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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Rush to Prejudgment

For Democrats, one of the fun things about the runup to November 4 has been the atmosphere of “precriminations” among Republicans getting ready to spin a likely top-to-bottom defeat. Some GOPers are simply blaming the McCain campaign’s ineptitude, with the Palin choice figuring large, small, or even countervailing in their accounts of what went wrong.
But the more important intra-Republican debate is over the party’s ideology, and Ross Douthat has done a good job reporting and then rebutting the movement conservative spin, as expressed by Rush Limbaugh.
Douthat makes a lot of sense, but given the exceptional dominance of conservative opinion by people like Limbaugh, I strongly suspect that the prevailing conservative post-election spin will be that John McCain failed to campaign as a conservative, just as George W. Bush failed to govern as a conservative. In the long run, this will contribute to a state of denial that will thwart Republicans. In the short run, it helps guarantee that Republicans will fight a Barama administration like wolverines. Any GOPer who cooperates with Democrats after January 20 is going to face a lot of wrath from a conservative base who think McCain lost by running against George W. Bush from the Right.

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