Oh joy! Politico is reporting that Wisconsin governor and enemy of working people everywhere Scott Walker is sending strong signals that he will be candidate for president in 2016. Politico says that Walker, who spoke at CPAC this morning, “acknowledged in an interview Friday that he’s open to a presidential bid and pointedly declined to pledge to serve a full four-year term if he’s reelected next year.”
It’s hard to see what, exactly, ol’ Scottie boy would bring to the table. First, he’s a white dude. Second, his speech at CPAC is exactly the same old same old:
The governor’s 15-minute speech focused on his efforts to end what he called a culture of government dependency, such as requiring able-bodied adults to look for work or enroll in job training in order to receive food stamps.
Now there’s a fresh, bold idea! Ironically, of course, such requirements would probably end up costing the taxpayers more money than just leaving things the way they are.
Absent the (extremely unlikely) event of the Democrats nominating a catastrophically bad candidate in 2016, or the (somewhat less unlikely, albeit still extremely improbable) event of the economy taking a nosedive into Great Depression territory, it’s hard to imagine that someone having as little to offer as Scott Walker could be elected president in 2016. And yet, at this point, it’s hard to imagine the Republican party nominating anyone who has much appeal beyond the far right, old white guy base. I mean, holy good night! Just look at the names on the CPAC straw poll of presidential candidates: Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Rick Perry (!), Rick Santorum (!!), Bob McDonnell, Chris Christie (who btw is a wingnut in moderate clothing — he’s still an opponent of choice and gay marriage, and he turned down stimulus funds). If I were a Republican, I’d be stocking up the cyanide.
I often wonder: how many elections will the Republicans have to lose before they change? What will have to happen, to make the current incarnation of the party, at long last, deader than disco?
Sometimes I dream of the day the Republicans might have a Hartford Convention moment. Do you know about the Hartford Convention? It was a spectacularly ill-timed event that took place in end of 1814 through the beginning of 1815, and it ended up more or less wiping out the Federalist party as a major force in American politics, practically overnight.
At the time, the Federalists was one of the two major parties in American politics (the Democrats was the other one). The Federalists opposed the War of 1812 and met in Hartford, in part, to discuss their opposition to that war. They passed a number of anti-war resolutions, but unknown to them, Andrew Jackson had already handed the Brits’ derrieres to them in the Battle of New Orleans, effectively ending the war (news was verrrrry slow in getting around in those days). When news of Jackson’s victory finally did become well-known, the Federalists, due to their actions at Hartford, were utterly disgraced, and widely held in contempt by the rest of the country. It pretty much happened overnight, too. They kicked around for a little while on the regional level, but mostly they were through. The Democratic Party remained dominant for many years after that. And though the Whigs were a force for a while, it wasn’t until the Civil War period Republicans that the Democrats were again opposed by a strong national party.
If the Republican party was to die, I doubt that the not-the-Democrats party that would replace it would be much of my cup of tea. But it might be a little less antediluvian on either social or economic matters. If that were the case, it would be most welcome. Halfway between the Democrats and Dwight Eisenhower is far preferable than halfway between the Democrats and Paul Ryan. It might open some space for some decent things to happen in this country.