Monday, November 03, 2008

The Rump GOP

There's an interesting idea floating around these days that the GOP may well become something of a 'rump' party when the dust settles from the latest quadrennial fracas here.  Paul Krugman's got an interesting op-ed piece in the Times that's food for thought. It got me thinking.

No, no Sparky-not that kind of rump party. We're in mixed company here, little feller.

The term was first used in describing the Long Parliament of Britain, but in its contemporary usage it has come to describe a fragment of a larger political entity that is or has become an irrelevant and vestigial political body-the Doenitz government of 1945 Germany comes to mind, as do things like South Ossetia, Kosovo, the Quisling government in Norway and the fascist government of Croatia in the war years.

Unlike those places, however, the fragmentation that is already taking place in the Republican party is largely self inflicted and it is being torn asunder by the Father Coughlins and George Lincoln Rockwells that infest talk radio.  It feeds on conspiracy theories, hints of dark plots of jews and nigruhs conniving with homosexuals and 'eastern financial interests' to grab people's guns, sleep with their daughters and kill their fetuses.

What's worse is that the presidential campaign of John McCain thought it had to appeal to such prurient interests of that group in order to gain any traction at all in this election. 

It's just plain dishonorable, and I hope that he can yet do some good to repair the fragmentation that he accelerated and the rage he and his odious consort have legitimized, encouraged, and given voice to.  

When the dust settles tomorrow night, we're likely to see that a large number of moderate Republicans, traditional conservatives, and independents have struck their colors and crossed the aisle. I think the numbers will be more than significant.

As what's left of the GOP thus moves farther and farther into the hinterlands of 'real America' it moves farther and farther away from the centers of power, the electorate, the moderates, the genral thinking of most people and consequently relevance in national affairs.  

And in doing so, it has served unequivocal notice on moderate Republicans that there's no place for them at the table. 

The remaining Republican moderates  therefore face an uncertain future and a choice of unpalatable alternatives: go over to the opposition, wage war for control of the GOP, or form a third party. None of that promises a return to political power anytime soon, and any rebuilding they care to essay will take generations.

The GOP has thus told its moderates in no uncertain terms, just as Cromwell told the Rump Parliament to get lost, get stuffed, pack your bags and get out of town. 

Of course, Cromwell said it better.


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