Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Party in Retrograde: Whither the Republicans Now?

I'm totally going to their next block party.

Just what has the Republican Party become today? Let's look:
  • The GOP has run out the string on "the government is the problem, not the solution" and now won't allow enough revenues -- shrunk so horribly by the tax-cutting, war-spending Bush -- to take care of our most basic needs.
  • Their main point of attack is on "entitlements," in other words the poor, elderly, and shrinking middle class.
  • Republican opposition to internationalism is so strong that it recently forced the Senate to vote against a U.N. treaty that merely supported an international adoption of the principles of the Americans with Disabilities Act, a law that helps define America's humanity.
  • The GOP is united against any and all gun control laws, instead blaming gun violence on the media, Hollywood, video games, and the mentally ill.
  • The party's conservative base is a bastion of anti-intellectual, anti-science neanderthals, such that climate change can't even be acknowledged.
  • In spite of great advances in alternative energy sources, the GOP remains allied with the petroleum and coal industries, almost to the point of religiosity.
  • Its so-called "conservative" base is essentially anti-environment, when environmentalism would ostensibly be a bedrock conservative position.
  • This country, founded on immigration, now, in the GOP view, has no use for immigrants, even those who provide the vast majority of low-wage workers, especially in agriculture.
  • Because a large majority of the Republican Party are white Christians, there is a strong stench of racism at the core of its base, observable in the birther/Obama's-a-Muslim-Kenyan-socialist movement.
  • The incoherence of its anti-abortion, anti-contraception, pro-gun, pro-death penalty, anti-food stamp, anti-welfare, pro-war stance is stunning.
  • Speaking of incoherence, the leading voices in the Republican Party are the NRA, the American Petroleum Institute, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, Grover Norquist, Dick Armey, Michael Savage, and Karl Rove. (Wait, they're are coherent, in that they stick to the same script.)
  • The Republican anti-gay stance is antiquated in the extreme.
  • Its strain of libertarianism has taken such a definite anti-social bent that almost all communitarian efforts are, to the GOP, suspect, unless it's in service of its "pro-life" agenda, in which case there is no regulation of women too harsh or intrusive.
  • Others may have forgotten, but I haven't: The Republicans are the party of torture and indefinite detention.
 Okay. With these positions, who has the Republican Party alienated?
  • Women.
  • Gays.
  • Latinos.
  • Asians.
  • Blacks.
  • Union members.
  • Scientists.
  • Well-educated people not in the financial industry.
  • Foreigners.
  • Non-Christians, such as Jews, Sikhs, Muslims, Buddhists, etc.
 Who's left? Straight white Christian males. Hmm.

Oh, there are strange bedfellows in the rump Republican Party. For instance, seniors, even though the Republicans are not working in seniors' best interests, continue to support the GOP. Also, there are enough gay fiscal conservatives to populate the Log Cabin Republicans (go figure). And there are women who cling to their husbands' guns and religion because, well, when in Rome or, uh, Athens, Georgia, because what else is there?

Lindsey Graham's angry white guys? Good luck with that.

The problem for the Republican Party is, as George Will pointed out, the seniors that support them are, well, dying. Will said that about the gay issue, but it translates to others. And none other than Lindsey Graham pointed out that “We’re not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term.” Whoa.

Our favorite "Third Way" dude, Thomas Friedman pointed out in today's column, aptly titled "Send in the Clowns," that:
Republican politicians today have a choice: either change your base by educating and leading G.O.P. voters back to the center-right from the far right, or start a new party that is more inclusive, focused on smaller but smarter government and market-based, fact-based solutions to our biggest problems.
Of course, in his recommendations are the familiar Third Way strains, but the irony is that Friedman's notions are impossible for the Republican Party to adopt precisely because the center-right is already occupied: by the Democratic Party.

There you have it, the Republican Party in retrograde. If you weren't convinced before, surely you are now that John Boehner couldn't even get his caucus to vote for an innocuous proposal raising taxes on .8 percent of Americans only as a negotiating ploy with no chance of ever becoming law.

Where does the GOP go from here? Heaven only knows, but the dustbin of history is not out of the question. It might be only a matter of time. And even for a liberal/progressive like me, that might not be wishful thinking.

Uh, what's the demographic here? Anyone? Bueller?

Update. I found some recruits for Lindsey Graham:

I don't know what to say...

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