“The Republican Party has just about written off those women who work for wages in the marketplace. We are losing them in droves. You can’t write them off and the blacks off and the Hispanics off and the Jews off and assume that you’re going to build a party on white Anglo-Saxon males over forty. There aren’t enough of those left.”
Ripped from the headlines? Hardly. That quote is from Bob Packwood on 1 March 1982, quoted in Laurence Barrett, Gambling with History: Reagan in the White House (New York: Penguin, 1984).Four observations, and some tentative conclusion:
1. Plus ça change…
2. Those comments came during a recession, leading up to mid-term elections in which Reagan and the GOP took a shellacking of their own.
3. That shellacking, of course, was followed two years later by Reagan’s re-election in one of the biggest landslides in US electoral history.
4. Bob Packwood was so concerned about losing contact with women who worked for wages that he sought such contact aggressively throughout his Senate career.[Washington Post]
Tentative Conclusion: The GOP’s demographic problems have much deeper roots than 2012, though they have been obscured by the occasional electoral success. That can’t go on forever.
Oh, and it is possible to be on the progressive side in social issues and still be a creep.