Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Big Tent Collapses

If Hazleton Mayor and Republican Political Heavyweight Lou Barletta is any indication of the “new” direction of the Republican Party, the Democrats can look forward to a long era of dominance. Buzz and I charged up the VW microbus (it’s clean and green and running on electricity now) and ventured into the Luzerne County Republican Headquarters last Thursday night. Buzz came for the free eats. I came to listen. We had the honor of meeting some of our fellow bloggers, who were also there to take in Lou’s words of wisdom.

Besides the oft repeated misstatements of fact about items of pork in President Barack Obama’s stimulus plan (Harry Reid’s “high speed rail line from Los Angeles to Las Vegas {which, by the way, would probably be a very profitable rail line for AMTRAK, if it were true}, Nancy Pelosi’s “mouse farm,” and the $4 billion dollars for ACORN,) Lou’s speech was full of the red meat items the hard line conservatives love.

His speech was interrupted a number of times when he bashed the main-stream media for having a love affair with Obama, waved the flag, and talked of the glory days of Newt Gingrich’s “Contract with America.” Oh, we almost forgot, the crowd also loved the obligatory references to the glory days of Ronald Reagan.

There was no mention of the multi-trillion dollar war of choice in Iraq, no mention of the 4000 plus Americans who died in that war of choice, no mention of the Bush/Cheney war on individual rights under the guise of national security, no mention of the utter and complete mismanagement of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, no mention of the Republican “pork projects” in the Obama stimulus bill, and no acceptance of responsibility for the Republican principles which contributed greatly to the collapse of Wall Street,.

Albeit Lou was speaking to a crowd dominated by Republicans, except for the occasional Democratic judge candidate, but his rhetoric had no sense of cooperation and no sense of reaching out to those across the aisle. No compromise. It was a “stick to our conservative principles” speech through and through. The speech is very similar to the one he gave at the Allegheny County Republican Lincoln Day Dinner last month.

Democrats should rejoice, because the rhetoric of Lou and other conservatives assure the GOP of minority status. People gave the GOP years to shove their agenda down the throats of the American people, and the result was failure.

Conservatives will say that the reason there was failure was because the GOP was not conservative enough, but the true reason for their failure is obvious --- massive tax cuts to the wealth which lead to the rich getting richer and the middle class seeing their incomes decline, deregulation which lead to a collapse of financial giants and Wall Street, a contempt for government which lead to incompetent and ineffectual actions, and a neo-con philosophy which lead to the needless death of thousands of brave young Americans and a multi-trillion dollar war of choice.

So by their logic, would we be better off with more tax cuts for the wealthy, even less regulation, less government, and more wars of choice. Buzz thinks not, and I agree with him.

As far as Barletta, he is mum on a possible run for higher office. We find it hard to believe that Barletta takes his show on the road for his own amusement. Barletta is laying the groundwork for a run for state office. There are two major statewide offices on next year’s ballot --- Governor and United States Senator.

Incumbent Governor Ed Rendell is constitutionally prohibited from running for re-election in 2010, so that race is wide open, but for the fact that incumbent Attorney General Tom Corbett has been eyeing that seat for a number of years, and we believe his is the prohibitive favorite.

Incumbent Republican United States Senator Arlen Specter, 79, has no intention of stepping down, despite his age and battles with cancer. He will seek an unprecedented sixth term, but he is a dying breed in the Republican Party. He is a moderate, the type of Establishment Republican that once dominated the Northeast part of the country. Like the buffalo, these moderate Republicans were either killed off by the voters of their own party, by the voters of their states at large, or by their timely and untimely deaths..

Specter dodged the proverbial bullet in 2004, when “politically born again” conservative GOP congressman Pat Toomey came within 17,000 votes or a few percentage points of unseating Specter in the 2004 primary. Conservatives hate Specter, and he gave them just another reason to hate him even more when he voted for Obama’s stimulus plan. Toomey is undecided, but we have heard rumblings that he wants to run for governor.

If he does, we believe Lou will run against Specter in the primary and subject Specter to a full scale assault from the right. We also believe that the conservative Republicans who dominate the votes in the GOP primary may very well push Lou to victory. Remember, Democratic registration roles swelled in 2008 when Hillary Clinton and Obama fought it out in the 2008 Presidential Primary. Much of those numbers came from moderate Republicans who switched their registrations. We don’t think they’ll be switching back anytime soon, and for that matter, conservative purists don’t want them back anyway. That factor alone may be enough for Lou to edge out Specter in the primary.

We have not seen the last of Lou. Stay tuned.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Lou is as smart as a small rodent