Recently the Republican Party chose Michael Steele as the head of the RNC. Steele previously ran for office using anti-Semitic tactics. He may not be anti-Semitic, but he has shown himself more than willing to use anti-Semitism for his political benefit. To me this suggests the Republicans yet again recognize that they have lost the Jewish vote once and for all.
From the National Jewish Democratic Council:
Michael Steele: No Profile in Courage
The Republican National Committee's (RNC) selection of Michael Steele as RNC Chairman has elicited a wave of positive reaction from political pundits. Republicans, as could be expected, praised the pick; Democrats and progressives reluctantly agreed that the Steele victory was good news for the GOP. No one denies Steele's oratory skills or his political prowess.
However, one quality that no one has examined is Steele's moral backbone. When John F. Kennedy released his classic "Profiles in Courage" in 1955, he recounted stories of politicians who risked their careers by standing up for principles. Steele is an unlikely candidate for a future edition of Profiles. read more »
This was the moment that John McCain sealed not just his fate, but the fate of the Republican Party this year. There will be no comeback in 2008:
John McCain cedes the "health" of the mother to the Democratic Party, thus alienating women voters. But I see something deeper in this clip. It cedes "health" altogether. It admits that to the Republican party, the healthcare crisis is not of concern to them. "Health" is, to McCain and the Republican Party, so unimportant that it gets put into finger quotes. John McCain has just defined "health" as nothing but a rhetorical talking point. read more »
A serious question: is there even going to be a republican party in this state, in the sense of an organization with meaningful ability to influence public policy, after the November elections?
The signs at this moment aren't all that promising. The not-so-casual observer can isolate three flashing signs of decline.
Fragmented, low-profile leadership: The top-ranking republican in this state today is Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. Skelos has virtually no statewide profile and isn't really doing much to acquire one, choosing to act very much like the leader merely of Long Island republicans, and not as the titular head of his party for the entire state. The rest of the leadership roster is similarly desiccated; Rudy Giuliani, the best-known New York leader of that party, went from Presidential front-runner to also-ran in a matter of weeks, former governor George Pataki has vanished, former Senator Al D'Amato is busy lobbying, and former Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno is probably negotiating with the Feds right now over those pesky indictments. Henry Kissinger, meanwhile, has opted out of anything having to do with state politics for a very long time.
As to the next generation of leadership, if it's out there, it's difficult to detect. This stems in part from a systemic feature of our electoral system, whereby New Yorkers stick with incumbent legislators for decades (a problem that similarly affects the black political leadership, in ways that offer parallels to the republican challenges). Republicans, by choking off avenues of advancement for new stars - cf. Trunzo, Caesar, or Maltese, Serph - have disincented their young guns from seeking out the path of public service.
A lack of infrastructure:
Democrats and Progressives have spent the last decade or so building infrastructure, and most of that work has been bottom-up. We have dozens of blogs that directly drive traditional media coverage, the best GOTV operation in the state provided by the WFP (which also provides a useful incentive for Democrats to act Progressively), several state-wide and local email lists that reach activists, bloggers, office-holders and volunteers at a moment's notice, kick-ass commercial firms like Global Strategy Group and Knickerbocker SKD, one of the best ad-makers in the country in Jimmy Siegel, and so on and so forth.
The republicans have nothing to compare to this huge, complex and largely self-directed machine.
An impending electoral meltdown:
It's entirely possible that New Yorkers are going to wake up on November 5th represented by twenty-six Democratic Congressmen and with a six-seat (or larger) Democratic Senate majority. The messaging environment in the Congressional races is driven largely by national issues, of course, but consider some of the signs pointing to a party in disarray: In Staten Island, republicans are desperately trying to get disgraced NY-13 incumbent to throw his hat in the ring, despite the fact that he's probably going to spend a few days in jail before the election. Republicans have held that seat for thirty years. Meanwhile, yesterday's Siena poll confirmed that the Senate republican offense has collapsed, and that their defense is tottering. The Democratic share of the vote in the 2006 Senate elections was already higher than that of Joe Bruno's embattled minions. Ina year characterized by a pronounced enthusiasm gap between the two parties, that's probably not going to change for the better for the GOP.
Republicans had better start thinking about what to do next, because they're about to get hit by a truck.
Got a message from my brother. He saw the run on the IndyMac Bank in Duarte, California.
Let me introduce this with dueling headlines. From the Pasadena Star-News:
IndyMac appears close to collapse: US regulators may not be ready to protect bank
And from the LA Times:
IndyMac denies that it's close to collapse: "Depositors have been pulling money from the Pasadena-based thrift, whose share price is down 90% this year."
Today, my brother saw a crowd at the Duarte IndyMac Bank desperately trying to get their savings out. Many elderly people were claiming that they are being offered dollar for dollar on the first $100,000...after that only fifty cents on the dollar. read more »
And yet another story on Bronx County GOP:
DA PROBES DOWNTOWN 'BRONX' POL
By BRUCE GOLDING
February 3, 2008 -- Prosecutors are investigating a Bronx politician after The Post revealed he's been living for years in lower Manhattan in apparent violation of state law.
The Post has also learned that election officials knew almost a decade ago that GOP district leader Fred Brown lived outside The Bronx, but ignored the information.
A November 1999 letter to the city Board of Elections said Brown "has not lived in this district or borough for many years" and was using a phony address to run for district leader.
A spokeswoman said the board could not act on the complaint because it was made anonymously, and state law requires a signed affidavit to challenge a voter's registration.
The Bronx DA's Office is investigating whether Brown, 72, filed false documents to register and vote in The Bronx, a spokesman said. That crime is a felony punishable by up to four years in prison. read more »