Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Cautionary Tale for the National GOP

Living in Dryden features Michael Rider's amazing visual on the Dryden Supervisor election, all the more amazing when we recall where we stood just a few years ago.

Although the demographics of the town have changed somewhat to lean further blue than before, I also think (without one iota of hard evidence) that the town's Republican base has separated somewhat from its current leadership and direction, just as nationally, moderate Republicans have moved quietly away from their party's leadership and direction. The Tea Party, for example, does not at all represent the very middle-of-the-road Republicans who populated Dryden's town board and school board for years. Dryden's village board is 100 percent Republican, but none of those folks reminds me of Eric Cantor or Michele Bachmann.

Dryden has always had a fringe presence in its Republican population that is church-driven and deeply ideological. Some of those folks have made their way onto the school board, but they have never, so far, dominated policy or direction. Some of them have made their way onto the Republican committee in town, but their politics seem, if results mean anything at all, not to resonate with the general population.

I suspect that at the local level, the sort of gridlock we see in Washington would simply not be tolerated. If roads don't get plowed and teachers don't get paid, people show up, angry, at the next town or school meeting. The Tea Party may want less government, but at the town and school level, what would that actually look like? It's not an argument that worked well in Dryden in 2011.

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