Don’t get me wrong: I didn’t vote for him. But I didn’t vote for Mitt Romney, either. Instead, for the past two presidential elections, I voted third party. Libertarian, to be precise. It’s not like my pathetic defection dimmed Louisiana’s bright shade of red, anyway.
The main reason I voted that way, and the reason I’m glad Obama won, is that I’ve become troubled – nay, embarrassed – by what the Republican party has become. It’s gotten to the point where I’m less ashamed to admit I’m Bobby Hebert’s fourth cousin than I am to admit I’m a Republican.
I’m less ashamed to admit I’m Bobby Hebert’s fourth cousin than I am to admit I’m a Republican.
And I used to be proud of my Republican identity. Hell, I worked on Woody Jenkins’ 1996 senatorial campaign. I even spent an entire Saturday driving the man around South Louisiana to a bunch of campaign events while he napped and ate Krispy Kreme doughnuts in the back seat of his Lincoln Town Car. Yeah, I was THAT guy.
Yet, while I’ve grown increasingly uncomfortable admitting my party affiliation in mixed company, I’m still not quite ready to become a Democrat, either. I burst into spontaneous laughter every time I see Cornel West. Sorry – DOCTOR Cornel West.
That’s why I’m hoping that this latest stinging defeat for the GOP will serve as a wake-up call – an intervention, if you will – for its leaders to restore some sanity to the party by reining in and grabbing power back from the fringe elements who are driving away countless moderate voters like me who have traditionally voted Republican.
The biggest factor cited in the election post-mortem is a shift in demographics. Contrary to what every talking head on Fox News predicted, it turns out the increase seen in 2008 among black, Latino, and young voters was not just a temporary anomaly caused by Obama’s unprecedented candidacy. As Dick Morris admitted the next morning in his blog entry “Why I Was Wrong,” turnout among those groups did not recede to “normal” levels. With apologies to NBC, this IS the “new normal.”
However, I’m not buying that shifting demographics alone, nor lackluster turnout among Republicans and GOP-leaning independents who were lukewarm toward Romney, were the prevailing reasons for the defeats of Romney and many other Republicans across the country. The problem, as I painfully obviously see it, lies within the party itself.
Incidentally, I find it fitting that the most recognizable political operative within the GOP ranks, Karl Rove, heads a super PAC called Crossroads GPS, because that’s where the party finds itself today – at a crossroads. And there are a bunch of competing factions in the Republican clown car wrestling over control of the wheel.
There are, of course, the tea party types, who think Romney lost because he wasn’t conservative enough, trying to steer the party toward Uberconservativeville, which sits in the mythical land of Zerocompromiseton. And if they can’t have that, they’ll just secede from the U.S. and form a neoconfederacy called Nobamaland.
Then you’ve got the apostles of Ron Paul (aka the Libertarians) who want to take the party toward less government in all aspects of our lives, including foreign affairs.
Meanwhile, the neocons are trying to put them in a headlock so they can grab the wheel and drive the party – and the whole damn country – to the brink of war with anyone who even looks at us funny.
Imagine that: A guy with a known drug addiction problem is in denial.
And, of course, you have folks like Rush Limbaugh saying the party is fine just the way it is. Imagine that: A guy with a known drug addiction problem is in denial.
Make no mistake: The Republican party is facing an existential crisis, just like this nation did during Abraham Lincoln’s tenure. And just like our country’s existential crisis, this one will be solved by a civil war.
If any party can handle a civil war, though, it’s the party of Lincoln. I just hope this one will end with a little less bloodshed.
Speaking of Lincoln, here’s a little observation: Half of the guys on Mount Rushmore were Republicans, but neither of them would have a place in today’s GOP.
In current conservative punditry vernacular, one would be decried as a denier of state’s rights who ignored the Constitution, amassed power for the federal government, and destroyed commerce with overreaching regulations in the workplace. The other would be denounced as a progressive tree hugger with a vendetta against successful business people, who imposed business-killing tariffs and regulations, and who split the presidential vote by starting and running under a third party, thus helping a Democrat win the White House.
