Thursday, January 29, 2009

One post about two unanimous votes

Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies - The 23rd Psalm

Governor Rod and his staff, they offend me.
They preparest a felony before me and are their own enemies
- All 59 Illinois State Senators

First, I'd like to thank the Illinois state Senate for its unanimous vote today in removing Rod Blagojevich from office. New Governor Pat Quinn is a good man, and I wish him luck.

Second, I promise my next blog post will be about something other than, "here's some more reasons why the Republican Party is dying."

But I need to say a few more words on that subject, so here goes. Nate Silver of has published a couple of posts that I think neatly reiterate what I said about today's GOP in This Train Only Stops in Dixie.

In The Republican Death Spiral, Nate observes that in voting unanimously against the Stimulus Bill this week, House Republicans seem proud of themselves despite that fact that they haven't accomplished anything.
He astutely asks,

"what grander purpose does this strategy serve? The House Republicans are opposing popular legislation from a very popular President, and doing so in ways that stick a needle in the eye of the popular (if quixotic) concept of bipartisanship....Thus the Republicans, arguably, are in something of a death spiral. The more conservative, partisan, and strident their message becomes, the more they alienate non-base Republicans. But the more they alienate non-base Republicans, the fewer of them are left to worry about appeasing. Thus, their message becomes continually more appealing to the base -- but more conservative, partisan, and strident to the rest of us. And the process loops back upon itself."

Nate follows up these thoughts in The Republican Death Spiral, in Graphic Form in which he provides a good explanation of why the GOP seems to have lost any semblance of pragmatism:

"in the 109th Congress (2005-2007), about 3 out of every 10 Republican Congressmen came from swing or Democratic-leaning districts. Now, only about 1 in 6 does. The Republican conference is very very close, by the way, to being majority Southern. To the extent there are moderate voices in the conference, they are going to get drowned out. There is no possibility of revolt from the moderates; they don't have the ground forces."

Quite so. And they shall dwell in the House minority, (hopefully) forever.

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