Michael Smerconish, the Philly-based radio talk show host, has a column in the Inquirer today arguing that the GOP needs to seriously restructure its primary system in order to have any hope of nominating a potentially winning candidate in 2012 as opposed to one that will appeal to the party's base and ideological purists. His suggestions include regional primaries, moving up the dates of some high-population swing states, giving more of a stay to New England or key Western states, even giving more power to party bosses who have an institutional/professional interest in winning in addition to ideological aspirations.It has been my contention since the 2006 elections that the Republicans find themselves in the same place politically as the Democrats found themselves during the early and mid 1980s - overwhelmingly rejected by voters and relegated to the deep political wilderness.
On its face, it all makes a decent amount of sense if your angle is getting more electable Republicans. What struck me more though is how the arguments could have been lifted almost verbatim from the same conversation going on among Democrats through the 1970s and 1980s. Almost word for word, with the exception of the West and Northeast possibly playing the role of the South for the Dems in decades past. That strikes me as the most revealing thing about it.
Like the Democrats in 1982 (when the country was pulling herself out of a major recession), the GOP may gain House and Senate seats in congressional elections in 2010, but not enough to take over either chamber. Then, with a slight political wind at their back, they will fall back into their old, fascist, divisive ways. And 2012, like 1984 for the Democrats, will be their worst nightmare.