GOP troubles = Democratic opportunities?

Our friends at SCHotline's blog cite a Wall Street Journal story which asks if GOP troubles and in-fighting in the South could spell electoral troubles:

The indictment is just one of the political headaches across the South that are making Republicans look more vulnerable than they have in years to losing ground in the region’s legislatures and statehouses. Though there isn’t any sign of them losing their dominance in the region, the once-formidable “Solid South” coalitions they forged in the 1980s and 1990s to end a century of Democratic dominion have given way to messy schisms and infighting. Today, they look a lot like the bitterly divided Democrats of three decades ago.


I was there in the late 80s and early 90s where South Carolina Republicans, led by Carroll Campbell, positioned themselves as political reformers, seeking to challenge the status quo. The tremors set off by Lost Trust and mismanagement of the Secretary of State's office, then led by the late John Campbell, as well as a history of corruption and mismanagement in state government, helped topple the state's long-time Democratic majority.

But this sweep was aided by the fact that there was no monolithic Democratic machine. Factional in-fighting amongst Democrats resulted in party-switching by the dozens among elected officials, and many "Democrats for" movements which helped Republicans win critical crossover votes. Their fights and blood feuds became our opportunities, which Carroll Campbell and others were wise enough to exploit with brutal effectiveness.

Now, we have a Republican governor who fights with a Republican legislature to the point where a Democratic gubernatoral candidate counted on a large and vocal group of Republican supporters, along with highly-publicized investigations of GOP statewide elected officials.

This wasn't much different than the mid-1990s, where former Governor David Beasley's split with party moderates helped fuel a rout in which he lost, along with the party losing several legislative seats and two other statewide offices to Democrats.

Now, look back to last year at the national level, where GOP voters, disgusted by a Congressional majority far more interested in doling out pork than ethics, sat home and helped elect Democratic majorities in both houses.

Those insiders arrogant enough to think the people aren't watching should have learned from last year's Congressional rout that the voters aren't stupid. They expect government to work, and if it settles into corruption, incomptence, mismanagement and petty feuding, then they clean house. They did it here, and they did it at the national level in 1994 and 2006. They will do it again - it's just a question of when, and to which party.

While much time and many opportunities have been lost, there is still time for the state's GOP leadership to clean up their act, try a little harder to get along and find a workable middle ground. But not much. Otherwise, when they take casualties at the polls, the only ones they can blame is who they see in the mirror.

5 Response to "GOP troubles = Democratic opportunities?"

  1. Anonymous 18/7/07 09:04
    too bad you're not running for anything, or you could get taken down along with the rest of your republicreeps.
  2. Anonymous 18/7/07 09:42
    The early GOPers got in power thru Democratic in-fighting. What's good for the goose ...
  3. west_rhino 18/7/07 10:11
    Complacency, corruption and failing history grades underscore the yowling dog on the porch syndrome.

    The dog yowls and whines, because he's sitting on a nail. He doesn't get up and move, yet, becuase the nail doesn't hurt that much, yet.

    To that end, the closing monologue in Patton offers some insight, recalling a triumphal parade as a victorious Emperor returns to Rome with his Legions, that a slave rides in the chariot with the victor, whispering that all glory is fleeting.

    Some Dems are heartened by a few victories, yet they have to distance themselves from the unpalatable national platform, which by caveat is part of the state and local platforms. Off hand, the Libertarians have "a lean and hungry look Cassius".

    quo vadis Stewart Flood, Tim Moultrie et al?
  4. Stewart Flood 18/7/07 15:42
    Where are we going? The answer is "The Party of Principle" -- the Libertarian Party.

    The LP was the reason why the Democrats gained parity in the Senate last fall. Our candidates were also responsible for a significant portion of the Republican losses in the House.

    Obviously we didn't win the seats. But we gained enough ground that our vote count was significantly more than the margin the Democrats won by in several seats that Republicans believed they'd keep. The election returns gave the full story of what happened, which even the Post and the Times reported.

    Do we care that the Republicans lost and the Democrats won? Certainly not. Gridlock is actually good at this point. It may even help us gain more in the next election. Maybe one day we'll be winning more than just a few hundred races around the country.

    I sleep much better at night knowing that I'm not associated with a party that just pretends to support a return to the government that the Framers intended and that the states originally agreed to. I wish that some of my friends that are still in Republican Party would realize that there is no shame in leaving what has become a morally bankrupt party.

    Those of us who call ourselves Libertarians may have a long road to travel, but the country is finally starting to realize that the Democrats and Republicans are determined to finish destroying the Constitution and that they must be stopped.
  5. north dakota moye 18/7/07 17:42
    While you got to give the Libertarians their due they will never be a major player in a lifetime. I was a former member of the Libertarian party and voted that way for years in my earlier life. While I have problems with the GOP at times I still believe we are the best hope for America not some third party losers.

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