Why the GOP is unraveling

April 17, 2009

A HuffPo blogger explains that the GOP was

… built on an ideological foundation–and a coalition–that was fundamentally incoherent.  It took a charismatic leader to bring it together (Ronald Reagan), a tacit agreement among its coalition partners to give each other what they wanted, and a message machine to start selling the idea that that there was coherence to a conservative “philosophy” that was anything but coherent. Modern conservatism wove together five discrete strands and interest groups that couldn’t coexist.

It’s a good analysis, but only half the story.  The party is floundering also because its message machine has been rendered powerless in the age of YouTube, blogs and The Daily Show.

Westen goes on to say:

I would never underestimate the ability of the right to find a way to stitch something back together, for two reasons. First, they’re good at it. They’re short on ideas, but they’re long on selling ideas, however vapid. Second, Democrats are exactly the opposite: They’re long on ideas but short on the ability to bundle them into coherent, emotionally compelling narratives that make people want to buy them–except when the GOP is so corrupt, inept, and/or bankrupt (or causing bankruptcy) that even moderate Republicans jump ship.

Wrong.  They were good at selling ideas.  But their approach no longer works.  Sure they may adapt in due time, but it will be a learning experience and there is no reason why Dems might end up being better at using the newly available tools.

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