Thursday, November 6, 2008


Tuesday night Nelson Rockefeller died. Again.

Buried alongside the Governor were 2008 GOP Presidential aspirations.

While Nelson's physical presence may have left us in January of 1979, the political and electoral blight of Rockefeller and the "Rockefeller Wing" of the GOP culminated in the 2008 Republican nominee for President getting smoked by over 7-million votes by a 1/2 term freshman Senator from Daley's Chicago Machine.

A freshman Senator who never wrote a single piece of legislation, never chaired a committee and who had the shakiest set of personal and political associates since Richard Nixon.

Rockefeller's political progeny, known these days as the loosely grouped "New Republicans" assured Conservatives that they knew better than we. That in an electoral environment made hostile to Republican candidates by a whole host of issues from Iraq to Global Climate Change to a (then) struggling Economy, what was required for a GOP victory was a "game changing" candidate.

A candidate who could pull support from both sides of the aisles, from both Parties and the Independents, and who wasn't so tied into the Bush Wing of the GOP that he would be tarred with whatever issue negatives that were driving the President's approval ratings towards single digits.

John McCain - "Maverick John", the "Bipartisan Wonder", the Owner and Operator of the "Straight Talk Express" was "The Man Who Could Pull From the Center", was THAT candidate.

What actually happened to the Straight Talk Express, when it Left the station?

It failed to get Independents, failed to get Reagan Democrats, failed to get the numbers he needed from Conservatives, and, as predicted by everyone from Rush Limbaugh to Sean Hannity, just plain failed.

The Straight Talk Express headed straight into the ditch, taking every assurance that the Rockefeller Wing of the Party had given us right along with it.

According to exit polls, McCain lost Independents nationally 60 to 40%, nearly two-to-one.

So, an election endlessly identified by everyone in both the MSM and Right-Wing media as "the most important election of our lives", on the actual numbers, how did Straight-Talking John do, compared to prior GOP efforts?

McCain got a respectable, but far-from-record 89% of Republicans nationwide, but only 80% of self-identified Conservatives.

Despite being recognized by Latinos nationally as a tireless, long-time supporter of open borders and blanket amnesty, until his mid-primary campaign "conversion", McCain lost the much bespoke "essentially conservative" Latino/Hispanic vote by over 4 to 1.

Voter turnout was a bit up from, but essentially on a rough par with 2004, so this was no "game changer" election. The largest emergent groups appears to have been first-time voters and voters under 30. Needless to say, those voters went to Barrack Obama by embarrassingly large numbers.

Non-Presidential Republican candidates did as well as they could have in this environment.

The Senate will have, should they actually rouse themselves to use it, a filibuster-capable Republican Minority. Losses on the GOP side of the House were far below what the Left-Wing Nutroots predicted or desired.

So, in an election where in races-other-than-the-Presidency, Republicans overperformed nearly all expectations, exactly how well did the New Republicans' "Man from the Center" do electorally"?

Dole/Kemp '96...that's how well Maverick John did, pulling Electoral votes and nationwide R/D percentages essentially comparable to Bob Dole's 1996 Disaster.

By comparison, Jerry Ford's 1976 Campaign's numbers SMOKED John McCain's 2008 numbers.

But, John McCain's "Concession Speech", will provide a fabulous template for the rest of our GOP Candidates going forward with their full-scale retreat from Reagan Conservatism.

So far, all the polling numbers tell us that this was inarguably no "realignment" election, that is unless we continue to retreat from Reagan Conservatism. In which case, we will realign ourselves right out of contention as a national political party.


Bat Guano said...

Drifted here from Hugh Hewitt.

Should be one heckof a wake!! Here's to the "New GOP." May it rest in peace.

Chris said...

Seamus, beautifully argued and written. Now let's see if anyone is listening. The dems chose our candidate for us this time (with the help of weak-kneed Rockefeller republicans like Charlie Crist and false conservatives in the right wing media -- I'm thinking about that Mormon-bashing Michael Medved). They will all try to do it again the next time as well. Stand tall. Stand firm. Stand proud. Stand conservative!

rosie said...

i am a latino voter who gave my vote to mccain even though i am a registered democrat. most of my family members were convinced that mccain was either racist, voted for obama because he was "like them", blamed Bush for every ill in the world, and, alas, i could only manage to change a few minds and win a few more latino votes for th republican ticket. it's obvious mccain's message failed miserably to reach "uninformed latinos" about his platform and long-time support for hispanic issues. i'd like to help change this. but i don't know how. i know latinos are not uniform in their political and social outlook, but many, many are inclined to conservative values. they can be won over. let's get busy!

Warm Apple Pie said...

We respect that you lick your wounds and get scrappy again - this time true to your ideological roots.

Keep it up. You may have a fan in Dan Quayle's Potatoe (

The majority of our contributors have a liberal bent, but it comes from a political construct, not just spite.

Our man won. But at least this Potatoe contributor takes no pleasure in the Democrats' victory.

Come strong to the hoop in 2012 and you may find a treasure trove of non-partisan supporters.

Keep shouting.

Warm Apple Pie

preciousrock said...

Anxiously awaiting the continuation of the story!

B.T. said...

