Requiem for the Republican Party

By Mike Whitney

May 04, 2009 "
Information Clearing House" --- The experts think the Republican party can get up off the canvas and stage a comeback, but don't bet on it. The poor GOP isn't really even a party anymore; it's more like a vaudeville troupe scuttling from one backwater to the next performing the same worn slapstick. They've simply become irrelevant, a "non-party" that no one pays much attention to apart from the occasional zinger on the Daily Show or Letterman. In truth, the GOP is so deeply-traumatized from their shocking fall from power, they'd probably benefit from a spell on the couch. Perhaps if they spent a few weeks in therapy, they'd see what a mess they've made of everything.

No one is suggesting that the Democrats are perfect either. Far from it. The Dems seemed to relish the 8 years they spent as Bush's doormat while the Bill of Rights was split into matchwood and the country was dragged from one war to the next. Bush served two full terms and the feckless Democrats never stood up to him or stopped him even once from doing exactly what he wanted. Wiretapping. Iraq. Torture. Never.

The Democratic party is loaded with bloviating windbags like Barney Frank and Nancy Pelosi who "talk the talk" but never deliver the goods. Frank has proved repeatedly that he's just lobby-fodder for the banking fraternity, faithfully doing their bidding and dressing it up in altruistic mumbo-jumbo. Pelosi's just as bad. When she's not applying tooth-whitener, she's busy making sure that anything remotely resembling progressive legislation never reaches the floor of the House. (Yer doin' a heckuva job, Nancy)

The party is full of blowhards, phonies and gobshites that are in the pocket of big business. Everyone knows it.

The only thing the Dems have going for them is that they're not Republicans. That's it. They're not the party that took over all three branches of government and proceeded to douse all of Washington in gasoline and burn it to the ground. That's how the Republican's celebrate their victories; self immolation! In America's 230 year history, no party has ever crashed-and-burned so fast or with such fanatical zeal.

The Republicans proved that they are unfit to govern. They're better suited to carping from the sidelines where they can do less damage. Let's hope it stays that way. No one wants another 8 years like the last.

Fortunately, Republican leaders have been given a permanent roost at FOX News so they can emerge from their holes from time to time to throw stones at Obama or swap sob-stories with their fellow conservatives. It's harmless fun and no one really cares anyway. Hopefully it will ease the pain of watching the nation spin out of their orbit while their political aspirations disappear down the toilet. The truth is, the country has moved on since the election and the Republicans will need a major facelift if they want to be competitive again. From the looks of it so far, that's hardly a sure-thing.

Now that the dust has settled from the election--and the full-extent of the losses are known--the finger-pointing has begun. Everyone wants to know who drove the Republican party into the ground?

There's plenty of blame to go around and, of course, the first name that's on everyone's list is George Bush. But Bush wasn't as important as people think. He was a bit-player who was chosen for the job because his patrons thought they could stitch-together another Reagan and because he could be counted on to follow orders without question. But Bush wasn't steering the ship o state; not really. The administration was essentially a franchise split up between the three main actors; Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rove. Of those three, the one who probably did the most damage was Rove through his chronic backroom maneuvering, his hamhanded public relations operations and his political arm-twisting. Rove's bullyboy antics produced a number of short-term triumphs, but they cost the party dearly in terms of credibility. Just look at the Terry Schiavo fiasco; an emotionally-charged issue of personal morality which the administration turned into a feeding-frenzy. The poor husband was turned into the devil-incarnate for simply carrying out the explicit wishes of his stricken wife. Michael Schiavo was ripped to shreds by a feral media that had become the propaganda-arm of the White House. The whole episode had Rove's stink all over it.

Eventually Rove's wheeling and dealing caught up to him and he was forced to step down amid a barrage of allegations. His scorched earth, "take no prisoners" approach galvanized the base, but alienated decent conservatives who were not comfortable with his win-at-all-cost shenanigans. The same was true of Republican politicians. Some of them didn't like marching in lockstep with the administration's directives. Others didn't like Rove himself, a petty, unprincipled opportunist whose sole talent was destroying his political enemies. Ultimately, the party of Lincoln became the party of Rove slipping its ideological moorings and abandoning all claim to moderation. Rove left the party in a shambles and, now, just look what's left--- a scattering of Bible-flailing crackpots, a few pudgy white guys with baseball caps pulled down over their ears, and a stable-full of toothy anchors over at Murdoch's sandbox. Other than that, the GOP is nothing but wreckage and bad memories.

Obama didn't beat the Republicans. The Republicans beat themselves and they know it. It was a self-inflicted wound. (Politicide?) The party has simply run out of steam. How much mileage can one get on a platform which contains just two planks: War and tax cuts? That's not a vision of the future; it's the early signs of dementia.

The Republican party has never been "the party of ideas"; that's a complete myth. The Republican leadership hates ideas, because ideas mean social programs which divert money from the coffers business tycoons and crooked banksters. Ideas cost money; it's as simple as that. Republican ideas are different; they usually involve poking around people's bedrooms telling them what they can and can't do or railing against science like evolution or stem cells. In fact, "Republican ideas" is an oxymoron like "military intelligence". The words are basically incongruous; they don't fit together.

The United States veers slightly to the right politically, so winning elections shouldn't be that hard for any party that truly represents conservative values. But the Republican party doesn't represent conservative values, that's another myth. In fact, the party isn't even pro life. If they were, then Bush would have pushed for anti abortion legislation when he controlled both houses of congress. But he didn't. Why? Because the Republicans know that if they put an end to the abortion flap for good, half of their base will have no reason to drag themselves to the polls every two years. That's the truth. Keeping abortion as a permanent issue--without making any effort to end it--is all part of a cynical calculation to keep the religious loonies engaged. Republicans will never end it; it's their meal ticket.

Despite the beating they took in the elections, the Republican party is still in the hands of zealots, militarists and screwballs. Oddly enough, this disparate coalition seems to enjoy wandering aimlessly through the political wilderness. For the most part, they cling to the belief that liberalism has destroyed the country and that the way back to traditional values is by electing far-right candidates like party-favorite Sarah Palin. But a Palin candidacy would be a disaster; she's polarizing "red meat" pitbull who doesn't achieve the broader goal of attracting "center-right" independents into the fold. (particularly the all-important Hispanic vote) She's brings nothing to the ticket. Besides, elevating Palin only confirms the public's worst fears, that the party has become a dinosaur run by addle-brained fundamentalists who are incapable of change.

Less than two years ago, party bigwigs were putting the finishing touches on their plans for a one party system and a new American century. My, how things change! The whole fantasy has come crashing to earth. The Republican party is finished. Stick a fork in it.

 

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