George W. Bush left the White House with an approval rating hovering around 30%. Courtesy of his tenure, and his second term specifically, by 2008 large numbers of conservatives ceased to identify themselves as “Republican,” such was their shame. At least one million of them refused to vote for John McCain. But two years before this, their enthusiasm had already begun to wane considerably, for the Democrats hammered Bush’s party, regaining control once more of both chambers of Congress. By 2012, even fewer conservatives showed up at the polls to pull the lever for Mitt Romney.
If all of this fails to convince the GOP that it is hemorrhaging its base, the party’s leaders would be well advised to look carefully at the comments’ sections of any number of “conservative” leaning publications—including those that are most friendly to the Republican Party.
The internet has been a great equalizer, the one outlet—the only outlet (sorry Fox News and talk radio)—for conservative-minded Americans to give uninhibited expression to their views. To judge from these views on race relations, immigration, and everything in between, it would seem that perhaps a revolution of sorts is beginning to brew among those whose voice has been marginalized and suppressed by the self-appointed guardians of Political Correctness—both Democrat and Republican.
Yet whether this is a real revolution or not, this much is clear: from the perspective of the great unwashed conservative masses, things are not looking too good for the Republican Party.
In the court of public, on-line opinion, Marco Rubio, for example, has been tried and convicted of traitorous conduct toward both his party and his country for his tireless support of amnesty. McCain and Lindsay Graham long ago had this verdict visited upon them, but their latest attempt to secure Democrat Party rule in perpetuity via amnesty has renewed with vigor the contempt in which legions of conservatives hold them.
But everyone knows that McCain and Graham are has-beens who’ve gone as far as they are going to go. Most troubling for the GOP is that its newest line of “conservative” stars is fizzling fast.
Paul Ryan and Chris Christie are as unpopular among the conservative base as is Rubio—and for essentially the same reason: they are viewed as “RINO’s.” What this really means, though, is that they are regarded as fake conservatives who talk the talk when they need the base of their party but dance with the Democrats at all other times.
Jack Kerwick received his doctoral degree in philosophy from Temple University. His area of specialization is ethics and political philosophy. He is a professor of philosophy at several colleges and universities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Jack blogs at Beliefnet.com: At the Intersection of Faith & Culture. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or friend him on facebook. You can also follow him on twitter.