On Mon, 21 Dec 1998 12:07:39 -0500 Doug Henwood <dhenwood at panix.com>
>James Farmelant wrote:
>>The fact is that the Republicans have been in serious trouble ever
>>since the end of the Cold War.
>So why do they control both houses of Congress, about 3/4 of the
>governorships, approaching that many state legislatures, and even the
>mayoralty of New York City?
But Doug, you don't see the big picture. The Republicans in my judgement are in danger of imploding the way that the Canadian Tories, the British Tories, and the French right have all done in recent years. During the Cold War years they managed to create a disciplined political machine that was able to chalk up all the gains that you cited. But as I said before, the end of the Cold War has deprived them of the glue that has held them together for so long. Without it they are lacking in any sort of ideological coherence and the crumbling of neo-liberalism has deprived them of the ability to project an appealing platform. There has been a search for a new "Great Satan" to replace the former USSR but to no avail. Saddam'a Iraq while a useful punching bag simply does not meaure up to the old USSR. Many Republican conservatives have sought a new "Great Satan" in China but that turns off the party's Big Business constituency that has been eagerly penetrating Chinese markets.
The Republican Party is divided on a number of serious issues including economic issues like free trade versus protectionism as well as on the social issues which pit the social and religious conservatives against the party's economic conservatives. Right now hatred for Clinton and a politics of character assasination run-amuck seems to be the only things holding them together. But over the weekend we have seen how destructive that can be for the party. As Chris Burford put it (paraphrasing Oscar Wilde) to lose one House speaker can be said to be a misfortune but to lose two looks like carelessness. Of course it is always possible that the Democrats may at some point implode as well. Happy would be the day if they both collapsed.
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