Archive for crisis

GOP: Scrambling for an Identity

Posted in just sayin', politics with tags , , , on January 29, 2009 by mightyfag

What will become of the Republican Party? In the wake of the monumental election of the nation’s first African-American president, a democratic House of Representatives and a democratic Senate, the Republican Party is left dazed and desperately scrambling for an identity. The mandate from the people is to move away from conservative politics and embrace progressive values to repair the damage that was done in the last 30 years by administration after administration of Republican presidents.

The GOP, largely thanks to the Reagan/Bush legacy and their cronies, are left with the biggest P.R. problem since Watergate. How do they bring people back to their party? How to they define themselves and their values when the last 30 years have proven that their approach doesn’t work? Three different approaches are emerging in the face of this identity crisis.

Hold Fast!

The first, held by most of the old timers, is to dig deep into the trenches of conservatism and continue to hold the line of “less government is good and leave business to run itself”. These folks think that the best response to a country that’s leaning left is to lean further right.

For example, in President Obama’s first major piece of legislation (the economic stimulus package, or “Supplemental Appropriations for Fiscal Year Ending 2009”) the minority Republican portion of the House of Representatives, led by John Boehner voted completely in opposition to the package. That’s right… ZERO (0) votes in favor of the resolution. President Obama reached out, trying to get Republican support for the bill even though he didn’t need it, in an effort to have bipartisan support for the recover of our nation’s economy. They didn’t budge, and voted in a block – classic Republican voting strategy. The measure passed thanks to the Democratic majority in the House even though some Democratic Representatives voted against the measure.

From the Washington Post Article: Republicans continued to press to have more of their proposals included. Rep. Eric Cantor (Va.), the House minority whip tasked with rounding up the opposition, said the vote delivered a message to Obama: “Tell Speaker Pelosi to begin to work with us.”

How very truly ironic. When the Republicans were in the majority they never worked with the Democrats. They just steam-rolled whatever they wanted and went ahead with their agenda of corporatocracy. This technique of holding fast to the Bush/Reagan platform is not going to garner any public support in the near future. It simply paints the Republican Party as a party of negative attitudes in a sea of hope.

We’re Young and Cool Too!

The second approach the neocons are taking is to ride the wave of Obama’s well-sown hope and rejuvination by presenting young and vibrant minority candidates that are part of the Republican Party. It’s the “we’re cool and we aren’t just white guys” approach that clearly demonstrates a complete lack of understanding around why Obama was so well received by the American populace.

Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin

This whole current started with the nomination of Sarah Palin as the Vice Presidential candidate under John McCain. Most people responded with a “what?” to her nomination, but Republicans everywhere were thrilled with her. She was deeply conservative, a woman and young – CLEARLY a competitor for Obama, right? Wrong.

Sarah Palin proved to have the eloquence of George W. Bush combined with the looks of Tina Fey and the agenda of Charlton Heston. Her public gaffes were legendary and she only succeeded in showing the world just how old John McCain really was, and just how clueless about politics and economics she was.

Ms. Palin continues to make a public fool out of herself by criticizing the media for prodding into her family and personal life (after she paraded out her children and family as a political tool), and for mocking her on shows like Saturday Night Live (free speech, darlin’ – we still have it in this country, and satire is the oldest form of it). She doesn’t seem to understand that the more she stands in the spotlight, the more people are going to notice her flaws.

Her latest endeavors include SarahPAC – a political action committee dedicated to: “building America’s future, supporting fresh ideas and candidates who share our vision for reform and innovation.” (Source)

Bobby Jindal

Bobby Jindal

Then there’s Bobby Jindal, the governor from Louisiana. Hey, he’s young, he’s of Indian descent (dot, not feather) and he’s Roman-Catholic, AND REPUBLICAN! Perfect, right? (Notice how being a Catholic isn’t a big deal because his other minority statuses make him a perfect match for their quasi-racist perspectives on this whole thing.)

There’s talk of him being slated to run on the 2012 presidential ticket, and that his youth and charisma will make him a shining star. The problem is that his politics are more of the same. That, coupled with the exorcism he helped with on his friend Susan, makes him a bit of a questionable candidate. An exorcism? What? Read for yourself.

These candidates and others are being touted as the great hope for the Republican party who mistakenly look at Obama’s victory as being one of race. Obama didn’t win because he’s African American. He didn’t win because he is a minority. He won because he presented a campaign of hope in dark times, he is incredibly well spoken, a constitutional scholar and thus understands the way our country SHOULD work, and he was a non-insider running for office to get in there and scrap away all of the awful damage done by George W. Bush. But the Republicans are blind to this fact because they see no fault with what W. did.

More of the Same

The Third Option the Republican Party has been taking is, sadly, more of the same. A negative, smear campaign to erode away the popularity of the president and his party. The previous propaganda-spreading devices of conservative talk radio and conservative television opinion shows are now being used to foster distrust and attempt to paint this administration in a negative light.

Rush Limbaugh

Rush Limbaugh

Enter good old Rush Limbaugh. This oxycontin-chugging talking hole has done plenty in his career to discredit himself and present himself as nothing more than a “shock-jock” who spouts hate and sows distrust in our country. His gaffes included accusing Michael J. Fox of faking his Parkinson’s Disease and the latest is stating publicly on the radio that he “hopes Obama fails” at what he is doing. He has never had the country’s best interests in mind, just his own. He takes advantage of those who don’t have access to good sources of information and fills their heads with talking points handed down directly from the Republican Party and passes them off as if they are facts. This man, simply put, should be taken off the air and forgotten forever.

Matt Drudge

Matt Drudge

Then there’s Matt Drudge of the Drudge Report. Claiming everything from Global Warming being a hoax, to the Obama Stimulus Package giving money to illegals, to misquoting information as if it were “facts” about the federal funding to prevent STD transmission in the latest stimulus package.

News flash, having a big website that LOOKS like a newspaper, doesnt’ mean you’re actually toting news or facts. It just means you are using CSS styles obnoxiously. Check out a simple search on on Matt Drudge and see the extent of his misinformation campaign for yourself.

My Advice

So where does the Republican Party go from here? Well, I’m not an advocate for a one-party system, no matter what party is in control. I think there needs to be balance and debate to hone the best legislature out there. I like the problem that the Republican Party is facing is one of religion versus politics, and that a separation of the two will greatly assist them in recovering some validity in the eyes of the public.

First, they need to ditch the radical evangelican Christian platform. The evangelican agenda is one of intrusion into personal lives and a legislation of morality – these go against classical “Goldwater Republican” values that uphold privacy as paramount. This will eliminate the abortion issue, gay rights issues and issues around any religious or spiritual practice. Allow the evangelicals to evaluate their own values and form their own party apart from the Republican party – eject them right out of the GOP.

Next, go back to a classical “stay out of my personal life” platform – one where small businesses can start up with minimal government intrusion, where personal freedoms (like freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of the press) are guaranteed, and where certain things that are currently viewed as priviledges are instead embraced as rights (education, health, a living wage, etc.) This will allow them to pick up some of the progressive leaning Republicans who went Democratic.

Finally, they need to cut themselves away from the corporate apron strings. Their blatant and transparent actions that cowtow to corporate interests are making them lose traction in the greater populace. Stand for FAIR trade and FAIR business practices, instead of laissez-faire business that merely leads to economic bubbles that burst into depressions (like our current economic situation.) Stand up for the working class and support the middle class and you’ll regain some followers.