Sorry to have been away from my blog so long! But I must post because I just cannot believe what has happened to the GOP. Not that I'm sorry, mind you, because I'm not. Couldn't happen to a nicer vast right-wing conspiracy. But how did the Armies of Mordor turn into the Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight?
It's becoming a comedy. Every day, it seems, is an adventure into the GOP shooting itself in the foot. Here are a few recent stumbles: Bobby Jindal's goofy post-Obama speech response in which he tsk-tsk'd volcano monitoring (nicely underlined by Mt. Redoubt in Alaska, which said, "Bobby WHO?"). Bobby Jindal giving a fundraising speech during a prime-time Obama press conference. Eric Cantor abandoning the Obama presser for a Britney Spears concert. Sarah Palin in front of the turkey killing machine. David Vitter throwing fits over not getting priority treatment at an airport. Michael Steele criticizing Rush Limbaugh, then doing backflips to apologize. Michael Steele being pro-choice, then being reeled back in by his party masters. Michael Steele being pro-gay rights, then being reeled in by his party masters. Michael Steele stating that this was all strategy and part of his master plan. (OO!) Sarah Palin knocking the McCain campaign for not having anyone to pray with. The continuing goofy feigned outrage by various talking heads (repeated, of course, by the sheeple) over Obama using a teleprompter. (See below for a picture of Bush using one.) Being overall the Party of No (Ideas). And this is just a smattering of stuff over the last three or four months. There's more. Lots more.
But today, how lovely!--the GOP finally offered its Republican Road to Recovery budget response to Obama's budget. "Here it is," John Boehner intoned solemnly, holding up a 19-page pamphlet with a spiffy blue cover with an official-looking seal. This was it: the real thing. Only it was virtually empty. It contained no numbers. That's right. Mike Pence, R-Indiana, was on MSNBC to crow about it but was stopped cold by Norah O'Donnell. (I'm going to have to rethink my opinion of her as a bimbo.) She demanded to know what Pence's actual deficit-reducing figures were, and he clumsily evaded the issue. (Video is here: GOP Budget Plan Fizzles) According to HuffPo, there was actually some sort of response actually in the works (heavy on tax cuts for the wealthy, natch), but Pence wanted to get on the TeeVee and rushed this thing out. Boehner strong-armed Eric Cantor into going along with it, and everyone looked...well...stupid.
How did this happen? In 2004, you had a virtual army, a Politburo, and a Corleone Family all rolled up into one. Those guys marched in lockstep, painted anyone who disagreed with them as traitors to America, and enforced omerta on everyone in the party. This was the Party of BOO!, the bouncer who wouldn't let the Dems into the club, the full-tilt total media spin machine that issued dicta and talking points to an enslaved media and a cowed public. But since then, they've started to lose control of the audience the more strictly try to enforce the message. Now, there have been written tomes of analysis on how the Republicans drove the country into the sh*tter during the Bush years, and I'm not going to try to summarize any of them. But how did the GOP lose their grip? I'll give it to you in one word: KATRINA.
Yup. Hurricane Katrina was the tipping point. That was when the emperor's new clothes came off. At that point, the incompetence of the GOP stood revealed before an aghast nation, and that nation began asking questions. They began doubting in the mighty wall that was the GOP. But let's fast-forward so as to not compile some tedious timeline. What we have now is a GOP in denial, that cannot believe it doesn't have the same power and credibility pre-Katrina. They haven't grasped that beyond the devout, no one believes their bullshit. This is a crowd that honestly thinks that the reason they lost in 2006 and 2008 was that they didn't get their message out. Here's your clue: we all got your message. We rejected it. And we're rejecting it now.
But they still think that all they have to do is yell louder. That's why you have hysterical wingnuts out there crying "Socialism!" and "Communism!" and "Fascism!" and "Dictatorship!" And that's why you have frightened, frustrated loons out there bitterly complaining that Obama uses a teleprompter. Just like the tick that does nothing in its life but hang onto a blade of grass waiting for a mammal to happen by, that's all they've got now.
You know, there used to be a responsible, sensible GOP. They had admirable goals: reduce government waste, reduce bureaucracy, budget wisely, and leave people the hell alone. That GOP started disappearing in Nixon's southern strategy and had totally vanished by Ronnie's second term. What took office in 1994 (the "Republican Revolution") and in 2000 was so far from common-sense Republicanism that it wouldn't get the endorsement of Henry Luce. Against Bush II, Eisenhower would have been seen as a dangerous liberal, and the party would have drummed him out. I don't even know if the current GOP has an ideology other than "I got mine, screw you!"
They've become clueless and angry, and the American populace responds to that by staying away. There's a reason why Obama's popularity is going up despite the constant attacks. We're responding to a President who tells us what we have within us to succeed, not a cabal that tells us that everything not-us is threatening to kill us. Is it hope? Maybe. Or maybe it's just relief that the White House finally has someone competent and responsible in charge.