There is no shortage of New Year's resolutions the Republican Party could pledge to make itself better in 2015. Well, "better" might not be the right word. "Less repulsive" may be more like it. Fresh off its big midterm victories in November that locked up both houses of congress, the party is riding high, which means before you know it, the newly emboldened GOP will overreach and eventually wake up the day after the 2016 election with a hangover straight out of the Flamingo Hotel scene from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas:
Not that the Republican Party will take any heed, but if it's going to be viable in 2016, or really just less awful, here are 10 things it needs to stop doing this year:
1) Talk about rape
Whereas discussing sexual assault can often be educational, cathartic, and generally productive, Republicans have shown themselves entirely incapable of talking about rape in a way that doesn't test one's cringe reflex. Witness a bill introduced by Missouri state Rep. Rick Brattin (R) that would allow a man who gets a woman pregnant to prevent her from having an abortion unless the woman could prove she was raped. As he explained, "So you couldn't just go and say, 'Oh yeah, I was raped' and get an abortion. It has to be a legitimate rape."
Brattin's comments echo those of fellow Missouri Republican Todd Akin, who in 2012 lost his U.S. Senate race because he questioned whether women could become pregnant as a result of "legitimate rape." Akin later apologized, but last year retracted that apology.
Apparently when Missouri calls itself the Show Me State, it's talking about proving your rape.
2) Say, "I'm not a scientist."
Oftentimes when a Republican is asked whether he believes in climate change, evolution, or other scientifically verifiable phenomena that his anti-science constituents are wary of, he'll cop out by stating, "I'm not a scientist." As it turns out, the GOP is loaded with not-scientists, including Gov. Rick Scott (Fla.), Gov. Bobby Jindal (La.) Sen. Mitch McConnell (Ky.), Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), Sen. Joni Ernst (Iowa), and Speaker John Boehner (Ohio).
No shit they're not scientists. But they're also not economists, doctors, iron workers, police officers, or every other profession they're not that they nonetheless make major legislative decisions about all the time. If Republicans are going to take the position that the can't answer science-related questions because they're not scientists, they need to abstain from voting on any bills pertaining to science issues, not to mention those other issues with which they have no professional acquaintance.
3) Read the Bible
Speaking of not being scientists, Republicans have no hope of accepting science if they keep on insisting that the Bible is the timeless and inerrant word of god. This biblical literalism has led a whopping 58% of Republicans to believe that god created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years. You literally cannot teach stupid like that because no coherent methodology leads to such a conclusion, except of course, the methodology that goes like this: "The Bible says so." That of course, is no methodology at all. It's revealed wisdom. Actually, it's revealed stupidity.
4) Ask, "Where are the jobs?"
Since President Obama took office, Speaker Boehner has been fond asking, "Where are the jobs, Mr. President?" as the jobs have been piling up around him, including his home state of Ohio, which as of October had a lower seasonally adjusted unemployment rate (5.3%) than the rest of the country (5.8%). After assuming office smack dab in the middle of the worst financial crisis in 80 years, Obama has overseen the creation of more jobs in six years than both Bushes did in 12.
There are the jobs.
5) Complain about Obama golfing
Republicans have freaked out no fewer than one gazillion times about Obama going golfing. It's one of the easiest and therefore laziest knocks that can be made against a president, no matter who it is at the time. That's because golf is a highly time consuming and elitist sport, which is strange because that makes it the unofficial sport of the Republican Party.
6) Oppose gay marriage
Seriously, Republicans. Stop being a bunch of faggots and support marriage equality already.
7) Pretend Benghazi was a scandal
Have congressional Republicans made Select Committee on Benghazi a standing committee yet? Because it feels like this is where we're headed. I can picture the House Benghazi Committee in the year 2089 being steered by Trey Gowdy IV, convening to determine who knew what and when they knew it by talking to people who talked to people who talked to people who were in the White House and State Department at the time of the attack on the U.S. consulate some 77 years earlier.
8) Call for more war
Republicans, we get it. Collectively you suffer from serious insecurities relating to your manhood, which means you feel compelled to be bombing someone, somewhere, right this moment. But that's hardly a reason to call for a war in a place you can't find on a map against a group you just learned existed.
9) Restrict abortion access
Remember when Republicans opposed the Affordable Care Act because it would come between Americans and their doctors? Well, if you're a pregnant woman who's thinking about getting an abortion, not only does the GOP want government between you and your doctor, it's happy to practice its small government principles all the way into fitting inside your uterus. Whether it's unsuccessfully mandating transvaginal ultrasounds, or compelling doctors to provide false information to their patients, the GOP will try anything to protect America's fetuses. And I do mean fetuses, not babies. Once the fetuses are carried to term, they become unpersons unworthy of a myriad of social programs that are forever on the GOP's chopping block.
10) Present another Paul Ryan budget
Sure, it's an annual tradition. But the running gag that is the Paul Ryan budget has gotten really stale at this point. We get it, Republicans. You want to slash taxes, Social Security, and Medicare. You want to repeal Obamacare and replace it with the equally effective Shake-It-Off-Care, while boosting defense spending so the U.S. can finally muster a challenge to Al Qaeda's nonexistent air force and navy. Every year it's virtually the same budget, with its outrageous projections for employment and reality in general. If this is the "path to prosperity," I can only hope a few of the bridges are out along the way.