Conservative Republicans flexed their newfound muscle in Capitol Hill's chaotic debt showdown, but in left-leaning California, moderates are trying to push the party toward the center on immigration, guns and gay rights as the 2012 elections come into view.
The latest friction in a long tussle between conservatives and centrists in California comes as leaders search for ways to make their candidates more competitive in a state where Democrats control the Legislature, hold every statewide office and enjoy a growing registration advantage. It also mirrors tensions playing out nationally as presidential contenders maneuver in advance of next year's primary season.
A proposed rewrite of the California Republican Party platform retreats from opposition to same-sex adoption, domestic partner benefits and child custody, avoids any mention of overturning Roe v. Wade and drops a demand to end virtually all federal and state benefits for illegal immigrants.
But they're still pandering to the fetus fetishists, right?
Er, no so much.
A detailed section titled "The Right to Life" vanishes, including a call to reverse the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion. It would be replaced with a single sentence on the protection of innocent human life, and the word "abortion" never appears.
So, just how extinctable are they?
In 2010, when Republicans scored big victories in Congress and statehouses around the nation, California Democrats made a clean sweep of eight statewide contests.
Despite a booming population, California counted more registered Republicans in 1988 than it does today. The party is in danger of slipping under 30 percent of registered voters statewide — Democrats hold 44 percent, or an edge of 2.3 million voters. Independents outnumber Republicans in 14 of the state's 53 congressional districts.
Hispanics could eclipse non-Hispanics and comprise the largest racial or ethnic group in the state by 2020, and they tend to vote Democratic. Independents — about 2 of 10 voters — generally tilt left in California, too.
The last Republican to carry the state in a presidential election was George H.W. Bush, in 1988.
And you have to go even further back to find that Great Uniter, St. Ronnie.
"It's possible to have a broadly conservative party that doesn't agree on every specific," said [political scientist] Pitney, who teaches at Claremont McKenna College. "The guy who was able to thread the needle on this was Reagan — he was able to include the moderates."
Great Uniter, my ass. According to Michael Moore, we can blame Ronnie for everything. (Well, I always have.)
Beginning on this date, 30 years ago, Big Business and the Right Wing decided to "go for it" -- to see if they could actually destroy the middle class so that they could become richer themselves.
And they've succeeded.
On August 5, 1981, President Ronald Reagan fired every member of the air traffic controllers union (PATCO) who'd defied his order to return to work and declared their union illegal. They had been on strike for just two days.
It was a bold and brash move. No one had ever tried it. What made it even bolder was that PATCO was one of only two unions that had endorsed Reagan for president! It sent a shock wave through workers across the country. If he would do this to the people who were with him, what would he do to us?
Looking back, I remember thinking when the US barracks in Beirut were bombed, killing 299 USian and French soldiers and Teflon Ronnie suffered no recriminations for it: 'That's it. We've lost'.
Because of course when a Democrat is president and something goes really bad -- like the Iranian hostage crisis -- the Dem wears it and loses.
I have a serious question. Now, with more information available than ever before, unprecedented ease of consultation and networking -- WHY ARE HUMANS SO FUCKING STUPID?
Sorry for shouting. . .