Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne appeared on Morning Joe Tuesday morning to promote his new book Why the Right Went Wrong. He expressed horror at the idea of a Republican president with the doomsday claim: “It will be just like Herbert Hoover! And we saw what happened after that!”
Dionne’s hyperbole came after host Joe Scarborough paraphrased an article by Dan Balz, the chief political correspondent at the Washington Post: “If the Republicans actually ever do win the White House again, it would be the greatest dominance of American politics in 60, 70, 80 years. If you look at the fact that they own sixty percent of the governor’s mansions, sixty percent of the state legislatures – the House.”
“Oh my gosh, it would be incredible. It would be horrible,” lamented Morning Joe co-host, Mika Brzezinski agreeing with Dionne’s sentiment.
Dionne doubled down on his statement saying: “No, it will be like the Hoover era. That was the last time [Republicans controlled the whole federal government].” The idea of Republicans controlling two branches of government must be so traumatizing to Dionne that he completely blocked out every political memory from 2001 to 2007. President George W. Bush had a Republican majority during that time.
Dionne went farther, predicting that Republicans would lose elections and Democrats would save the country from the return of Hoovervilles: “And all things being equal, [Republicans] will keep losing … the country could become like California where Democrats now completely dominate because they're ahead of the country in terms of cultural change.”
January 19, 2016
8:34:11 - 8:36:43
E.J. DIONNE: I think there is something else going on in this election, which is that since Goldwater’s time, conservatives have made a whole series of promises to conservatives that they couldn’t keep. They keep promising to reduce the size of government. Actually, the country including tea partiers, on social security and Medicare don’t want to reduce the size of government that much. They promised to change the culture. Actually, these cultural changes are accepted by the country.
And the other explosion you’re seeing here is the rage of people who say “we’ve promised this and Republican president after Republican president – even Reagan – couldn’t achieve these changes.”
MARK HALPERIN: So Florida, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan, Maine, Massachusetts, they all have Republican governors. Republicans control the House and the Senate. So, is it really a party in crisis? All they lack is the presidency. And they could win that this year.
DIONNE: The ah—it’s the old adage the exception proves the rule. I mean, one of the things I argue in the book is that we have this kind of weird dysfunctional divided government, because we have two electorates. The good news for the Republicans is their electorate is older, and whiter, and those voters turn out a lot. So therefore they win these midterm elections. The bad news for Republicans, is that constituency has a time limit on it. They cannot keep winning elections with an aging white base.
HALPERIN: Current old-people are being replaced with new old-people.
DIONNE: True, at the same time—
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Old-people are being replaced by new old-people.
DIONNE: But the newer old-people are less conservative than the old old-people.
SCARBOROUGH: It’s interesting though, Dan Balz did write a column probably two months ago saying If the republicans actually ever do win the White House again, it would be the greatest dominance of American politics in 60, 70, 80 years. If you look at the fact that they own sixty percent of the governor’s mansions, sixty percent of the state legislatures – the House.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Oh my gosh, it would be incredible. It would be horrible.
DIONNE: It will be just like Herbert Hoover! And we saw what happened after that!
BRZEZINSKI: Yes, Thank you.
SCARBOROUGH: No, I’m just saying –
DIONNE: No, it will be like the Hoover era. That was the last time.
SCARBOROUGH: It’s interesting that for a party that so dominates all levels of government right now, they have lost five of the six last presidential races; in the popular vote.
DIONNE: Right. And all things being equal, they will keep losing. Again, this presidential election, who knows how it’s going to turn out, but I think over time they are going to have to face this crisis and some Republicans are straight up about it and say the country could become like California where Democrats now completely dominate because they're ahead of the country in terms of cultural change.