The Republican Party must have a death wish.
It cannot win a national election without the support of (a) Latinos (b) Women (c) African-Americans, and (d) Independents.
Yet The Grand Old Party appears to be doing everything in its power to alienate these voters forever.
A couple of weeks ago, when California Representative Darrell Issa convened an all-male panel on birth control, he contended that the issue was not women's health, but "religious freedom." So he refused to invite Sandra Fluke, a young law student to speak. .
Later, furious Democrats held their own hearing. As Diane Roberts recounts it in The Guardian, Fluke testified there that while Georgetown, the Roman Catholic-run university she attends, provides some health insurance, it does not include contraception -- and the pill can cost $1,000 per year. Women take contraception for a variety of medical reasons, not only to prevent pregnancy, she said, recounting the story of a friend, a fellow student, who needed the pill to treat cysts. She couldn't afford it, got sick and had to have an ovary removed.
Fluke's reward for being candid? A profane and uninformed trashing by potty-mouth Rush Limbaugh, who called her a prostitute and a slut because she wanted to get paid (presumably insurance premiums) for having sex. He also demanded that she post videos of her sexual encounters on the Internet "so we could all see them." Limbaugh lost a ton of sponsors, but conservative bloggers, radio interviewers and Fox News continued their attack on Fluke.
And the response of Republic Presidential candidates and their funders? Well, frontrunner Mitt Romney said meekly of Limbaugh's insults, "it's not the language I would have used." Newt Gingrich blamed "the media" for exploiting the story and said there were far more important issues -- Barack Obama's "war on religion", for example. Santorem's Daddy Warbucks reminisced on television that "back in the day" women used aspirin to keep from getting pregnant: "The gals put it between their knees. Santorem himself described contraception as "a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be." Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett said about a bill that would require ultrasounds for women seeking to have abortions, that those who didn't want to see the fetal images could "just ... close your eyes."
And in another big GOP idea that will further endear the front-runner to women and independents, Romney's is cheering up his Republican caucus in Congress by proposing to "get rid of" Planned Parenthood, which provides vital health services to women all over the country. Its abortion practice represents less than three per cent of its total care, and no federal tax dollars are involved in that part of the practice. For many women, Planned Parenthood is their sole health care provider. So its destruction would be exactly what you'd propose if your mission was to completely lose your last vestige of credibility with women voters.
And Newt Gingrich's view that African American kids have no model of the value of work because of the physical and familial environments they grow up in. His solution: Hire the kids to work as janitors in the public schools. Predictably, this from the GOP's self-appointed "man of big ideas," will not win him any awards from the NAACP.
There is also ample evidence that the vibes emanating from the three Presidential wannabees is having negative consequences for many of those who are on the so-called "down ticket" -- Republicans who are running for lesser offices ranging from US Senator to town manager.
Case in point: The Republican candidate running for former Rep. Gabrielle Gifford's (D-AZ) seat on Friday responded to Santorum's opposition to women serving in combat by saying she wanted to "kick him in the jimmy."
Now, as for the Latino vote, the Republican Party has done zilch, zero, nada, to even acknowledge their existence. Gingrich has called Spanish "the language of the ghettos."
Santorem, campaigning in Puerto Rico, said there could be no Statehood without "fluent command of English."
However, Gingrich apparently favors some version of the Dream Act, while Santorem and Romney have both taken a hard line on immigration reform, as if to seal their death pact with this constituency.
It would seem that the wingnuts of the GOP have gotten snookered, first, by believing their own far-right propaganda about Obama's birthplace, birth certificate, and suchlike, and second, by the demographic changes that have been taking place over the last decade.
Despite their presence in 2008, it doesn't seem that Republicans understand or accept the reality that they will soon be presenting their ideas to a nation in which their traditional majority has become a minority.
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