Friday, February 03, 2006


Cult of Personality Crisis

"Ray", a DC Republican -- loyal to the party, yet cognizant of its various fault lines and possessing a strong insight to its recent history and structure -- shares some thoughts on the interesting developments of the last few several months, culminating in this week's Democrats' cloture disaster and yesterday's House GOP leadership change:

The Republican Party wasted 2005 waiting to see what its "Cult of Personalities" that are Dubya, Dick and DeLay would do next -- and thereby what it, itself, would do next:

Would Cheney run in '08? Would Jeb Bush run in '08? Would DeLay and his former cronies be indicted? And, basically, what would Dubya do? The Republican Party was held in limbo in 2005 because of the Cult of Personalities of Dubya, Dick and Delay.

Whereas the Dems still have not moved beyond the Cult of Personality that is Bill Clinton and even Ted Kennedy, the Republican Party in the Fourth Quarter of 2005 began healthy steps towards moving away from the "3D" Cult of Personalities. Much of this is of W's own doing (the Harriet Miers debacle) and much is not of his doing -- Libby, social conservatives fiasco at 2005 polls, Abramoff, wire-tapping controversy, etc.

[Despite what one might think], it has all been GREAT for the Republican Party. As
Jack Nicholson's Joker said in Batman, "This town needs an enema." Well, the Republican Party is going though a healthy colonic. No colonic feels good. It isn't supposed to. The fact that the Dems have yet to go through this process -- even after losing in 1994, 2000, 2002 and 2004 --is totally beyond me. WHY?????????? (Couldn't the Alito debacle have made the need for new Hill leadership any clearer?)

I am more confident today for the Republican Party than I have been in years BECAUSE of this process. I am confident everything will come outOK, because while the Republican Party has been going through this process, the Republican base has been donating out the wazoo during the 4th Quarter. After near record low 2nd and 3rd Quarter fundraising [post-Terri Schiavo], the 4th Quarter was off the charts... The Republican Party actually begins 2006 with more cash on hand than AT ANYTIME IN HISTORY -- not just Republican Party history. Six months ago, I would have thought anyone saying that was smoking crack or mainlining Dubya's Kool Aid.

Republicans are breaking through the fear of
freefalling without the Cult of Dubya's leadership and openly embracing just being FREE.

Where it is going next will be interesting to see.

Further examples of the GOP's capacity for self-cleaning/exorcism can be found in Newt Gingrich's departure after the 1998 elections and Trent Lott's being forced to give up his majority leader post after his praise of Strom Thurmond's Dixiecrat campaign. Either of those episodes could have presaged rocky days ahead for the GOP. Instead, the subsequent elections were Republican victories.

Conversely, as Ray puts it, Democrats seem stuck in their own Cult of Personality: All around the Internet, the Democrat speculation seems to revolve perpetually on the "Hillary Question" -- is she electable? is she too far Left? Is she too far to the right? Did she make a fatal error in supporting the war -- and continuing to do so? But, Hillary is, ultimately, only an extension of the Bill "C.O.P." that has haunted the party since 1992 -- with decidedly uneven results, especially in recent years.

If Ray's observations are correct (he's certainly dead-on in noting the GOP's shocking fundraising haul), then this year may not be the looming electoral wipeout Republicans fear and Democrats dream.

Of course, there is still a lot that can happen involving Patrick Fitzgerald, Iraq, and who knows what else. But as of this day, even facing major strategic liabilitthe Republican Party at least appears to have some sense of what it is about and how to "sell" its "brand" to the public.

The Alito hearings show only too clearly that the Democrats are still floundering.

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