Notes from Restoration Weekend

Restoration Weekend is an annual do put on by David Horowitz, the self-appointed defender of minorities and other groups under attack including “Christians and white males,” at which 350 conservative movers and shakers confab and hobnob. The Nation’s Marc Cooper attended the event last weekend (as a liberal panelist), and found that many of these movement stalwarts are worried about the GOP’s chances in the fall elections. Or, as he put it, “there's a lot of fear and trembling going on among Republicans.”

Former Congressman Pat Toomey, current head of The Club for Growth: "We have to acknowledge we have a President who is not popular… The war in Iraq is the 800 lb. gorilla in the room and a major downturn could drown anything we do… We won in 1994 because we promised small government and going into the 2006 elections this is key idea we have abandoned."


Missouri Lt. Governor Pete Kinder on the state of the party: "The demoralization of the base is real. I hear it everywhere."
I honestly was thinking that I wasn’t sure which is a worse position to be in—part of the disillusioned progressive masses almost completely marginalized from federal governance or part of the demoralized conservative masses whose party enjoys near-total dominance and doesn’t see a shred of conservative principle in federal governance—until I read a bit on Cooper’s personal blog about that latter group:

Generally speaking, the audiences at these events are usually quite gracious and easy-going if indeed out-to-lunch politically. It’s a much friendlier venue than your usual lefty gatherings. The Weekend-goers here are disportionately [sic] richer, older, more comfortable, less angry than your average progressive (duh!). And as they will usually admit that their politics are much more about self-interest than purportedly about saving the world, they don’t get very worked up if you disagree with them. Doesn’t really affect the bottom line, y’know.
Then I basically thought, Eh, fuck ’em. When you’re only interested in “Gettin' mine,” how sorry can I feel for you?

(I do, however, still gravely pity—and disdain—any average, struggling schmoe who votes Republican thinking they’re going to do best by him.)

In any case, I don’t think most of this demoralized base will ever vote Dem, so this isn’t really news about something the Dems could directly exploit. It is, possibly, a warning that lots of fed-up conservatives may be staying home from the polls come November, though. If the Dems can appeal to the older demographic which is rife with frustrated seniors pissed about the Medicare prescription debacle, and give the rest of their potential voters something to vote for, aside from just trying to shred the GOP stranglehold on Congress, they just might pull it out of the bag.

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