I disagree with the analysis in a few respects. I truly don't think that McCain ran the campaign that reflected the "new republican" ideologies that you suggest. 1) He chose Gov. Palin as a running mate, 2) There was no talk of his bipartisan immigration proposals, for fear of disturbing the "base", 3) unlike a "new republican" McCain supported the bailout, something that was deeply unpopular with the electorate.

My biggest fear is that, from this election, the majority of Republicans think that we need to go socially conservative or lose relevance as a party.

I would recommend the opposite strategy. On principles of liberty and individual choice, we should moderate our message on social issues (lets talk less about abortion, gay marriage, etc.) and focus more on free market solutions to everyday problems. We need to orient ourselves towards the economic issues more than the social

Not only will this strategy succeed, but it has the virtue of being the best elixir for the ails of America.

Seamus O'Shansky said...

Bat Guano: i know how you feel, just as 1964 Rockefeller/Goldwater battle left the GOP battered and bruised and pushed the Rockefeller Wing onto the sidelines - it wasn't settled and then 16 years after the 64 Race, Ronald Reagan choose a preeminent member of the Rockefeller Wing for his VP - the GOP is a fusion party and we have to make a "Big Tent" for all the interests - We DON'T have to allow one segment of the Party to dominate all the rest - ESPECIALLY WHEN THEIR ELECTORAL RECORD IS AWFUL - McCain was a "worst of all worlds candidate" who even with almost 90% GOP turnout got swamped in Electoral votes NO WAY TO RUN A PARTY...

Seamus O'Shansky said...

CHRIS: THANKS! and don't worry, i intend to put a lot of time into this and i've been doing media/communications for a LONG time!

ROSIE: THX! FOR THE BEST SUMMARY of the GOP/McCain and the Latino community. You understand it far better than the current GOP leadership. We've all got to get on the ball and use the New Media to reach out to all those who are not touched by the traditional "Big" Broadcast and Print Media - Esp the Latino Communities

WARM APPLE PIE: True, that. On the one hand from a personal and human point of view, there is MUCH to admire about John McCain - but being admirable, in and of itself doesn't qualify anyone to be in High (or Low) Office - McCain's Campaign Lacked "Big" Ideas (and didn't have all that many small ones, either. The questions for the GOP is; Where we the Raiders or the Lions this time around? And what are we going to do about it?

B.T. at this point, i think it would be hard to define EXACTLY what a "New Republican" is - sure we can talk about Ross Douthat or David Frum or others who feel that the GOP needs to adopt a more "Euro Right" orientation -- Since the late 50's it has been well understood that numerous Republicans (as opposed to "Conservatives") were; Big-State; Big Tax; Big Spend; was McCain a "poster fogey" for those guys?

NOPE, he sure wasn't - but with the possible exception of Mike Huckabee and his support for the "Social Gospel", McCain was as CLOSE to a "New Republican" as exists at the national level of the GOP - his awful showing amongst self-identified "Conservative" voters indicate without a very large change within the GOP Bases, the "New Republican" movement is still small and can't yet field a recognizable candidate of their own.

McCain once again proved what has long been known by political operatives, unless you can get votes in the mid-80's or higher from the mainstream Conservative Base, you can't win a national election WITHOUT a compensatory vote -- McCain was supposed to be able to get that compensatory vote.

Instead McCain demonstrated what has been the case, with one exception ('84 Reagan) for all the post-WWII national elections -- the Vast Majorities of R/D's vote with their Party Identification nearly 90% of the time.

If you want a "New Politics" you have to take over one of the two Parties and get their voters to go along with you.

Not easy.

Anonymous said...

What are your plans/ideas to move this beyond just a blog? Maybe a full blown site and domain with blogs and forums and reference material, ways for people to get involved and....???

I myself have been very frustrated by this campaign season and this blog (and others) are actually helping me see that all is not lost for our common beliefs and values.

I am not a writer, philospher, speaker or a politician so I can't offer much there, but I do run/work for two hosting companies and as an owner of one of them I have resources to donate.

Matt said...

Great post. I hope the Republican party gets the message loud and clear. Now is the time to purify our message. WE are the party of Reagan and Lincoln!

Mr Bob said...

Excellent starting post!

and are completely out of touch with where the party gets its meat and its winning support.

Conservatives (socially especially) stayed home because they could not support the "moderate" McCain, he had dissed us way to many times.
Palin helped, but not enough. When things got tough (interviews in the media) she failed (or was made to look bad) and she lost a lot of support then.
Palin was a bone to us but we really needed a POTUS candidate better able to articulate the superior message. It was not enough to overcome the "moderate" McCain. Remember in a room of 100 people 46 voted for McCain/Palin. Would not have been near that much without Palin.
If the Repubs move to the left as you suggest, all is lost for a very long time. You are out of touch with reality very similar to the beltway elite Repubs.

Airhead said...

I agree with Rosie's comment, and to put that into an even larger context. We didn't effectively advertise Republican values to the young or to other minorities either. We let define who we are and what we stand for. It's time to wake up and reach out. Two defeats in a row (2006, 2008)ought to be enough to wake us up to the new world out there. If we don't, this is going t obecome a one-party state and that party is going to be decidedly socialist.

Airhead said...

PS: seamus, I've been thinking along the lines of what you're actually doing--so bravo for getting out there and doing it! Only I was going (and may still) call my blog "Reclaim the Blue" because 1) we need to get those Blue states in the Right column and 2) Who gave us the color red, anyway? Never have been any Reds on this side of the aisle!