Living in Pennsylvania is strange experience for a Republican.
Someone before me has to have said that. But it bears mentioning again.
Honest to God, if you lived outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has the characteristics of the reddest of red states. Why does it consistently go blue anymore?
If the current task at hand is to reckon the best path Republicans can chart to start pushing back, then I’m firmly of the belief that the GOP’s braintrust should take a serious look at the Pennsylvania voter.
There simply is no denying it that the typical Pennsylvania resident is VERY conservative almost as if by nature. But, they are also literally programmed to vote Democrat. There was not a person I spoke with that had a high opinion of Barack Obama or Democrats in general, yet they still voted that way.
I cannot pretend to be intelligent enough to posit an insightful, let alone intelligible, analysis of why this is. Still, I think I can reckon one thread to follow. The solution is right in front of us…..It seems to me, at least around here, that voters feel that the Bush Administration (and Republicans in general) represented “The Great Abandonment”. By that I mean that the cares of the average American citizen were not just lost on George Bush but so vehemently and consistently ignored so that it appeared he disdained the average citizen for having such insignificant cares. A friend of mine put it this way to me:
“Dubya knows that what is good for business is good for America, and Dubya knows what is good for business and it isn’t good for business to care about us working schleps. I’m not going to vote so that people who have more money than me can just keep on getting more while I struggle…….”
Did I mention that this person made this statement in the BEGINNING of September? Along comes Market Crash then the “Rescue” of Wall Street…..everyone reading knows the rest of the story.
He wasn’t the only person I’ve heard talk that way
I strongly believe that had John McCain led congressional Republicans in a revolt over this, he could have in one fell swoop erased the image of the party burnt into people’s psyche and saved some seats in both houses of Congress if not winning the election outright.
If Republicans are to ever again be relevant, then it’s time to start caring about bread and butter issues and not let Democrats pay lip service to them as they pander to National
Populism worked when the Republicans adopted an energy independence stance. If we had a Presidential candidate that meant the words “Border Security” when he used them, it would have been part of a winning platform, as well. It worked when “Joe the Plumber” became an issue. It worked when Sarah Palin could communicate with the American People, directly.
The Republican brand image is that this is a party of aging, wealthy, white bible-thumping bigots funded by, and only operating at the behest of Corporate interests.
It will be very difficult to change the mindset of those at the extreme who strictly believe Republicans are hard and fast bigots. It will be very difficult to make being Republican “cool” to college students.
Being a party of the people — dare I say “Party of Prosperity”?– is something Republicans can do right now. They can do it to separate themselves from the Bush Republicanism that would have eventually undone the party.
If this first barrier can be broken, the Center will come back to the party and the remaining barriers will fall on their own.