Sometimes the Republican Party these days makes me want to line them all up and smack them. Other times, they make me just want to pinch their adorable little cheeks. This time, it’s a bit of the latter. If I could sum up the year that the GOP had in 2012 in one word it would be shittarifficallyfuckedup. They had two goals going into the elections of last year — beating Barack Obama and taking back the Senate — not only did they fail abysmally at both, they actually lost ground in the gerrymandered House. They will tell you of course they are stronger than ever, and that their majority in the House proves their strength.
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They’re lying. To us and most importantly to themselves.
The country isn’t a bunch of stupid freeloaders. The country is a diverse mix of people, many of whom believe the policies that Ronald Reagan started, George Bush I continued, and that Bush II injected with HGH and horse steroids, are not what we want any more. So despite unemployment in the 8% range, and despite the economy limping through its recovery, the Republicans could not unseat Obama because simply put, more Americans don’t trust them than ever before.
In the hours, days and weeks that followed November’s ass-kicking, Republicans have played tremendous lip-service to the need for them to change. They’ve run the gamut from insisting that they can just change the optics and messaging but stick to their core values, all the way up to some in the party rightfully suggesting that some of those beliefs and values are just simply outdated and frankly damaging to the party. The majority of Americans want same-sex marriage to be protected. The majority of Americans want us to stop starting wars of choice. The majority of Americans acknowledge not only climate change, but man’s hand in it.
Nothing would make me happier than the Republicans actually getting their act together. When you have to diametrically opposed, but yet reality-based parties in this country, you can get quite a bit done. The truth is that both sides have overreached in their power from time to time. Prohibition after all was a progressive movement. So we’ve all made mistakes. And learning from those mistakes shouldn’t be a point of embarrassment, but rather of pride, for us to have seen the errors of our ways and corrected them.
But judging by the list of people set to speak at CPAC — the Conservative Woodstock if you will — it’s obvious that not only did the Republicans not really get the message, but they are still bound and determined to continue shooting themselves in the foot and picking each other apart like vultures. Most notably, Mitt Romney is going to appear at the Conservative convention, ostensibly to thank those who put him in the position to be handed a demoralizing and political career-ending defeat. But if the GOP really wants to get away from its image of the mean, low-information voter who hates half the country, why even have Romney speak at all?
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It’s not that Romney is that bad a guy. Sure, you could call someone who dodged the draft only to protest in favor of the Vietnam War an asshole. You could call a guy who bullied gay kids growing up, and who has spent his entire life pursuing fortune, only to spend equal amounts of time burying that wealth offshore, withholding it from Uncle Sam and the very system he was abusing to amass that wealth a douchebag…and you’d be right…But let’s just say for the sake of argument that Romney’s not all that bad a guy. He probably isn’t really. No one is a cartoon villain, after all.
Regardless of what Romney’s personality is like though, the fact is that he represents all the wrong things about the GOP right now. Middle-aged, rich , white guy who has disdain for those he feels doesn’t contribute to society. They don’t want us to think it anymore, but of course Republicans still view the country through the prism of “Makers” and “Takers.” If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be putting the guy who symbolizes the hatred of the “47 Percent” more than the guy who put that term into our modern lexicon on the podium at their conference.
No, the truth is that the Republicans are in a full-fledged tailspin as far as internal dynamics go. The Tea Party is set to square-off with Karl Rove, and the bloodbath will be ugly. But when the smoke clears and the rubble is swept away, will the fundamentals of the GOP have shifted enough to where voters actually believe they are out to help anyone other than the rich and the powerful on Wall Street?
Judging by the list of other speakers, there are some other names that jump out as being examples of just how little the Republicans actually are paying attention to the country’s wants and needs.
- Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper
- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
- U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)
- Former U.S. Representative Artur Davis
- U.S. Senator Jeff Flake (R-Ariz)
- Former Puerto Rico Governor Luis Fortuno
- Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich
- South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley
- U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK)
- U.S. Representative Darrell Issa (R-Calif.)
- Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal
- U.S. Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah)
- Saratoga Springs, UT, Mayor Mia Love
- U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)
- U.S. Representative Steve Scalise (R-La.)
- Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker
- Former U.S. Representative Allen West of Florida
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Why the Republican Party keeps looking with deference to Newt Gingrich is beyond me. Yes, he was instrumental in their rise to prominence in the 1990’s, but he was also instrumental in their self-destruction. He helped lead the crusade against the immoral and evil Bill Clinton, and that witch hunt cost him and the Republicans their majority in the House. He’s been politically irrelevant for almost 15 years, and unless he undergoes a radical change of opinion, he’s only going to look more and more like a relic of a bygone era.
Then there’s Senators Inhofe and Paul, who are competing with Ted Cruz for the Dumbfuck Tea Billy MVP (Most Valuable Piss-ant) award. These two are so conservative that Ronald Reagan looks like George McGovern in comparison. And do we really even need to discuss Allen “The Democratic Caucus is full of Commies” West’s inclusion? Oh, and fourteen of the seventeen speakers listed are men, but perhaps their new binder full of women hasn’t arrived at CPAC’s headquarters yet, so we should hold off judgment for another week or two, I’m sure.
But if it’s definitive proof that the GOP is completely rudderless that you want, if you want to know for sure that they’re well and truly fucked, you needn’t fret. This is the modern Republican Party. They’re like the Kansas City Royals of politics, and they won’t disappoint you. They sent up the Bat-Shit Signal, and they got who they were looking for. That’s right, confirmed as speaking at this year’s 2013 CPAC?
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Some might think Palin is showing some savvy. She sat out the hotly contested re-election campaign of last year. Other than her shit-show of a bus tour across the country, she remained relatively unscathed by the Republican primaries. Well, perhaps that’s being a bit too kind. By and large Plain’s credibility has sunk off the charts. It was embarrassingly low to begin with, but quitting her post as Alaska’s governor, a failed reality show, and the general awakening to her dumbassery have left dear, ol’ Sarah much worse for the wear.
In the end, the inclusion of these people in their conference signals more than anything else that conservatives have no intention of digging out of the rubble. They have no intention of learning from their mistakes. Instead, they’re going to just ratchet up the protection of the bubble they operate in. It’s as if they’re conceding national relevance, focusing instead on state races. Of course, it’s easier to disenfranchise voters, subvert Roe vs. Wade and eliminate income tax in favor of the regressive sales tax on the state level.
And if they can stop enough Democrats from casting votes maybe the will of the people, shifting demos and all, won’t make a lick of difference.