Monday, May 7, 2012

The GOP the Grand Obsolete Party

This primary season has really been interesting this year.  The economy is chugging along but not hitting on all cylinders.  The President is vulnerable and the Senate could be in play for the GOP if they play their cards right.  However the remarkable failure of the Republicans to put forth quality candidates and are attacking giants in the party with tea party insurgents.

The GOP at least has a nominee, Mitt Romney.  We knew he would be the guy, he was next, it is how the party does it.  But when you look at the number of people who ran you have to ask, "Is this all they have?"  We can start with Mitt, virtually every endorsement of him from others in the party have looked like hostage tapes where downed airmen are reading propaganda but stealthily sending secret code.  Go back and look at George Pataki as he seemed to force himself to make a statement.  Recently a far right radio host pressured Romney's campaign over an openly gay spokesperson.  The day after the spokesperson resigned that same radio host said something like, if he can't stand up to me how will he stand up to Putin.  Amazing.  This is the standard bearer.  But he was one of only 3 grown ups in the race,    he and Tim Pawlenty, who exited before the first ballot was cast, and John Huntsman, who doesn't tow the conservative line, were the only candidates who would not be an embarrassment to the party if nominated.  Think about it.  Think of the people who ran.  Rick Perry, his awe shucks approach to facts and his failing memory on the trail was only trumped by his connection to the most far right Christian groups that led him to have a day of prayer for rain in Texas.  Michelle Bachmann who has a dedicated following of comics just looking for crazy things she says from asking for the investigation of Democrats as anti-American activities to the much debunked idea that immunizations cause mental retardation or autism.  Ron Paul, who doesn't even belong in the party, who can't get people to listen to him so his supporters in New Hampshire would crash other candidates announcements.  Paul too has crazy ideas in the most anti-government ways but he seems to fail to get anyone but a small minority excited.  And these are the guys in office.  We saw businessmen get into the race too, sort of, Herman Cain was on a book tour but at first seemed serious.  His ignorance of much of the world was a strike against him early but when confronted with his failures he would go learn and form an opinion.  But it was too much for him so instead of stepping away and work to become Commerce Secretary he embraced ignorance as virtue with his Ubeki beki beki beki stan comments and his implosion in a sit down interview.  It was sad that a sex scandal took him out of the game, but I am worried about what he would have brought to the table had he stayed in.  The other businessman was the massively ignorant and arrogant Donald Trump who deserves a wing in the museum of crazy.  His toying with the race including wanting to host a debate was stunning, was there no one in the party to stop him?  I however am still waiting for him to release birther information.

Then to two conservatives or sort of that left office in Congress with a stain of scandal and failure.  Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum.  I don't have to write much about these guys, who made it further than most.  But I will say, looking at these guys as leaders of the party are like taking the milk that was spoiled last week out of the fridge and thinking it magically became fresh again.

But while some in the party want to recycle candidates for President they are attacking the elder statesmen of the party.  Two long-term Republican leaders in the Senate Richard Lugar and Orin Hatch both have been attacked as liberals because they dare to work with Democrats.  The last GOP Presidential candidate also faced this kind of attack two years ago.  The irony is that John McCain's campaign theme was "Country First", but in the GOP it is now "My version of the party first"  and the vision comes not from the rank and file but from well funded SuperPacs that carpet bomb states with negative ads to attack the patriots who have served for years.  Meanwhile, the leaders of the party be it the Speaker of the House, Bohner, or Rense Prebius the party chair seem to not have a problem with the lying attacks.  Apparently they feel this is what democracy means.

Well, as a liberal democrat it is fun to watch, but it is an uncomfortable feeling when one of the two major parties are falling apart in front of us.  Perhaps we need a new party, like Kadima in Israel.  Bring back the old Concord Coalition, bring well meaning patriots together to form a real party that does put country first, and perhaps we can have a discussion.  

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