The Shifting “Base”

President Bush is “losing his base,” or so we’ve been told. (I’m sure it’s in other places as well, but this is one of the latest.)

There are a number of things at work here. First, politicians pandering to their constituencies. Is the President doing that? He doesn’t have any re-election worries, other than keeping the Republicans in the majority. I hardly believe that he’s making a play to raise his poll numbers. He hasn’t seemed too concerned about that up until this time.

Second, the Republican base vs. the Democratic base. This kind of story highlights a major difference (although, no doubt, David will disagree with this!) between the supporters of the two parties, i.e., Republicans support issues, while Democrats are about people. I can’t say that Democrats support people, because I think it’s much more about opposing people they dislike, rather than continued support of people they do like (although, the Clinton administration, as beacon of glorious light in the darkness of Amerika, poses a counter-example). Republicans are not afraid to oppose a fellow Republican if he or she appears to betray a cause which they support. This is often pointed out with a knowing smirk, as if it somehow proved something. What does it prove? That Republicans care about particular issues, not necessarily the person with the (R) behind the name.

A “conservative base” may have gotten President Bush elected, but that doesn’t mean that an election can keep that base from pursuing its chosen agenda.


2 thoughts on “The Shifting “Base”

  1. The only thing I disagree with is that Republicans and Democrats are inherently different on the inside and this is the cause of their political persuasion.

    And the Democrats tactics are probably related to their lack of power. They can’t pursue an agenda because they have no governing power. In fact, lacking governing power, they even face difficulty getting their proposed agenda covered. Note the lack of media coverage of their homeland security plan from a month ago which was concurrent with media reports of a lack of agenda on the Democrats part.

    But Democrats do get coverage when they make politics personal and actively oppose Republican leaders. The media usually covers this; we can’t count on the media to report on differences simply on policy grounds because to the media, that story is “dog bites man”.

    As for the Republicans and their base, I guess folks have to come to grips with the soaring deficit, soaring government spending, reduction of privacy from the government and the presence of still legal abortion. It’s no wonder some conservatives are upset with their leaders.

    And Democrats don’t blindly support their own simply for party labels either. Witness Joe Lieberman, Henry Cuellar of Texas and others who’ve raised the ire of the base, like Feinstein for example.

    But overall, people with strong ideologies on both sides face the same problem: their parties simply cannot deliver them much that doesn’t already have 60-70% support already. The checks and balances in our system pretty much stall any major changes that don’t have a broad base of support.

    This is why Social Security, even abortion and other things are here to stay for quite a while. this isn’t to say these things are right, but recognizes how difficult it is to change the status quo –you’ve got to have the center to do that.

  2. I don’t know what the Democrats have to complain about. Everything they want which goes in front of the President, the President signs.

    Many of the things that Pres. Clinton couldn’t do for the Dems, Pres. Bush has.

    It’s like all the Republican’s I voted for are Morphing into Democrats!


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