Republican Party

Labour = Republican Party?

Liam Hehir at the Manawatu Standard hass cast a critical eye over the Labour party and found that they have remarkable similarities to the Republican party in the US….not in policy rather in form.

No analogy is ever perfect but more and more New Zealand’s Labour Party puts me in mind of the political conservatives in the United States Republican Party. Here are four reasons why.

1. It is in thrall to party activists.

Like the Democrats, the Republican Party selects its presidential candidates by way of primary election. This has the acknowledged weakness that primary voters are disproportionately drawn from party activists. Such people tend to have stronger ideological views than the general voting public.

This creates the temptation to pander to primary voters by flaunting one’s ideological purity.

The danger is, of course, that doing that can alienate moderate voters in the general election.

David Cunliffe is popular with the membership and loathed by the public.

2. It appears to be in denial about polling.

In the months leading up to 2012, polls showed Obama firmly in the lead. Conservative pundits were incredulous. After all, it was obvious to them that the incumbent was a spectacular failure. The polls must have been wrong and it was decided that the reason was over-representation of Democrats in polling samples. In their reporting on the polls, allowances were made for this supposed phenomenon.

The next time a poll shows National with a sizeable lead over Labour and the Greens, head over to thestandard.org.nz. This is New Zealand’s foremost Left-wing website and a gathering place for Labour activists – Cunliffe boosters in particular. I can promise you that you will see dismissals of what is apparently either the thousandth “rogue poll” since John Key took over as leader or a subterfuge by the “corporate media” to ensure National stays in power.

This isn’t helped by at least 3 authors at The Standard actually working in Cunliffe’s office…so cognitive dissonance sets in.

3. It is banking on turning out the base.

“What would be the reason that 3 million voters didn’t show up? . . .

“A number of Republicans are tired of moderate nominees. They’ve sent the Republican Party money for years and said: To hell with it. If you’re gonna eschew conservatism, I’m not giving you any money, and I’m not voting for you.”

Those were the words of Rush Limbaugh, popular American radio host and staunch conservative, in the wake of Mitt Romney’s comprehensive defeat at the hands of Obama. Who needs the middle?

If only the Republicans had offered an even more “severely conservative” candidate, those missing voters would surely have risen up to smite Obama!

The sentiment is echoed by proponents of the “missing million” theory of New Zealand politics.

There simply isn’t a missing million.

4. Its weakness is temporary.

There is a tendency to extrapolate present circumstances way out into the future. Both of Obama’s presidential elections set off vicious recriminations within the Republican Party. This prompted speculation as to whether the Republicans would ever win the presidency again – at least without conceding nearly all matters of principle.

If Labour loses this election (which I think is probable), expect to hear much of the same. After all, it has been more than six years since the party has regularly polled close to 40 per cent. It has been closer to 30 per cent most of the time.

They have been hoping on this for a strategy for 7 years now…how is that working out for them?

 

– Manawatu Standard

Who said the Tea Party are finished and washed up? They just nailed Eric Cantor

Political pundits had written of the Tea Party long ago, saying they were washed up and finished as a political force.

And then they rinsed Eric Cantor, the number two Republican in the House of Representatives:

Shortly after eight on Tuesday night, Twitter went a little nuts, and so, presumably, did Eric Cantor, the second-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives. The Associated Press, CNN, and other news organizations had just called the Republican primary race in Virginia’s Seventh District for David Brat, a hitherto little-known economics professor who is associated with the Tea Party wing of the G.O.P. Cantor had become the first House Majority Leader to lose a primary renomination.All over Washington, commentators were called out of dinner; Fox News broke into the O’Reilly Factor; and political reporters struggled to come up with a correct historical analogy. Since virtually no one—or, at least, no one in the world of political forecasting and punditry—had predicted Brat’s victory in the primary, it would be presumptuous, at this stage, to say anything definitive about its causes or its consequences. But here are a few things that can’t easily be contested.

