December 12, 2008
Talking to my Dad tonight, I was reminded yet again why the late Sam Francis branded the GOP the Stupid Party. Today, my Mom—who has voted Republican in every presidential election since 1964—received a call from the GOP soliciting money to help Norm Coleman keep his seat in the Senate. Why the Republican Party thought calling anyone in Michigan was a good idea after such moral paragons as David Vitter led the charge against loans for the auto industry is one of the great mysteries of life, and the fundraiser went away with the same amount of money I suspect he got from anyone else he called in Michigan today: nothing. At work, a Republican colleague, disgusted with the antics of the Senate Republicans, told me he was considering changing party affiliations. I doubt he is the only one. The Southern Senators whom Pat Buchanan denounced, with real fire and emotion, as “Toyota Republicans” tonight on the McLaughlin Group showed precisely what they think of the industrial Midwest, and it should not surprise anyone when people who live here reevaluate what they think of a party whose Senators clearly demonstrated the contempt they feel for us.
Of course, the stupidity runs deeper than the fundraiser who decided today was a good day to look for GOP donors in Michigan. No Republican has ever won the presidency without winning Ohio, and the northern part of my state, from Toledo in the west to Youngstown in the east, has one Big Three facility after another. Many of the people whose livelihoods depend on the auto industry here are social conservatives of the type who became Reagan Democrats. (Indeed, probably the most studied group of Reagan Democrats in America were the ethnic Catholics of Macomb County, Michigan, who helped the Gipper win Michigan twice). It is very difficult to see such people voting for the Republicans four years from now, especially since the Democrats will be able to remind them how such as Jim DeMint opposed a loan to the Big Three because foreign carmakers would be “disadvantaged” by such loans. At the western end of the auto belt is another key swing state, Missouri, whose Republican Senator, like Ohio’s, was in the forefront of efforts to secure a loan for the Big Three, because Kit Bond understands the political reality in Missouri just as George Voinovich understands political reality in Ohio. Unless Bush decides to use TARP funds for the automakers, it is very likely that Obama will start the 2012 campaign not only with New York, California, and Illinois in his pocket, but with Michigan, Ohio, and Missouri as well.
UPDATE: For those interested, here is a video of Pat Buchanan going after the “Toyota Republicans” on the McLaughlin Group.
Daily updates with TM’s latest