We need to stop being the party of stupid.
- Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA)
Y’all know by now that my opinion of Republicans ranks somewhere up their with jock itch or a lost weekend in Dubuque. I’ve long questioned the GOP’s collective intelligence because of their penchant for doing truly, epically student and counter-intuitive things. Then again, everyone needs a niche….
That the Republican National Committee just re-elected Reince Priebus as their chairman (he ran unopposed) should tell you everything you need to know about the current state of the GOP and it’s astonishing embrace of denial. The ship is sinking, and Republicans just re-installed the captain who steered the vessel into the rocks. That’s like Romans re-electing Nero as Emperor as their city burns around them. It makes no sense…but that’s today’s GOP: clueless, lacking in self-awareness, and evidently built to stay that way.
I, for one, have no real problem with this state of affairs. I’d suggest filing it under “Karma”…and here are just a few reasons why:
They push “personhood” bills and efforts to clamp down on abortion rights and reproductive health care…and then wonder why women don’t vote Republican.
They push Voter ID laws that are little more than poorly camouflaged efforts to disenfranchise minorities…and they’re flummoxed when trying to determine why African-Americans and Latinos vote overwhelmingly Democratic?
They push efforts to erode the social safety net, including killing Medicare and Social Security…and they have NO idea why seniors don’t like them?
They push “Right to Work” laws, tax breaks for the wealthy, reduced unemployment insurance, and efforts to maintain the status quo in a broken health care delivery system…and then profess amazement and surprise when their support among middle class voters erodes.
They seriously examine the possibility of changing election laws to game the system in a way that would make it far easier for a Republican candidate to win the Presidency…and claim to be shock at the resulting outrage?
They treat Fox News Channel as the de facto GOP Propaganda Network while blithely ignoring the damage their association with the fact-challenged “news” network is doing to their brand.
Their never-ending intransigence has turned Congress into an entity with an approval rating on par with most social diseases…and they can’t understand the anger directed towards them?
I could go on, but I think you can smell what I’m cooking here. If, as Gov. Jindal states, the GOP needs to stop being The Party of Stupid ©, they have a lot of Stoopid to clean up, for the Stoopid is strong and leaves a lingering stench. And here’s a hint from the Department of Self Awareness: Jindal would do well to start in his own backyard, where only a public outcry stopped him from cutting off state funds for Medicare hospice care, and where he’s heavily invested in defunding public libraries.
That’s some high grade Stoopid, y’all.
Let’s not waste time or energy feeling sorry for Republicans; they’ve made their bed. The GOP has become the party of wackjobs, crackpots, gun nuts, paranoid conspiracy theorists, bigots, homophobes, teabaggers, global warming deniers, science skeptics, Christian crazies, young earth creationists, dominionist theocrats, Ayn Rand devotees, and others who, simply put, don’t play well with others. The roster of misfits and intolerant crazies is as impressive as it damaging to the GOP’s future prospects.
I’m not so certain that this was the “Big Tent Party” Republicans had in mind once upon a time. There’s no longer room for reasonable, intellectually flexible, compassionate Conservatives in today’s GOP. When a Senator like Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), who’s so Conservative he got an A+ rating from the NRA forgoes running for re-election, something’s rotten in Denmark. Unfortunately for Chambliss, the Tea Party would probably primary him in 2014. Why? For the apparently unforgivable sin of recognizing the need for compromise in order to break the gridlock in Congress. The Tea Party, for whom compromise is tantamount to treason, refuses to countenance anything that isn’t slavish, inflexible, 110% unbreakable devotion to their give-us-what-we-want-or-we’ll-burn-America-down ideology. In so doing, they’re killing the GOP’s branding, strangling its future and rendering themselves less relevant with each passing day.
The rapid and self-inflicted decline of the GOP can be traced back to the August town hall season of 2010, when screaming ninnies from coast to coast turn once innocuous meet-and-greets with their Congressman into open, intolerant, and ignorant rebellion. (Go ahead; cue the Barney Frank clip. You know you want to.) Republicans could have put a stop to the madness that spawned the Tea Party then and and there, but GOP leaders thought they could manage the crazies and use them to their advantage. Thus began the party’s rapid and inevitable trip on the expressway to irrelevance.
The Tea Party introduced a decidedly anti-intellectual, fear-based, hyper-religious, and ridiculously inflexible ideological strain into the Republican body politic. American politics has never been an arena known for fact-based intellectual rigor, but the Tea Party dragged the collective debate to new and previously (at least in modern times) unplumbed depths. Suddenly, there was an increasingly powerful ideological wing within the GOP that honestly believed its ignorance to be every bit as- and sometimes even more- important than science, truth, and empirical fact.
The GOP is rotting from within. Party leaders thought they could keep the crazies under control and harness the outrage to their advantage. What they learned far too late is that those they felt they could keep under their thumb had very different ideas. Now those crazies have become a dominant voice within the party, and that’s driven the GOP ever further from the mainstream. The screaming ninnies sowed the wind, and now Republicans are reaping the whirlwind. Anger, rage, and the urge to destroy are not effective ways to run a democracy, but the Teapublican wing of the GOP refuses to learn that lesson. Until (or unless) mainstream Republicans once again become the dominant force within their party, they’re going to be doomed to watching the GOP drift ever further to the Right and off the metaphorical cliff.
The question from where I sit is whether or not Democrats will have the cojones to take advantage of the situation and administer the coup de grace while their adversary is still hors de combat. The jury’s still out, and I’m not holding my breath on that count.
In the meantime, you’ll just have to indulge me while I sit back and enjoy the death rattles of what used to be the Republican Party. Schadenfreude is a dish best served cold, knowhutimean??