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Leave it to Priebus

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(Article changed on May 30, 2013 at 10:40)


by Illustration by DonkeyHotey via Flickr

by Illustration by DonkeyHotey via Flickr

by Illustration by DonkeyHotey via Flickr
THE CLOSER - GOP crypt-keeper Reince Priebus

"Where will you run; if there is no world of your own? And you know that no one will ever miss you; when you're finally gone"" --"A Sign of the Ages," by Gil Scot-Heron

The buzzards had been circling long before GOP crypt-keeper Reince Priebus and the Republicans finally reached the startling conclusion that their Party was doing a bit of circling of its own -- down the drain -- and that an autopsy of its brain-dead anatomy was in order. Perhaps they were too focused on reclaiming the White House at any cost. Thus, they failed to notice the little things -- like Frank Luntz's specialized, focus-group-tested code jargon being just so much furrow-browed psycho-linguistics to contemporary political cognition. Or even worse, the big things -- like the fact that Dean Chambers ' screwy "unskewed" polling were as chaotic to the senses as a visit to Sierra Leone in the '90's.

Indeed, there had been many non-political science/history types -- I among them -- who for quite some time have seen in the Republican Party what the Doomsday Preppers see in society at large. Others warned that the GOP was a steadily decomposing, multi-headed Cyclops rotting on a downward angle. They spoke of its drift away from the astute political wisdom of the David Frums and George Wills toward the philosophical waywardness of the Rush Limbaughs and Glenn Becks. There was talk of a politically narrow future at best for the GOP; 0f a regional Party of state governors and legislators, city councilors and town clerks sustained by gerrymandering districts into formations that resemble the works of Picasso during his cubism stage.

And that's a best case scenario.

In fact, shortly after John McCain lost to Barack Obama in 2008, yours truly made assertions about the bubble-headed idolatry bestowed upon the relatively unknown Sarah Palin that lofted the GOP, its base and Palin herself into the political stratosphere beginning the moment she was announced as McCain's running mate .

Palin's sudden emergence injected a near-lethal overdose of virulent superficiality to a familiar derangement syndrome afflicting our body politic. Unlike the hate that fueled Bush Derangement Disorder (which the other side has transferred over to Obama), the Palin strain was a hybrid; the spawn of a volcanic eruption of delusional love for the vacuous "Thriller from Wasilla." That stuporous reaction, engendered primarily by the Tea Party, pulsated a wave of cognitive dissonance that rattled the foundation of electoral support that in 2004, enabled Republicans to win a presidential race that it perhaps should have lost. The result is that by 2012, Republicans wound up losing an arguably winnable contest.

As I noted in a November, 2008 article published in OpEd News, rather than being recognized as something wicked this way comes, the GOP base's "eyes wide shut" embrace of the conniving Palin in the immediate aftermath of McCain's defeat illustrated the potential for Palin and others like her to lead the GOP straight down the road to irrelevant-political-relic status. Back then I wrote :

Indeed just days outside of the election, Palin was spinning away from McCain while simultaneously refusing to rule out a Senate run in 2010, or a go for the presidential gold in 2012, reasoning that it would be "crazy to close a door" of potential opportunity prematurely.

Do I wish (her) luck? You betcha!

Why? Because if success is not defined as expanding the overall Republican base to include more moderates, minorities, young people, gays and women, and broadening its social agenda, but is instead viewed as Palin simply collaring her party's dwindling and rapidly-scattering base of hard-core conservatives, that success will also ultimately lead to the swift devolution of the GOP into little more than a kooky, neo-Libertarian fringe party.

Or, perhaps worse. The 2012 presidential campaign turned out to be a battle between the nerd farmers and the sod busters. As competing campaigns go, the difference between the Obama and Romney camps could not have been more stark -- like comparing satellite radio and the AM band; a GPS and a compass; or, maybe Modern Family and Leave It To Beaver . The portrait was that of a diverse core of young, net-savvy men and women contemporarily engaged in hustling for votes versus the kind of staid, aging-baby-boomer chrome-domers who still wear '70's threads and talk about how "boss" it would be to get "balled" on the campaign trail. The entire process was simply mortifying for the Republicans starting with a GOP primary season that might be charitably described as a loud, prolonged brain-fart let loose inside a circus tent by a bunch of political ass-clowns who by comparison, made the widely-ridiculed "Seven Dwarfs" of the 1988 Democratic primary seem like esteemed Nobel laureates. Later, to make matters worse, they sent out an old, grouchy clown -- Clint Eastwood -- to deliver a plaintive, Abe Simpson-like empty chair send-up on behalf of the GOP during its national convention. And it all tumbled down with a cruel election night assault on the altered states reality of Red State voters -- those who had foolishly rolled the dice on the assumption that Obama's slight leads over Mitt Romney in pre-election polls could be chalked up to "skewed" polling by the "lame-stream" media. At the end of the day on November 6, 2012, the bitter takeaway for the Republicans was the haunting reminder of the pitfalls of permitting one's mind to get all jiggy with itself.

Yet, several months removed from this series of debacles the GOP still appears as if functioning under ass-clown rule -- most recently by its characteristic goose-that-killed-the-golden-egg-level manifestation of ape-sh*t overreach in the Benghazi , Associated Press , and IRS matters , and overall, by its politically insane pursuit of a legislative agenda that's outside of the priorities of most Americans. It's quite bizarre; the GOP's numbskull fixation on producing throwback social legislation that seems intended to make life as tough as possible for gays, immigrants, women, non-white Americans and the middle class creates the sense of a Party that is comfortable with allowing contemporary society to completely slip right past the ballot box.

If so, it's working. A February Pew poll showed that only 22 percent of Americans are self-identified Republicans, compared to 33 percent in 2004. But this slide is not a recent trend. It's been fairly well reported that beginning in 1992, Republicans have lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections. Since that year Democrats won 51.5 percent of all the popular votes cast compared to 48.5 percent for Republicans and 2,003 electoral votes compared to 1,223 won by Republicans. Thus for some time now, the American electorate has been steadily losing interest in what the GOP has to offer; a turn of events that brings to mind a line in an old B.B. King song:

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Anthony Barnes, of Boston, Massachusetts, is a free-lance writer who leans toward the progressive end of the political spectrum. "When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to (more...)
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May soon be the party of "no more" unless it gets ... by Anthony Barnes on Thursday, May 30, 2013 at 10:00:38 AM
The only thing funnier than a McCain/Palin ticket... by Judy Swindler on Thursday, May 30, 2013 at 10:02:28 AM
Tammy Faye Baker!!!   Good one.  Bu... by Anthony Barnes on Thursday, May 30, 2013 at 10:18:19 AM
Better diamonds and false eyelashes than bombs and... by Judy Swindler on Thursday, May 30, 2013 at 12:38:41 PM
Those two seem, in some ways, cut from the same cl... by Anthony Barnes on Thursday, May 30, 2013 at 1:19:42 PM
No matter how much the far religious right wanted ... by Judy Swindler on Friday, May 31, 2013 at 9:46:21 AM
...and, was smart enough to cut her losses by gett... by Anthony Barnes on Friday, May 31, 2013 at 2:35:29 PM