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Has the Republican Brand Hit Bottom Yet?

By       Message Robert S. Becker     Permalink
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(Article changed on February 11, 2014 at 14:21)

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Is there a more compelling image for aggrieved martyrs than blood-thirsty Romans prodding wild animals to rip apart early Christians? Well, mass entertainment, if not Christianity, has come a long way, baby. Which makes it all the more laughable that Republicans, playing the aggrieved martyr card under Obama tyranny, blindly ignore they are anything but selfless victims. In truth, the right commits the indelible howlers that savage its own brand. Who else do yahoos allergic to modernity have to blame for misreading religion, science, politics, philosophy, history and sacred books?

That's why so few key constituencies, except wheeler-dealer billionaires, escape today's GOP quest to enthrone the insufferable status quo. By shunning women's rights, the long-term jobless, a lost generation of youngsters, immigrants desperate for clarity, or the ailing poor locked out from Obamacare-Medicaid, the party if Lincoln casts off any pretense to serving the common good, let alone any majority.  

"Productivity" for this perverse gang means compounding obstructionism with transparent lying, faux scandals, and calculated nonsense that staggers the reality-based community. Imagine if Rand Paul is right, okay by random selection, that if his party persists in offending minorities Texas "will be a Democratic state within 10 years." It's not as if the three rightwing factions (capitalist stooges, evangelicals and Tea Partiers) aren't already fighting over diminished political spoils. 

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Clearly, the RNC squandered its best efforts last year, crowning the '12 debacle with its now year-old "autopsy." That analysis insisted its top dogs campaign and govern "in a manner that is inclusive and appealing" and "point the way forward " working successfully with their legislatures to enact meaningful changes in people's lives." Bingo, oblivious GOP governors are worse off than the bedraggled president. Does the path to party salvation flow wholly from loathing Obama and health care changes, "big" government, public education and legal debts, while fulminating against women, jobs training, immigration reform, and gay marriage? 

What national party ever redeemed itself with unending, conspicuous wars against voters: the unemployed, unions, state employees, poor people, scientists and medical researchers, women and minorities, even defenders of legal birth control and abortion? Like God, this posse of the pious figures to create a miracle out of nothingness.  

Suicide Isn't Painless

Yet the real kicker remains how self-inflicted are rightwing wounds, rushing off cliff after political cliff. Can allegedly smart fat cats forever blame this White House or today's Democrats for being besieged? No outside Black Swan struck, though the worst party bullies took up the brand-smashing cudgel. No national emergency or party-wide scandal, overseas disruption or act of God, has mortified the right. In fact, Democrats look downright rational by talking up plausible ideas (jobs stimulus, less sequester, what, immigration reform?) without pushing hard enough against obstructionism. Facing reactionary opponents crashing and burning on policy and polling, beyond racists or goofballs like Mike Huckabee, why not play it safe by avoiding monumental blunders? Why not stay offstage as one Michigan Republican not only opposes gay rights but wants gays purged from the party, pawns of Satan, the inventor of gayness only to drive pedophilia? Yep, the supply of wing nuts endures as Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock weren't enough. 

In this light, I acknowledge misguided skepticism any national party could survive more rounds of the absurd, unending  GOP '12 primary circus, with unqualified yokels taking the frontrunner spot every two weeks. Not so, as that parade of clownish yahoos, from Cain and Bachmann to Santorum and Perry, simply morphed into slicker models called Ron Paul, Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio, not as unqualified yet unlikely nominees or winners. And still ahead are Tea Party primary dogfights sure to exact more party damage than the farcical primary did to its eventual, electable prospect (yes, Romney). In fact, TP House solidity appears stronger than ever, and what's to stop more Sharron Angles or Delaware witches from rising from the depths? 

Destiny of Demographics 

Yes, I know Republicans hold more state houses than Democrats and boast more fresh-faced governors and Senators. They could retake the Senate but I doubt it. The left still struggles for one noble Democrat, just to keep things honest, to test the looming Hilary. Nor will the '16 Democratic nominee conquer red states Romney took, except N.C. A charismatic Republican who could take most battleground states wins, but which dull governor fits this bill? Without immigration reform, what figure likely acceptable to the TP could take Nevada, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico, let alone NJ and PA? I posit serious damage done to the GOP brand since '12, without perceptible offsets winning over new voters. Shrill House obstinacy that panders to the hardcore (old, white, male) right will push more centrists and independents into the arms of the opposition, if only in horror.     

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This dubious experiment in extremism is well past its shelf-life, dedicated to offending as many unaffiliated voters as possible, less with grievously unpopular actions than bullying, tantrums and gridlock. The GOP isn't "conservative" (preserving the best of the past), but now deranged against change, at odds with Remy the heroic rat in Ratatouille who declared "change is nature." Thus attrition plagues the rightwing army and generals stand around paralyzed with fear or shock and awe. Capturing this party-wide void, the face John Boehner wears at press encounters, as he backpedals furiously from his promises a week old, depicts party deer-aivation frozen in TP headlights. 

Negativity Breeds Negativity

Late last year, Gallup measured Republican favorability plummeting to 28%, down from 38% two months earlier, the lowest party rating ever measured since they started such counting in "92. In January, Gallup reported only 25% of Americans call themselves Republican, down 9% since Dubya's second '04 victory. Across America, only 17% endorse current GOP lawmakers while 74% disapprove, the worst ranking ever in Quinnipiac's polling. 

The game is up, controversy kaput: driving millions of Hispanic, Asian, gay and minority audiences towards Democrats is ultimate electoral suicide, no matter how many Koch billions appear. This national shift smacks of a New Deal-style generational move. Bad enough its worst bullies, like crumbling Christie, nosedive into irrelevance, a consummation devoutly to be wished. Consider how many more will bolt the party, like former Nevada Lt. Gov. Sue Wagner (now independent), blaming hardline TP extremism. Per one witty Huff Post blogger, since the last election rightwing "outreach is looking more like outshove." 

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For a decade, Robert S. Becker's rebel-rousing essays on politics and culture analyze overall trends, messaging and frameworks, now featured author at OpEdNews, Nation of Change and RSN. He appears regularly at Dissident Voice, with credits (more...)

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