In all fairness, I would say that the party has evolved along with the country over the past several decades, but let’s be honest: Most Republicans don’t believe in evolution, which brings me to the first item on my GOP reformation wish list:
A party that values math and science.
I wonder how many people driving around with “I don’t believe the liberal media” bumper stickers were sucker-punched by the election results. Assuming they watch nothing but Fox News, I’d say all of them.
That’s because every pundit on Fox News – Charles Krauthammer, Rove, Morris – said in the weeks leading up to Election Day that Romney would win in either a squeaker or a landslide. They all said the polls showing Obama leading in battleground states were flawed.
It’s almost as if Stephen Colbert’s caricature of a conservative pundit is not absurd enough.
In other words, they trusted their gut rather than hard, scientific facts. It’s almost as if Stephen Colbert’s caricature of a conservative pundit is not absurd enough.
This sentiment was crystalized when Fox News’ Megyn Kelly asked Rove (in response to his refusal to accept Romney’s defeat in Ohio, thus giving the election to Obama), “Is this just math that you do as a Republican to make yourself feel better?”
Ah, one man’s desperate denial of reality is another man’s schadenfreude.
Marginalizing real science has become disturbingly trendy within GOP circles lately. From disputing solid data on climate change, to saying that the female body has ways to shut down a rape pregnancy, to saying that the earth is only 6,000 years old because that’s what an ancient text says, today’s Republican Party seemingly can’t help being – as Governor Bobby Jindal put it – the stupid party.
Hell, not even the GOP’s el numero uno Latino Senator Marco Rubio had the balls to tell GQ how old he believes the Earth is. Sure, all evidence points to the Earth being over 4 billion years old, but he’s “not a scientist, man,” and the age of the Earth “is one of the great mysteries.”
Guess you can’t spell Rubio without “rub(e).”
For the record, if you continually pooh-pooh science and math, you shouldn’t be shocked when American kids can’t even crack the top two dozen in international math and science testing scores.
And furthermore, you know that plane/missile/tank that you want us to spend billions developing so we can exert American influence around the world? It was designed by a bunch of geeks who adore science and math. Just sayin’.
A party that champions personal responsibility AND doesn’t shirk from responsibility for its own failures.
Simply put, if you’re going to tell people to be accountable for their own lives and to quit being victims and losers, you might want to take responsibility for your own campaign f–kups instead of blaming the media and the electorate. Otherwise, you sound like a party of accountability-shirking victims and losers.
Come on, guys. Y’all are starting to be almost as laughable as Cornel West’s visage. Almost.
A party that champions business ownership AND believes the customer (i.e., the electorate) is always right.
If the GOP is the business owners’ party, and – according to a venerable business adage – the customer is always right, it would only make sense for Republican leaders also to follow that adage.
In the case of a political party, the customer is the voter. You’re trying to sell your goods and services (i.e., political bullsh-t) to the electorate.
The customer base, as loyal as it is, is dying off faster than the party can attract new customers.
And if they aren’t interested in what you’re offering, either you change your business plan or you will soon find yourself out of business. It’s a little economic principle called – and I don’t want to lose you here, my fellow Republicans – the law of supply and demand.
I’m sorry, but the demand for what you’ve been supplying recently is steadily dwindling. Even Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said as much when he told the Washington Post regarding his party, “We’re not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term.”
In other words, the GOP is quickly becoming the Piccadilly of political parties. The customer base, as loyal as it is, is dying off faster than the party can attract new customers.
A party in which “moderation” is not a dirty word.
A wise man once said, “All things in moderation.” Sadly, that wise man likely couldn’t win a GOP primary nowadays. That’s because the word “moderate” is almost as reviled as “liberal” in today’s Republican Party.
My fellow Republicans, I know this is hard to believe since our party is irrationally beholden to the wingnuts on the fringe, but the vast majority of Americans see themselves as moderates. So saying Romney lost because he wasn’t conservative enough is like saying you didn’t pass the roadside sobriety test because you weren’t drunk enough.
