Will the Grand Old Party recapture its soul and forge a “new and improved” identity, a way to win elections?
It’s doubtful, based on last weekend’s Conservative Political Action Committee gathering. At that event, doubling-down seemed to predominate over soul-searching. There was vociferous doubling-down on slavish adherence to the National Rifle Association, on trickle-down economic theory, on opposition to ObamaCare and anything else “Obama,” on patriarchal and condescending attitudes to women and minority groups and on vows of no tax increases. CPAC, at times, resembled an Obama Hate Fest more than a Republican homecoming.
There were, however, refreshing talks by hopefuls like Bobby Jindahl, Marco Rubio and several others. And it was good to hear sense and reason from some of the older tried-and-true folks, like Jeb Bush. They have been warning their peers to steer clear of the radical right wing and to dissociate themselves from what even some Republicans call “nut-case” candidates. The only hope for winnability is to heed that advice and restore a true concern for the needs of all Americans.
Analysts, both Democrats and Republicans, believe Mitt Romney lost because he could not relate to the daily struggles of working Americans. John McCain lost the election partly because of his choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate, a candidate most voters knew was simply not ready to step into the presidency.
And there at CPAC was Palin again, stepping up to rally the troops. In her chipper-snide voice, she called Obama a “liar” once again. She said Republicans keep asking, “What about the Republican Party?” They should be asking, Palin added (in another dig at Obama), “What about the middle class?”
Yes, what about it, Sarah Palin? What have you or any other Republican done in the past few years to help the middle class or any other “class,” for that matter? What have Republicans done but sit on their butts in the U.S. Congress and vote “NO” to everything proposed by Obama or any other Democrat?
Here is a woman who abruptly abandoned her job as Alaska governor for the limelight. “Mama Grizzly” dares to blast Obama when she herself has done nothing to help the middle class or anyone else since she fell in love with star dust.
Palin, now a mere shill, has lost her shine. If the Republican Party doesn’t distance itself from and even denounce (in some cases) radical right-wing demagogues and political “purists,” it’s on the road to defeat – once again. CPAC pointedly did not invite New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who was jeered as a traitor when he praised and dared to hug (for shame!) Obama after Hurricane Sandy. Go figure. The very man they should be welcoming they instead reject.
It’s no wonder Joe Scarborough, morning TV host and former Republican congressman, calls (with a heavy heart) his own Republican Party the “Stupid Party.”