When George W. Bush narrowly pulled off two Presidential elections, concerns were raised of Democrats going the way of the Whigs. Things have dramatically changed and this dire prospect is now talked about the Republicans rather than the Democrats. After the election the GOP is expected to be in shambles.
Collin Powell might have already hammered the first nail. As he endorsed Barack Obama for President, Powell complained that his party has moved too much to the right and criticized McCain for employing negative attacks as campaign tactics. Apparently, Powell is now concerned about his legacy. All indications point to McCain trying to win nasty rather than lose badly. And Powell will have none of it.
At the same time, Powell complained that the GOP’s vice-presidential candidate and crown princess of the party, Sarah Palin, is totally unprepared for the Presidency, which to Powell is actually the job of the Vice President. After initially energizing the party’s base, Palin has slowly turned out to be a polarizing figure to the Americans and even to her own party. Even conservative opinion makers started to attack her after sub-par performances in unscripted interviews. Kathleen Parker called Palin “out of her league” and even proposed that she drop out of the race. David Brooks called Palin “fatal cancer to Republican party.” Both Parker and Brooks cast doubts on McCain’s judgment over his choice of Palin as Vice-Presidential candidate. McCain answers only with “amazed” response. An Associated Press investigation released today finds out that Alaska pays for the travels of Palin’s children, and Palin revised filed expense records to make these expenses official when reporters started to get nosey. Worse still, Palin charged some hotel expenses when in fact she was staying at her home. In a separate interview with CNN today, Palin continue to insist that she is even more experienced than Obama, prompting a chuckling Larry King to ask one Republican panelist, “Are you now seeing the end of the race?”
Even as he considers himself a Republican, Powell, like Clinton and Obama and other Democrat leaders, talks seriously about the need of America to regain the respect and admiration of the world. Neither McCain nor Palin tackles this theme. Instead, both talk of being non-apologetic for their actions in dealing with allies.
At least 40% of American voters still adore the McCain-Palin ticket and are thrilled at whatever the duo brings to the White House. But as issues are discussed daily at the backdrop of terrible wounding of capitalism as an economic ideology, the GOP is proving to be on the wrong side of history. The Republican candidates are trailing so badly in the congressional races that they now only talk of salvaging a few seats in both house and senate, so that at least their right to filibuster will be safeguarded.
The Republican party is obviously feeling the weight of the generally unsympathetic mainstream media. This morning, McCain was talking mad at the NBC crew because the network did not carry the recent Biden story. McCain has prohibited many reporters of the mainstream media from traveling with him in his campaign plane. From now on he will probably surround himself only with sympathetic Fox News (derided in the Web as FauxNews or Fox-machine), New York Post, Weekly Standard and Wall Street Journal—all part of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire. You bet, GOP will likely also use MySpace as the official social network. Partisans will also exclusively patronize 20th Century Fox productions and boycott Michael Moore’s movies. Very soon you may find National Geographic defending Palin’s view on global warming so they can promote drill-drill-drill.
The blogoshere certainly would not be left behind in pushing the GOP to oblivion. Millions of blogs on US elections 2008 do not show admiration for McCain, Palin nor the Republicans. The last time the a Republican president get elected was in YouTube-free 2004. That was the time when blogs were few and bloggers were still too shy to weight in on anything that matters. Playing hard ball to win an election was the rule and candidates with few resources can only swear in silence or simply watch helplessly. FoxNews anchors would praise the wealthy Republicans to high heavens. One male anchor, I remember, had the bravery to announce that “Republicans get laid more often because they are fabulously rich.”
That was an era the Republicans could now only recall with misty eyes. Now their attempts at gimmicks, stunts and propaganda over the Web get flagged down before they stick. Blogging is passion and bloggers are generally extremely unforgiving when lied to. The Web is a domain unfriendly to GOP.
Headed by a self-proclaimed computer illiterate, the GOP was quite late in jumping into the Web this election year. Obama, from the start, has built-his small donors base and has successfully used the Web for organization, human resource mobilization and fund raising. The donation button at barackobama.com has produced hundreds of millions of dollars for his campaign and the joke circulating around is that Obama has a serious money problem. Less than 2 weeks until election day, Obama has $134M in the bank and donations still pour in at the rate of $5M a day. His “problematic” campaign is running out of time spending all those money before election day.
During the Democratic primaries, Obama promised to re-shape the US electoral map. He already did. He also promised to change America and change the world. Obama uses “change”and “transform” interchangeably. However he puts it, there is little reason not to bet on his promise.
Millard Fillmore, is immortalized as the last Whig US president. Signs do not point to John McCain getting the consolation of being remembered as the last Republican president. His long-time pal, the not-anymore-his-president George W. Bush would likely get the distinction.