Sunday, December 07, 2008

GOP concerned about being too Southern.

The article is online at and is a front page article there for the moment. You can read it here:

Evidently there is a struggle within the Republican party to keep it from becoming the party of the Confederacy. The code word here is "regional." Some quotes:

"As the GOP wrestles with criticism that it is in danger of becoming a regional party rooted in the South, rather than one with broad appeal across the nation, the contest for chairman is shaping up in no small part as a referendum on just how much Southern flavor the party should have at the top in the wake of a sound electoral defeat in every other region of the country."


"For RNC contenders, any misgivings about the party's Southern bent may take a back seat to short-term political necessity. Every candidate running for chair would love to draw support from social conservatives, who make up a sizable proportion of the 168 voters that will select the next party chair-and many of them hail from the South."

So some Republicans are worried about the party being a Confederate party, but it seems that the former states of the Confederacy is where a lot of the political power is. No matter how Republicans try to finesse this, it seems somewhat insulting to persons with southern nationalist sensibilities. I think it could provoke a reaction in the South. This would force some southern Republicans to become more publicly southern identified.

However, it could be that nothing is really needed to force any southern Republicans to be more publicly southern identified. In a crowded field of candidates looking to be Republican party leaders, one candidate could stand out from the pack, escape from obscurity, and capture a sizable base by being southern identified. This applies to other possible political ambitions in the Republican party. Being a defeated Republican party presidential candidate in the national election is better than being nobody. Being selected as the Vice-Presidential candidate would be better than being nobody. Having a regional political base is better than being nobody. Some southern Republican will figure that out. Huckabee was picking up on that by supporting the Confederate flag in South Carolina during the Republican primary there.

If one Republican candidate or leader picks up the Confederate flag there might be a lot of pressure on other Republican leaders in the south to move in a direction of supporting the Confederate flag.

Another factor in the direction of the Republican party will be how Obama performs as president, in particular the currently crashing economy.

If the public thinks Obama is performing poorly then I think there will be a lot of discontent nationally and the Republican party will pick up outside the South and not be regionally based.

If the public thinks Obama is doing a good job with the economy the Republicans will continue to be regionally based. However, many individuals will avoid the Republican party to pursue a political career in the Democratic party leaving the Republican party to be dominated by its more hard core elements.

I am not sure what will happen if there is a mixed perception regarding Obama's handling of the economy. I think there will be conflict and discontent. This I think would radicalize the Republican party also.

I think though these thoughts I write here may be superseded by events. If real unemployment reaches 15 or 20% and an even larger fraction of the American public starts losing their homes or become homeless we will enter uncharted political territory. I can only predict that extremism will flourish. This is of course what is exciting the neo-Confederates.

I am not sure we will know which way the Republican party is moving relative to the Confederacy. Perhaps it will be in Republican primaries in the south in 2010. Perhaps it will be revealed in campaigns starting now for the Republican nomination in 2012. Perhaps it will be in local and state elections. I will just have to watch and wait.

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