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When is a win not a win?

September 27, 2017

In an obvious break with the man they hoped would be an obedient, well-trained lapdog for the ultra-conservative right, Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka successfully backed Judge Roy Moore against the far more mainstream and current incumbent candidate Luther Strange, and not coincidentally, against the President.

Surely, no state has more favorable demographics for the fervently Conservative wing of the Republican party than Alabama.

Home to a large number of so-called evangelicals, better known as Christian church-goers, Alabama voters enthusiastically endorsed the image of the President as crafted by the Bannon group, giving the President a 62% Republican margin in 2016.

Add to that the perception of Judge Moore as a religious crusader, and the outcome was pretty much in the bag.

Not everyone was so enthusiastic. Judge Moore’s former law professor Guy V. Martin Jr.  penned a thoughtful critique of the man that centered not so much on Moore’s hardcore defense of the Ten Commandments, but on the way his mind works, noting that “…if Moore decided that 1 + 1 equals 3…” he would defend that position to the bitter end, no matter how many people tried to prove to him that the correct answer was 2.

The conclusion the professor drew was that a win for Judge Moore now could be a win for the Democrats in 2018. The professor prophesied that the MSM would immediately attack Moore as a racist, homophobic religious zealot who has no more respect for Federal laws he doesn’t agree with than does the most liberal sanctuary city mayor.

One thing is certain, the further left the Democrat’s machine goes, the further right it pushes Republicans.

As a sort of theoretical counterweight, maybe that works on paper. Where it doesn’t work is in the halls of Congress, as proven by the utter paralysis of the Senate in trying to come up with an answer to Obamacare. That leaves the GOP with a problem.

Does it make a conscious decision to move hard right as a party, and if not, how does it stop the infighting?

Despite family differences with the Bernie-bro faction, Democrats  still stick together when opposing Republicans, even if that apparent unity involves a little first-class arm-twisting.

Republicans on the other hand have never quite gotten that ruthless, and that’s proving to be a problem.

Governing from the far right hasn’t proven very productive for the President so far.  His attempts to form working coalitions with Democrats for what he sees as the greater good, have led to charges that he has joined the swamp rather than draining it.

This isn’t just a paper exercise.  With Senator Bob Corker’s retirement announcement, and the uncertainty surrounding John McCain’s health issues, the GOP majority was already in real danger of succumbing to the mid-term flip that seemingly attends every presidential election.

Human nature being what it is, the prospect of the Senate becoming populated with far, far right Conservatives putting the nation on a figurative diet of bread and water as punishment for its fiscal sins isn’t going to sell well on either side in 2018.

Added to that is the perception that Judge Moore is at best an unknown quantity on the national stage, and at worst a contrarian who views disagreeing with the majority as a form of sport.

One senator more or less isn’t going to help or hurt at this point in the vote count. The so-called Freedom caucus is already large enough to effectively stymie legislation deemed not conservative enough.

The question is, can or even should the GOP try to take the electorate as a whole that far right in 2018 to combat the increasingly socialist left?

Time will tell.

From → op-ed

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