According to the latest Gallup survey, Republican self-identification has declined nationally and in almost every American state. Why? The short answer is that President Bush's war of choice in Iraq has destroyed the partisan brand Republicans spent the past four decades building.
That brand was based upon four pillars: that Republicans are more trustworthy on defense and military issues; that they know when and where markets can replace or improve government; that they are more competent administrators of those functions government can't privatize; and, finally, that their public philosophy is imbued with moral authority. The war demolished all four claims.
I agree with the thrust of this, but I think the word "demolish" is far too strong. I think the catastrophes of the Bush Administration (and the unspeakably callous, incompetent treatment of New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina easily ranks right up there with the lying catastrophically costly war of choice in Iraq) have created an opening for genuine democratization here in the United States.
But the sad truth is that for these catastrophes indeed to be enough of a reality-check to demolish the post-Goldwater Republican brand we would have to suppose that the social, cultural, and political force of that brand had more to do with an objective assessment of reality than it ever really did. Again, to be clear, I do agree that the object lessons of the Killer Clown Administration have rendered the religious and market fundamentalist coalition of the contemporary Republican brand more vulnerable than they have been in years, but I think rumors of its (well-deserved) demise are highly exaggerated.
This is because I believe that four pillars on which that brand is truly "based" are different from the four Schaller delineates, and that these actual four pillars (there are very likely more, I'm offering up just these four as a euphonious correlate to Schaller's) are ugly and intractable attitudes largely fueling the sorts of public claims Schaller talks about but rarely finding their way into the public sphere themselves except as weird occasional symptoms that provoke equally weird symptomatic scandalous freakouts that rarely resolve anything or ecourage useful dialogue.
In any case, My Own Four Pillars of Brand Republicanism recall:
 that American society is deeply racist (and the depth of this racism is consolidated by America's hysterical ritual denials about the brutal fact of it);
 that Americans are still, for now, pampered beneficiaries of a bloodyminded, reckless, wasteful corporate-military global order that insulates them too much from the actual immediate consequences of their practices of consumption to motivate much in the way of reasonable assessments of actual costs or of their own personal responsibilities in matters of social justice, environmental damage, or international violence;
 that the same men who still own incomparably more than everybody else and have incomparably more say over contemporary affairs than most anybody else nevertheless both feel and fear the precariousness of their hold on this elite position (and the aggressive politics arising out of this recognition will nonetheless fall often to people who benefit at best only marginally or even only imaginarily from patriarchy in fact, that is to say, to men otherwise marginalized by the machineries of race, class, or homophobia, for example, or, of course, to many women who mistake their own stake in the maintenance of patriarchy);
 that global technodevelopmental change is and will continue to be deeply destabilizing and, hence, anxiety provoking, and that far too many people will look for a post-parental figure to hold their hands or order them around in the face of such radical change rather than undertake the more difficult work of organizing with their peers in struggle and collaboration to ensure best outcomes.
These four pillars are deeper and more stubborn than Schaller's, I fear, and decent, pragmatic, democracy-minded folks are setting themselves up for heartbreak (and worse) if we foolishly imagine that such underpinnings are readily dislodged by mere facts of the matter -- even when the facts include a mile-high pile of drowned and tortured corpses with the Republican brand stamped on every face. There are deep psychic subterranean currents of fear and greed and resentment and aggression and denial propping up the Republican brand, and the democratic politics of openness (with all its very real vulnerabilities) and respect for others (with all its very real burdens) will always be a fragile attainment, even in days that are not quite so dark as our own sometimes seem.
But, yes, Bush has failed spectacularly enough that there is a real opening to demand we do things better before all is lost altogether. But discerning the demolition of the Republican brand in all this is wishful thinking, a matter of mistaking the starting for the finishing line.