Wednesday, January 16, 2008

What is this, 1980?: A Look at the Reagan Factor

It seems every Republican debate and stump speech has turned into a "Reagan Off," a test of courage to see who can invoke the name of our Dear Lord, Ronald Reagan, the most.

There is no clear winner yet.

So, what's with the nostalgia over Reagan? Well, rumor has it the so-called "Reagan Coalition" (although, I would suggest that Nixon had more to do with building the modern Republican party than Reagan, but I guess Republicans don't want to idolize Nixon...) is falling apart. This coalition is loosely composed of three groups of people. The CEOs, the Bible Thumpers, and the Warmongers. In the recent past, Republican candidates have been able to satisfy all three crowds. George W. Bush, for instance, is a businessman who feigns Evangelical Christianity while promoting hawkish policies. Everyone is happy.

Too bad for them W has to go. This coalition has not been able to rally around a nominee. Mike Huckabee satisfies the Bible Thumpers, but the CEOs hate him (what is this populism bullshit!?). John McCain plays well to hawkish crowds, but the Jesus Freaks and the businessfolk don't trust him (he's against tax cuts and he likes gays! Or something...). Mitt Romney, the penultimate Businessman, can't win over evangelicals ("Don't Mormons believe that the devil is Jesus' brother?" - Mike Huckabee) and he doesn't have the military experience that the hawks like.

So, what is a Republican to do? Invoke the name of Reagan, of course! I think the logic here is that by repeating Reagan's name, a candidate might be able to fool these factions into thinking he is the most like Reagan and thus able to hold the coalition together.

I think Mitt Romney could come the closest to holding the coalition together. While he lacks military experience, he at least speaks in a hawkish manner ("Let's double Gitmo! YEEHAW!") And while evangelicals don't really trust him, he does promote very evangelical arguments. So, if the coalition gives Romney a chance, he might be able to hold it together.

But, of course, it's worth noting that Mitt Romney couldn't beat Pee Wee Herman in a general election. So, I don't know what the Republicans can do.

I guess wait eight years until America is sick of Democrats and try again.

1 comment:

Christopher said...

how about after 4 years. Universal Health Care, cmon, you really think that'll happen, aren't you taxed enough now, with the medicare and welfare programs, now wouldn't it be better to educate people and build industry and tech jobs instead of just giving more handouts, I think so. And Romney will have a great chance to go all the way to the White House, Clinton isn't nothing but a puppet for Bill, and it will clear to everybody soon and nobody will vote in a puppet.