Phil, I hope I was not guilty of misrepresenting your views, but you’ve been in a lot of the same bull-session discussions as me, and you know that the Bright Young Minds of the Right are hardly in a panic over the prospect of an Obama presidency. If George W. Bush has been president since you were in college, and if you were in middle school when Republicans captured Congress, it is understandably difficult for you to remember what it was really like the last time Democrats controlled everything in Washington. So while I don’t mean to say you’ve got a “who cares” attitude, a lot of your peers do have that attitude, and it’s not hard to see why.
Nor is this indifference to the possibility of an Obama presidency exclusive to callow youth. A lot of older conservatives recall how quickly the backlash to rampant Clintonism built into the tsunami that swept the GOP into the congressional majority, and seem to assume that something similar would automatically be the result of an Obama presidency. At any rate, they’d rather have a liberal Democrat in the White House than to see further “brand damage” caused by another non-conservative Republican president.
All of which may be valid in theory — the idea that a sojourn in the wilderness will cure whatever ails the GOP — but it is just theory, and what actually happens might be quite the opposite. Obama could be hugely successful and popular, a two-term president who expands his party’s power and hands the office off to his VP, extending the GOP’s “wilderness” sojourn to 12 years. In which case, the conservative coalition might completely collapse, and George W. Bush could have the historical distinction of being the last Republican president, period.
Your own “worst-case scenario” assumes the Republican Party and the conservative movement to be permanent fixtures of the American political landscape. I assume no such thing.
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