Monday, January 15, 2007

The Bilboization of the Republican Party in the former Confederate States

As most everyone has heard, if they read a paper or watch news, Rep. Goode (R-Virginia) and numerous rightwing commentators had a fit over Rep. Keith Ellison taking his oath of office using a Koran.

It would seem to me the big issue would be the effectiveness of any of these oaths by any religious faith. For right-wing conservatism it seems that the necessity is to have hysteria over nothing all the time. A recent example of this is the outrage worked up by conservatives over Pizza Patron accepting pesos. The fact is that stores accept foreign currency all the time with some type of exchange rate charge when it is a feasible thing to do. U.S. Dollars are accepted in Canada where U.S. tourists go.

Theodore Bilbo,, U.S. Representative and later Senator from Mississippi was notorious for his hysterical racism.

With the defeat of the Republicans in 2006 and likely further defeats in 2008 it seems that it many Republicans are independently setting their own course to make sure they are elected, national Republican party strategy be damned. The national Republican party seems to have much less authority with individual Republicans office holders who rather risk the wrath of the Republican National Committee (RNC) than the voters in the next elections. So the political philosophy of some of them seems to be talk-radio conservatism and also what plays locally. The concerns of the national Republican party to build a majority coalition by reaching out to various groups seems to be of little concern.

We have seen this last year when many Southern Republicans campaigned against the renewal of the Voting Rights Act, with language right out of the Southern Partisan.

Further back in time was Barbour running with the endorsement of the Council of Conservative Citizens (

I think the contest in the Republican party will be between what the national Republican party wants, and their control over funds, and what it takes to be elected locally, especially when some competitors in the Republican primary may not be at all concerned with what the national Republican party wants. Also, some allowance will be made so nationally backed Republican candidates can get elected. So there will likely be allowances and concessions to hysterical talk show radio. However, this runs the risk of becoming a runaway process as the center of debate gets shifted to extremism by degrees. This will effect some type of shift to the hysterical talk-show right (Am I being redundant?) in the Republican party in the former(?) Confederate states.

This will make it difficult for Republicans elsewhere outside the former Confederate states to run for office. It won't be like Dixiecrats in the Democratic party in the 1950s and 60s, since the Dixiecrats were obviously not the political center of the Democrats, but the Republican Dixiecrats have been central if not the center of the Republican party in the 90s and certainly are now becoming more the center. The Republicans have captured the former Confederate states, but they are losing the rest of the nation.

With national media, the hysterical crazed yelpings of persons like Rep. Goode and others will cause a cringe with the public elsewhere and it will be very difficult for a Republican party in Wisconsin. When you have always start your conversation that you are not like those Dixiecrat Republicans, it must be fairly demoralizing and a rather uphill climb. Indeed as people leave your party you run the risk that your base and then membership are extremists and you leave also.

The Republican party having so completely captured the former Confederate states, but at the same time losing the rest of the nation with their increasing extremism, and with the increasing public discontent over George W. Bush, many Democrats are realizing that they can win without the former Confederate states. In fact, they certainly realize they can run a fairly good presidential primary campaign without the former Confederate states, and not compete with the few presidential candidates that might want to reach out for the Confederate vote. The book "Whistling Past Dixie" which asserts that the Democrats should bypass the former Confederate states has been getting a lot of attention.,0,4959229.story?coll=bal-home-headlines

I don't know if a national political party can ignore completely any region, but I think the policy of centering the Democratic platform to eke out one more electoral vote somewhere in the former Confederate states is not going to be the automatically given policy anymore.

One developing trend might be that the Republican party will publicly embrace the Confederacy and the Democrats will increasingly reject it. That the issue of the Confederacy will become partisan. Of course there is the complication of James Webb, U.S. Senator (D-VA). However, in 2008, the Democrats will likely pick up more Senate seats outside the former Confederate states and not need Webb.

All of this will be occurring during the political debate over Iraq and likely an increasingly contentious debate over Iraq policy which I think will be agitating politics in general.

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