A Stunning Number That Will Have No Impact
Check this out, from the new WashPost/ABC poll:
Only the barest majority, 51 percent, says Obama is in touch with the concerns of most Americans. That perception drops for the Democratic Party, to 43 percent, and plummets, to 23 percent, for the beleaguered Republican Party. Seventy percent of Americans see the GOP as “out of touch,” including, remarkably, 49 percent of Republicans themselves. Just 21 percent of Democrats, by contrast, see their party as out of touch with most people’s concerns.
That's certainly not a great number for Obama. But the stunning result I'm talking about is, no, not even the 70 percent figure, but the 49 percent one. So half of Republicans think the Republican Party is out of touch. The full results aren't quite full as they don't show what percentage of Republicans think the GOP is in touch, but unless the undecided is 2 percent, i.e. much smaller than undecideds usually are, it seems likely that the plurality of Republicans think their own party is out of it.
As I've said many times but will say many more times because repetition is the only way you get people to remember things, and more importantly because repetition is the only way you get people to remember things (!), it is one of the central problems in our politics, and perhaps the central one that these 49 percent have no one representing them.
If they did, our politics would be pretty reasonable and sane. Yes, it would still be dirty and self-serving. But the GOP would be a completely different beast. Obama would be able to get cloture votes and even the support of, oh, 30 or 40 House Republicans and 10 to 14 Senate Republicans for big measures, and those Republicans would put their stamp on the bills, and we'd have a much better polity. Which would work better, of course, when there was a Republican president, too.
This is what we need more than anything else. A robust moderate wing of the GOP. We don't need independent nonpartisan centrist efforts. Waste of time. We are a two-party country, period. One of those parties is still somewhat ideologically diverse, running from Maxine to Max (Waters to Baucus). The other one is not. That is our problem. And it will remain so until rich moderate Republicans decide to get together and put their money behind organizations to give moderate Republicanism life and muscle again.