Want proof that moderate voters sway an election? OK, how about Mayor-President Kip Holden, a black democrat, beating out Mike Walker and two other white guys without the need for a runoff by attracting white moderate voters?
Saying Romney lost because he wasn’t conservative enough is like saying you didn’t pass the roadside sobriety test because you weren’t drunk enough.
It also didn’t help that Walker tried to get people to vote against Holden (as opposed to for himself) almost solely by trying to scare people sh-tless by constantly mentioning crime and Louis Farrakhan. Sorry, but the Jack Van Impe approach (i.e., You need to accept Jesus because the world is about to end) isn’t a foolproof method of winning a political campaign. Sure, the anti-Goldwater “Daisy” ad worked for LBJ, but Walker’s “Limoing Louis” ad wasn’t so much scary as it was just lame.
Seriously, though, the Republican Party has become quite inhospitable toward moderates such as myself. Ostensibly because I’m a middle-aged white guy without an unmitigated red-hot hatred for Barack Obama and everything related to him, I’ve been called a “RINO” (Republican In Name Only), a “liberal,” and an “Obama worshipper,” despite the aforementioned fact that I’ve never once voted for a Democrat for president, including the current holder of that office.
A party in which the beatified Ronald Reagan could actually win a primary race.
As revered as The Gipper is among conservatives, the man wouldn’t make it past the Iowa Straw Poll in today’s Republican party.
Why? Because he did things that no Republican with aspirations of reelection would ever do today, like reaching across the aisle to work with members of the other party, compromising for the sake of passing good legislation, and (brace yourself) raising taxes.
That’s right. Ronald Reagan – the man who made Grover Norquist who he is today – would be a breaker of Norquist’s notoriously unconditional no-tax pledge … that is, if Reagan were stupid and desperate enough to sign it.
A party in which Grover Norquist doesn’t play the role of Rasputin.
Is it asking too much to ask for a party whose congressional leaders don’t have to be obstinately inflexible purists more beholden to Norquist’s unyielding no-tax pledge than they are to the good of America and her people?
Maybe it is asking too much to one day have Republican leaders with the balls to tell Grover Norquist respectfully to go f–k himself.
What about a party whose most powerful player is an unelected bully who openly wants the leader of the executive branch to simply rubber stamp what comes out of the branch that he is quite capable of controlling (i.e., a GOP majority in the House and a chronically filibustering minority in the Senate), thus effectively handing control of two-thirds of the federal government over to said unelected bully?
Maybe it is asking too much to one day have Republican leaders with the balls to tell Grover Norquist respectfully to go f–k himself.
A party whose leaders’ guiding principles are not based on both Ayn Rand AND the Bible.
Ayn Rand, famed author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, called religion “evil” and “a sign of a psychological weakness.” Yet countless so-called evangelical Christian Republicans, like Paul Ryan, tout her as one of their biggest influences.
Sooooo … You love God and Jesus and think America should return to its fundamental Christian roots, yet required reading for your staff is a stack of books written by a woman who would’ve preferred to wipe her ass with the Bible than read it?
Simultaneously saying that you’re heavily influenced by Ayn Rand and that you believe America is a Christian nation is like simultaneously saying that you’re heavily influenced by Mein Kampf and that you believe all men are created equal.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, what happened to the Republican Party I grew up with? The one where the likes of Christine O’Donnell, Sharron Angle, Todd Akin, and Richard Mourdock would never be given the opportunity to embarrass the party because they’d be lucky to become a precinct captain, much less a GOP nominee for U.S. Senate?
Honestly, if y’all don’t get your act together, the GOP will be as relevant as dial-up internet service.
I’ve given you my two cents on the matter. Do with it what you wish.
On a somewhat related matter, have you ever noticed how Cornel West looks like Chris Rock’s character from I’m Gonna Git You Sucka plus a beard, glasses, and 35 years?