Club for Growth axis is still eager to punish ideological deviation, threatening to ‘primary’ GOP officeholders who show the slightest inclination toward compromise. And it’s not just intimidation: thanks to a combination of geographic sorting and gerrymandering, many House Republicans can truthfully claim to be faithfully representing their constituents who sent them to Washington to pull down the Temple, not to do deals with Democrats. That’s why the House stands for now at least as the Proud Tower of unbending right-wing orthodoxy.
“Eventually it will fall—just as the Democrats’ House bastion fell in 1994. But it will probably take more GOP losses to convince conservatives that they need to build majorities within an actually existing America, not the America of their dreams.”