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US election: Republicans in Texas shattered by Obama win November 5, 2008

Posted by trouble97018 in News, Obama, Politics, Repiglicans.
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Courtesy The Guardian:

Sue Harris was not quite sure how to react to the historic victory of Barack Obama. At an election night party held by the local Republican party in the Texas town of Beaumont, she was briefly lost for words.

“I do not know how I feel,” she said. Then she found her voice. “My reaction is: what is America thinking? How could he get hold of the country? I am afraid our way of life is about to change drastically,” she said.

As Blue State America celebrated and expanded into states long thought to be safely Republican, the Red State half of the country was not happy.

Harris and her fellow Beaumont Republicans sat in a small upstairs bar near a large mall on the outskirts of town. They chatted, ate a finger food buffet and watched with a mixture of resignation, sadness and anger as the results were announced on Fox News. It was meant to be a victory party. But it never looked very likely to turn out that way.

The news coming over the numerous TV sets was rarely good. Even before the party had started the Democrats had been declared the winners in Pennsylvania and Ohio, virtually ensuring an Obama win.

On the giant TV screen the one-time political guru Karl Rove had nothing but grim forecasts for the Red America he had once sought to craft into a permanent majority. “We are in trouble. We are in trouble,” Rove told viewers at one point.

And so they were. Experts now predict the Republican party now faces a deep period of introspection. Fault lines are opening that might pit social conservatives against economic conservatives.

The next few years are likely to see a period of intra-party strife. Shane Howard, chairman of the local Republican party in Beaumont and its surrounding Jefferson county, said there had to be a debate within on how Republicans would prepare for 2012.

He said the party needed to return to pure free market principles, away from the big spending that has marked the Bush era as it dealt with the economic crisis. “We have got to get back to those ideals. We can’t just become a lighter version of the Democrats,” he said.

But some people pinned the blame for McCain’s defeat on circumstances beyond the campaign’s control. They said the political environment was virtually impossible for them and then Obama had run a slick and professional campaign.

“It’s been marketing. All around the one word ‘change’. They used that to get all these people on their side,” said local tech worker Marilyn Martindale.

Yet there was also an acceptance that Obama’s win was a potentially huge breakthrough for America in terms of race relations. Howard said that it was an “undeniable historic moment” for the country to elect a black president.

“It will heal a lot of wounds. We are seeing a lot of white people stepping up and voting for him. That is important. I wanted McCain to win but I am not going to deny that is historic,” he said.

Yet there was also fear of an Obama presidency among some local Republicans too, albeit not along the lines of race.

In the last throes of the campaign, the McCain camp lambasted Obama as a socialist or a Marxist. They focused on his links to one-time 1960s radical Bill Ayers. They said he would raises taxes and strangle business. Though the attacks failed, they left many Republicans genuinely fearful of the man who is their new president. “I hope I am wrong. But I think America will regret this decision,” said Martindale. 
“I still don’t know this man. That is what scares me. He is a very pleasant speaker. But that’s all I know.”

Article continues @ Sourced Site.

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