In the 2012 G.O.P. primary, Cantor, who has aggressively courted Tea Party voters, tacitly promoting himself as a conservative alternative to Speaker John Boehner, defeated his opponent, Floyd Bane, by 79.4 per cent to 20.6 per cent. Evidently, Brat, who teaches at Randolph-Macon College, in Ashland, Virginia, wasn’t the sort to be put off. According to the Wall Street Journal, his works include “God and Advanced Mammon: Can Theological Types Handle Usury and Capitalism?” and “An Analysis of the Moral Foundations in Ayn Rand.” He entered the race at the start of this year, and was determined to make an issue of Cantor’s ties to the Party’s Washington-based establishment. Writing for the Daily Caller, a conservative news site, in February, Brat said:

Congressman Cantor’s profile has been erratic even by Washington standards — flitting from eager establishmentarian coat-holder to self-glorified “Young Gun” and back again. His loyalties, both upward and downward, have shifted in his eager embrace of the Ruling Class. Washington’s only genuine article of faith: maintaining control regardless of how that control affects the life of the folks back home.

Brat fastened onto what was perceived by elements of the G.O.P.’s grass roots to be Cantor’s willingness to compromise on immigration reform and offer some form of amnesty to immigrants who had entered the country illegally. (In Washington, the House Majority Leader was sometimes portrayed as a barrier to such a reform.) This issue galvanized Brat’s campaign, and brought him to the attention of conservative media figures such as Laura Ingraham and Mark Levin, who both expressed support for him. Just this past weekend, Ingraham appeared alongside Brat at a political rally in Virginia, and jokingly suggested that President Obama should have traded Cantor, not five Taliban leaders, for Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. Brat, meanwhile, kept hacking away on the immigration issue, saying, “A vote for Eric Cantor is a vote for open borders. A vote for Eric Cantor is a vote for amnesty.”

Read more »

US teenager spanks 67-year-old Republican incumbent in West Virginia

I love stories like this, where cunning campaigning youth take out tired old codgers past their use by date.

At 17, Saira Blair is only barely old enough to drive.

But the West Virginia schoolgirl is on course to become America’s youngest state legislator after unseating a Republican nearly four times her age.

Miss Blair ran as a hard-line conservative in her successful bid to defeat Larry Kump, a 67-year-old member of the West Virginia House of Delegates.

The high school student touted her support for gun owners and her opposition to abortion as she charged to an 872-728 victory.

“People saw that you don’t need to wait until you are 40, 50 or 60 to realise our conservative principles are beneficial to everyone,” said Miss Blair  Read more »

The left wing obsession with private people spending their own money

We have seen this in New Zealand with political donations. The Labour party in particular have taken it upon themselves to obsess over political donations.

This of course famously blew up in David Cunliffe’s face when it was discovered that he was taking secret donations from the top end of town via secret trusts. We won’t hear too much more from Labour any more about trusts and donations.

The Democrats in the US have a similar affliction, despite Barack Obama outspending the Republican by a massive amount and the unions big money being deeply involved in funding the Democratic party.

They too are focused on private citizens like the Koch brothers.

A Quinnipiac University poll in January ranked, in order, the three issues voters cared about the most: the economy, the federal budget deficit, and health care. Not included on the list? Charles and David Koch.

And therein lies the dilemma for Democrats, who of late have turned the full fury and might of their political operation against the billionaire brothers from Kansas. Can they persuade voters to care about two private citizens whom regular people have barely heard of—especially when the country’s still-underwhelming job market has many of those same people more worried about just getting by?

It’s not as if the Koch brothers are peripheral to the 2014 midterm elections. Their most visible political group, Americans for Prosperity, has spent roughly $30 million pummeling Democrats, mostly senators up for reelection, for their support of Obamacare. With good reason, Democrats worry that money has fundamentally shifted the 2014 map in the GOP’s favor, especially in Southern battlegrounds such as Louisiana and North Carolina.  Read more »

Who is vulnerable to a Primary Here?

