To re-state the theme of an earlier post written during the previous Newtening, the further Gingrich goes, the more the “massive external event” must be considered to have already undermined the position to which he ascends. He already represents crisis within the Republican Party.
Conservative activists have a different view of the risks and opportunities of 2012 than either establishment pooh-bahs or the pundits. What looks to some like a winnable-or-losable general election looks to ideologues like the best chance in decades to replay 1964 and repeal the Great Society and the New Deal.
If this tantrum lasts through the election, and if 2012 is for the Republicans what 1984 was for the Democrats, then finally our polity stands a chance of functioning again. The Tea Party will be dead and buried.
After such debates, an Obama victory would signify more than just the re-election of a moderately popular president over an opponent who fails to inspire the base of his own party—as happened with both Bob Dole in 1996 and John Kerry in 2004. It would expose the moral and logical defects of the conservative ideology that has been mostly dominant in the U.S. since 1980, even under Democratic presidents. Then, perhaps, a true liberal revival could begin.
“We simply cannot return to this brand of you’re-on-your-own economics if we’re serious about rebuilding the middle class in this country,” Obama said, in what will probably be the most enduring line of the speech.
His concern with alienating conservatives is wholly unproductive: it is unlikely that he can be more hated by the Tea Party than he already is. Nonetheless, he continues to relentlessly pursue compromises with Republicans that will never happen. Indeed, so concerned is he with his own degree of belonging that he jeopardizes the sympathies of those who actually have felt a natural and authentic connection to him.