by R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr
WASHINGTON — The American left cares so much for humanity that it even expends copious draughts of compassion toward us, toward you and me, toward suave, dégagé conservatives. The left’s members really fret over how elements of the “extreme right” are undermining the Republican Party, consigning it to oblivion.
The latest moral colossus to perform this exemplary task is Richard Cohen of the Washington Post, but there are many more from all the precincts of the left. This past weekend I even detected this concern for us from the pollster, Andrew Kohut of the Pew Research Center. Writing a piece on the future of the Republican Party, he expressed his concern that advocates of “staunch conservatism” have left the Republican Party “estranged from America.” If moderate Republicans do not smarten up and presumably rid the party of these “staunch conservatives,” the party will go so far to the right that it will be replicating the political suicide of Senator George McGovern and his McGovernite zealots back in 1972.
If you are old enough you may remember how in 1972 the left was apoplectic that McGovern was leading the Democratic Party out into the wilderness. You do not recall it that way? You have forgotten? It did not seem like that at the time? The left in 1972 was full of its usual brag and bounce that crazy George was on the right side of history, and victory was only months away. Is Mr. Kohut mistaken?
I think he is. Actually, this grave concern by the left over the projects of the “staunch conservatives” within the Republican Party is one vast sham. A similar concern by the left for the extremist tilt of the Democratic Party is never apparent, and the reason is obvious. The concern does not exist. Yet the Democratic Party over the years has, for a certitude, gone left, far left. Review the evidence. On issue after issue — from social policy to fiscal policy — the Democrats have moved leftward. With the help of their amanuenses in the media the left is never forced to talk about it, but it is a fact. With the leftward rush of the party proclaimed in the Prophet Obama’s State of the Union Address, it is the Democrats who are extreme. Their day of reckoning will come on November 4, 2014.
The left’s sham is not without its effects on weak-kneed Republicans and the independents, however. Senator Ted Cruz, Texas’s latest gift to American politics, is reportedly stunned by his wobbly-legged Republican colleagues, who patter up and down the halls of the Senate. Apparently they believe that the American left really has the best interests of the Republicans at heart. Of course they are wrong.
Perhaps one has to live out in the states and the congressional districts to see how wrong the left and susceptible Republicans are. Out across the fruited plain a majority of governors’ mansions (30) are controlled by the Republicans. The Republicans also control a majority of state legislatures (Republicans 27, Democrats 17). Back in Washington the Republicans control the House of Representatives, and as of yesterday five Senate Democrats are stepping down in 2014. The upper chamber is very delicately balanced now and will probably shift to the Republicans in 2014. Then there is one additional element to give the Republicans something to smile about. Back in 2012, the year that gave the left so much reason for hope, the Prophet Obama won 3,591,303 fewer votes than in 2008. The Democrats suppressed the Republican turnout in 2012 by rendering Mitt Romney an oligarch. What is more, they had a splendid ground game that got out theretofore non-voting minorities in the swing votes. But 2014 will be different.
Then, thanks to the cost and confusion of Obamacare and the ongoing economic malaise, the same issue will be salient that was salient in 2010, the economy. Roughly 42 percent of the American electorate is conservative compared to 18-20 percent that is of the left. Roughly 35 percent of the electorate is independent. The majority of the independents, provoked by the sour economy and by budget overruns, voted with the conservatives in 2010 and 2012. If the “staunch conservatives” turn out to vote in 2014 it is going to be another landslide on the order of 2010… and you know who won that landslide.