Thursday, November 08, 2012

What Can Stop the GOP's Meltdown?

The day after the election, Wednesday, I declared a one-day moratorium on gloating and sarcasm over the election results. In the same spirit, I resisted the urge to offer advice to any Republicans I encountered. At happy hour at Chiocca’s, facing a few grumbling conservatives who were itching to harass a handy liberal, it wasn’t easy to stay true to that spirit of restraint.

Now the moratorium is over.

Accordingly, on Thursday, the Republicans who got their collective ass kicked royally on Tuesday ought to take a good look at some bad moves they’ve made since they celebrated their midterm victories in 2010. They need to cast off their dry-rotted blinders, pronto.

If they do they might see that the explanation for several of the losses the Republican Party absorbed on Tuesday was tied to how much the USA has changed in recent years. The percentage of the total vote that is white male has been steadily shrinking and it's going to continue to do so.

Which means it’s time for some conservative old goats to face the music.

Speaking of goats, if the Republican Party continues to allow the likes of Karl Rove, Grover Norquist and Rush Limbaugh to shape its agenda, while those three guys will do just fine, the GOP itself will continue its meltdown.

The Tea Party-driven strategy the congressional Republicans have used for the last two years blatantly turned its back on solving problems. Their only goal was to deny any success whatsoever to the president, in order to defeat him on Nov. 6. No doubt, if they continue to try to sell their obstructionism as patriotism, they do so at their own peril.

Given Tuesday’s results, it seems that nefarious strategy backfired. Now, facilitated by their own noisy denials of post-election reality, the meltdown process is intensifying.

Conservatives who despise the union movement have been bashing teachers as if they are the problem with government spending. Forget about borrowing money to prosecute wars, it’s the teachers! In doing so, Republicans come off as anti-public education and that will never set well with middle class parents and young voters.

Last night, professional wiseass Andy Borowitz wrote on his Facebook page: “To survive as a party, the Republicans need to welcome people who believe in different things than they do, like science and math.”

Feeling it had the momentum to elect almost anybody, the arrogant GOP fielded some Looney Tunes villains as candidates in 2012.

At the top of that list was Missouri’s senatorial candidate, Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin. As Akin is a plain fool, the Republican powers that be in the Show Me State had to know that. But it looks like they mistakenly thought anybody could beat Claire McCaskill.

In Virginia, George “Macaca” Allen was another obviously bad candidate. He was damaged goods and Virginia Republicans knew that. But they must have figured it was in the bag, anyway.

Hey, couldn’t almost anybody could beat that liberal Obama ally, Chairman Tim Kaine?

Apparently there was a good amount of ticket splitting in the Old Dominion, where Romney voters couldn’t vote the straight ticket, if it meant supporting Allen, a man widely viewed as an obnoxious bully.

A big part of how Republicans in Missouri and Virginia could believe those two Democratic candidates would be easy to beat was that so many conservatives live in a virtual echo chamber when it comes to following politics. They see most of the mainstream media as prevaricating liberal tools, so they put their faith in the Fox News brand of truth and parrot its talking points.

No one should be surprised when bad candidates lose.

Like it or not, running a national campaign is the test for president. It may not be the best way to audition candidates for the job and campaign finance reform is sorely needed, but as of 2012, it’s what our system provides.

Well, Obama’s advisers just ran a masterful campaign. They targeted the key battleground states and won them. Colorado! Iowa! Nevada! New Hampshire! Ohio! Virginia! Wisconsin! Lots of young voters look at those results without seeing ideology.

No, they see competency.

At long last, Republicans have to accept that when they use thinly-veiled appeals to racists, as they did repeatedly during the 2012 campaign, they are constricting their party’s growth. Such tone-deaf reaching out to the most hateful elements of the electorate has to stop.

The same goes with opposing same-sex marriage and trying to outlaw abortion. The justification for those two backward positions is tied to old time religion, and they are both killer millstones.

While I could easily go on lecturing my stubborn happy hour pals and their ilk, instead I’ll sum it up this way:

Unless Republicans can learn from their mistakes and start to articulate a smart, up-to-date approach to conservatism, one that appeals to tomorrow’s multicultural voters that might want to see more imagination, efficiency and prudence in the way government does business … then, tha, tha, that’s all folks!

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