Recently, I ragged on the Republican Party. So in the spirit of equal time, I ought to give the Democrats their due. But I’m skipping the Democrats’ turn just this one time.
Besides, if you will recall, I did do a piece on the “Left Leaning Lemurs,” to which I got plenty of Democratic hazing. So in a “snake draft” approach, it is theoretically fair of me to go after the Republicans for the second time in a row, no?
So what’s the issue now? Healthcare? Welfare? Financial Reform?
Nah. I’m going in a more general direction. Much like my last piece on the Republicans, I’m more interested in the long-term interests of the Republican Party. What were they before? What are they now? What will they be?
When you ask those three questions, undoubtedly, you come up with the same three answers.
What were the Republicans before?
Well before the Democrats relinquished the South in the 1960s, the Republicans were a very weak party. When southerners flocked to the Republican party in that decade, it was mainly because Republicans were the party that stood to oppose the Democrats on civil rights. Ultimatley, civil rights and the Democrats won the legislative battle, but the Republicans undoubtedly grew in power, despite the loss.
What are the Republicans now?
Now, the Republicans are fresh off opposing healthcare. Once again, they lost the legislative battle, but now they stand to gain seats in both the House and the Senate, even though healthcare was a major legislative victory for the Democrats.
What will the Republicans be?
In my previous post, I proposed that the death of the Republican Party as we know it was imminent. There is no way they can continue to the ride the outlandish “we want the good old days” view of the far right in the face of an a country set on change. Still, the Republican Party will adapt. How much they adapt, I’m not sure. They will come back to the middle to appease a few more people and gain those that they have lost over the years. And Republicans will do just as they did when they reclaimed the south; grabbing those who oppose the liberal direction of this country, reformulating their positions, ultimately losing the legislative war, but winning a numbers battle.
So what’s the common theme between what the Republicans were, are and will be? They are the winningest losers of all-time. And you know what that reminds me of? The Los Angeles Clippers.
For those of you who do not watch sports, you will have to excuse the analogy. But any true fan of the sports, and specifically the NBA, knows how the Los Angeles Clippers have been one of the most successful losing teams in the history of the NBA.
For a long stretch, the Los Angeles Clippers were God awful on the basketball court. Under the first ten years of Donald Sterling’s ownership, which began in 1981, the Clippers didn’t manage a winning record one time. It was Sterling’s frugal spending, insistence on having the team in Los Angeles, and propensity to fall in love with acquiring the best picks in the draft that led to the Clippers decade of bad basketball. In other words, stubbornness kept the Clippers out of the winner’s circle.
The Clippers did have two winning seasons in 1992 and 1993, but quickly returned to their losing ways with 12 straight seasons without a winning record from ’93 to 2005.
But during all of the losing, all of those bad teams, and all of the cheap, high draft picks, the Los Angeles Clippers made a ton of money. Last year alone, the Clippers operating income was a reported $10 million, similar to what they have made over the years. Not to mention, Sterling bought the team in 1981 for $12.5 million and the team is now valued at almost $300 million. Needless to say, Sterling has been winning the off-court battle, while the team he owns has been losing the on-court battle for years.
That’s exactly what the Republicans are doing!
Maybe I’m using hyperbole, but I don’t think so. The Republicans are no different from the Los Angeles Clippers. Republicans have been losing the legislative battles, for which they were elected to win. However, Republicans have been winning the ancillary battles by cashing in as the opposition party and winning seats, raising money, even dominating the television news landscape. Like the Clippers, Republicans are losing on the court, but their off-court game is nice!
This brings me back to my earlier post. How long can the Republicans last with a political methodology that consists of taking on legislative battles they cannot win, but using the subsequent anger from challenging reform bills to win seats and raise money for their party?
Well, if the Los Angeles Clippers are something of a tell-tale sign, the Republicans can get away with this for a long time.
However, much like the Clippers, the head of the GOP will eventually try to win some legislative, or “on-court” battles. The Republicans did just that during their Congressional stronghold in the early part of the last decade. They won battles on war, taxes and a few other things as well. Question is, when will they actually try to win their next battle?
Clearly, the Republicans are not interested in winning legislative battles like financial reform, and they don’t seem interested being on the right side of immigration reform either. Perhaps if the GOP wins enough “off-court” battles, much like David Sterling, they can use the extra cash and Congressional standing to win one major battle: the 2012 Presidential Election. Something tells me that if the GOP wins that battle, then much like the Clippers of more recent years, the Republican Party might actually try to win a few “on-court” battles for the first time in a while.