The Republican party members get rid of senators and congressmen who are RINOs (Republicans in Name Only).

There are seven senators listed that may be primaried by people pissed off that their representative doesn’t reflect their views.

Hard-line conservatives are rising out of the ashes of a weekslong government shutdown, emboldened by the possibility of adding to their ranks in the Senate next year — whether by picking up Democrat-held seats or taking out Republican incumbents.

Just two Republican senators have lost in primaries in the last two election cycles, but that’s not stopping a growing number of intraparty challengers this cycle. Conservative third-party groups and candidates hope to give more backup to folks like Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah, who led an effort to defund the health care law.  Read more »

GOP gets its funds cut for breaking the no dickhead rule

The donors aren’t happy with the shenanigans by the Republicans in Washington and are pulling the pin on their funding.

On a Monday last month, Rep. Greg Walden, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, met with some top GOP donors for lunch at Le Cirque on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan. The donors, a youngish collection of financial industry types and lawyers, had some questions for Walden, a mild-mannered lawmaker from eastern Oregon known for speaking his mind.

Why, they asked, did the GOP seem so in the thrall of its most extremist wing? The donors, banker types who occupy the upper reaches of Wall Street’s towers, couldn’t understand why the Republican Party—their party—seemed close to threatening the nation with a government shutdown, never mind a default if the debt ceiling isn’t raised later this month.

That excuse isn’t going to wash with the money men, who think the GOP are being dickheads.  Read more »

Pale, Male and Stale line stolen from everywhere

Not content with making shit up in his CV, David Cunliffe is now stealing lines from the Aussie media. Here is Cunliffe yesterday.

Cunliffe, who will announce his new shadow Cabinet tomorrow, told Q and A it was a “pretty good start, but there’s more work to do”.

He got lyrical when defending criticism that he and Parker, who are both upper middle-class white males, would not appeal to a broad enough demographic.

“We may be pale, we may be male, but I promise you we’re not going to be stale.”

Since Tony Abbott announced his cabinet line up the Aussie media has been baying the exact same lines.  Read more »

Lee Atwater’s 5 rules of politics

Everyone who reads this blog knows I have my own Rules of Politics.

Lee Atwater, the GOP supremo also has 5 rules of politics.

He had five rules of politics that he would playfully (or not) repeat to those around him.  Even though they are a little coarse and not particularly idealistic, in the real world — or at least in the real Washington — there might still be some applicability to the rules.

Rule #1.  Be for what is going to happen.  Simply put, always try to pick the winner. If you’re a selfishly motivated, hyper-ambitious career-manager, it helps a lot to work on the campaign of the winning candidate. Enough said.  Read more »

Rift? What Rift? Rand Paul makes a good play

The media are beating up a supposed spat between Chris Christie and Rand Paul.

Well, that was a splendid little war.

Over the past week, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul took the GOP’s intraparty bickering to a new level, openly savaging each other on issues of national security, privacy and government spending. When Christie wasn’t challenging Paul to explain himself to the families of Sept. 11 victims, Paul was accusing Christie of demanding federal handouts for hurricane relief and, in an obvious double entendre, labeling the Garden Stater the “king of bacon.”

Both men stepped back from the brink of nuclear-level confrontation on Wednesday, as Paul told a New Hampshire radio station that while Christie started the fight, he’d be glad to “ratchet it down.” Christie dismissed Paul’s barbs as “juvenile” in his own radio appearance.

But Rand Paul has made a brilliant play… Read more »

Great sledge

Frank Rich delivers a lengthy dissection of the problems facing the GOP in rebuilding but starts off with this excellent sledge, one which Leighton Smith will appreciate.

It’s gotten so gloomy that at the annual House Republican retreat just before Inauguration Day in January, the motivational speakers included the executive who turned around Domino’s Pizza and the first blind man to reach the top of Mount Everest. Were the GOP a television network, it would be fifth-place NBC, falling not only behind its traditional competitors but Univision.  Read more »