About 30 years ago or so, the Republican party reformed itself a bit to take the 1980 election. Basically, the far right crazies (evangelicals and tax-dodging militia) were brought into the fold to expand the base into something electable. The plutocrats in charge though managed to keep the reins for the most part, getting their corporate agenda effectively passed by ensuring the religious get to the polls using non-starter issues like abortion, gambling, and later gay marriage.
Now that they've imploded, the finger pointing has begun. The neo-cons under Bush were "too liberal", Sarah Palin VP pick was either a "stroke of genius" or "the result of a mild stroke", the religious base was never given what they wanted and are disenchanted. Pundits advocating any of these sides have already come out with a purge list for "Vichy Republicans" like Powell
. So the bets are on who will come out on top to wrest control of the party now that the Corporate Cons have failed to deliver...or delivered failure depending on how you see it.
So, in no particular order:The Theo-cons
- Convinced that the country's ills are the result of moral decay, these guys have been around in one form or another since at least 4000 bc Egypt and can be found in almost every corner of the planet today. The American version has been loyal foot soldiers for years, acting as a strong activist base for their corporate party masters in getting their followers lined up at the polls. They were promised paradise...prayer time mandated in every school, no more abortions, outlawing of porn and homosexuality, Christian symbology posted in public places as matter of fact, Christian biblical tales in public science classes, abstinence education instead of condom usage. They got a small chicken bone tossed to them once in a while, but not nearly enough. After 30 years, they've had enough, and with a new hero like Sarah Palin, they may actually get control.The Corporate Cons
- Most of these guys could give a shit about morality issues. Their tasks, which were mostly accomplished in the last 30 years, were to unchain themselves from the ethical rules of business and avoid paying as many taxes as possible. In the later years, they got greedy and started to even figure out ways to get the government to pay them in the form of bailouts and marginally useful privatization contracts. They'll never actually pay the piper on this one, but they did have a good run while it lasted. Now with the taxpayer picking up the tab in a BIG way, maybe they'll skitter off to Dubai and leave America to the vultures...or maybe they'll tinker with their message a bit and rise again.The Neo-Cons
- These guys were once referred to by Bush Sr. as "those crazies in the basement [of the Pentagon]", but became Jr.'s raison d'etre. Their goal? Pax Americana: The USA is and always will be the sole remaining superpower, through use of superior military might the rest of the world will be held hostage to our un-backed dollars. American citizens will be fat and happy while their soldiers police the world, and rising manufacturing nations feed us with the goods we need to stay that way and we pay them in dollars that continually lose value. This scheme was supposed to last 1000's of years. It lasted about 6 in reality land with massive fallout. Can the scare of Al Qaeda be enough to keep them in power or give them control of the party?The Paranoid Fringe
- Late-comers to the party in the 2000 election, this is an umbrella category covering a lot of various groups with the same main ideas: government is bad, taxes are worse, their race/religion/nationality/gender is superior to others, and Bill Clinton had black helicopters to take their guns away. You can see how each group above appeals to these guys on one or more levels. Even Ron Paul, who had moderated and scrubbed his message quite well come 2008 primary season, was once very much knee deep in the shit with these people.Moderate Reformers
- This was the Party of Reagan but members were systemically primaried out over the last 20+ years as the Republicans shifted further and further right on almost every front. Though they espoused right-wing ideals, they also had a strong streak of realism and moderation in the message as well as something almost all of the above groups lack...a hair-line crack of integrity. Can the Republican revolution bring someone back along these lines, or are they too far gone?