The death of the Republican Party has an exact date: October 3, 2008. The day John McCain lost his bid for President also has an exact date: October 1, 2008. These dates are when the coroner officially declared death; the coma started much earlier: March 27, 2002.October 3, 2008 is, of course, when the $trillion bailout was passed by the House and signed into law by President Bush. October 1 was when John McCain voted for the bailout in the Senate, and went on to urge House Republicans to vote in favor of it. March 27, 2002 was when President Bush signed McCain-Feingold into law. (Ironically, Feingold voted against the bailout, making him more Republican than McCain.)
I'll agree with him on the cause of the illness, but not the prognosis. The big bailout plan was the perfect example of Republicans either having no core principles or choosing to ignore them in a panic. Anyone who was surprised that McCain voted for it hasn't payed much attention to the Maverick. He has a good heart, and the instincts of a problem-solver, but since he's a part of government, he sees only government solutions to problems. Just like in the cases of campaign finance reform and global warming, McCain has no ideological foundation to fall back on and so grabs for whatever government program seems to him to be addressing the problem. He'd rather do the wrong thing than do nothing, which is the exact opposite of conservatism.
The Republican party is not dead, but it is at a crossroads. Ironically, the bailout bill helps us clearly see the choices before the party. We can follow those who voted for the bailout, stretching out our arms to unite and find some common cause with the new administration. Or we can follow those who chose to follow the path of the recently departed William F. Buckley Jr, and stood athwart history yelling, "Stop!"
The former path is much easier in the short run. While it won't make the media love us, they'll hate us less. Most voters in the last election will be happier with us. There will be much more unity and less divisiveness in politics for the next four years.
But what would such a country come to look like? Is "getting along" and "doing something" worth turning our backs on the principles of individual liberty and responsibility? The desire to be loved, or at least liked, is intrinsic in almost all politicians. It's the nature of the beast. We'll need to seek out the rare few who dare to lead, who can teach their constituents to stop fearing freedom.
They are out there. It's our job to find and support them.